Confronting Ethical Dilemmas

Review of Subject

In the day to day running of any business, managers are confronted with numerous ethical dilemmas whose solution requires critical review. Specifically, the situations presented in the two scenarios revolve around the examination of individual issues based on the conduct of behavior of particular individuals in the company (Schermerhorn, 2010). In the first instance, Kay Smith expresses her desire to apply for a position in a different business division. The main challenge is in the fact that current business division has implemented cost saving measure putting it in a difficult position in terms of replacements. In addition, there is a possibility of the boss’ good friend getting the position if Kay does not tender her application despite his having lesser credentials. In the second instance, Marty Jose gets into a fix while representing her firm as the head of a local community development committee. Marty agrees to cater for the expenses of a dinner meeting with local civic and business leaders. However, her supervisor makes a decision to eliminate the entertainment budget shortly after thus forcing Marty to charge the bill against an advertising budget. However, this development is identified by an internal auditor who reports the same to the personnel director.


The ethical dilemmas faced in the situations presented cover a multitude of principles. In making decisions, managers are tasked with the responsibility of considering all the principles of ethics and ensuring fairness and transparency in the decisions. In this regard, the concept of integrity is at play in both scenarios. Consequently, the managers have the responsibility of doing that which is right even when there is pressure to do otherwise (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013). In the first instance, for instance, the manager is presented with different lines of action with only one being the right. It is the responsibility of the manager to assess and critically analyze the options before coming up with the right decision. Similarly, the second scenario presents an opportunity for the manager to do that which is right even in the wake of pressure to do otherwise. Ultimately, even when the conditions portray an inclination towards the application of a certain decision, the manager must discern the fairest action before administering the same (Schermerhorn, 2010).

In addition to the principle of integrity, managers must also show a tendency for loyalty to both the company and their subordinates. In this regard, they are worthy of trust and must demonstrate loyalty and fidelity to the institutions and personnel they are serving. More importantly, managers have the responsibility of making independent decisions that are free from personal conflicts of interests and undue influences. The first instance presents an opportunity to demonstrate this value as it involves a highly performing employee with a desire to leave the division for a better job in another division. Evidently, the manager has a personal interests in maintain the employee to safeguard the performance of their division as well as maintain the cost saving measures implemented. In the second instances, there is increasing pressure for the personnel director to punish Marty for the discrepancies in the books of account. It is the responsibility of the manager to ascertain the facts before coming up with any decision even though all pointers show that Marty is liable.

The situations presented also allow room for the use of fairness and concern for others in the management of the company. The executives responsible for the decisions must act in fairness and justice to ensure that only the right verdicts are given (Schermerhorn, 2010). The managers should not use their powers arbitrarily to gain advantages in the process of their conduct. The first instance is a classical example of this ethical principle as Kay is an important employee in the division. The manager must not coerce Kay to retain her position in the division merely because it is difficult to source for a replacement. Doing so would be against the principle of fairness and a disregard of concern for others. The second scenario also tests the principle of fairness in the organization as Marty was only trying to help as her boss had advised her before. In addition, the changes to the entertainment budget were only communicated after the plans for the dinner were finalized.

The true mark of success for any manager is the demonstration of leadership and accountability (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013). These two principles are essential in the solution of the ethical dilemmas facing the company with regard to the two scenarios presented. The managers must provide a leadership environment where principled reasoning is highly prized and the concept of doing well embraced. The first instance should be solved in a positive manner with the objective of making the company as well as the employee better. The manager is faced with the decision of retaining Marty unfairly and leading to poor business performance or sourcing for replacements and maintaining the general performance of the business. In the second instance, the personnel director has the duty of supporting Marty in her decision to support the local development committee.


In view of the review and discussion above, it would be in the company’s best interest to allow Kay to apply for the position while giving Marty a chance to correct her wrongdoings. Kay’s decision to apply for the advertised position should be supported since she is of remarkable credentials and would be more beneficial working at the new position. In the same breadth, coercing her to stay in the current position would almost guarantee the hiring of the son of the boss’ friend who is even less competent. The manger has the responsibility of ensuring that the company gets the right replacement for the new vacancy while devising ways to replace Kay’s position. Marty’s situation is far more complex and requires deeper insights to understand the reason for her actions. However, the fact that her boss had encouraged her to support the committee in all the possible ways vindicates her of all blame. Even though the entries were irregular, they were only entered in the wrong accounts but were essentially used any way. Furthermore, punishing her for the action would be unfair since the changes in the entertainment budget were communicated after the dinners’ planning. Nonetheless, the personnel director should encourage Marty to be more honest in all the decisions made on behalf of the company.



Kreitner, R. & Kinicki, A. (2013). Organizational behavior(10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

Schermerhorn, J. R. (2010). Management. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.