How Personal Can Ethics Get Essay
This paper will explore the ethical dilemma Valerie Young found herself in while working as a marketing manager at an international cosmetics and fragrance company called Wisson that is headquartered in Chicago. The names in the case have been changed but the predicament experienced is in fact very real. How Personal Can Ethics Get? The Corporate Culture Valerie Young is a marketing manager at an international cosmetics and fragrance company called Wisson that is headquartered in Chicago.
Young was hired into the company as the marketing manager for the fragrance team because of her organizational, financial, and marketing skills. Young and her team are responsible for developing unique fragrances that are designed to be the perfect sensation on the counters of world’s department stores. This process is labor intensive and can often take several months to complete one new fragrance. Ethical Concepts and Dilemmas Recently the company has experienced some setbacks and had to undergo reorganization due to cost cutting. As a result, Young’s department was downsized from 25 to just 10 people.
While the rest of the company was suffering Lionel Waters, Young’s direct superior, hired two of his closest friends as executives and paid them salaries well above industry standards and gave them each 6 weeks of paid vacation. In the beginning Young and her team would work with as many as eight different fragrances companies to help create a new fragrance. However, after a while she noticed that fewer and fewer fragrance companies were submitting test scents. She could not help but to wonder why Waters’ was no longer working with the other perfumers when they provided good test scents and worked with well with Wisson’s competitors.
Valerie decided not to question the decision and continued to work. It was not until after working at Wisson for a little over a year that Valerie discovered that Waters was accepting kickbacks amounting up to $35, 000 per month from the two preferred fragrance companies. Young was aware that the company’s policy stated that “personal payments, bribes or kickbacks to costumers or suppliers or the receipt of kickbacks, bribes or personal payment by employees are absolutely prohibited,” (Hellriegel & Slocum Jr. , 2009).
Young was shocked at the discovery however, she was hesitant to turn in Waters’ to human resources and upper management. The Boss’ Ethical Behavior A powerful leader knows that ethics have the ability to create a successful workplace for all employees whereas a power hungry leader often compromises ethics to single handedly get ahead. The later applies to Young’s boss; it is evident that Waters does not uphold to the same ethical principles of the rest of the organization. When faced with decisions to choose what is best for the company and what is best for himself Waters’ chooses what is best for him and his situation.
This is apparent when he knowingly broke the company’s code of ethics by only working with the fragrance companies that offered him kickbacks. Not only were kickbacks prohibited but this also limited the number of successful trials the company had with the perfumers thus lowering overall productivity. Maxwell suggests that there are two types of leaders: there are those who ask, “What can you do for me” and then there are those who ask, “What can I do for you? ” (2009). Waters is all about what can you do for me. He uses the people around him and sacrifices the company’s resources in order to continue his climb to the top.
He has little regard for his employees well being. This was demonstrated when he chose to downsize his team by dismissing 15 employees and then hire two friends with very high starting salaries. Stressors Experienced & the Effects There are four primary factors that influence how an individual experiences stress: “(1) the person’s perception of the situation (2) the person’s past experience, (3) the presence or absence of social support, and (4) individual differences in reacting to stress,” (Hellriegel & Slocum Jr. 2009).
This explains why two people who experience the same situation will perceive it differently. In Young’s case, she perceived the situation only to the extent of how it would affect her situation. You see, Young is a non-U. S. citizen working on a special visa that only allows her to stay in the country only if she remains employed. To add to the situation, Young was just accepted into the masters program at the University of Chicago and the company will reimburse all her tuition if she maintains a 3. 0 or higher.
The case does not give much information about her past experience but noted that this was her first job in the fragrance industry. One can assume that she is fairly inexperienced in the fragrance corporate culture however, it is evident that her organization has provided a code of ethics to abide by and that Young is knowledgeable the principles. Young knows what the right decision is but believes that by doing what is right for the company she may compromise what is right for her situation. She ultimately decided to hold off from informing management about her boss’s corrupt behavior.
It is clear that Young does not demonstrate the courage to present the truth in an appropriate manner nor does she act in best interests of the client, the firm, and the team. Young’s integrity has been compromised for selfish reasons; she chose to put her own agenda before her ethics. “Just as there are sometimes selfish leaders at the top of an organization there are also selfish leaders in the middle. They see everything in light of their personal agenda instead of their professional responsibilities,” (Maxwell, J. 2005). Her inability to reinforce the highest ethical standards makes her no better than her boss that is breaking the rules. She has the information and the power to do what is right but does not. What makes her any better than the person committing the crime? She is cheating the organization, the team, and herself. Although it is only momentarily it still is not ethically sound. You do not get to pick and choose when ethics apply to you nor do you get to mend the rules to fit your situation when convenient.
If that was the case the world would be a very different place to live in. To Walk in Valerie’s Shoes It is always easier to judge from the outside looking in however, I would like to believe that I would have integrity to make the right decision. In this case, my instinct is to inform the right authorities within the company about the circumstance and let them handle the situation as needed. I believe that Young had a very difficult decision to make but I do not believe that she made the right decision for all of the parties involved.
I know it can be very difficult to make a decision that is intertwines with and impacts both your personal and professional life but I also believe that “successful leaders make the right move at the right moment with the right motive,” (Maxwell, J. , 2005). Ethics are meant to be personal; they are the principles within each of us that guide us to make the right decision and they will be challenged from time to time. Good leaders are committed to doing what is right even when it may not be an easy decision.