Nearly every person has their own sets of morals and virtues that they maintain. This can be deemed as the ethical standard that person uphold in their life (McCambridge, 2003). A majority of the choices and actions that these persons make, they carefully consider these values, and it is these values become the standard in all their undertakings (Kirrane, 1990). Yet, there will be times in which this ethical standard held by this person will clash with the values and ethics of other individuals (O'Fallon, & Butterfield, 2005). In these circumstances, an ethical dilemma will transpire since difference exists amongst the beliefs of individuals.
This was demonstrated by my personal experience in a company that I was working with before joining University of Phoenix. This company was a small printing press. The company focused in the printing of advertising supplies like flyers, brochures, and other such like supplies. The company also owns small photocopying subdivisions in various locations and mostly takes care of students locations. I was posted to work in one of the subdivision near a university where the majority of the workers are part-time working students. My job duties included a lot of clerical work that was positioned within the office. I was also charged with managing the catalog of the resources used for photocopying such as the inks and paper.
a. Describe the experience:
The ethical question that I experienced happened when I witnessed two coworkers plot and went ahead to steal a company's laptop. I was sitting on my desk in the bureau while the duo was discussing how to take away the laptop as if they were the only people in the world. The coworkers involved were two market executives a Mr. R.P. and E.S. The two were coworkers who I work directly with on a daily basis. E.S. was the worker who was to take the laptop while R.P. was the one giving him the advice on committing the act. I am not related to the two in any way except that they were my coworkers. However, it is evident that the duo considered me as a "friend" from the way they plot to steal from the company in my presence. They could have thought that a friend should not report, and therefore concluded that I was not a threat to their plot.
b. Analyze the ethical dilemma:
We were also not entrusted with same duties in the company and no one was under the direct command of the other. The two were on the same rank. In other words, neither our powers nor our authorities were comparable. None of us had power or authority over each other. As a witness, I was split between reporting them and meeting their expectation that I would not talk about it. Reporting the duo would result to them losing their jobs or being arrested and charged in court while keeping quiet meant that I am abetting crime, and the company would suffer loss. I was wondering what to do concerning the situation. Was I the kind of person to let the guilt eat their souls for days on end because there is an underlying feeling that they should do the right thing and turn them in? Being among the majority of people who face ethical dilemmas, I did absolutely nothing at fast. I was very confused about what action I should take until the laptop disappeared. Do I tell the seniors what was going on or do I just adopt a do no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil approach? In this situation, the personal values that were in conflict were; honesty, my liberty to do what I consider as right and integrity (if I select to divulge the truth) versus my freedom to decide to keep and not report to the authorities.
There were several possible outcomes in this situation. First, I could report their intentions before they execute the plan. The upshot for me was perhaps losing a work relationship with the two because they would know who reported them since I was the only one who overheard the make the plans. Secondly, I could wait for them to actually steal it and then report. This could result to their dismissal and probably charged in court if proved. Finally, I could decide not to report. In this case, there would be no consequence for anyone. Potential outcomes for the duo were that they could pull it off and steal the laptop with no repercussion if I kept the truth to myself. This would mean that I would be consumed by guilt of knowing that I was dishonest by withholding the truth, and I did not act with integrity. The other consequence was that I could report them and that would cost them their jobs, and probably find themselves in court. This would leave me feeling that I did not have the independence of choosing to keep truth, and not report to the authorities. It could also lead to E.S. continuing to steal company assets and get away with.
c. Evaluate the outcome
At that time, I kept my silence for the moment, and when the laptop disappeared, I could no longer keep silence so I reported what I knew. This led to the sacking of E.S. while his R.P. was warned and put on prohibition. I lost the working relation I had with R.P. Based on what I have learnt since the start of my studies at the University of Phoenix and through continual work experience, I would have reported the plan before it was executed. This is because, although I would severe my working relations with the duo, I would have probably saved E.S. from being sacked. Relations can be mended, but it is not possible to get him hired again.