Scenario: Ethics in the workplace
John Smith, VP of HR at Lamp Electronics is sitting scratching his head over the conversation he had with Joe Group describing what had transpired in the finance department. Joe had been preparing the sales revenues reports for the past five years as the company is required to report to the SEC to issue public and profit forecasts. Lamp has always been high producing and has experienced a decline; hence, the share price has declined.
Joe told John that he had been instructed to use a different and more aggressive accounting method for forecasting and calculating projected sales revenue for the coming year. Joe believed that this approach could mislead the shareholders regarding actual performance. The past CFO was rather conservative in the approach; however, a new CFO, Bob, was hired earlier this year after not obtaining a promotion for a competitor. Bob was perceived as a go getter, smart, and someone to make a positive mark on the company. When Joe pointed out that the accounting practices were different than Lamp's traditional practices, Bob, the CFO said that he was the new CFO and had a different approach. Bob proceeded to tell Joe that sales would turn around and the company is justified reporting higher expected sales revenue in the upcoming months. Bob also mentioned that Joe should want the stock to go up and do well. As Joe continued to problem, Bob told him to do his job as instructed. Since then, Joe felt that Bob had become hostile towards him and that there was a change in the relationship. Despite his fears, he felt he had to go to HR for advice. HR intuitively suspected that Joe was worried about Bob finding out about meeting. This information disturbed HR.
Case adapted from: Nkomo, S., Fottler, M., McAfee, R.B. (2005) Applications in Human Resource Management (5th ed.). Mason, OH: Southwestern.
- Imagine you are an HR consultant to the organization involved in this situation. The organization wants to be responsive and fair. What do you recommend?
- prepare a policy statement that you would submit to that organization that could be included in their employee handbook. (This recommended policy should focus on whistle blowing)
- What are the risks and challenges the organization faces by implementing the policy you recommend?
- Provide an ex of ways in which it is effectively or ineffectively implemented. Elaborate upon and assess this situation.