The Ethics of Boeing and Mr. Harry Stonecipher

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Harry Stonecipher and the ethics of Boeing

Should Harry Stonecipher have been fired for having a consensual affair with another executive at Boeing Aircraft? The answer is most decidedly yes. In many people’s eyes this affair could have violated the company’s code of conduct, and went against the reason Harry Stonecipher was hired. His actions showed flaws in his character that could have been damaging to the company had he been allowed to stay. The Boeing board of directors had no other choice than to tender Mr. Stonecipher’s resignation. It was stated in an article in the March 2008 Tribune Business News that, “Although the relationship did not directly violate Boeing's code of conduct, the board determined that there were "certain details" about it that would be embarrassing for the company if they came out.” It states clearly in the opening paragraph of the Boeing code of conduct that, “Employee’s will not engage in conduct or activities that may raise questions as to the company’s honesty, impartiality, reputation or otherwise cause embarrassment to the company.” Mr. Stonecipher’s actions were, and still are, an embarrassment to the Boeing Aircraft Company. An extra-marital affair goes against what most Americans consider to be “strong moral fiber.” As the president and CEO of the Boeing Corporation no one should have demonstrated the company’s values more than Mr. Stonecipher. According to the Tribune Business News Mr. Stonecipher was brought out of retirement after an ethics scandal involving a $20 billion plus Air Force contract for refueling tankers. This scandal concluded with the then CEO, Phil Condit, submitting his resignation and the firing of Michael Sears, Boeings chief financial officer. Mr. Stonecipher was brought in to “lead the company out of its ethical morass.” He was said to do this by strengthen the company’s code of conduct and by punishing even small infractions. Boeing’s Chairman Lewis Platt said about Mr. Stonecipher, “He...
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