LS 312-02 Ethics and the Legal Environment
Date: January 17, 2012
Unit 9: Final Project
The recent proposal by a board director that approval be given to use their title when calling personal potential clients presents a significant ethical concern for Energy Cooperative. Allowing a board member to use their title for personal gain contradicts several ethical theories, to include Mill’s utilitarian theory, Kant’s categorical imperative, and the rights approach to ethical decision-making (Kaplan eGuide, 2011, pp 5-6). Board members are self-employed consultants with no loyalty to any particular company and this action would allow them the opportunity to appropriate potential clients meant for the Energy Cooperative. Furthermore, using their title to secure a business relationship is a conflict of interest should the client’s initial intention is to become a member of Energy Cooperative. Nonetheless, granting approval impacts all 400,000 members, any potential future clients, and ultimately, the board of directors. Integrity and strong leadership is the mainstay of the Energy Cooperative’s success. Approving the request is tantamount to a breach in ethics and compromises the unbiased position of the company. Not only will the action conflict with the underlying business policy of the cooperative, but it places the rights and interests of the remaining members in jeopardy. Remaining members may withdraw their membership if the company changes their direction of how the cooperative is managed. From the perspective of potential members, an existing business relationship with one of the board members may be seen as preferential treatment by the remaining members. Potential clients may opt to avoid doing business with the cooperative and as a result, would deprive the cooperative of additional subject matter experts and future benefits. Finally, granting approval would serve only to...