Case Study – An Ethical Dilemma

Jackie, a young star with a prominent voice who gets picked up by a professional recording label after performing at a national talent competition. Overwhelmed with excitement, thinks it is a dream come true to start a career with a lucrative contract. Meets and has an intimate encounter with her soon to be manager, Kevin. Months go by as their relationship begins to flourish but soon she starts to hear rumors that Kevin has helped a new girl in the legal department get her position threw their own personal relations. Jackie has suspicions that Kevin may be having other deeper interactions with this new girl. Jackie’s suspicions turn out to be true and she is devastated. She obviously breaks off the relationship with Kevin but cannot afford to lose him as her manager. Time goes by with awkward silence between the two but eventually Jackie decides to be professional with her career and continues to keep Kevin on as her manager.

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This lasts awhile until Kevin starts to make inappropriate sexual advances towards her. She tries to laugh it off but as he continues she threatens to make a formal complaint to legal. He does eventually stop but has stopped all efforts to promote her music thus making it very difficult for her to continue on with her success. She eventually does decide to make a complaint with legal, there is where she runs into Leslie, the girl that Kevin had got the position for in legal. She tells her, “even I believed you, you didn’t report this relationship which goes against our superior-employee ethics code”. So either she had the choice to let the matter go or to make a complaint which would in turn have her also reprimanded. She is forced with an ultimate decision and eventually decides to do nothing.

Summarized Ethical Issue at Heart

The unethical issue at heart is the manager, Kevin, making inappropriate gestures towards Jackie after they had broken up. Doing so with Jackie’s vulnerable position of whether or not to report the issue which would do more harm than good. Or to leave the matter alone and just hope that Kevin would leave her alone. Neither option are better suited for Jackie who in this case is the victim, which leads to the question of appropriate ethical responsibility of the company.

Details that are missing in the case

A 3rd party perspective on the details of both parties. More detail as to what accusations were being made towards Kevin and Jackie. Whether Kevin had proper ethical training.

List of all stakeholders who would be involved with this ethical dilemma.

Other artists
Board of Trustees
Legal Department

Three stakeholders and the concerns they may have.


Don’t like how they are working for an unethically sound company. Thinking how it could happen to them if they were put in the same situation If the problem was ever made public how would my job security look? Would this company’s name stain my resume?


How will my portfolio look if this artist is to become successful with another producer? Will this story become public?
Will my shares plummet from this company’s bad publicity?
What would happen to the company outlook if the entire company was to go thru proper corporate ethical training? Could it be a success?

Board of Trustees

This will look bad if the story was to made public
How must will it cost to perform proper corporate training on proper ethical behavior? Do the managerial levels need to be reevaluated?
Could the company be looking at a lawsuit?

Five solutions.

Perform corporate training at all levels reviewing proper ethical conduct Fire the manager
Workout an undisclosed settlement
See if another manager is available to take her on
Leave and try to find successes elsewhere

Top three solutions with possible consequences.

1. Perform corporate training at all levels, monitor it and have employees sign off on regulating polices that are being implemented regarding superior-employee relations as well as all other common ethical practices.

Doesn’t really solve the problem at hand, may be good for the future but doesn’t help Jackie Company sets public perception that their ethical standards are in question Very timely and costly
Risk of employees losing interest/possible turnover of employees

2. Fire and Replace the Manager

May get sued by Kevin for wrongful termination
Jackie’s verbal threats may continue
Incident is likely to be made public
Board of Trustees would have to look over all management positions Loss of all positive profits that Kevin may have acquired

3. Workout an undisclosed settlement

Sets a standard for future wrong doings
May not stay quiet
Fellow employees and/or artist may exercise more scrutiny as they mature on with their job

Three Stakeholders and Top Three Solutions with two pros and two cons effects on the Stakeholder.

Make company employees take corporate training on proper ethical behavior

Will benefit the company’s overall performance
Give the media something different to talk about with regards to the company Very costly
Employees may decline to take it/possible employee turnover

Fire and Replace the Manager

Jackie would be satisfied
The company would have a bad employee released
Fellow artists may lose that label
Manager could sue for wrongful termination

Workout an undisclosed amount

Jackie would be happy and the problem would be resolved
Stays quiet
Solves no future problems

Two ethical principles upheld or violated by the top three solutions.

Make company employees take corporate training on proper ethical behavior

Provides positive integrity to the company
As long as the training provided was paid hours it shouldn’t be seen in any way of being unethical Trust and Communication

Fire and Replace the Manager

Fails to meet ethical standards simply because not enough information is known Unethical towards the employees as some could suddenly be put into a disadvantage

Work out an undisclosed amount

Completely unethical from the rest of the company’s standpoint as this option would be odd and serve no purpose towards the rest of the company Financially unethical to use funds to serve as a settlement rather than other purposes of the company

Performing corporate training at all levels, monitoring it and have employees sign off on regulating polices that are being implemented regarding superior-employee relations as well as all other common ethical practices will provide positive integrity to the company. If the training hours were paid and it didn’t have an effect on daily routine then it doesn’t seem to be unethical to request training hours. Firing the manager Kevin would solve Jackie’s problem but only hers alone. To be fair which is a principle of ethics would be to implement a code that would benefit the company as a whole. Although what Kevin is accused of doing is warranted of being fired there just isn’t enough information for the company to let him go. Her words against his wouldn’t be enough to fire him. This is why a revamp of full corporate training probably stands to be the best possible solution for this situation.

Decision and Implementation

Identify the best solution.

Implementing corporate training throughout the entire staff of the company maybe specializing in specific areas would be most likely to be the best possible solution. There are a lot more benefits to educating employees on proper ethics. A workplace in which an ethics code has been instilled is a naturally pleasant place. Employee morale rises in an atmosphere that promotes good behavior and honest interactions.

Reasons why this is the best solution.

It creates a better atmosphere in the workplace, teaches an office how to work as a team, promotes personal responsibility, and has always shown to boost staff morale. A work ethics training program promotes teamwork by instilling trust in co-workers. People are more likely to be amenable to working together when they appreciate and respect one another.

Why the other solutions were rejected

Firing the manager Kevin as well as making an undisclosed settlement were found to be unethical towards other members of the company. It would not be a good example to set if the company were to single out an incident and act in an irregular way towards that issue. There also wasn’t enough facts to the case to make the decision to fire the manager, Kevin. Especially doing so knowing full well it would affect other stakeholders.

Possible objections to the solution

The company may find that employee may complain that they do not need to take part in training. A mandatory requirement may need to be implemented for all employees. A turnover rate within the employees may be seen. Investors or Board of Trustees will look at all avenues of the cheapest method of implementing training.

How would you overcome these objections?

Make it a requirement to attain a certain number of ethics training hours. Find other avenues of funding that can contribute to the program to make sure that employees are receiving the best training. Self-inflicted training from the managerial level is a cheaper method to instruct employees.


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