For this week, discuss your thoughts on the following ethical dilemma: You work in HR at a major consulting firm and one of the consultants comes to you and says that he cannot in good faith take an assignment at the Philip Morris company because they make products that kill people. How would you handle the situation? Once you have posted your response, respond to at least two other students.
- Ethics are the moral principles that one person or group of people follow. Much like culture, I believe ethics are determined by the society in which we live and the norms, ideas, and beliefs of the culture that we were raised in or live in. What may be defined as unethical to one person or group may be totally acceptable to another. Judgements for ethical dilemmas are also based on personal experiences. My opinion about a situation may be slightly different from another person’s even though we share the same views about ethical behavior.
The consultant has their own personal choice to take an assignment or position at any company. I don’t mean to sound blunt, but everyone has the freedom in America to work where ever they wish. In the end, I would see if any other consultant would be willing to trade assignment with the employee so that the employee doesn’t feel like they have to go against their values. I would also try to remind the consultant of the good things that Philip Morris does; whether it be community service, donating to charitable causes, or providing thousands of jobs, overall decreasing the amount of unemployment in the area.
This seems to be an easy problem to fix. If that person feels that strongly about it, then they need to speak to their supervisor. There is a chance, depending on the supervisor, employee base, and the employee themselves, that they will simply be reassigned. However, the supervisor may tell them they have no choice in the matter, and that they will either take the assignment, or seek employment elsewhere. If the employee is unwilling or unable to complete the assigned duty, someone else is there that will. If a person’s ethics and/or morals will not allow them to complete their tasks, they need to make that known so that the quality of the work, and how it reflects on the company, is not damaged. They may also be further informed of their scope of work, and which particular area of the company they will be consulting. With a company as large as Phillip Morgan, it is possible they will not be involved in either the tobacco or tobacco support industry. Essentially, it all comes back to what that employee is willing to do.