Ethics: Right or Wrong?
How does one determine what is wrong or right, good or bad? There is always a distinct right or wrong answer to most questions, except when it comes to ethics. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation” and as “a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values” (“ethic,” defs. 1 and 2a). One individual’s ethics may not be the same as another. Their morals, what they were taught, and life experiences all differ and determine what they believe is right or wrong. As one gains experience from different situations in their life, the particulars of the ethics change, but the foundation stays the same. Dexter Simmons found himself in a compromising situation at Beantown Consulting. His first project with Barresi Manufacturing was to contact the firms that supplied and sourced parts for Barresi’s top ten competitors. Dexter’s engagement manager, Markus Hensler, told him to not reveal the whole truth of who he was and what he was doing or else they would not provide the information needed. Dexter did not feel comfortable “having fun” or being creative with this project as it requires him to lie about what his true motives are. Hensler knew it made him uncomfortable and just told him it was standard operating procedure to get information they would not be able to get otherwise. To Dexter, the thought of having to lie for his job was very unsettling to him. From his reaction, one can reason that Dexter was raised never to lie no matter what anyone said. Dexter was also most likely never in a situation where he had to lie to get something he needed. The ethical situation presented in this case ultimately deals with the necessity to lie. Dexter would be leading the competitive firms to believe he was nothing more than a student gathering information for a research project. This information would then be used to benefit Barresi is getting ahead of their competition and becoming the largest supplier and source for automotive parts. Companies gather information from their competitors frequently in order to ensure they are doing everything they need to stay competitive. The circumstance that has been presented to Dexter is a very common one. Although Dexter would not be revealing the entire truth to the firms he is surveying, the information they provide is not confidential. If Dexter were solely a business student looking to complete a research project, the firms would have no reservations answering any questions he may have about their business, procedures and success. However, if Dexter preceded the survey by informing them that he works for a competitor, they would be very reluctant to disclose any type of information, whether or not it was public data. As this is the case, Dexter should proceed with the project and survey Barresi’s competitors and collect however much data he is able to. In the process, Dexter will be able to learn more about Barresi and their competitors which will benefit him when he is eventually asked to conduct extensive consulting for them. The consequences associated with this action would have to do both with the law and the agreement Dexter signed with Beantown Consulting. As Dexter would not be breaking any laws, there would not be any severe repercussions. If the competitors were ever to discover that he was collecting information for Barresi’s benefit, they would either be outraged or be as extreme to sabotage Barresi’s operation. Any alliance, relationships, or respect formed between the firms would be destroyed as Barresi violated any trust that existed. However, as the information provided would be open data for anyone to find, the competitors would not be able to legally file a suit against Dexter or Barresi Manufacturing. The most they could so is complain that Dexter approached them and gathered information under false pretenses. When signing his contract to be an...
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