Ethics in Management - Case on P&G

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Assume that P&Gs Hair care products marketing manager has the Unilever papers on his/her desk. The manager is considering doing nothing with the information, just keeping a lid on the situation and telling those involved to back off. Is this action ethical?

The marketing manager at this point finds himself being in an ethical dilemma situation, which he is aware of. That is probably why he, for now, decided rather to “keep a lid” on the situation, than deciding whether to actually use the information or not. He is very uncertain about what to do and therefore does nothing for now. This first reaction might give him some time to rethink his current action and to think about the options and possible outcomes of an ethical decision, which might follow.

In general though, while neglecting to do anything one abandons to intervene in a process, although having the possibility to do so. Therefore also neglecting to do something about the situation can be considered as an act and thus can be punished.

Not doing anything with this information is NOT ethical. Even though he does not use the information to take actions, which could harm Unilever and thus benefit P&G, he still tolerates the illegal actions of the outside contractors and their subcontractors, which, even though indirectly, were assigned by P&G. Therefore P&G also carries a great share of responsibility. And even if the outside contractors did not say which tools they actually used to get such secret and very detailed information, a good manager is able to assume a greater violation of ethical behaviour.

1. Suppose the marketing manager decides that his/her superiors should be told about the raid on Unilever, but they cannot decide, whether to suggest sacrificing the contractors to the media to protect P&G, or admitting P&G’s wrongdoing and apologizing to Unilever in public. What counsel would you offer and why? What is the ethical basis for your decision?

The basis for my...
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