Business Ethics Now Study Set 3

Business

Quiz 7 :

Blowing the Whistle

Quiz 7 :

Blowing the Whistle

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Visit the National Whistleblowers Center at www.whistleblowers.org. a. Using the interactive map, select one country and summarize the whistle-blowing activity in that country. b. Identify the whistle-blower protections in effect in your home state.
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a) The country chosen from the interactive map is India. There is one law protecting whistleblowers. However this is being amended shortly. This law is the "Public Interest Disclosures and Protection of Informers Resolution, 2004".
There are some non-profit organizations that are helping whistleblowers:
i. Fighting Corruption Now
ii. KAT
iii. National Human Right Commission
iv. NGO Parivartan 
v. SK Dubey Foundation
vi. Transparency International India
b) The whistle-blower protection law in New York State are tabulated below:
img Source:http://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-york-law/new-york-whistleblower-laws.html
This is the main whistleblower protection law in New York State.

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A new approach to freshness. Divide into two groups, and prepare arguments for and against the following behavior: You work in the meat department of store 2795 of a large retail grocery chain. The company recently announced a change in the meat-handling protocols from the primary supplier. Starting in January 2014, the meat will be gassed with carbon monoxide before packaging. This retains a brighter color for the meat and delays the discoloration that usually occurs as the meat begins to spoil. You understand from the memo that there will be no information on the product label to indicate this protocol change and that the company has no plans to notify customers of this new process. Should you speak out about the procedure?
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While carbon monoxide is poisonous, there is no evidence in the case that there was any dangerous effect on the meat itself as a result of this treatment. One can argue that the customer needs to know everything regarding the process that the meat undergoes. But then there are many other elements in the processing cycle that are not revealed on the label.
Therefore, as long as there is no negative health effect, there is no reason for the additional process to be mentioned on the label.
The alternative argument is that everything regarding the process needs to be informed to the buyer. Here one can also argue as to how many other factors regarding the process that may change over a period of time are never mentioned on the label. Therefore this process as long as it is safe, does not achieve anything by being revealed.

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There are now two whistle-blowing websites separated by only one letter: Summarize their differences, and propose which one offers the greatest assistance to a potential whistle-blower.
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The two whistleblower protection websites are:
1) www.whistleblower.org. This is a non-profit organization run by lawyers. They provide complete legal protection and other legal services to whistleblowers. They will fight the person's cases right to the very end.
2) www.whistleblowers.gov. This is a website under the OSHA which is a US government organization. This organization would take cognizance of the whistleblower's complaint and provide him with the relevant legal advice. This organization provides moral and legal advice but does not provide any legal services to fight the case. They could take up the prosecution of the case themselves if federal or state laws were breached. However the legal protection of the whistleblower has to be arranged by the person himself.
Therefore it is clear that the first website offers the best assistance to any whistleblower.

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Visit the Government Accountability Project (GAP) at www.whistleblower.org. a. What is the mission of GAP? b. How is GAP funded? c. What kind of assistance is available through GAP for someone thinking about becoming a whistle-blower?
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Why are whistle-blowers regarded as models of honor and integrity?
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Is whistle-blowing a good thing?
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Guilt by omission. Divide into two groups, and prepare arguments for and against the following behavior: You work for a large retail clothing company that spends a large amount of its advertising budget emphasizing that its clothes are "Made in America." You discover that only 15 percent of its garments are actually "made" in America. The other 85 percent are actually either cut from patterns overseas and assembled here in the United States or cut and assembled overseas and imported as completed garments. Your hometown depends on this clothing company as the largest local employer. Several of your friends and family work at the local garment assembly factory. Should you go public with this information?
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How would you act in the following situations? Should the driver get his job back? Why or why not?
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Why would an organization decide to ignore evidence presented by a whistle-blower?
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Which whistle-blowing option is better for an organization-internal or external? Why?
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Good Money B en is a sales team leader at a large chain of tire stores. The company is aggressive and is opening new stores every month. Ben is very ambitious and sees plenty of opportunities to move up in the organization-especially if he is able to make a name for himself as a star salesman. As with any retail organization, Ben's company is driven by sales, and it is constantly experimenting with new sales campaigns and incentive programs for its salespeople. Ben didn't expect this morning's sales meeting to be any different-a new incentive tied to a new campaign, supported by a big media campaign in the local area. Ben's boss, John, didn't waste any time in getting to the point of the meeting: "OK guys, I have some big news. Rather than simply negotiating short-term incentives on specific brands to generate sales, the company has signed an exclusive contract with Benfield Tires to take every tire produced in the new Voyager line. That exclusive contract comes with a huge discount based on serious volume. In other words, the more tires we sell, the more money we'll make-and I'm talking about good money for the company and very good bonus money for you-so put everybody into these tires. If we do well in this first contract with Benfield, there could be other exclusives down the road. This could be the beginning of something big for us." John then laid out the details on the sales incentive and showed Ben and his fellow team leaders how they could earn thousands of dollars in bonuses over the next couple of months if they pushed the new Benfield Voyagers. Ben could certainly use the money, but he was concerned about pushing a new tire model so aggressively when it was an unknown in the marketplace. He decided to talk to their most experienced tire mechanic, Rick. Rick had worked for the company for over 25 years-so long that many of the younger guys joked that he either had tire rubber in his veins or had apprenticed on Henry Ford's Model T. "So, Rick, what do you think about these new Benfield Voyagers?" asked Ben. "Are they really such a good deal for our customers, or are they just a moneymaker for us?" Rick was very direct in his response: "I took a look at some of the specs on them, and they don't look good. I think Benfield is sacrificing quality to cut costs. By the standards of some of our other suppliers, these tires would qualify as 'seconds'-and pretty bad ones too. You couldn't pay me to put them on my car-they're good for 15,000 miles at the most. We're taking a big risk promoting these tires as our top model." If Ben decides to raise concerns about the product quality of the Benfield Voyagers, he will become a whistleblower. The difference between internal and external whistle-blowing is explained on page 140. Which approach should Ben follow if he does decide to raise his concerns?
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What is internal whistle-blowing?
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How would you act in the following situations? What would you do if your company did not have a whistle-blowing policy?
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California organic. Divide into two groups and prepare arguments for and against the following behavior: You work in the accounting department of a family-owned mushroom grower based in California that sells premium organic mushrooms to local restaurants and high-end retail grocery stores. The company's product range includes both fresh and dried mushrooms. Your organic certification allows you to charge top dollar for your product, but you notice from invoices that operating costs are increasing significantly without any increase in revenues. The market won't absorb a price increase, so the company has to absorb the higher costs and accept lower profits. One day you notice invoices for the purchase of dried mushrooms from a Japanese supplier. The dried mushrooms are not listed as being organic, but they are apparently being added to your company's dried mushrooms, which are labeled organic and California-grown. Should you speak out about this?
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"Tortious interference." Divide into two groups, and prepare arguments for and against the following behavior: In the case of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand and the Brown Williamson Tobacco Company, the CBS Broadcasting Company chose not to air Dr. Wigand's 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace under threat of legal action for "tortious interference" between B W and Dr. Wigand. There were suspicions that CBS was more concerned about avoiding any potential legal action that could derail its pending sale to the Westinghouse Corporation. Was CBS behaving ethically in putting the welfare of its stakeholders in the Westinghouse deal ahead of its obligation to support Dr. Wigand?
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How would you act in the following situations? You later discover that one of the drivers was not a part of the scheme but was fired anyway when the information was made public. What do you do?
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Good Money B en is a sales team leader at a large chain of tire stores. The company is aggressive and is opening new stores every month. Ben is very ambitious and sees plenty of opportunities to move up in the organization-especially if he is able to make a name for himself as a star salesman. As with any retail organization, Ben's company is driven by sales, and it is constantly experimenting with new sales campaigns and incentive programs for its salespeople. Ben didn't expect this morning's sales meeting to be any different-a new incentive tied to a new campaign, supported by a big media campaign in the local area. Ben's boss, John, didn't waste any time in getting to the point of the meeting: "OK guys, I have some big news. Rather than simply negotiating short-term incentives on specific brands to generate sales, the company has signed an exclusive contract with Benfield Tires to take every tire produced in the new Voyager line. That exclusive contract comes with a huge discount based on serious volume. In other words, the more tires we sell, the more money we'll make-and I'm talking about good money for the company and very good bonus money for you-so put everybody into these tires. If we do well in this first contract with Benfield, there could be other exclusives down the road. This could be the beginning of something big for us." John then laid out the details on the sales incentive and showed Ben and his fellow team leaders how they could earn thousands of dollars in bonuses over the next couple of months if they pushed the new Benfield Voyagers. Ben could certainly use the money, but he was concerned about pushing a new tire model so aggressively when it was an unknown in the marketplace. He decided to talk to their most experienced tire mechanic, Rick. Rick had worked for the company for over 25 years-so long that many of the younger guys joked that he either had tire rubber in his veins or had apprenticed on Henry Ford's Model T. "So, Rick, what do you think about these new Benfield Voyagers?" asked Ben. "Are they really such a good deal for our customers, or are they just a moneymaker for us?" Rick was very direct in his response: "I took a look at some of the specs on them, and they don't look good. I think Benfield is sacrificing quality to cut costs. By the standards of some of our other suppliers, these tires would qualify as 'seconds'-and pretty bad ones too. You couldn't pay me to put them on my car-they're good for 15,000 miles at the most. We're taking a big risk promoting these tires as our top model." The five conditions that must exist for whistle-blowing to be ethical are outlined on pages 140-141. Has Rick given Ben enough information to be concerned about the Benfield Voyagers?
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Is it reasonable for a whistle-blower to expect a guarantee of anonymity?
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What is a whistle-blower?
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What is external whistle-blowing?
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