The ethics of speaking up... what would you do?

Wednesday 8 July, 2020
by Jodi O'Callaghan
You've been part of a team working on a large and complex project. You have heard that a fairly major error has shown up as part of the financials for the project.

The colleague your manager is blaming is someone you do not particularly get along well with. You feel he is incompetent and you have a suspicion - which you cannot prove - that he has embezzeled funds from your company.

You feel that it would benefit your company for your colleague to be 'let go' and him being blamed for such a major error may - along with other factors - contribute to this happening.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

  • What ethical considerations would you give to your decision-making? 
  • Who are you most accountable to?

We challenge you to create a healthy discussion with your colleagues and post a comment below. You could even encourage them to consider taking The Banking and Finance Oath!

Please share your ethical dilemmas with us - we can post them anonymously. You can email your dilemmas to  dilemma@thebfo.org

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Comments

There are 9 comments for The ethics of speaking up... what would you do? .

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Wednesday 20 March, 2019
by Jellina White
If I was at fault I would own up to it and look st ways to fix the issue. So far as the potential of embezzlement I would mention this in separate context to enable the company to do their own investigations. At least I had given a heads up about it.

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Wednesday 20 March, 2019
by Ross Langford
If I was at fault I would own up to the error, apologise & not make excuses. I recently made an error in my work which affected a colleague. I immediately published a correction & apologised.

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Wednesday 20 March, 2019
by BR
Most people wouldn't openly say anything contrary to the obvious here; which is to own up to causing the issue, and to deal with the separate issue of embezzlement and incompetence in other forums. But the reality is most people will allow the other to take the fall, particularly if they have been personally affected by the person's behaviour and assuming there is limited chance of the blame being traced back to them. Only a culture that tolerates failure (as part of the personal and organisational learning process), and encourages accountability (like being able to safely admit those failures) will make its people act ethically and responsibly. And yes - it is a shame that such enticements are needed...

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Wednesday 20 March, 2019
by David Armstrong
If it was my error I would 1st of all own up to it. Secondly , I would bring up the fact that if the blame had been directed to the other person I would discuss with my superiors my concerns, but not lay blame.

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Thursday 21 March, 2019
by Kelly-Ann Harvey
I would acknowledge my manager's concerns about the colleague, but take full responsibility for the error immediately.

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Thursday 21 March, 2019
by Richard Hincks
Firstly separate the 2 issues raised to enable each to be attended to without the other imposing. On the error would own up to it and work through what the consequences are. Would try to provide a few changes for management to consider ways to reduce these errors occurring in future. As for the embezzlement would raise via the appropriate channel within the company. Management in first instance.

What would you do? Your weekly ethical dilemma challenge

Monday 1 April, 2019
by Alex Sell
So, 'what' the right thing to do is pretty obvious but we know that in practice that isn't always straightforward. We need to understand 'why' the right thing is important because that will help us guide our response in practice. For example, how can I trust my organsation in relation to its treatment of me and others if it is willing to treat this colleague this way; how does not properly investigating the issues potentially lead to them recurring with all the consequences that flow from that; and, what message does it send more broadly on ethical matters - that they are malleable depending on what simply suits us!?

Re: The ethics of speaking up... what would you do?

Thursday 9 July, 2020
by DC
I'd lodge my suspicions for the embezzlement via the Whistle Blower hotline or maybe tell my Manager, depending on how good my relationship is with him/her. As far as saying something about the error and the blame being laid apon a colleague that I do not get along with, I would stay out of it and let the internal enquiry take it's course.

Re: The ethics of speaking up... what would you do?

Friday 10 July, 2020
by Matt
I agree with Alex Sell. The actions of the manager, whose responsibility it is to manage and oversee the project details, are somewhat concerning. The fact that the manager is allowing something as sensitive as their thoughts around who is to blame out in the open casts doubt on their manager's ethical compass and does not exhibit leadership. If they get rid of said employee, who is to say that you are not the next on the chopping block if something else goes wrong.

I agree with BR around the need to ensure that employees feel supported enough through errors and not 'burned at the stake' to be able to admit mistakes and learn from them. This allows ethics to flourish as people do not fear failure or feel cornered to the point of unethical behaviour to cover their tracks.

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