Introduction Martha Mackey had arrived at an Impasse In her career requiring her to confront a decision which put her Integrity and possible career advancement In opposition. Mackey’s choice came down to how she handled Phil Devon, an ex- employee with knowledge of proprietary information Mackey needed for a client. Obtaining the information through Devon would earn Mackey a significant promotion and salary increase. However, doing so under the false pretenses she had constructed challenged her ethics, Jeopardized her Integrity, and was potentially illegal.
On the other hand, failure to obtain the Information would derail Mackey’s career and undermine her efforts toward advancement. Diagnosis Mackey was a highly intelligent individual, as made evident by her success in her undergraduate and graduate career. Her decision to return to school in pursuit of her MBA demonstrates her high ambition and level of investment in her career. In the eighteen months that Mackey had been with Sellers Associates’ Industry Analysis Dillon (AID) she had proven her ability as a consultant on multiple projects. Her performance had garnered the attention of key leadership personnel,
Tom Malone and TTY Richardson, and raised the bar for expectations at AID. Mackey accomplished this through hard work and long hours, refusing to take the easy way out, and maintaining a high moral standard despite knowing that high morals were not necessarily upheld by all of her coworkers in the Division. Knowing Mackey’s dedication and investment In her career It Is easy to understand why the decision around how to handle the Silicon 6 situation was so troubling. The future of Mackey’s career with ‘AD would be heavily Influenced by her decision and the success or failure of the project.
This was especially true considering the importance of the project’s client, a semiconductor manufacturer who supplied twenty percent of Dad’s business. The outcome of the Silicon 6 project was of great consequence to Dad’s leadership and the Division as a whole: success promised continued and Increased business from their primary client; failure would result In the loss of the client and one fifth of the Dad’s business. Mackey faced several challenges exerting pressures on her decision, one of which was time. A meeting had been arranged with the senior management on the
Silicon 6 project which only gave Mackey a month to obtain the necessary information and complete the project. Adding to the challenge was the inherent culture within the industry of accepting unethical behaviors which, to Mackey and others In the new guard, was becoming more apparent. In the past Mackey had felt pressure from Malone and Richardson to engage In the ‘standard’ unethical practices of the industry, particularly following one project Malone and Richardson felt, “could have been completed with less time and effort” (p. ). Malone was the one to bring up Mackey’s possibly source of information, referring to Devon, in conversations with the client for Silicon 6; moreover, Malone was the one to suggest a willingness to use the source. Mackey also needs to consider the Impact her decision and the continuation misalignment developed between Sellers and ‘AD as a function of the distance and independence of ‘AD and its leaders from headquarters. Mackey is aware that corporate policies are not clearly communicated and represented at the Division.
The publicity that would result from legal action against the unethical practices within AD would surely impact Sellers as a whole, with consequential impacts reaching well beyond Just the small group at the Division. Leaders at Sellers could turn out to be allies for Mackey in addressing this challenge as they are invested in what is best for the entire company, not Just ‘AD. Another challenge contributing to the problem is the ambiguity surrounding Phil Devotes motivations, intentions, and awareness of the situation. Mackey does not know where Devon stands or how he will react to various situations.
Mackey is unsure whether Devon is a disgruntled former employee seeking vengeance against his former employer and is, therefore, willing to share proprietary information, or if the information she is seeking is even proprietary to begin with. There is also a possibility that Devon could alert leadership at the competing company or even the authorities if he discovers Mackey’s true identity and intentions. To this point Mackey’s decisions and actions have been merely to avoid engaging in behaviors she deemed too unethical rather than to address the behaviors encouraged and practiced within the ‘AD.
This has forced her into a corner here she has few options to address the issue without compromising the success of a major project and Jeopardizing her career. Furthermore, her decision to enter into discussions with Devon under the false pretenses she created constrains her to maintaining the lie or risk damaging relations with Devon by revealing her true identity and motivations. The result of the relationship with Devon has many potential consequences which are unpredictable given how little is known about Devotes interests.
Action Plan The objective of the approach to addressing the problem at hand is to prevent rather encroachment beyond Mackey’s ethical comfort level while doing as little damage as possible to her career prospects. Mackey first needs to confront Malone and Richardson with her concerns regarding the ethical nature and legal ramifications of paying Devon for potentially proprietary information. In all likelihood Malone and Richardson will dismiss her concerns because it is simply business as usual for the ‘AD.
At that point simply handing the project off to Kaufmann would not address the ethical dilemma; it would merely be a means of problem avoidance for Mackey, which is all she has done to this point. Her next step would be to contact the top leadership at Sellers to confirm corporate policies regarding the procurement of proprietary information. Mackey will likely find that company policy prohibits payoffs to obtain proprietary information belonging to other companies in order to protect the greater interests of Sellers.
Assuming that this is the case, to protect her integrity, and that of Sellers, Mackey will have to disclose the truth about her identity and motivations to Devon. Subsequently, Mackey will be able to find out whether the information Devon has is proprietary, assuming Devon is still willing to operate. Her actions from that point should be guided by Sellers company policy; the information she obtains should be strictly non-proprietary. Regardless of long term she will still need to address the unethical behaviors that pervade the ‘AD.
Her choice then becomes to alert leadership at Sellers of the unethical behaviors of Richardson, Malone, Kaufmann, and others throughout ‘AD, or leave Sellers. Either course risks the career Mackey has created for herself; however, it is necessary if Mackey hopes to maintain her integrity. Likely her best option is to notify Sclerosis dervish team of the conditions at ‘AD. In doing so Mackey will help protect Sellers and all employees working in the other branches of the company. It also may reveal other opportunities for Mackey in Sellers and the ‘AD.
Failure of this approach would simply leave her where she would have otherwise been, with her integrity intact looking for a new Job as a consultant with ‘AD on her resume. Overall Learning From this case I learned that not all decisions are as simple as right versus wrong, some of the most difficult decisions will be between right and right. It is also often hose right versus right decisions that force us to reflect on our own values and what is most important to ourselves. Right versus right decisions create opportunities for explicitly defining our values.
In Mackey’s case it would have been better for her to address the ethical dilemmas she encountered earlier in her career so that she would have been able to operate without a major deadline looming and pressure from the client and her managers. Furthermore, Mackey experienced discomfort while facing her right versus right decision which called into question her deeply ingrained values. This is directly in line with Abductor’s theory surrounding defining moments for individuals. It is these feelings and intuitions which translate core values in a time of conflict.
The prevailing values, according to Obduracy, will be those that are the most deeply rooted in one’s life. Obduracy reasons that, “a combination of expediency and shrewdness, coupled with imagination and boldness, will help [one] implement [his] personal understanding of what is right. ” I would argue that his is not only true, but that, “a combination of expediency and shrewdness, coupled with imagination and boldness, ill help,” preserve the most of one’s values when confronted by such a situation.
I feel that, in a right versus right defining moment, it is not necessary to abandon one set of values in favor of another assuming an adroit approach is taken to address the situation. Creativity will allow someone to get the most out of a situation. After analyzing this case and the associated material I mostly feel compelled to be more conscious of right versus right cases that may be developing. I also feel that when faced with these types of decisions I will need to be more aware of the message my actions send to those around me.
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