CH.14 – Case Incident 1 – Choosing Your Battles

  • 1. How would you ensure sufficient discussion of contentious issues in a work group? How can managers bring unspoken conflicts into the open without making them worse?
    • Personally, I don’t like conflict (“a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about” (Robbins, pg. 447)). I have spent most of my life being an avoider (someone who engages in “withdrawal from or suppression of the conflict” (Robbins, pg. 455)). But since I avoided way beyond what circumstances were appropriate for that, I have to admit, that has not served me well.I have come to believe that we have to be brave enough to address issues that arise openly and respectfully. It is such a blessing if you work with someone who also feels that way, but that is not usually the case. So many people like to focus on their own target point (the goal of the person involved in the conflict, or “what he or she would like to achieve” (Robbins, pg. 459)). However, like the text says on page 462, “A…piece of advice is to focus on the underlying interests of both sides rather than on issues…some unseen potential for integrative outcomes may arise if both sides concentrate on what they really want rather than on the specific items they’re bargaining over”.So, first of all, I would try to create an atmosphere where people could be free to respectfully raise concerns or points of contention for the betterment of any involved party. Like the Case Incident says on page 473, “individuals must feel psychologically safe in bringing up issues for discussion”. I have four kids, and don’t do whining very well. But if someone has something to say that’s important to him/her, and he/she was willing to bring it up in a mature, respectful way, I would strive to listen and involve any other necessary person to try to resolve the issue.As far as how managers could bring unspoken conflicts into the open without making them worse, I asked my dad, a retired Air Force officer of 21 years and a manager for the State of Alaska for the last almost 25 years, what he would do. In basically the spirit of “authoritative command” (“Management uses its formal authority to resolve the conflict and then communicate its desires to the parties involved” (Robbins, pg. 455)), he said he would bring up a similar, hypothetical issue as an example, and then proclaim his policy for dealing with that type of issue. If I did not believe the circumstances or parties involved would permit an honest, open exchange, his idea seems like it would be a viable, although possibly temporary, solution.
  • 2. How can negotiators utilize conflict management strategies to their advantage so that differences in interests lead not to dysfunctional conflicts but rather to positive integrative solutions?
    • In cases of conflict, negotiators would do well to actually care about their people, their process, (two important things investor Marcus Lemonis from CNBC’s The Profit looks at when he evaluates entrepreneurs and investments) and their outcomes. That in place, it would be crucial to make sure they have a keen sense of situational awareness. The text indicates that certain techniques are appropriate for certain circumstances. It would behoove a negotiator to fundamentally understand not only the conflict itself, but the background information on the parties involved, and their relationship to that conflict (the text refers to this information as the “antecedent conditions” on page 450).Like I mentioned in the previous question, if the situation involves people who all believe in a common goal, emphasizing that goal above petty squabbles would be something negotiators would be wise to try to tactfully address.As some examples, page 469 of the text offers “guidelines” that may prove useful.  One of the situations it regards is those that need “quick decisive action” or when it involves “unpopular” parameters. At that time, the text says one should “use competition” (“a desire to satisfy one’s interests, regardless of the impact on the other party to the conflict” (Robbins, 453)).Page 469 of the text says that one should “use collaboration” (“a situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties” (Robbins, pg. 453)) “when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromise, when your objective is to learn, when you want to merge insights…gain commitment…and when you need to work through feelings that have interfered with a relationship”.The text also says on page 469 that “when you find you’re wrong, when you need to…show reasonableness, when issues are more important to others than to yourself…when you’re outmatched and losing” one should employ “accommodation” (“the willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own” (Robbins, pg. 453).A third party would be appropriate when the parties have “reach[ed] a stalemate and are unable to solve their differences through direct negotiations” (Robbins, pg. 467).There are many situations that could require the use of different or even multiple strategies, as the text mentioned, but I believe remembering to care for one’s people, process, and outcomes, and practicing developing one’s sense of situational awareness would greatly increase his/her chance of success at finding a positive, integrative (“seeks one or more settlements that can create a win-win solution” (Robbins, pg. 461)) solution. Even if you know all the tricks in the book, if you don’t know what situation you actually have or you don’t care if it even works out, strategically employing just any of them won’t really help.
  • 3. Can you think of situations in your own life in which silence has worsened a conflict between parties? What might have been done differently to ensure that open communication facilitated collaboration instead?
    • A couple of years ago, my sister and I were in a very hot disagreement – though, she didn’t really know it. She had said something to me with the full intention of being helpful and supportive, but the way she did it cut me deeply. Seething, I retreated from our relationship to lick my wounds for a while. I dodged her at every opportunity, all the while trying to be sweetly aloof. I still really loved my sister, and that didn’t change just because she hurt me. But I still didn’t feel like dealing with it. We had messaged each other on Facebook a few times in that window, and I tried to be brief, but nice. She could tell I was avoiding her and was getting pretty frustrated as to why. We agreed we needed to talk, but didn’t ever nail down a date. Finally, a few weeks later, she wrote me a message about my distance. I finally wrote that I hadn’t been in any hurry because I was so burned by her, and she was downright shocked. She had no idea she had done anything to me. We agreed to talk that day in person.I have to say, it wasn’t my favorite conversation, and it wasn’t a quick, “I’m sorry”, either. It took a couple hours, and she almost left before we came to a resolution. Thankfully, we were able to say what hurt each of us and why (which was a miracle for me because, before, I don’t think I was able to pinpoint the real reason why it hurt me.) Anyway, God got us through it, despite ourselves.This is not the way to handle things. It wasn’t mature, or even respectful, even if I was trying to be kind about the whole thing. It isn’t respectful to not be honest with someone when they’ve hurt you, if you think they care. I was going through a very hard time, and I could have used my sister close to me. But I kept pushing her away because I was so badly stung and angry. If my earliest intention (“decisions to act in a certain way” (Robbins, pg. 453)) had been that of collaboration (as defined in the previous question), and I had sooner used the conflict management technique of problem solving (a “face to face meeting of the conflicting parties for the purpose of identifying the problem and resolving it through open discussion” (Robbins, pg. 455)), we wouldn’t have had such an attack to our relationship, and lost time when we could have been a real asset to each other.

CH 13 – Case Incident 1 – Delegate Power, or Keep It Close?

If you were Samantha Parks, how would you prioritize which projects or parts of projects to delegate?

Samantha Parks’ business is Marketing. Marketing is both business and art; both left-brained and right-brained. Samantha Parks is the CEO, so her primary responsibility may be business, but as it is her company, and an artsy one at that, she will likely feel inclined to be more involved than would a CEO of a paper mill.

Knowing only what was told to us in the Case Incident, if I were Samantha Parks, I would probably pick the accounts I thought I could best serve myself, and then leave the rest of the creative efforts to my workers (except for the occasional input should I have an opinion). That way I could still exercise my creativity while maintaining my function as CEO. We have to keep in mind that in this case, CEO or not, she is still one of the artists.I actually really admire the way that Duff Goldman runs his business, Charm City Cakes, on the Food Network’s old show “Ace of Cakes”. He is an artist, a cake designer. He hired a bunch of his friends to make specialty cakes with him. He does make cakes himself, but with most of the cakes, he divvies out the workload based on the skill of his employees. For instance, he gives the most skilled painters the cakes with a lot of food-coloring painting required, or the cakes that need gum paste figures, he may give to the best sculptors. And he has no problem telling any one of them that they have to make a certain cake, even if it’s one they aren’t looking forward to making. But he does it with a good-natured, “I know you can do it” chuckle.  He also has no problem telling people if something isn’t working right. That usually happens with interns, as opposed to his friends. But with his friends, the actual cake designers, they all kind of problem solve together, instead of taking the hierarchal approach. They all want to put the best cake out there, and if one of them is slacking, everybody pitches in to make it work. But if Duff got a bunch of whining from some of them about working late to fix it, he wouldn’t have any problem pulling rank. It works.

To me, it seems like Ms. Parks has hand-picked wonderful employees, and she should breathe easy knowing that they can do what they were hired to do. So, she may not be entirely “nonsubstitutable” (“the fewer the viable substitutes for a resource, the more power control over that resource provides” (Robbins, pg. 418)), since there are probably others in her employ that could technically create the marketing campaigns, she still likely has an edge as a very capable marketer. If it were me, I would try to see who could best serve the customer in each circumstance – whether it was me or not.

In explaining what makes her decisions hard, Parks said, “I hire good people, creative people, to run these projects, and I worry that they will see my oversight and authority as interfering with their creative process.” How can she deal with these concerns without giving up too much control?

Power is defined as, “a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes” (Robbins, pg ). In this case, Ms. Parks has the power to make whatever decisions in her own, private company that she wants, and her employees can go with it or leave (if she were fully capitalizing on the General Dependence Postulate “the greater B’s dependence on A, the more power A has over B” (Robbins, pg. 416)). But the text also states that “someone can…have power but not use it” (Robbins, pg. 412).

Expert Power is defined as, “Influence based on special skills or knowledge” (Robbins, pg. 415). While Ms. Parks should not micromanage (keep in control of every aspect of the job), she should retain her right to speak her piece in certain decisions. It is assumed that the reason owner Ms. Parks decided to remain the CEO of Sparks is that she believes she has something to offer. She likely has valuable knowledge and skills that she can contribute, and I don’t think she should apologize for using the expert power she has.

Now, while both Ms. Parks and her employees should realize that she has the final authority in all decisions of her company, and that she should not apologize for putting in her two cents when she feels she was something to offer, it would behoove her to try “speaking the truth in love” as Ephesians 4:15 says. The text seems to put that concept in the same category as political skill (“the ability to influence others in such a way as to enhance one’s objectives” (Robbins, pg. 421)), which has a manipulative connotation to it. The text also says that “[P]eople don’t like to feel others are manipulating them through impression management” (Robbins, pg. 423). But if what Ms. Parks said in the Case Incident (that she hires good and creative people) is true, then she shouldn’t have to lie, patronize her people, or do anything manipulative to smooth over any bristly subjects that may arise. It is legitimate to say, “Gina, I know you have a lot of experience in coming up with advertising slogans, and normally, I’d let you run with it, but I had an idea I really wanted to use. What do you think about this…?” Or “Gina, you have a real gift in coming up with advertising slogans, and you’ve shown it from day one – that’s why I hired you. But I think this particular demographic will find that slogan offensive. What if you try this…?” Those are not examples of “working over” Gina. That’s a CEO honestly giving her opinion, while being as diplomatic as possible. It’s pulling rank, but gently so. That’s a worthwhile skill to develop, whether you’re at the top or bottom of the chain of command.

Should executives try to control projects to maintain their position of authority? Do they have a right to control projects and keep in the loop on important decisions just so they can remain in charge?

The question “Should executives try to control projects to maintain their position of authority?” has two parts. I believe they should control whatever projects they deem necessary (hopefully, that is not a large portion of other people’s workload), but that doesn’t mean that they are only doing it to maintain their position of authority. I think if an executive felt he/she had something to contribute to a project, then, in the best interest of the company, they should probably say something. But if they felt like the situation would be fine without them, then they should back off. Now, for whether they “have a right to”, of course they do.  They’re the boss. But like I said in regard to the first question, that doesn’t mean that just because someone is exercising their authority that they’re on a power trip. They might be privy to more information than their subordinates. Maybe they aren’t and they just think they are correct. A mature employee won’t  automatically assume that just because his/her superior pulls rank that they are doing it out of their own insecurity. That’s what teenagers do. (“My math teacher gave me a D, he must be on a power trip!”) Mature people know that organizations need order to run effectively. In the case of Ms. Parks, she said she hired good people. Hopefully, by good she was implying that they are mature workers.Legitimate Power is defined as, “the power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization” (Robbins, pg. 415). As the owner and CEO of Sparks, Ms. Parks has the right to wield power in her company. If she is secure as a person, she shouldn’t have to go spell-checking every sticky note just to make herself feel important. But, like I mentioned about the way Duff Goldman manages his employees, that doesn’t mean that if she exercises her rightful authority, that she is doing that. It is her company, and if she wants to be in charge of every little detail, she can. Now, it would probably serve her better to delegate like I discussed earlier. But she should still be “in the loop” about important decisions. She shouldn’t feel like she should have to tiptoe around her temperamental artist employees lest they blow a gasket. But like I said in question 2, she could smooth things over a bit by employing some tactics. As long as she was being honest, utilizing certain forms of impression management (“the process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them” (Robbins, pg, 431), might prove helpful to her. For instance, she could use what the text calls “flattery” (“complimenting others about their virtues in an effort to make oneself appear perceptive and likeable” (Robbins, pg. 432) by saying, “Jonie, I love the banner you designed for The Randall Company’s trade show booth! It’s not too flashy, but it still draws attention. But I think if you spelled out the company’s name alongside their logo, it would help them instill better brand recognition.” If she was being honest about liking Jonie’s work, then that would be an ethical and likely effective way to say what she needed to say, all while still not stepping on Jonie’s toes.

What are some tasks in an organization that a top executive should never delegate to others?

I believe it would probably vary on a case by case basis, but in general, executives are primarily there for final decisions. That is their legitimate power, and it usually is done using their expert power (“influence based on special skills or knowledge” (Robbins, pg. 415)). Ms. Parks shouldn’t go up to her newest intern, or even her closest subordinate,  and ask him/her to “just make the decision for me” because I believe that would portray a poor image of her decision making skills, and therefore, her leadership “the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (Robbins, pg. 369). I do think it would sometimes be wise to get certain people’s opinions on the matter, if she felt she could benefit from them. But the final decision should be made by her. After all, she is the one who will be held responsible for the outcome – good or bad.

I also believe it is in poor taste to delegate personal responsibilities to subordinates. It is part of many people’s job descriptions to get coffee for their bosses. But anything more than that is getting a little “iffy” in my book. If it isn’t related to the job, and the executive doesn’t have a personal assistant entirely there to just make the executive’s life easier, then asking someone (like a secretary or really any other co-worker) to go get his tux cleaned because he is going to an event with his wife that night, is probably inappropriate. (If it was a work-related event, then that would be different.) But there are many cases, where executives, as well as other managers, have given their employees tasks that didn’t really have anything to do with work. I think that’s not just an abuse of power (though not as extreme, that is still the same category (an abuse of power (Robbins, pg. 424)) as is sexual harassment which is “any unwanted activity of a sexual nature that affects an individual’s employment and creates a hostile work environment” (Robbins, pg 421))), but a waste of company resources. To me, that’s just definitely something I would want to avoid.

CH 9 – Ethical Dilemma – Is Social Loafing Unethical?

Do group members have an ethical responsibility to report shirkers to leadership? If you were working on a group project for a class and a group member was social loafing, would you report this information to the instructor? Why or why not?

I’m sure it would depend on the situation, but in general, I would probably say, “No”. Unless I felt it was a major issue (like 2 out of 6 people doing all the work on a 100 page report), I don’t think I would report a social loafer. If they were just talking a lot and weren’t proactively involved, but did do what they were asked, I wouldn’t report them. I’m a non-confrontational person by nature, but I think it’s obvious for anyone that the more “official” you go with any complaints about your group members, the more hostile the group environment will be (which affects group cohesion – “the degree to which group members are attracted to one another and are motivated to stay in the group” (Robbins, 289)).

Also, I think it’s important to not go jumping the chain. Unless you’re dealing with a highly volatile person, I don’t think you should ever report anyone for shirking unless you try to talk to them about it first. Now, if they blow you off, then you would have to go to leadership.

Do you think social loafing is always shirking (failing to live up to your responsibilities)? Are there times when shirking is ethical or even justified?

What an interesting question! I never thought about it before. But there should always be at least a small “warm up” period at the beginning of most formal group work, where you get to know each other a little bit. The book defines this as part of the “forming stage” (and possibly the “storming stage”) of the “Five-Stage Group Development Model” (Robbins, 275) where people are just starting to get to know each other and figure out how the group will be structured. That’s working in a group of humans, not robots. If you make a few non-work-related comments periodically, throughout the work time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Try smiling. That’s good, too – though it’s not a part of streamlined, ideal work performance for robots. But friendliness is oil on the cogs for a human work group. As an introvert, I am always more comfortable in groups when we get to know each other a little better and are kind and personable. For me, when I’m comfortable and relaxed in a group, I feel like I can open up better and am more confident to communicate my ideas (an essential element of group work). Of course, good stuff can always turn into bad stuff by taking it to an extreme, though. Excessive gabbing is almost always counter-productive. But a little is actually probably a good thing for group cohesion and performance.

Now, that’s for social loafing (“the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually” (Robbins, 287)). But for technically “shirking”, I suppose it would be very rare, indeed, to be ethical. However (and I say this as a concession) but I guess if a group member/members was/were ultra-controlling and insisted on doing it all, the group project was turning out well, and you made it very clear that you were willing to contribute, then it may be in the best interest of peace to not participate much. In an extreme, all-or-nothing case like that, I would still talk to leadership about it, if I couldn’t resolve it with the group member (and then keep the peace as best as I could after leadership got involved). But if it was more of a gray area, like the controlling member/members tolerated hearing your ideas once in a while, but practically insisted on doing most of it or doing it their way (but still gave you a little to do), it may be in the best interest of the project to just let them do what they do.

If the point is that a project be completed (as in a work-related scenario), then that would probably be more applicable than in a class-related scenario (where it would be more about all the individuals involved getting an appropriate education). In the class-related scenario, it would seem more like it would matter more if everyone participated well. But, to me, the further into the gray you go (less control, more equally distributed work), the less of a problem it becomes, no matter if it’s a class or work-related scenario.

Social loafing has been found to be higher in Western, more individualist, nations than in other countries. Do you think this means we should tolerate shirking on the part of US students and workers to a greater degree than if it occurred with someone from Asia?

Of course not. That’s ridiculous. We should have the same standard of work ethic for everyone. We shouldn’t hold any group member more or less responsible for doing their job than anyone else. Diversity, in and of itself, is a gift. If a group has both US students and Asian or Israeli (Israel is a collectivist nation (Robbins, 287)) students/workers, the ones with the proclivity to loaf should draw inspiration from those that don’t. We shouldn’t just accept that some are “nationally bound to loaf”. That’s stupid and lazy. We should all strive to have the best work ethic and to expect that of ourselves.

Ethical Dilemma – Deciding to Cheat

Do you know classmates who have cheated in school? Have you ever cheated?

People have certainly cheated around me. People cheat at everything from miniscule assignments, to exams, to papers (not documenting). I feel very torn about it. I feel like, even though I know they would have blown me off, that I should have told them that they shouldn’t do that, or something. I was wondering if I should say something to the professor. I don’t know.

And I’m very sorry to admit that I have cheated, too. The first thing I remember regarding cheating wasn’t a graded assignment, but like the Ethical Dilemma states on page 179 of the text, “cheating is contagious”. The book states, “…cheating was most likely among students who reported having recently seen cheating and having friends who cheated”. I am not saying I am not responsible for my actions. But as a 2nd grader, having a 4th grader come and help you read a book in the hallway, if she tells you it’s fine to skip a lot of it, it sends a message. The message it sends is, “Why bother with all that effort?”. The next couple of years, I cheated on many assignments. It wasn’t that I wasn’t smart enough and couldn’t do the work. I was just lazy. Cheating essentially became my MO. I think it was finally in fourth grade when I couldn’t ignore God anymore, and I just felt so guilty I had to tell my parents. We went to my teacher (who was my teacher for both 3rd and 4th grade) and told her. It was really hard. It was absolutely my fault for allowing myself to sin like that. I knew it was wrong, but it was SO much easier! But I do think we need to realize the influence we can have on those around us. It wasn’t that girl’s fault that I became a serial cheater. If it wasn’t her, I’m sure it would have been someone else. We all have a tendency in us to do wrong. We have to make ourselves do what’s right. That was just an excuse to do something I knew I shouldn’t. But she did awaken me to a way of doing things that became my lifestyle for a couple of years. So, just as a lesson for ourselves, we should all just be very careful of our influence we have on others – especially those who look up to us.

And I know it’s a dorky term, but it’s also good to keep in mind that peer pressure can be an issue even if the other person isn’t a subordinate, or someone we would normally think looks up to us. In her book, “Live Original”, Sadie Robertson said she was once told, “Five seconds of awkward can save you from a lifetime of regret”. In the moment, someone else thinking we are some goody-two-shoes with no connection to reality if we don’t want to cheat seems to be so important. But it really isn’t. But the consequences that can happen due to even one bad decision, let alone the natural progression of compromise, can be very important.

The authors of one study noted that people feel they don’t need to be objective in evaluating potential cheaters when there are disclosures of unethical behavior. Do you agree? Why or why not?

I’m a little unsure of what this question is asking. But if it is asking if it’s important for a review committee to not be assuming the worst about a person accused of cheating ahead of time just because they have already have a record of cheating in the past, then that is certainly something to consider. If I was accused of cheating now, and I was convicted because someone found out I cheated before, that would seem a little bit harsh. Maybe I’ve got the same “self-serving bias” that the book references on page 169, and I just feel that way because it’s just my circumstance. I don’t know. But, on the other end of the spectrum if it’s someone, who at the same college, the same semester, was convicted of cheating multiple times, it does seem pretty remiss not to consider the possibility that he/she may be continuing his/her actions if he/she was accused again.

Still, I guess I feel like I agree with the book when it talks about how to be ethical, it’s important to “impose and enforce rules fairly and impartially to ensure justice” (Robbins, 188). (Though I do not agree with the definition of justice to be “an equitable distribution of benefits and costs”. It may not be what the authors meant when they wrote it, but that is a an extremely broad statement to cover all the specific instances that that word needs to cover. And it can and has been taken to a ridiculous extreme because too many people have taken that definition and run with it . For example, an Arby’s cashier thinking, “I work an 8 hour day, so I should get paid the same as a person who works 8 hours in any job. That’s fair distribution.” As the book continues to say on page 188, this mentality “can encourage a sense of entitlement”. It would be helpful for all if the definitions that people teach would not be so skewed as to equate “justice” (impartially looking at the facts of a situation in a case and not taking the person’s gender or any other unrelated fact into consideration) with “no consequences for any action” (giving the same wage to an entry level clerk that would be earned by an MBA) and thus negate the true meaning of the word entirely. Because, just like me, we all have a tendency to look for an excuse to do the wrong we know we shouldn’t. But I digress…). So I believe the committee should take the facts each case and each circumstance separately and review them objectively, within a reasonable doubt – not within a shadow of a doubt. In other words, they should use common sense, but still honestly look at each case separately. And that is not an easy task.

Do you think if we admitted it to ourselves when we cheated, we would be less likely to cheat in the future? Why or why not?

I absolutely agree that if we admitted it to ourselves when we cheated, that we would be less likely to do it in the future. If we just brush it off as “just a little fudge”, “no big deal”, “everybody does it”…etc., then it makes it easier for us to feel like there’s no problem for continuing the behavior. Then, as I pointed out in the first question, it can easily snowball into a much bigger issue. Soon, we can be so calloused to the idea of dishonesty, that it won’t matter how big the assignment or how blatant the cheating. But if we admit it to ourselves – hopefully early on – then we have to come face to face with the decision instead of waving it off as whatever and not thinking about it too much while it gains a foothold in our lives. Isn’t that what they say in those addiction programs? “The first step is admitting you have a problem”. I know that’s dorky, too. But there’s a lot of truth to that statement. The book mimics this idea when it talks about the poor lending/borrowing practices that contributed to the financial decline of 2008. “Lenders may have overlooked potential problems with borrowers’ accounts when making loans, and stock traders may have ignored information about potential problems with complex derivatives when making purchasing decisions. Once a loan has been paid off, lenders also selectively ignore the negative effects of debt, making them more likely to make unwise loans in the future” (Robbins, 183). If they (both the borrowers and the lenders) had been willing to see the truth in the beginning when it was presented to them (risky loans), they may have helped to save themselves (and a lot of other people) a lot of heartache in the long run.

CH 3 – Ethical Dilemma – Bounty Hunters

If you had reason to believe that someone was lying about an absence from work, do you think it would be appropriate to investigate? If so, by what methods?

First of all, I need to say that I believe in freedom. I personally do not like the idea of constant government surveillance on our citizens. But some monitoring, in some places, is appropriate.

Such is the case of a company being able to investigate whether they can trust their employees or not. So, yes, I do believe it falls within the appropriate rights of a company to investigate a possible fraudulent absence. It’s legal, but it’s also just. People are used to companies recording phone conversations with customers and videotaping everyone inside their own store. Investigating a suspicious absence is not really any different. The object is to protect the company.

But like recording other things, a company should be up front about it. They should state their policies upon hiring new employees. If investigation is a new policy, they should be very open about it and tell existing employees what and how they intend to monitor.

As for how they should be allowed to do it, I think anything legal is fine. Like the Ethical Dilemma brought up, they should be allowed to use pictures, social media posts, and testimony from others as evidence – like they would in any other fraudulent activity case. Page 90 of the text mentions employee hypocrisy in the area of surveillance being “sneaky”. Too many employees today want to use the same lame excuses that anti-establishment, post-modernistic fans like to impose on parents. (“What do you mean you found a gun in my backpack???  How dare you invade my privacy!”) That kind of thinking does not hold up many other places, and I believe that it’s harmful to children to allow that in the home. It breeds a young, new workforce that thinks their rights are more important than others’ rights.

And quite frankly, I think it’s quite naive in today’s technologically advanced society for us to think that we are not being recorded for much of our lives. There are cameras everywhere. And like the Dilemma puts forth, even PIs are out and about. As difficult and as against our nature as it is, we should strive to behave in secret like we would if anyone were watching. After all, they very well may be doing just that.

If excessive absenteeism is a real problem in an organization, are there alternatives to surveillance? If so, what are they, and do they have any limitations of their own?

I think trust is an important issue in any relationship, including working relationships. If a company believes they have a big problem with absenteeism, they should pursue it. If they do not want to undergo the tumultuous and costly endeavor of firing everybody and starting from scratch with a workforce they believe will be more honest and productive, then the logical course of action is to employ surveillance. But, like I said in answer to the previous question, I think a company should be up front and honest about what they intend to do and how they intend to do it. I think if a company wants to go to the expense of hiring a private detective to find the truth, that that is its right to do so. But I do think the company needs to be private and professional about their process and findings – not making the offender an object of ridicule or a victim of intimidation or coercion – until they present their evidence to management. Then they can let the employee know what they found and how they found it.

How might an organization help to curb sick leave abuse through its policies? How might administrators help or hinder effective implementation of those policies?

Like the text states in the Ethical Dilemma, some companies try to curb sick leave abuse by letting their employees roll-over their unused sick leave or voluntarily give it to another employee. If employees don’t feel like it will just go to waste if they don’t lie, then giving them an alternative in order to help patch-up their lapse in ethics would likely be helpful. Also, paying someone for the sick leave they don’t use is another great alternative.

Of course the way in which information is packaged is always important. If the company would project the idea that it believes sick leave is essentially money that belongs to the employee (by agreement when he/she was hired) by having management constantly encourage employees to either offer it to others or roll it over, would promote the atmosphere of a caring work environment. The use-it-or-lose-it vibe makes people feel like something that is theirs is going to be stolen unless they behave immorally. Not having those policies, or even never mentioning it if they do have it, can make the company seem clandestine and promotes an atmosphere where people – both upper management and those employees lower on the totem pole – are tempted to be in it for themselves. As the text says, this is exactly the environment that produces low job satisfaction, low job involvement, low employee engagement, and low organizational commitment. As the text implies on page 83, this atmosphere will likely result in a less profits for the company, because the people that run it just don’t care.

CH 1 – Ethical Dilemma

What is the starting salary you would give Gabriel? What salary represents the minimum offer you are willing to accept? If these two numbers are different, why?

Gabriel’s question was what I expected to make at this job. He did not ask me for the minimum amount I would be willing to take. I should tell the truth. The truth is that I should expect a well-producing company to pay a well-producing employee a healthy, but not exorbitant, salary. I do not believe I should “start high” so I could look like I’ve dropped further by the end of the haggling. I think I should say what I honestly think I am worth to this company.

That being said, being that this is my only known job offer (until I read question 2) and I am about to graduate, I would likely accept less than I think I am worth. This is because a) the amount Gabriel has in mind is probably still higher than any old entry-level job I could get and b) I apparently like everything else about this job and that is worth a lot to me. No matter what the pay is, working at a job I don’t like (as might be the case at another job) would detract considerably from my well-being. So it would probably be worth it to me to work for a little less if I enjoy my work day.

Does giving him something other than your “internal number” violate the company’s transparency culture? Why or why not?

No, it does not. A culture of transparency is to protect everyone from malicious deeds, as related to the company. It is not set in place to fully disclose everything about the lives of everyone involved. If I hated Gabriel’s tie, I would not be obligated by the transparency clause to tell him so. And just as Gabriel did not disclose the highest number he was willing to offer, I am not obligated to disclose my lowest number. Still, as I said before, by moral obligation if by nothing else, I should not “jack up” my starting number higher than what I think I am worth.

Would learning about the social issues regarding Hyde change my mind about taking the job?

First of all, I would investigate the issues as best as I could to make sure they were true. If I was fairly suspicious that they were indeed true, I would need to separate the two reported concerns.  On the basis of neglecting the environment, I would probably not take issue. The use of unfair labor practices, however, should be a deal breaker.

I do believe we should be good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to us. But much of the hype surrounding the environmentalist agenda equates the needs of people with the sustainability with everything in nature. (For instance, the people of practically a whole town in California a couple of years ago losing their jobs because they had to stop an industry that would ruin the habitat of some tiny fish.) I do not believe we should put the needs and “sustainability” of humans on par with the “sustainability” of nature. That does not mean I think one should abuse that power. We should not needlessly destroy anything in nature, and we should do our best to recycle and use less – for many reasons. But I do not gasp every time I hear about environmental problems with corporations because I believe the environmentalists are constantly overreacting.

Now, for the sake of people being used and abused, I absolutely take issue. I have a major problem with forced/poorly compensated and/or child labor. Human life is precious, and people should not take advantage of anyone. Assuming I considered this claim possibly true (there are some people who are slanderers, so you can’t jump at every accusation), I would choose to disregard the offer from Hyde. I would not work for a company that used these practices.

Then again, to be honest, like they said on page 17 of the text, “many in the United States wear clothes made in China” [where labor is available for 30 cents/hr]. So, yes, I would like to believe I would not take the job, but I am sitting here in my clothes that are likely made with poorly compensated labor. What’s the difference? Not much, I’m afraid.

About Me

My name is Jamie Whitesell, and I’m a 32 yr old, married mom of 4. I live in Chugiak, AK, and I’m a Marketing Major at UAA. I’ve worked in lots of fields. In high school, I did food service and janitorial work. After HS, I went into the Air Force for a year and a half. In my 20s I did a couple of jobs as a temp doing inventory work. Later I got a job working in the FedEx Anchorage Hub warehouse, and I worked in promotions and at the front desk for a TV station. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since about 2006. In December 2013, I got my Associate’s Degree. I’m trying to finish my Bachelor’s now.

I’m not sure what God has planned for me, but I like Promotions a lot. I don’t know if that means working in an advertising agency, working in a company’s or organization’s promotions department, or even just knowing that aspect of a business really well so I can properly manage a business of my own.

But listen to your parents, kids. Finish your degree ASAP. It’s so much harder and/or slower when you’re older and you have other responsibilities.