1. Imagine that it's your responsibility to select an ethics officer for your organization. What qualities, background, and experience would you look for? Why?
I would look for someone who has excellent ethics. A candidate would be someone who looks at the letter of the law when developing guidelines and knows what the industry standard is for those guidelines. Someone who can sees both sides of an issue. A specific background is not needed for this position. Knowledge of the specific business can sometimes be important, as is a working familiarity with key operational, legal, HR, security and accounting issues within the organization. I would not be interested in this position at all. While I do not shy away from work, I feel that this would be an overwhelming position.
2. Should the Ethics Officer report to the company's chief executive officer, the legal department, human resources office or the audit department? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
The Ethics Officer should report to the company’s CEO. The position should have direct access to the owner to cut down on politics and red tape. Reporting to anyone else or any other department would lead to the Ethics Officer being less effective due to too many people being involved.
3. Think about an organization where you've worked. What kinds of ethical dilemmas are unique to that organization? To that industry? What might be the best way to prepare employees to deal with those issues?
The pharmaceuticals industry is one with very important ethical dilemmas. They must decide whether or not to release a drug that can work wonders but has devastating side effects. Even more cynical is some companies have been accused of lying about testing and research to get their medication released to the public. The best way to be sure that this doesn’t happen would be for those companies to stress that they are out to help people, not turn a profit.