New on a colleague. Such scenarios are common
New graduates face different ethical dilemmas every time they join a new organization. Markkula Center of Applied Ethics offers dynamic insights regarding how new graduates should tackle different ethical dilemmas. Most of the advice given in the short videos recommends a scientific approach to handling ethical dilemmas.
For instance, the videos recommend that new graduates should always understand the background of the ethical dilemma in the organization and review if appropriate actions are normally taken in such situations or not. This is a scientific approach to handling ethical dilemmas. For instance, regarding the accounting dilemma, Markkula Center of Applied Ethics recommends that new graduates should investigate if errors of omission are normally committed in the organization.
Moreover, the interviewee (Hanson) explains that, employees should investigate if action is ordinarily taken in such situations. If it is established that there is a serious ethical problem, Hanson recommends that the problem should be escalated to superior authorities.
Based on a friend’s experience, it is normally difficult to escalate an ethical dilemma to a superior authority if an employee is still new to an organization. Often, new graduates have just secured new positions in organizations and ordinarily, their first preoccupation would not be to ask many questions regarding the ethical or unethical conduct of the organization but to get everyone to like them.
In extreme situations, most new employees would focus on securing their jobs and refrain from drawing too much attention to themselves by blowing the whistle on a colleague. Such scenarios are common for new graduates and Hanson’s advice of escalating ethical dilemmas to higher authorities fail to represent the real situation facing most new graduates in the organization.
The above approach of handling the accounting dilemma is also stressed in the ethical dilemma of gender discrimination. Hanson’s advice to women who think they are being discriminated against is defined by a background analysis of the ethical dilemma. He proposes that this background study is crucial to establish if there is substantial ground to assume an employee is being discriminated against (or not).
He points out that there are unique situations where an organization may treat an employee differently (such as when an employee is being prepared for an international assignment) and it is therefore important to refrain from unleashing the “gender” or “race” card (if a background study of the problem is not done). Hanson’s assessment is an intelligent but cautionary approach to handling gender-based ethical dilemmas because a colleague’s real-life experience shows that this approach is always the best.
For instance, there was a case where a female employee confronted her supervisor for giving her fewer duties at work because she believed she was given fewer tasks because she was a woman. It turned out that it was the company’s procedure to give fewer duties to new staff until they got acquainted with the organization’s tasks. The female employee had to withdraw her complaint because she did not give herself enough time to learn how the organization operates.
Based on the above example, Hanson’s advice to new graduates is well informed
Comprehensively, Markkula Center of Applied Ethics provides the right framework for handling ethical dilemmas but Hanson’s advice regarding first time ethical dilemmas is a little shallow. More sensitivity should therefore be given towards the “real” organizational environment facing new graduates (or employees who have just secured employment).
For instance, more focus should be made on how new graduates can solve ethical dilemmas without running the risk of losing their jobs or getting their employers in trouble. Such is the recommendation that applies to the accounting dilemma.