What Customers Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Them, or Will It?
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Q.1. Using concepts from reinforcement theory, explain why Elena might be motivated to lie to customers. With reinforcement theory in mind, do you think that Elena will confess to the legal representative? Why or why not? According to Reinforcement theory, Theorists believe that the behavior of an individual is environmentally caused, i.e. an individual’s behavior depends on the consequences of the behavior. In this case also Elena saw her supervisor lying to the customers just to make more money which also motivated Elena to do the same. He also told her that if she wanted to reach higher levels, she should learn how to handle and lie to customers at her advantage. Reinforcement theory in itself doesn’t study behavior but tells us that what determines the behavior. Similarly in this case Elena was focused towards her promotion and she knew that if she work on the lines of her supervisor she will surely get the promotion and thus I feel that Elena will not confess
Q. 2. How might the rental office’s climate influence Elena’s behavior? What factors contribute to the current climate? What steps could you take to improve the ethics at this office? The climate of the rental office has been created solely by the supervisor. The reason why such a climate has been maintained by all the other employees is because they are all well aware that the performance management takes the earning revenue as a factor for deciding whether the employee is worth promoting or not. Thus, Elena too wasn’t spared from getting affected by this atmosphere and that resulted into her repeated lying to her customers. To improve the ethics at this office, the legal department would need to conduct an audit on the ethical standards held. Also, the supervisor should be warned against unethical practices and if needed, strict action should be taken against him so that the employees seek a lesson from his behavior
Q. 3. Do you blame Elena for her behavior or do you attribute her behavior to external factors? How do concepts from attribution theory fit in? Behavior of Elena is solely accountable on herself because had she realized her ethical shortcoming in the beginning of her career, she would not have taken the step of lying to the customers all the way till she reached a dreadful point when she was responsible for the injury caused to one of her customers. Though there was some influence of her supervisor on her behavior initially, but later on she herself took to lying to her customers to earn more revenue and thus enhance her chances of being promoted. Attribution theory is an attempt to determine whether an individual’s behavior is internally or externally caused. According to this theory when one specific behavior of an individual becomes more and more consistent then it is attributed to internal causes. In the given case, Elena’s consistent behavior of lying to her customers can thus be said to be internally caused rather than attributing the causes to the external environment.
Q. 4. Consider Elena’s personality. Would you predict that escalation of commitment will occur (and she will lie to the legal representative), or will she decide to come clean? Explain your answer. Keeping in mind Elena’s ambitious personality, I would say that Elena would perhaps lie to the legal representative and choose not to come clean. I would blame her ethical shortcomings for this. At the beginning of her career, Elena was persuaded to lie to her customers in the lure of promotion, and thus, her ambition took over her ethics. Gradually, she encountered many instances where her supervisor asked her to lie and pretty soon, it became her second nature. Here in this situation, Elena knows that if she tries to come clean in front of the head of the legal department, then she might have to wash her hands off the promotion as wellas her job, and certainly, she wasn’t too keen on taking a risk of speaking the truth at this stage of her career where promotion wasn’t too farfetched. Thus, I think Elena would deny of knowing the problem with vehicle and choose to remain ignorant
Q. 5. Do you think Elena would make a good leader some day? Why or why not? What factors might this depend on? According to me, Elena would not make a good leader in the future. Elena is persuasive and has been good in sales up to this point. A good leader is the one who stands up for his/her principles and voice her concern when something seems wrong. For a leader, the priority is advancing the company towards achieving the set goals and not advancing his/her own position. A leader strives for the growth of the company by walking on the path of his/her ethics and moral values and doesn’t compromise on the same. But Elena is too ambitious to stick to her moral values. Elena was initially hesitant to lie to her customers but eventually, she developed this habit into her characteristic. Owing to these factors Elena would not emerge out as a good leader.
Q. 6. What emotions might Elena be experiencing? How might Elena’s emotions affect her decision to tell the legal department manager about the incident with Mr. Reynolds? Elena might be experiencing plethora of emotions like:
In spite of knowing that there is a large lump on the outside well of the passenger-side front tire of the compact car which could prove fatal-Elena rented the car to Mr. Jim Reynolds who eventually ended up being seriously injured.
Elena was shocked to hear what happened with Mr. Reynolds – she thought that the car will be fine as Mr. Reynolds would have it only for a day, but Mr. Reynolds got seriously injured.
Elena had worked hard to get where she was. She regretted not having told her supervisor that she wasn’t going to lie to customers, even if it meant getting a better rate.
Elena feared that some legal action will be taken against her if she admitted the truth
Elena’s mind raced with worried thoughts about how she let herself get into this position while remembering when her supervisor first told her to lie to a customer. The emotion that could affect Elena’s decision to tell the legal department manager about the incident with Mr. Reynolds is fear- though Elena knew that Mr. Reynolds got injured because she rented him a defective car- but she could not accept it- If she told the truth, becoming a manager would probably be out of the question, at least for a long while(the fear of losing position and power) and at the same time she feared some legal action could be taken against her(fear of punishment). It can be other way round as well, it may so happen that Elena’s guilt feeling becomes so intense that she doesn’t care about her career and legal punishment and she tells the truth to the legal department manager to come out of her guilt.