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The Ethics in Action feature provides current workplace issues such as truth-in-advertising, client confidentiality, privacy, workplace harassment, and workplace theft. 

 

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chapter 1

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Communication and Electronic Technology

Ethics in Action  1.1  The Sweepstakes Scam

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You have a temporary job working at a direct-mail business. Your task is to address and mail advertisements sent out each week by a local "sweepstakes" company. These ads announce in large print that the recipient may have won a large amount of money, and the ads give a phone number to call for more information. The rumor around the mail room indicates this is a scam that primarily targets elderly people, who are told that to receive their "prize" they have to put the "shipping and handling charges" on their credit card. These shipping and handling charges are almost always far more than the small prizes eventually awarded. Some victims lose hundreds of dollars. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "mail scams" and "sweepstakes scams." 

Ethics in Action 1.2   PenneMath

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You are a college student who loves kids and math. This summer you landed the perfect summer job teaching math at youth camp with a new program for underprivileged children. The camp is funded by a government grant and run by a private company. The kids love the program. You love the program, and you are thinking about a career in teaching. However, you have encountered a problem. 

You believe that computers represent the best way to help kids learn and enjoy math. Many times you have seen kids overcome their fear of math and gain confidence in their abilities by using educational computer games. You believe that PenneMath is the best educational math software on the market. 

The problem is that the camp is a pilot project that is being run on a shoestring budget. Although the program has some computers, most are "hand-me-downs" from other schools. The director agreed that PenneMath is a great program but reminded you that no money is available for expensive computer software, and PenneMath is expensive. The director stated, "I can’t buy the software for you, but if you find a copy somewhere, I won’t ask where you got it." 

You have PenneMath at home. You know that copying the software or even using a copy at the camp without paying a license fee is a copyright violation. You also know that the kids need this software now, not next summer. Why should the kids be penalized just because the budget is tight? Aren’t the kids more important than rules? You aren’t likely to get caught, and the director has already given her tacit permission to make the copies. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for keywords, such as "unlicensed software" and "site licensing."

 

 

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chapter2

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Qualities of Effective Messages 

Ethics in Action  2.1   Stealing Ideas

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You and your friend, Eileen Pierce, work in the medical records department at a local clinic. Eileen often has very creative ideas for the department, but she has very little self-confidence. She usually keeps her ideas to herself, afraid that she might sound foolish. At lunch last week, she told you that she had thought of a better way of tracking the eye charts. As you listened, you quickly saw that her suggestions would save time. You insisted that she share this with your supervisor, the CEO's son. She cautiously agreed and talked to him that afternoon. Today you received a memo from the CEO proudly announcing that HIS SON had thought of a terrific new method for tracking the eye charts. Eileen was not mentioned at all. 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keyword "plagiarism." You may also search for information at the following URL: http://condor.depaul.edu/ethics/resource.html

Ethics in Action 2.2 Human Relations

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You work with 19 other people in the marketing department of a large industry. You get along well with all the other employees except Crystal. 

In your opinion, Crystal is rude, arrogant, quick-tempered, and mean-spirited. You are starting to think those may be her good points! She blames her mistakes on others. She gossips and backstabs. Even her supervisors seem to live in fear of what she might do. Worst of all, she dislikes you more than anyone else in the office, and you do not even know why. You have heard other coworkers talking about how to get even with her or about how to get her fired. 

In the "OUT" basket this morning, you noticed a company press release about a new featured product. Crystal wrote the release, and she checked that the release was ready for distribution. As you glance at the document, you notice several mistakes. A couple are minor errors--a misspelled word and a keying error. One of the goofs is major. Crystal has the wrong product release date. The date is off by months! 

You quickly realize two things. First, if this release is not corrected, the company will be publicly embarrassed. The mistake will not mean bankruptcy, but the management team members and supervisors will be angry. Second, Crystal will be blamed! The mail delivery person is coming down the hall, and you have to make a quick decision. Do you leave the press release in the box to be mailed, or do you take the message back to Crystal for her to correct? 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "human relations" and "teamwork." Also search the Smart Business Supersite at the following URL: http://www.smartbiz.com

 

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chapter3

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Planning and Developing Messages 

Ethics in Action  3.1  Just A Game

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You are a data entry operator for the local city government. You have noticed that some of your coworkers seem to spend time playing computer games and exploring the Internet during their work hours. An ongoing office competition is taking place to see who can get the highest scores on several games. You believe that these employees are cheating the citizens by collecting paychecks while spending an hour or more a day playing computer games. Today, you received a memo stating that the data entry department is falling behind in its work, and the city may have to hire more employees. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "employee theft" and "stealing on the job." 

Ethics in Action 3.2  Reading Between the Lines

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issues.

You work in the corporate office of a national chain of retail candle stores. You and your computer are the main information/communication links between company management and individual stores. This morning you were told to draft a company memorandum to all stores. This memo will announce some changes in the company’s hiring practices.  These practices are to be followed by all the stores. You noticed that most changes seemed to be about new employment forms and employee orientation procedures. The last change, however, was different. Mr. Barrett, the company CEO, added a note that said, "Delicate subject. See me about this one. Mr. Barrett." Curious, you went down the hall to Mr. Barrett’s office. 

Mr. Barrett told you that the company’s health insurance costs were spiraling out of control. According to the insurance company, the employees were somewhat older than average and tended to have higher health-related expenses. "We’ve got to find a way to encourage our stores to hire younger, healthier employees," said Mr. Barrett, "but we can’t say that or we will get hit with age discrimination lawsuits. I need you to word this memo VERY carefully; then bring the memo to me and the company lawyers for approval before mailing to all the stores." 

Feeling a little uneasy, you walked back to your office. If the company began intentionally hiring younger workers over older ones, wouldn’t that be discriminatory? Is Mr. Barrett telling you to break the law? But then again, you aren’t really breaking the law by sending out a memo. The company may face legal problems, not you. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

 Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for keywords, such as "age discrimination." 

 

 

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chapter4

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Document Preparation 

Ethics in Action  4.1  Cyberjunk

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You have a new job with a computer company. Even though the position is an entry-level job, you see this as a stepping stone toward a very promising future in the computer industry. Your tasks include preparing and sending computer ads over the Internet. After a few days, you realize that most of what your company does is send unsolicited e-mail advertisements to anyone and everyone on the Internet. You know from your own experiences at home what a nuisance electronic ads have been. They fill your electronic mailbox and take online time to sort. You realize that as a customer you resent the very thing that you are now getting paid to do. 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "electronic ads" and "unsolicited cybermail." Also search the Smart Business Supersite at the following URL: http://www.smartbiz.com

Ethics in Action 4.2  E-Mail Rage

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

Until last week, you served as the student government president at your community college. The college is technologically "cutting edge." Computers are everywhere, and each student has a college e-mail account. 

Your role was to serve as a communication link between the students and the school administration. You attended numerous meetings where you observed uncomfortable conflicts between angry students and determined administrators. You perceived yourself as a "live and let live" kind of person; thus, becoming involved in conflicts was the least favorite part of your job. You thought you had represented the students very well. 

You continued to encounter a student group who did not want to take the time to get involved or to help do anything positive. They seemed to think that their contribution to the world was to sit back and criticize the people who tried to accomplish goals. You became very frustrated with "the Critics," and you tried to ignore their tirades. You kept your frustration level under control until last Tuesday. 

On Monday morning, you checked your e-mail messages, and up popped an angry diatribe from Hank Romers (a leader among "the Critics"); he complained about the price of tickets to athletic events and demanded your resignation for not negotiating a lower price. You lost your temper, and you immediately replied with a scathing condemnation of Hank and all of his friends. You hit the "send" button. 

Thirty seconds later you realized that you had overreacted. Thirty minutes later your message was forwarded to every e-mail account at school. Sixty minutes later people were transmitting messages to you; they were asking if you had lost your mind. The next day several administrators explained that you had lost credibility as a student leader, and they asked for your resignation. 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. You may begin your search with the following site: 
http://jade.wabash.edu/wabnet/info/netiquet.htm 

 

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chapter5

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Good News and Neutral News Messages 

Ethics in Action  5.1   Gnarly Nepotism

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You are a copy editor at a textbook publishing company. You enjoy your job, are paid well, and the owners of the company seem very pleased with your work. One evening your Aunt Emily calls to "ask a favor." She wants you to try to help her son, Dedrick, obtain employment at the company. You know that Dedrick is trouble; he has been into substance abuse, has been in frequent trouble with law enforcement officials, and cannot seem to hold any job for long. If you recommend Dedrick to the owners and he gets in trouble, your reputation at the company will be damaged. On the other hand, you feel sorry for Aunt Emily and understand that she is just trying to help Dedrick turn his life around. Obviously, Aunt Emily expects your help. She mails you Dedrick's resume, and attaches a note to remind you that "blood is thicker than water," and "in this world families have to stick up for each other." 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources that support your answers on the Internet. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "nepotism" and "helping employees with substance abuse." You may also search for information through recommended links given on the St. Petersburg Junior College's Applied Ethics Homepage. 

Ethics in Action 5.2 Proprietary Information

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

Your responsibilities at a limousine company include processing telephone and electronic reservations for limo rentals. In addition to securing routine rentals for proms, weddings, and parties, the company has been successful in acquiring celebrity customers. The company promises absolute privacy and confidentiality. The company’s newest celebrity customer is top country music star, Jimmy Dogwood. 

Dogwood’s manager, Mr. Ruben, called you earlier today to reserve ten limos on Saturday; Mr. Ruben explained that Dogwood was going to be married. "Your company must keep this absolutely secret," he added. "The media is always chasing this guy; if they find out the time and date of the wedding, the most important day in Jimmy’s life will be ruined." You assured Mr. Ruben of the company’s confidentiality policy. You keyed the reservation confirmation message and faxed a copy to Mr. Ruben. 

When you arrived home, you retrieved a voice mail message from Bill Breech, a reporter for the tabloid newspaper, Real Dirt. Breech stated that he knew Jimmy Dogwood was going to be married soon, and he knew your company was Dogwood’s usual limo company. Breech wanted to know when and where the wedding would be; he offered you $10,000 for a copy of the reservation form or confirmation letter. He swore to keep secret his information source. 

You are tempted because you need money to finish college. The $10,000 would give you more than enough money for college, and you probably would not get caught. These thoughts run through your mind: "What is one promise compared to finishing a college degree? Isn’t this just a wedding? This is not like anyone would really be hurt!" 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources that support your answers. You may search archives in the electronic journal, IP--The Magazine of Law and Policy for High Technology, at the following 
URL:  http://www.ipmag.com/

 

 

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chapter6

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Bad News Messages 

Ethics in Action  6.1  Electronic Message Confidentiality

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You work in the electronic network department of a large city hospital. Your job includes tracking internal electronic messages and protecting the confidentiality of the information in them. As you sorted through today's files, you noticed the name of a prominent local television news celebrity, Jane Marlowe. You glanced briefly at the message and noticed a reference to a blood test that came back HIV-positive. Later that morning, you overheard two other network employees gossiping about Jane's presence in the hospital. "I hear she has AIDS," blurted one. "That's what I heard, too," said the other. "That would really be some news story, don't you think? Do you think other reporters might pay for this information?" 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "electronic message confidentiality" and "electronic crime."

Ethics in Action 6.2 Employment Decisions

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

In the Human Resources Department of a large bank, your responsibilities include posting hiring announcements, organizing applicant paperwork, and contacting applicants after employment decisions have been made. The least favorite part of your job is having to inform applicants that the bank will not be hiring them. 

Your supervisor has told you that you cannot give applicants explanations for why they were not hired. The bank's legal department is concerned that someday an applicant might use this information in a lawsuit against the company. You understand that in some situations you should not give explanations, but what is wrong with telling applicants that their resumes were incomplete or that they should not smoke during the interview? 

Today you received a call from an applicant you knew when both of you were in high school. The applicant had been turned down for a job by the bank, and she wanted you to tell her why. You know that one of the references had given a negative evaluation, including notes about tardiness and absenteeism. You would like to help; however, your supervisor again stated, "Do not give her this information." 

(1) What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

(2) What are your options? 

(3) What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "hiring decisions." One electronic article is "Employment Guidelines for Hiring and Firing" on the World Wide Web at the Smart Business Supersite: http://www.smartbiz.com

 

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chapter7

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Persuasive Messages

Ethics in Action 7.1  Expense Exaggeration

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You are a salesperson for an office machine distributor. Your job is to visit small-to-medium-sized businesses and try to get them to buy or lease copy machines from your company. Thus, you spend most of your time on the road, covering the six states that make up your sales territory. At the end of each month, you turn in an itemized report of all your traveling expenses to be reimbursed by the company. You know that many of the other salespersons "pad" their expense accounts by inflating the amount of (or even making up) reimbursable expenses. You are uncomfortable with the dishonesty of this practice, but you also consider it unfair that the salespeople who "pad" get reimbursed up to several hundred dollars a month more than you do--and the company doesn’t seem to care. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for keywords "institutional ethics" and "whistleblowing." 

Ethics in Action 7.2  Selling Your Soul? 

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You have a new sales job at a telemarketing firm. The ad in the flyer at your college campus promised that you could make thousands of dollars per month just by making sales calls from your home. You were a little skeptical but decided to try because that kind of money would enable you to complete your college degree. 

At the company orientation, you were told that your job is basically to persuade people to buy the products that the company markets. The company sells a variety of products and services, and you were assigned to sell home security systems. You were given a sales script to study and use in your calls. You were told that you could modify the script to meet your style after you get the hang of the job. 

After reading the script and sales instructions, you saw why people were able to make so much money. This was a VERY persuasive system, and the list consisted mostly of elderly people. The sales instructions said this was because older people were more likely to be both polite and lonely, making them less likely to hang up during the call. The elderly were also more afraid of becoming crime victims. You are supposed to put potential customers at ease by talking with them about their lives. Then, you are to work some crime statistics into the conversation by citing examples of other elderly people who had been robbed, assaulted, or even murdered in their homes! At this point, you would mention a wonderful new home security system that you knew about and tell how you could arrange for the company to contact the customer to give more information. 

You know that you won’t be forcing anyone to buy a security system, but this approach seems very manipulative and exploitative. You need the money, and you know that if you don’t make the calls, someone else will. The security systems might actually keep some people safer or at least give them peace of mind.  Are you taking away some peace of mind by citing crime stories? You think of one of your elderly relatives living on a fixed income from month to month. She could not afford a system like this but could be talked into buying one by a salesperson with a caring voice. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why?

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords, such as " telephone scams on the elderly" and "fraud against the elderly."

 

 

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chapter8

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Employment Messages 

Ethics in Action  8.1  Confidentiality

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You work in the billing department of an office supply store in the capital of your state. The state government is the store’s top customer. Every month state government offices order tens of thousands of dollars of office supplies and equipment. As a result, your store is #1 in sales among all the office supply stores in the nation; and the owner, Mr. Carblatt, is a hero. One afternoon, as you are sending out the monthly bill to the state’s purchasing office, you notice that the last name of the state’s purchasing director is also Carblatt. When you ask the owner about the coincidence, he quietly explains that the purchasing director is his mother. He sees the arrangement as a WIN-WIN situation. His mother helps his business, and he helps her by offering discounts to the state that make her look good. Mr. Carblatt sees nothing wrong with this arrangement, but still insists that you keep this information confidential. "The newspapers would have a field day with this if it got out," he explains. "It would ruin all of us." 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "conflict of interest," "privileged information access," and "breach of trust." 

Ethics in Action 8.2 The Exaggerated Resume

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

You are beginning the last semester of your senior year in college. As a business major, you eventually may pursue an advanced degree; however, you want to work for awhile first. Frankly, you need the money before you can continue your schooling. You want to get a job at a large corporation because you find corporate business interesting, and you think that a large company might offer more benefits and perks. Representatives from several corporations are coming to your school next week to interview seniors. 

You have made appointments with four companies, and you want to put finishing touches on your resume and applications. However, your grade point in college isn’t the best. You came to school believing that college is supposed to be as much about fun as about academics, and you have adhered to that principle. You were smart enough that you didn’t have to study much to pass, but your grades reflect your study habits. You know that corporate representatives are not going to be impressed by your transcript, so you will have to impress them with your resume. 

You also know that interviewers will be interested in your extracurricular activities, and you realize that you haven’t done much in that arena either. You decide to do a little "creative exaggeration." You remember visiting your niece’s preschool once or twice, so you wrote that you "served as a volunteer for disadvantaged children." (Surely some of the kids had been disadvantaged.) Some of your instructors assigned you to visit the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club meetings, so you wrote that you served as a "student liaison" with these organizations. Because you worked with the school newspaper for one semester, you listed yourself as an "assistant editor." You even referred to having "volunteered as a student mentor" because you helped friends with their homework. You know that interviewers value school clubs (you find them boring), so you listed memberships in two organizations and said that you served as treasurer in one. 

You are confident that the corporate reps will not take the time to verify the details of your resume, and you tell yourself that you haven’t really lied, at least not totally. Everything you wrote had a little truth; and you suspect that your peers have stretched the truth some, too. If you told the truth while they lied, you wouldn’t get the job. That wouldn’t be fair, right? 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for keywords, such as "resume ethics" or "resume inflation."

 

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chapter9

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Reports in the Workplace 

Ethics in Action  9.1  Conflict of Interest

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

Max Gross is the hard-working owner of "Pensacola Paints," a franchise. Lately, Max has been under considerable pressure from the main office to increase his sales. By selling more materials now, he can get lower prices on future orders and big discounts on advertising fees. The problem is that business is not good these days. Several of Max’s best customers have gone out of business or have relocated, and the others aren’t buying as much as they used to. Meanwhile, the corporate office is tightening the screws. If Max doesn’t improve his bottom line very soon, the corporation threatens to open a new franchise in his area. That could put Max out of business for good. In desperation, Max turns to you, his sister-in-law/brother-in-law, for help. 

You work in the purchasing department of the local school district. Your job is to oversee the bids process used by the school system for major expenditures. After ten years in this office, you pride yourself on being able to predict, with amazing accuracy, what the low bid will be on any given project. The biggest contract out for bids this term is for painting supplies to refurbish several district elementary schools. 

Frustrated to the point of tears, Max explains his dilemma to you over dinner one evening. If he doesn’t get a major contract soon, his business will fail. Since Max and his wife mortgaged their home and other assets to get their business off the ground, they will probably be forced into personal bankruptcy, as well. Max pleads that his only hope is for you to help him decide what his bid should be to ensure that he gets the school system’s contract. Even if the profit margin isn’t very high, a winning bid will at least get the corporate office off his back and buy him some time. 

You are concerned about Max’s welfare, but you realize that Max is asking you to do something that is probably legally and ethically wrong. You also believe, however, that the corporation is wrong in treating Max this way. 

1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Interent that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords "conflict of interest," "downsizing," and "truth in advertising." 

Ethics in Action 9.2  The Case of the Dangerous Disks

Use the "Framework for Making Ethical Decisions," page 22, Effective Communication for Colleges, 8th Edition, to evaluate the following ethical issue.

 You have a summer job at a toy corporation, where you work as an assistant to one of the vice-presidents. Mostly you have been running errands and doing odd jobs. Things may not be too exciting yet, but they may be about to heat up. 

One of the corporation’s top selling toys this year is the Forever Flyer, an ultralight, cloth-covered disk for games of throwing and catching. The Flyer sells for under $5 and has great aerodynamics. Sales have been terrific. However, consumer groups have begun to raise questions about the safety of the toy. 

Under the cloth "skin" of the Flyer is a thin metal disk. Scattered reports of injuries to children are beginning to surface, particularly when the cloth covers became worn or torn. So far, none of the injuries has been too serious, a few cut hands and arms; but consumer groups claim that the potential exists for more severe injuries. These concerns were even highlighted on a recent prime-time television news show, where the metal disk was used to slice a tomato. The corporation has countered the negative publicity with ads denying any safety problems and touting the safety of its Flyer when compared to plastic disks. 

Yesterday afternoon, while cleaning out a file drawer, you discovered something that you probably were not supposed to see: a copy of a company memo dating from the time when the Flyer was being tested. The memo warned of potential injuries to users once the metal disk became exposed and suggested that the metal disk should be replaced before mass production began. You noted the words stamped in red at the top of the page: "TOP SECRET - CORPORATION PROPRIETARY INFORMATION." 

You aren’t sure what to do with the memo and what you have learned. You had hoped to turn your summer job into a career with the corporation. Blowing the whistle on the Flyer would surely eliminate your chance for promotions. You know the company is lying, and you have the proof in your pocket. As you ponder, you see a draft of the company’s latest press release about the Flyer controversy. The note attached tells you to prepare the final copy. The release insists that the toy is completely safe, claims that reports of cuts are exaggerated, and warns that the company is considering filing lawsuits against the consumer groups. What should you do? 

 1. What ethical issues or questions do you see in this case? 

2. What are your options? What could you do to try to resolve the situation? 

3. What should you do? Why? 

Locate resources on the Internet that support your answers. Search for sites that contain information for the keywords, such as "whistle blowing" and "product safety."

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