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1. Identify a company or organization in the media or with which you are familiar that operates ethically. What are the reasons this company/organization is ethical? (You may refer to the organization’s leadership, management, products, or services.)
2. Do you believe the covenantal ethic and social contract views are realistic for large organizations like Bank of America, JPMorgan, ExxonMobil, and Citibank, or federal agencies like the FTC and the Department of Defense? Why or why not? Explain.
3. Outline some steps you would recommend for preventing future corporate scandals like Enron, WorldCom, and the subprime lending crisis based on the contents of this module.
4. My job requires that I lie every day I go to work. I work for a private investigation agency called XRT. Most of the work I do involves undercover operations, mobile surveillance, and groundwork searches to determine the whereabouts of manufacturers that produce counterfeit merchandise. Each assignment I take requires some deception on my part. Recently I have become very conscious of the fact that I frequently have to lie to obtain concrete evidence for a client. I sometimes dig myself so deeply into a lie that I naturally take it to the next level, without ever accomplishing the core purpose of the investigation.
Working for an investigative agency engages me in assignments that vary on a day-to-day basis. I choose to work for XRT because it is not a routine 9-to-5 desk job. But to continue working for the agency means I will constantly be developing new untruthful stories. And the longer I decide to stay at XRT, the more involved the assignments will be. To leave would probably force me into a job photocopying and filing paperwork once I graduate from college. Recently I was given an assignment that I believed would lead me to entrap a subject to obtain evidence for a client. The subject had applied for disability on workers’ compensation after being hit by a truck. Because the subject refused to partake in any strenuous activity because of the accident, I was instructed to fake a flat tire and videotape the subject changing it for me. Although I did not feel comfortable engaging in this type of activity, my supervisors assured me that it was ethical practice and not entrapment.
Coworkers and other supervisors assured me that this was a standard “industry practice,” and that we would go out of business if we didn’t “fudge” the facts once in a while. I was told, “Do you think every business does its work and makes profits in a purely ethical way? Get real. I don’t know what they’re teaching you in college, but this is the real world.” It was either do the assignment or find myself on the street— in an economy with no jobs.
1. What is the dilemma here, or isn’t there one?
2. What would you have done in the writer’s situation? Explain.
3. React to the comment, “Do you think every business does its work and makes proﬁts in a purely ethical way? Get real. I don’t know what they’re teaching you in college, but this is the real world.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
4. Describe the ethics of this company.
5. Compare and contrast your personal ethics with the company ethics revealed here?