When the manager for market intelligence of AutoCorp, a major automotive manufacturer, boarded the plane in Chicago, her mind was on shrinking market share and late product announcements. As she settled back to enjoy the remains of a hectic day, she reached for the in-flight magazine. It was jammed into the seat pocket in front of her.
Crammed into this already tiny space was a report with a competitor’s logo, marked “Confidential—Restricted Circulation.” It contained a description of new product announcements for the next two years. Not only was it intended for a small circle of senior executives, but it also answered the questions she had recently proposed to an external research firm.
The proposal for the solicited research could be canceled. Her research budget, already savaged, could be saved. She was home free, legally and career-wise.
She foresaw only one problem. In the last few months, AutoCorp’s newly hired ethicist had revised the firm’s Business Conduct Guidelines. They now required company employees in possession of a competitor’s information to return it or face dismissal. But it was still a draft and not formally approved. She had the rest of the flight to decide whether to return the document to the airline or slip it into her briefcase.
a. What are the most prudent decisions she can make about her responsibilities to herself and others?
The AutoCorp marketing manager has a moral obligation to her company and to herself. Considering, her position in upper management she must uphold the highest form of integrity and should always lead by example. Ethical issues are a major concern in organizations for many reasons: thoroughness, achievement of objectives, efficient problem solving, confrontation, authenticity, interdependence, respect and dignity in treatment of people, autonomy for individuals and group employees, etc. (Jones, 2003).
There is a good reason why AutoCorp hired the new ethicist to...