Respond to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
Share with a colleague an insight you have gained about the importance of a manager being aware of the legal and ethical risks that may occur in the work environment. Share whether you think such awareness could have avoided the ethical dilemma posted by your colleague. Share with a colleague some specific resources you know of that can assist managers in the situation described in his or her original post. Discuss how to access or utilize resources, such as, human resources managers, legal/regulatory departments, or outside assistance.
In a recently published article by Fortune Magazine, Maryam K. explained how Wells Fargo acted unethically, specifically at the management level, to create a number of fake bank accounts with real customer money. When speaking about this specific scandal, Kouchaki states “Instead of a select few employees doing bad things, the unethical behavior was widespread at the bank” (pp. 1). The managers at Wells Fargo elected to turn away from the unethical behavior conducted by their employees, and ultimately took part in the crimes. As a result of the behavior, more than 5,300 Wells Fargo employees were fired. Banaji states “Often, people have difficulty recognizing when they may be compromising their own personal ethics. This does not mean that they are unethical people, per se. Unconscious prejudices and unintended biases can taint a manager’s decisions, choices, and actions to the detriment of employers, employees, partners, and clients (pp. 4). In this case, it does not appear that management unintentionally let this happen, which makes it much worse.
If I were a manager in this type of role, the first order of business would be to weed out those that do not have the companies best interested in mind, find out why and look to create a solution. Bazerman states “the vast majority of managers mean to run ethical organizations, yet corporate corruption is widespread” (pp. 3). I would find a way to single out where the events started from and look to other managers that were deemed to not be involved to utilize their ethical behavior as an example to other potential hires and current staff members. Bazerman states “part of the managerial challenge is that employees and organizations require goals in order to excel” (pp. 6). As manager I would implement some sort of positive goal or incentive program for the employees who work hard to get the organization back to a place of ethical business practices. My one concern as the manager would be to make sure the changes are felt company wide, and that all success would be shared the same way. Banaji states “In business, claiming too much credit can destabilized alliances” (pp. 6). The worst thing you could do is damage the alliances remaining at the company. In business you do develop closer relationships and friendships. Unfortunately, there is the possibility that you would be faced with an ethical dilemma interacting with a friend who is not conducting themselves in the appropriate fashion. As a manger, I would need to set all feelings aside and have a very honest conversation as manager and employee, keeping the emotions out of it. If it were a matter of breaking the law, there is no option for me but to report my manager or my employee to an internal source or external if need be.
Banaji, M. R., Bazerman, M. H., Chugh, D. (2003). How unethical are you? Harvard business review, 81(12), 56-64.