A Question of Ethics, using Ferrell’s Framework

Samarin is faced with the ethical dilemma of what to do regarding information in his possession that would allege unethical behavior within the OrangeWerks organization. After an analysis of the case, and evaluation of the identified alternatives, it is recommended that Samarin seek to clarify his concerns and attempt to rectify his ethical reservations regarding the organization. This proactive approach provides him the opportunity to right past wrongs, protect all involved parties and assist to establish a future framework for ethical decision making and communication within the organization.

Framework Analysis Using the Ferrell Framework for Ethical Decision Making we did explore the factors that led to the recommendation. Issue Intensity The intensity of the issue and the perceived importance of the decision to Samarin, are assessed to be moderate to high. The question on the validity of the 15,000 allegedly fake accounts and perceived intention not to provide WSIB coverage for employees are significant issues to the organization, its investor and all employees.

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For Samarin, the intensity of the issue is elevated in light of having displayed questionable ethics himself in loading unlicensed software for the UNIX applications and the potential for that information to surface moving forward. Individual Factors The justification of his decision to do so indicates he is operating at a conventional stage of moral development, conforming to expectations and not wanting “to disappoint his friends and new employers’.

Samarin further rationalizes his behavior in an attempt to justify his own unethical decision in stating “which side of the ethic line do I stand on” and in ultimately deciding to “thread the fine line in the middle”. Organizational Factors The case is silent regarding the presence of policies or procedures related to ethics, code of conduct or corporate governance. The activities related to the UNIX licensing and the public release of inaccurate and inflated CIC license information highlights the questionable culture and reinforces the need for corporate policy and expectations of ethical behavior.

The behavior exhibited by the founders in intuiting that it was Samarin’s responsibility to load the illegal software, and in creating a financial management environment with an evidenced lack of financial restraint further demonstrates an organizational culture of low accountability and questionable ethical standards. While negligible in value, Samarin has been awarded a $5,000 bonus for past work that is conditional on a subsequent years’ work. When conditions provide financial gain, recognition or simply the good feeling from a job well done, unethical conduct appears encouraged.

Recommendation Samarin must first confirm key information prior to taking any further action. To act on limited information and his perception of the facts would be irresponsible. Samarin should meet directly with the founders and get clarity on three issues. 1) was payment made for UNIX licensing, 2) what is the intent and significance of the 15,000 “fake” accounts, and 3) does the organization in fact have WSIB coverage in place for the organization. Their responses will direct him further.

If the founders claim there is no need to seek licensing for the UNIX software, that the additional 15,000 licenses are part of the business marketing model to secure additional funding and that no financial implications are pursuant to the action, and that WSIB was an oversight that they assure him will be rectified, Samarin is left with only two choices. He can continue to put his faith in the company and its founders, and work towards correcting the culture through the development, introduction and communication of corporate policies.

Or he can consider leaving the company with the understanding, rather than a suspicion, that the company’s founders will continue to behave in an unethical manner. If the organization is clearly beyond influence, Samarin should depart with his integrity and reputation intact. Should Samarin elect to resign based on the outcomes from his conversation with the founders, or from inaction, resulting from the development of policies not adhered to, then Samarin should discuss his findings and explain his resignation to the angel investor. Samarin has a oral obligation to the individual(s) who have a financial stake in, but no fundamental control over, the organization. Irrespective of his decision to stay or leave the organization, Samarin should seek to resolve, if he has the ability and authority, his previous indiscretion by purchasing the proper licenses for the UNIX software. Alternatives Samarin has the alternative to do nothing. In doing so, he neglects the question of what is right and what is wrong, abdicates any accountability he holds as an employee, leader and stakeholder, and puts the organization, his co-workers and the investors’ investment in jeopardy.

This alternative is not supported by the case analysis. Samarin has the option to stay with the organization and try to lead a change initiative to improve the ethical climate. If Samarin determines that the founders will continue to act unethically, he should work within his position in the establishment of an ethical committee or facilitate the development of a company code of conduct. This alternative is not supported by our team because it is a passive approach that has no intention of fixing past wrongs.

Further, any attempts to improve the ethical climate at the organization will fail if there is no support from top management. Conclusion Samarin is now informed with an analysis and a framework to proceed with his decision making. He will seek answers from the founders on their past behavior, their plans to rectify and correct those wrong-doings, and depending upon their answers, he will have a pre-determined action plan and will be prepared to execute his final decision and will, to bring closure to the issue.

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A Question of Ethics, using Ferrell’s Framework. (2017, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-question-of-ethics-using-ferrells-framework/