You, your spouse, and your two young children, have recently moved to Texas and you are now the Human Resource Manager of an apple juice plant called Beech-Nut. It’s a great move, both for your career and family. Your first few months on the job have really confirmed that you made a great choice in joining Beechnut. Your relationship with your new peers, your employees, and even the president have been very positive.
Thomas Rex Gibbs* is the President of Beechnut. He earned the nickname “T-Rex” because of an unfortunate accident that left him blind in one eye many years before. While it is barely noticeable and creates few work-related problems for him, it does mean that he is forced to move his head to and fro when entering the room due to limited peripheral vision, thus creating the stalking appearance of the popular portrayal of his deadly namesake. But he doesn’t mind the name at all. Instead, he seems to actually relish it. If truth were told, Rex not only approves of the moniker, he thinks it’s an appropriate symbol for one so dominant and firmly in charge.
T-Rex believes in surrounding himself with talent. One of his first actions as President was selecting and hiring a new leadership team. He gave each team member freedom to run their respective areas (to his liking, of course). The leadership team’s first order of business was establishing the following core values:
· People: Be a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
· Portfolio: Bring to the world a portfolio of products that satisfy customer’s desires and needs.
· Planet: Be responsible citizens that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.
· Profit: Maximize long-term return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
This first step paid off – the company’s product sales have benefited from Beechnut’s carefully crafted image, and Beechnut is now the second-largest maker of baby foods in the country.
In fact, Beechnut’s winning combination of competitive salary and core values allowed your predecessor (the previous HR Manager) to successfully recruit young, top talent to the organization. This not only lowered payroll and medical benefit costs, but also resulted in Beechnut being featured in Forbes magazine’s annual “Best Employers for New Graduates.”
T-Rex was not all that supportive of the initiatives of the leadership team at first, but he did appreciate the positive press from the Forbes listing. The success of the company, T-Rex had become convinced, was inexorably linked with positive press through all mediums. All managers within the company knew that the slightest negative story would lead to attention you did not want.
During your first few months, you have found that having so many young people in the organization is exciting in a company that had been around so long. “Work hard, play hard” was the new unofficial motto among your new work force, and their results were incredible. So it was probably inevitable that some of these “play hard” employees decided to form a new singles group to socialize together after work and on weekends. The singles group recently setup a ski trip, and about 15 employees participated in this 4-day excursion. Upon returning, a few of the employees, including one who works for you in the HR office, show you some great pictures, and it looks like they all had a good time. They even took time to participate in a community service event while on their excursion.
About a week later, T-Rex calls you into his office, and he appears angrier than you have ever seen him. He shares with you a letter he received from a Delta Airlines Senior Pilot. In the letter, the pilot states that in all his years working for Delta and other airlines, he has never experienced a group that was so disrespectful towards the fight crew and staff. He used several examples of their behavior, including showing up for the flight inebriated, demanding to be served when they had already been denied service in flight, a broken lavatory, an allegation of marijuana smoke, and your employees proposing inappropriately to a stewardess.
When you suggest an investigation would be in order to find out who the miscreants are in the crowd of 15, T-Rex says that you can investigate all you want, but at the end of this day, he wants a solution. “We have all worked too hard to build our reputation to have it all taken away from us by a crowd of immature children”, he said, growing louder with each syllable.
While you would prefer a lengthy investigation, it’s already past noon. You know T-Rex wants everyone fired, and since this is an employment at-will state, he could do so. Also, if you can’t come up with a good idea, T-Rex could lose faith in you as his HR manager – meaning you could be next! You have knots in your stomach thinking about the ramifications of your looming decision.
* The “Thomas Rex Gibbs” character is borrowed from:
Clayton, R., Stratton, M.T., Julien, M. and Humphreys, J.H., 2015. Beverly Matthews. Organization Management Journal, 12(4), pp.221-234.
Ethics Case Instructions
The purpose of this exercise is to explore ethics and decision making within organizations.
After reading the case:
1) Name this section ‘Identification of Dilemma’ and address the following (limit to 1 page):
a. What is the overall ethical dilemma?
b. Who can be impacted by the dilemma (people and/or groups)?
2) Provide a brief overview of 2 Frameworks (Approaches) to Managerial Ethics (1+ pages per framework). Name this section ‘Ethical Frameworks’. Name each sub-section after the ethical frameworks you choose.
a. Choose from: Utilitarian, Deontology, and Virtue.
b. The textbook and lecture provide general explanations for the approaches above. Expand on these with external sources. Use in-paper citations and list the additional references at the end of your paper.
c. This is not copy/paste from the internet. Be sure to write this in your own words based on your research.
d. This section of your paper should not reference the case. Instead focus on what you’ve learned (researched) regarding each ethical approach.
3) Provide outcomes to this ethical dilemma (2+ pages). Name this section ‘Evaluation of Ethical Dilemma’. Address the following in this section:
a. Based on what you’ve learned about the case, which framework (from the two you’ve explained in the previous section) do you believe will guide you in this situation? Explain why you will go this direction.
b. What are the implications of this decision (who does it benefit? What are the positive implications? What are the negative implications?)
c. If you had been guided by the other framework addressed in section 2, what would have been the positive and negative implications?
d. There’s no right/wrong answer choice, so I won’t grade this on your ability to choose a particular ethical framework. Instead, I’m more concerned with your ability to describe why you chose the approach and what happens next based on the approach. These will help me assess whether or not you understand the concepts.
e. No need for additional outside resources in this section, as you should refer to the case and the information provided from section 2.
· Submit the assignment in the assigned dropbox. If for some reason you have difficulty uploading your assignment, e-mail it to me and explain the situation in your e-mail.
· Use the bold phrases above as section headers; do not repeat the entire question.
· A title page and executive summary are not required.
· MS Word documents, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced.
· Document your sources within the paper (example: Avery, 2000), and include full citations in the reference section at the end of the paper.
· This is not an opinion paper; in other words, I am not looking for “I think” types of responses.
· There’s no right/wrong answer choice. Instead, I’m more concerned with your ability to make a practical, actionable decision and understand the consequences and outcomes of that decision.
|Identification of Dilemma
· Students can recognize the conflict of interest in an ethical dilemma.
· Students can identify a minimum of two stakeholders impacted by an ethical dilemma.
· Students can recognize ethical framework(s).
· Students can apply ethical framework(s).
|Evaluation of Ethical Dilemma
· Identify a minimum of two alternatives.
· Evaluate the positive implications of various alternatives.
· Evaluate the negative implications of various alternatives.
|Overall Quality of Paper
· Paper Formatting
· Turnitin Similarity Rating
One final note: I reward high quality work. An average answer will result in an average score. Therefore, if your goal is to obtain an A, be sure to exceed my expectations.