Corporate Ethics

Jana M. GruborCorp Finance2010 Fall 2Mid-Term PaperProfessional Quandaries Case Study ??“ Stacey Duquette Stacy Duquette faces multiple problems in this scenario. The first problem she faces is a co-worker who is misrepresenting the company. Phil Hollis is unethically representing Barker Consulting as a company who can provide larger improvements to operating income than previously witnessed and is also falsifying past performance results to a potential future client. While Barker Consulting certainly appears to have a great reputation of improvement, Duquette knows that the performance results Hollis presented are not valid.
Tied into this, when Hollis presented these results to Nelson Industries, he stated, ???As Stacey studied,??? which instantly deferred the information from Hollis to Duquette. Her downfall was that she did not correct this statement and now she has become part of the falsification. Should Nelson Industries find out these results are inaccurate, Hollis can return to his statement which deferred the misinformation onto Duquette and he could walk away without penalty. This could potentially present a problem for Duquette if Nelson becomes a client.
In the meeting, Duquette also faced the problem of overstepping her seasoned co-workers. This was Hollis??™ meeting, yet he provided inaccurate information, which could have easily been corrected by Duquette i can’t write my essay. I feel Duquette was only invited to this meeting so that he could falsify information, mention it was not his findings but rather hers, and with her present, calmly placed the inaccuracies to her studies. Duquette should have professionally corrected Hollis and set the record straight.
The results of this would have been two-fold; first, Hollis may have lost respect for Duquette and on this assignment could potentially have given her a less than par report, which would be atypical of her thus-far stellar performance, and secondly, Nelson Industries could have lost trust in Barker Consulting and therefore lose Nelson??™s potential business. Or, it could have been the opposite and Nelson would have appreciated the corrected information and continued on with an agreement anyway. When you are fairly new to a company, and just returning from maternity leave, women tend to be more adverse to ruffling feathers. I feel this is probably why Duquette sat quietly.
But, what precedent does this set for future meetings with Hollis Does he now have the impression that Duquette will be satisfied with the exaggerations in order to win business After reading the case, I am certain he will find out shortly that she is opposed to it, but she did not speak up when she should have. Will the impression she gives off now be one of someone without a backbone
Linked to the aforementioned issue, we now have Duquette in a situation where she feels uncomfortable with Hollis??™ behavior and seeks peer advice. Vicki Wish, Duquette??™s mentor, appears to have given Duquette the brush-off and expects Duquette to justify the behavior by believing that all of their competitors do it, so it is just industry standard and nothing is wrong. Duquette faces the ethical issue of continuing this charade or going above Wish and mentioning her dilemma to a higher executive. Again, the results of this could be two-fold; Wish could now look down upon Duquette and make her coming up through the ranks more difficult and potentially sabotage her career at Barker, yet the executive to whom she discusses the problem will potentially gain a new respect for Duquette and promotes her faster.
Above all, I think the most dangerous aspect of this is that Duquette is now linked to this meeting as a potential fraudulent advisor and this could harm her future career outside of Barker. Should Nelson become a client and realize they were given false information, Duquette will be forever linked to that, which will be known throughout the industry.
Suppose that Duquette decides to stay with Barker, Nelson becomes a client, and they do have spectacular improved operating income and all ends up being well. Let??™s also assume that Duquette has gone to a higher executive and they agree with Hollis and nothing is done. An ethical dilemma that Duquette would face is whether or not she would like to continue her tenure at Barker Consulting or not. If you know that the company you work for has a standard of unethical behavior and you are against what they are doing, their reputation may stick with you once you leave or at minimum make your daily job more difficult.
Now let??™s also assume that Duquette has gone to a higher executive and they disagree with Hollis and he is reprimanded. Duquette has just gone from ???the top of the top tier??? among peers to the office tattletale. This could potentially affect her should she want to move departments, go for promotions, etc. We would hope that this would not be the case and that she would be more respected for maintaining ethical behavior.
With one result or anther being the outcome, I would still advise Duquette to go to Wish??™s supervisor and advice them of what occurred in the meeting and explain her feelings about it. I understand that potentially risking a less than desirable work environment would not be pleasing, but Duquette also has her ethics to uphold. One other potential downside in going to someone above Wish is that they may question Duquette??™s ability to stand on her own two feet and be able to challenge her peers.
My experiences with ethical decisions have never gone to this extreme although I did experience another similar situation that questioned my morals. I was working at a company that was about to go through layoffs. I was working as the assistant to the president and, as I normally did, was going through his daily emails. He had gotten one email from our vice president of human resources and it listed was going to be laid off the following month. I was on the list.
The vice president of human resources said that since I saw the list it was okay to tell people that I would be leaving. As I was doing so, people started wondering why I was leaving and started questioning if more layoffs were coming. I could have easily stated who else was going to leave, especially knowing some of them were my work friends. After all, this was a company to which I had dedicated sixty hours a week for three years ??“ how dare they pick ME to lay off when much less skilled team members were allowed to stay! But, alas, I kept my mouth shut and continued on packing my things.
I made that decision based on a few factors. First and foremost, I had been trusted for the last three years with the upmost proprietary information within the company and I wanted to continue to prove I was a trustworthy person. Secondly, I did not want to ruin my reputation for confidentiality in the workforce. In Pittsburgh, the six degrees of separation is more like three or four. Word would have spread like wildfire if I would have feed my co-workers the information I knew.
In short, I always suggest people to go with their gut and keep a clean conscious. I am fully aware that the battle for open positions is tough, especially in this economy. But I would rather keep my pride and morals.

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