Business Ethics Reflection
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People face ethical dilemmas nearly every day in their personal or professional lives. “You can be fairly certain that during the course of your career, you’ll run into myriad ethical problems such as a customer who asks for a special deal or terms in order to make the sale, or questions about the appropriate use of corporate resources, or discrimination of one sort or another” (Trevino, & Nelson, (2007), p. 111). Choosing how to deal with ethical or moral dilemmas can be very difficult at times. Sometimes it involves a family member or personal friend. Other times it may involve a co-worker or a manager. People often do not report ethical or moral dilemmas in their workplace or personal lives because of fear of retaliation or not wanting to get involved in the situation.
A recent ethical dilemma that I have experienced was with my sister’s husband. He was working for a used car dealership and eventually was promoted to a management position. When he became the manager, he was given credit cards to purchase gas for the cars on the lot that needed to be sold. My sister and her husband both used the credit cards for their personal vehicles daily, and when they took trips. Sometimes my sister would fill someone’s vehicle with gas when they helped her do things, such as helping them move into their new home. I knew that this was wrong and it bothered me, but I never reported it. If I had turned them in to the car company, many of my family members would have been upset with me. In addition to using the credit cards unethically, my sister’s husband also changed the numbers on financial documents to make it look like he had sold more cars than he really had. He was given many bonuses as a result of the number of cars that were sold.
Whenever people came to the car lot to purchase a vehicle, they could put a down payment on the vehicle they wanted to purchase or trade in their old car. The cars traded in were sold to another used car dealership or they were fixed and put on the lot to be sold. Some of the cars traded in were in very bad condition and were not worth selling.
These cars were taken to a salvage yard to get as much money out of them as they could. If the people wanting to purchase a nicer vehicle did not have a down payment or a trade in, they could not purchase a vehicle from this car lot. My sister’s husband let many customers purchase a vehicle without a down payment or a trade in. He was not allowed to do this, but he did it anyway. He recorded that a trade in had been turned in when there was not a trade in. Documents were forged to make it look like there had been a trade in, and my sister’s husband received bonuses from these cars that were sold. When cars were traded in, they were to be sold or taken to the salvage yard. Some of these cars were taken by my sister’s husband and he sold them to friends and family members or kept them for himself.
Eventually my oldest son went to work for this company and worked with my sister’s husband. He sold many cars, but he was allowed to sell cars without a trade in or down payment. I was happy that he was making money, but the way he was making it was wrong. I wanted to turn my sister’s husband it, but my son had a family to take care of and I did not want him to lose his job as well. One of the other employees of this company eventually found out and turned in my sister’s husband. He was jealous that my son was selling more cars than him, and making more money. This employee had been fired because he was not selling many vehicles. Also the company had a policy that family members could not work for another family member, but they could work for the same company at a different location. My son’s wife was also hired at this same location, as well as my sister.
Many rules were broken by my sister’s husband, and they resulted in him making more money and getting honors such as salesman of the year. After the company found out about all the schemes my sister’s husband had been doing, he was fired. My son and his wife were not fired, but my son’s wife had to transfer to another location, and a new manager was brought in to manage the location my son was working at.
I do not think the company pressed charges against my sister’s husband, but as a result of cheating and losing his job, my sister and her husband lost the new home they had just bought. It was sad that they lost their home, but they should have been honest and worked for their money instead of stealing from the company. My sister and her husband have done many unethical and morally wrong things throughout their life, and it is wrong. Stealing is wrong, and people should not be allowed to continue to steal. When someone steals it affects many other people within the company, and the company could go out of business, and the honest people working for this company could lose their jobs as a result. If I were faced with the same situation again, I believe I would go ahead and turn my sister’s husband in to the company. Since they got away with cheating and stealing, they continue to do this in many other ways in their life. Punishments for stealing should be severe enough to make people think about not continuing to steal.
Trevino, L., & Nelson, K. (2007). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do it Right (4thed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.