Background and Question on Ethics and Decisions Respond to at least two but no more than three of the Main Topics below.
Main Topic 5.1: Background and Question
Should a company decide to be ethical? Below are a few reasons for unethical behavior in the workplace:
Overzealous Pursuit of Personal Gain, Wealth, and Selfish Interests – – – – – Greed?
Heavy Pressures on Company Managers to Meet or Beat Earnings Targets
Company Culture Places Profits and Good Performance Ahead of Ethical Behavior
A Few Other Drivers of Unethical Behavior (Dilemmas)
Conflict of Interest
Loyalty versus Truth: Employees form a culture
Honesty and Integrity: Ethical employees tell the truth
Background and Question on Ethics and Decisions Question
Assume you have a job which requires you to travel. Your employer has the following per diem policy regarding meals: $15 for breakfast; $20 for lunch; $30 for dinner. There is a space for each meal to be filled in on the expense account form. No receipt is required. If you put down $15 for breakfast, you will be paid $15; no questions ever have been or ever will ever be asked. But you are not a breakfast eater; you simply don’t care for breakfast. Do you still put down $15 for breakfast on your expense account? Your fellow workers tell you they claim the $15 whether they eat breakfast or not, and they have never been questioned.
Main Topic 5.2: Quotation
Before tacking this topic you might check out the following clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF_iorX_MAw (Wall Street)
Now, assume you have a sales job for an Information Technology (IT) company. One of your customers has given you the specifications and a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for a project they plan to purchase. After a couple days of work, you estimate the cost of this product (hardware and software development) will be $100,000. You get paid on commission; you receive 20% of the profit. Profit is defined as the selling price minus the cost (cost in this case = $100,000).
Question 1: What price would you quote the customer? What are some of the considerations that affect your decision?
Note: An unacceptable answer is something along the lines of, “I would survey the market to determine what competitive firms are charging and quote accordingly.” That would be a cop-out; what price would you charge?
Question 2: Before you send in the quotation, you reconsider the above price and decide to increase it 5%. Does this make you a “greedy” person?
Main Topic 5.3: Friedman and the Student
Although it took place back in the 70s, the Ford Pinto gas tank case is a classic.
Before considering the Main Topics, view this clip on the Internet:
Friedman (Pinto): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jltnBOrCB7I
Question 1: Comment on the exchange between Milton Friedman and the student regarding the Ford Pinto. What about Friedman’s claim that the student wasn’t arguing on “principle?”
Question 2: What about Ford’s decision making process?
Question 3: What value should be placed on a human life? NO, I don’t mean literally. Economics 101 teaches that resources are limited, and decisions have to be made as to how to allocate them. Resources expended in one place are not available for another. Example: If the EPA is considering a regulation that will cost US businesses $50 million a year, how many lives should it save to justify the regulation?
Main Topic 5.4: Apple & the FBI
Do you think Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, should have cooperated with the FBI and unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino murderers? Also, is this an ethical question?