Ethics Case Study I:
Accepting Meals and Gifts at Sales Meetings
1. Ethics Question: Given John Henry's uncertainty of the ethical acceptance of receiving meals and gifts, is it ethically justifiable for him to evaluate the nature of these gifts, their effects on the organization (past and present), and to report his findings to upper management?
2. Ethical Decision Makers:
At the onset, it would appear that there are two ethical decision makers: Mary Beth and John. But as the story illustrates, Mary Beth seems to be behaving unethically. John Henry, as a new hire, needs to determine what exactly the policy and code of ethics is for this new position. Since he has asked Mary Beth about the policy, and has not gotten a definitive answer, he has to go elsewhere to find out exactly what the policy says. It is not enough to rely on his trainer, since he has no assurance that she is complying with policy.
It is certainly his obligation to evaluate the sales relationships that are currently set, and ascertain whether or not these are in place because of gifts, or they are bonafide sales, based on the best interests of the organization (price, quality, etc.). If the accepting of gifts on Mary Beth's part, had been determined to be detrimental to the organization, this behavior could occur in other avenue's of her work, further harming the organization. Since his loyalty and his commitment are to the organization, it is in his best interests to do what is best for the organization he works for.
3. Ethical Options:
I. First off, John Henry should discover for himself what the policy is regarding sales relationships, and also accepting gifts from sales representatives. If he can not discover this for himself, it is his responsibility then,