Examine ethics in your career as a business professional in the following scenario:
You have just started out as a junior executive in the purchasing department of your organization. Your boss has spent fifteen years in this department. One day while you are in a meeting with your boss and a potential vendor, you see your boss accepting a large yellow envelope and tucking it quickly into his pocket. This concerns you because you suspect the vendor is a member of a local gang. You have heard that the person has a criminal record and has a history of bribing local businesses to gain accounts, however, due to a lack of evidence, the person has never been charged. You ask your boss about the individual, and he tells you not to worry about it. You wonder whether you should report the incident to human resources or your organization’s legal department or not.
Later, as you continue to question your boss about “the envelope,” your boss finally responds and says it has been a long-established tradition for local vendors to donate to the purchasing organization’s favorite charity, and in return, the organization gives special consideration to the vendor in making purchasing decisions.
Based on the given scenario, address the following:
- What choices did you have prior to hearing your boss’s explanation of the envelope? What would you have done and why?
- Given what the boss later responded about the envelope, how did that explanation impact your thoughts, choices, and actions on the matter?
- Explain whether the choices you would have exercised were based on internalized or externalized behaviors and values.
- Which ethical beliefs would support reporting or not reporting your boss?
- Can ethics be taught? What role does on-the-job training play?