In this scenario, you will evaluate the Code of Ethics to determine
if John Anderson has violated International Widgets’ Code of Ethics by
engaging in business with a competitor.
You Role – The human resources department worked with management to
carefully craft a Code of Ethics. All employees received a copy of the
code and were required to sign off stating that they had read the code
and agreed to abide by its conditions. If an issue concerning an
employee occurs, the human resources department investigates. As the
assistant director of human resources, you are asked to evaluate an
employee’s behavior. You meet with Gloria Smithson to obtain all
information needed to begin your investigation.
Gloria Smithson – Gloria has now been in business for 2 years. Her
business is called International Widgets, and she employs more than 300
people in the business headquarters. In the early stages of the
business, she created a Code of Ethics to govern employees’ behavior.
Recently, one of her salespeople, John Anderson, seems to be under
performing. Historically, he has been a stellar employee and
salesperson, bringing in new clients every month. However, over the last
6 months, not only has he not brought in any new business, but 30% of
his accounts have gone to a competitor. Even with this downturn, John
was on the road 5 days a week and continued to submit expense reports.
Is this ethical?
Janice Marshall – Janice is the director of human resources at
International Widgets. Recently, Janice met with Gloria to let her know
of a rumor in the company that John was actually steering some of his
accounts to a competitor because the competitor gave him a kickback.
John Anderson – John has been employed by International Widgets for
14 months. He likes his job but was recently approached by a competitor
with an offer he could not refuse. The competitor wanted to expand his
domestic market and asked John to work with him for a few months. He
asked that John provide him with the names and phone numbers of the
customers he services. He said he didn’t want John to get into trouble
with International Widgets so he would contact the customers and not
John. However, he told John that for every customer who left
International Widgets, John would receive a “1% payment from the
customer’s first order.” John didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.
He has two children in college and needs the extra money, plus he could
continue to try to work with the customer to stay with International
Activity – International Widgets Code of Ethics:
Confidentiality – International Widgets is committed to maintaining
the highest degree of integrity in all our dealings with potential,
current, and past clients, both in terms of normal commercial
confidentiality and the protection of all personal information received
in the course of providing the business services concerned. We extend
the same standards to all our customers, suppliers, and associates.
Ethics – We conduct business honestly and honorably and expect our
clients and suppliers to do the same. We train our employees to be
ethical and expect them to always act in the best interests of
Duty of Care – Our actions and advice will always conform to relevant
law and we believe that all businesses, including International
Widgets, should avoid causing any adverse effect on the human rights of
people in the organizations we deal with, the local and wider
environments, and the well-being of society at large.
Conflict of Interest – Employees of International Widgets must act
exclusively for the benefit of International Widgets. Employees should
avoid providing services to a direct competitor of International
Widgets, or engage in any type of business relationship that is not in
the best interests of International Widgets.
Our contract will usually be in the form of a detailed proposal,
including aims, activities, costs, timescales, and deliverables. The
quality of our service and the value of our support provide the only
true basis for continuity. We always try to meet our clients’
contractual requirements, particularly for situations where an external
funding provider requires more official parameters and controls.
Intellectual Property and Moral Rights – We retain the moral rights
in, and ownership of, all intellectual property that we create unless
agreed otherwise in advance with our clients. In return, we respect the
moral and intellectual copyright vested in our clients’ intellectual
property. Employees are not to use the intellectual property of
International Widgets for any means other than the terms and conditions
of their employment and to advance the interests of International
Quality Assurance – We maintain the quality of what we do through
constant ongoing review with our clients, of all aims, activities,
outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of every activity. We encourage
regular review meetings and provide regular progress reports. This
consultancy has been accredited under a number of quality assurance
schemes. Further details are available on request.
Professional Conduct – We conduct all of our activities
professionally and with integrity. We take great care to be completely
objective in our judgment and any recommendations that we give, so that
issues are never influenced by anything other than the best and proper
interests of our clients.
Equality and Discrimination – We always strive to be fair and
objective in our advice and actions and we are never influenced in our
decisions, actions, or recommendations by issues of gender, race, creed,
color, age, or personal disability.