Imagine you are a young, up and coming MBA at Enron in the winter of 2000. You have been working for the company for two years and eleven months and have far exceeded company performance objectives. According to your contract, options for 100,000 shares of stock exercisable at $15 dollar a share, will vest after three years of continuous service, on the condition that you meet all performance objectives. The stock currently sells for $65 a share and is rapidly increasing in value.
You have been involved in managing several Enron accounts. In your work you have, on direct orders from the CFO, arranged several transactions with a number of partnerships that seem odd to you. These complicated financial transactions appear to transfer debt from Enron to these partnerships. Enron shows revenues from these partnerships, but you have knowledge of some of the operations of the partners and cannot see how these transactions are acceptable to standard accounting practices. You send a memo to the office of the CFO pointing out your concerns. A financial manager for the company calls you on the phone (something very unusual). He thanks you for your diligence, and says that everything is fine. Arthur Andersen, the external auditor, has reviewed and approved the creative transactions that, he says, are planned according to cutting edge financial strategies.
Then, a week after you receive the call from the office of the CFO, you are at a function for high-ranking Enron executives. You feel extremely privileged to have been invited. You are standing alone in the garden in a quiet area where there are few people and you overhear people talking. The CFO is speaking with some high-ranking person from Arthur Andersen. They speak about the practice of inflating Enron earnings and transferring debt to partners. You strain to make out the heated discussion that has something to do with the sustainability of the practice and the possible consequences of discovery. Someone says, "It's really too late. We either make it work or the whole thing blows up, and we try to contain the damage. In either case we all know what we should do with our stock."
The conversation breaks up and no one notices you. No one knows that you overheard the conversation. You have already written a memo about what you do know. You have complete deniability. In fact, if a scandal breaks, you can even claim that you did speak up about what you knew and received assurances that everything was fine.
This assignment has three parts. Respond to the following problems in no less than 1000 words. This is not a research paper, but should a source be quoted or paraphrased proper citations must be provided. Please put citations in the body of the paper and cite according to APA, MLA or Chicago style.
A) Will you "blow the whistle" on what you heard in the garden? If so, how will you blow the whistle? If you decide to blow the whistle, what are your reasons for doing so? If you choose not to blow the whistle, what are your reasons?
Your discussion should reflect knowledge of what Boatright says about issues, problems and justifications for whistleblowing. Also, in discussing the answers to these problems you should apply the following moral theories to the casae: Kantian moral theory, utilitarian moral theory and virtue theory. Then, describe how your reasoning is inconsistent or inconsistent with the approach of each theory. Again, be honest in describeing your decision and your reasoning. Evaluation will not concern what you decide, but the quality of your reasons and explanations, and your knowledge of the moral theories under consideration. Also, in discussing your reasons for blowing the whistle or not blowing the whistle, you should reveal some knowledge of issues and arguments on whistleblowing presented by Boatright in the textbook.
B) List five virtues that are important to you (you may list as many or as few as you want--consider the relationships between the virtues and the ways of life that these virtues suggest). Describe these virtues. What do these virtues mean to you? How do you interpret them? Also, are there moral paradigms (ideals) that have been important in your life--these might be persons you admire, values, ideas--reflect and describe what these moral paradigms are. How do these virtues compare with the characterizations of the same or similar virtues in Solomon or in the handout on the ethics of care?
C) Finally, in your opinion, what does it mean to "live a good life"? Describe this kind of life. What is the basis of your opinion? What personal or cultural values influence your opinion? Have the theories and concepts studied in this class influenced your opinion at all? If so, describe how. If not, describe why.