Kristin joined as supervisor of Steven’s department. Steven is assistant department manager and thinks that some of his co-workers got promoted and
The relevant facts of the case –
Steven joined the accounts payable section in a major industrial firm after graduating from college, and he is currently the Assistant department manager. Steven is comfortable in his job and thought he knew all the ins and outs of the organization.
Kristin is the newly appointed supervisor, with a proven talent to improve the efficiency of operations. Kristin was in a similar position in a different subsidiary. Kristin was meeting each employee and asking for their opinions to improve the working place.
When Kristin asked Steven about his opinion, Steven shared his thought people got promotion and overtime work opportunities based on who liked them and not based on their merit. Kristin assured Steven that she would look into that.
Kristin wanted to see Steven the next morning and asked him to tell her the people was referring to, otherwise, Kristin would consider Steven to be not a team player.
Ethical issues including the extent of Steven’s responsibility to take action
Steven thought that some people at work are getting promotion and over time just because they are liked better. When Kristin asked Steven for the names of who Steven was referring to, according to Kristin she would not tolerate the team members who are not team players, and if Steven could not provide the names then she would consider Steven is not a team player.
Considering Steven was honest and truthful, Steven’s problem is to give the names of his co-workers who he has known for a long time to Kristin, who is his supervisor for just 1 day. Probably Steven was not very happy that he did not get overtimes or promotions, and he thought it was not a level playing field, so he wanted to have a better chance at those going forward. So essentially, it was Steve’s perception and now Steve was being asked for evidence. If Steve gives names to Kristin, then it is guaranteed that Steve will not have a good working relationship with coworkers, and if Steve does not give any name, Steve might lose job eventually.
Since I made an initial assumption that Steve is an honest person, I would think Steve should go ahead tell the names who he thinks were less deserving. Maybe he would turn out to be right or he will get an explanation what they did to deserve what they got and what Steve should do going forward.
Various stakeholders, and what is at stake for each one.
Of course, Steve is a stakeholder – he needs to show Kristin that he was true, or he might lose reputation and job.
Kristin is the next stakeholder, she wants to make the workplace efficient.
Other employees are also stakeholders, Steve might prove some of them are not team players and that will not be good for them.
Alternatives and ethics of each alternative.
The first alternative Steve has is to apologize and admit that he was wrong. But that will not work out so well, as he will be considered as not a team player and probably he might lose his job for lying.
The other option is, to be honest, and provide Kristin the full information of what Steve noticed regarding not so deserving candidates getting promoted and getting overtime. That way, with all the details Kristin, will see the full picture and as she wishes to do, increase efficiency, she might be able to weed out undeserving employees and replace them with deserving ones. From a utilitarian perspective, the 2nd option is a better one. As the whole workplace will be efficient in the long run, in the short run Kristin will get what she wants from Steve. Steve will prove his point to Kristin. But those employees who actually benefitted from the bureaucracy will lose their perks. That is a good thing for the organization in the long run.
The practical constraint is taking the name of coworkers in this situation while working with them, it will dampen the working relationship. According to Kathy Caprino, “When your emotions are spinning out of control about a colleague, and you feel anger, hurt, resentment and other highly-charged emotions, you need to settle down before you communicate to anyone about the situation. Further, think hard about backstabbing at all. If you do it, you’ll simply project an image of yourself that you’re untrustworthy, and someone who doesn’t have the courage and strength to handle things in a positive, direct way with the individuals involved.” And moreover, since Kristin does not have much background on anyone or people before that how would Steve prove that he is right and those employees got a promotion just because they were liked and they did not deserve the overtimes or promotions
How should Steven respond?
Steve should provide the name of his coworkers who got promotions and overtimes because they were liked and not deserved. Once he gives the names, he will have to provide reasons why they did not deserve the promotion. Because there could be a reason that they were deserving and that is why they were liked. But as Dave Kerpen says “Always tell the truth to your boss, and never tell a lie.
Lies are too risky – not only to your relationship with your boss but to your relationship with yourself.” Steve has no way to back down, so he should say what he thinks and whoever is involved.
Caprino, K ( July,2012). The Top 10 Work Situations Where Honesty Is Not the Best Policy. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/07/31/the-top-10-work-situations-where-honesty-is-not-the-best-policy/#5042c336123a
Kerpen, D ( Sept,2013). 17 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130923134035-15077789-17-things-you-should-never-say-to-your-boss/