The choice of right versus wrong can be a relatively simple one to make. In most cases the right choice has positive implications and the wrong choice negative ones. What happens when we are faced with two choices that can be equally right? What do we rely upon to make these decisions that have competing virtues? Right versus right decisions are defining moments in shaping a person’s character. That being said, the lecture, Defining Moments by Badaracco (2002) is appropriately titled. Badaracco goes on to lay out a framework for addressing right versus right dilemmas. This framework by Badaracco addresses the following four questions: 1)
Which course of action will do the most good and the least amount of harm? 2)
Which alternative best serves others’ rights?
What plan can I live with that is consistent with basic values and commitments? 4)
Which course of action is feasible in the world as it is? Given the situation with Alison and AlphaSoft Corporation, I would say that the course of action that will do the most good and the least amount of harm is to let Alison continue with her current position and positively influence her to continue her education and complete her MBA. Alison was hired into a position that did not require an MBA and moved up the ranks with hard work and her leadership has positively and financially benefitted the company. Badaracco (2002) quotes the famous utilitarian John Stuart Mill who once said “The essence of responsible behavior is doing whatever promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”. The best thing to do to make the greatest number of people happy is to maintain the status quo of sorts and leave everything as it is. It cannot be said that Alison did not earn her position.
In regards to Badaracco’s second question we need to focus on rights. Badaracco (2002) talks about the Declaration of Independence and the ideas of human rights and states that we “live in a world where we are surrounded by rights: human rights, political rights, and economic rights”. Also to be thought about are rights of fairness, respect and safety. Alison deserves fairness due to the fact I mentioned earlier that she was originally hired into a position at AlphaSoft that did not require an advanced degree. Others at AlphaSoft during that same time were hired into her current position sans an advanced degree. In addition, I would say that Alison deserves the respect that should come to someone who has attained a Senior Vice President position and maybe even more so since she did it without an advanced degree.
The third question to be considered involves conscious and values. It is that little voice we all have inside ourselves and makes us look in the mirror. Badaracco (2002) offers that this question can be attributed to the great philosophers Aristotle and Confucius. They felt the right thing to do should come naturally and instinctively. Per Badaracco (2002) it should not be “a matter of deliberation and calculation”. Samantha in HR may not know enough about Alison and her work ethic but given that she is a Senior Vice President should give her the benefit of the doubt. She should know that there is more to a person than the credentials that follow their name. I don’t think Samantha or anyone else in HR could sleep at night if they stripped Alison of her position that she worked hard for and deserved. That is what I feel this question is about, people searching their consciousness and asking themselves what they can live with as an individual and also as a company.
The fourth question is a very pragmatic one. Badaracco (2002) ties this question to the 15th century Italian philosopher Machiavelli. The name Machiavelli gives many a bad taste in their mouth as he was known for being deceitful for personal gain. Machiavelli stood for the immoral or dishonest guy that got ahead in life. But in the end we must be real and open our eyes to the world...
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