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Factors Influencing Jimmy's Ethical Decisions

Question:

Discuss About The Insidier Information On Former Employer?

This paper examines the concept of ethical decision model (EDM) in the context of the Jimmy Griffith case study where he is hired by an e-commerce firm, after having worked for a Fake News online news company where standards and activities bordered on the unethical and criminal. After his first job with Hullaballo and the subsequent cases that happened there (databases hacked); Jimmy has found a new job with an e-commerce company where he is involved with a variety of projects. His job involves the dvelopment of web based user intterfaces for order entry for clients. Jimmy got this job because of his previous work in the Reaper data collection project where the company collected demographic information about clients for onward use for commercial gain. The system worked by ensuring people registering had to give a lot of unnecessary information, and the terms of the user agreement was that Hullaballoo reserved the right to sell of this information to third parties. This fulfilled a legal requirement, but was not ethical. Jimmy’s bos quit and Jimmy acted in his capacity until a decision was made by the board. Of the three developers Jimmy works with, two are incompetent and he is forced not to revenw the contract for Dev A, who was incompetent, but hired by his former boss, Alec. Alec makes a unique (unethical) request to Jimmy to cancel a performance review and lie that Dev A had no issues with performance, requests that Jimmy declines. The project slips and is halted, and subsequently cancelled and the entire develop team is released. Jimmy finds another job eventually, after failing to get a job (interview cancelled) because of a bad rumour about him orchestrated by Alec. Jimmy now works for a competitor of the e-commerce company that hired him and the CEO invites him for lunch at an exclusive networking club. He is faced with another ethical challenge where he si required to release pricing secrets from his former employer and faces the prospect of working with Alec!

Factor 1: False information and collusion- Alec wants Jimmy to lie about the technical skills and competencies of Dev A, because he (Alec) would want to hire him in future and to retract the request for a performance review. Alec has also instigated damaging information about Jimmy that led to his intervew for a job being cancelled

Priority List of Ethical Issues

Factor 2; Theft of proprietary information from former employer - This is a serious legal issue ; while he has a new job with the prospects for personal growth and development, the CEO wants him to reveal the pricing secrets of his former employer when bidding; Jimmy knows being competitors, this is illegal as it amounts to theft. Being an ex employee, he would be stealing the former employers’ company secrets and handnh them over to his new employer for personal gain (career development). Given that the pricing formula is information that should be legally protected as it is not apparent or even easy to figure out by anyone else except employees. Further, knowledge on the pricing strategy by the former employee would result in legal inquests if there is suspicion, and this has happened with both large and small firms, resulting in conviction and legal compensation (Henricks, 2013)

Factor 3: Falsifying information on technical competence of a colleague: Alec wants Jimmy, through a closed meeting request, to say that there are no issues with the technical and professional competence of Dev A, which would be violating the ACS code of ethics that in terms of honesty, professionalism, and the primacy of public interest (‘ACS Code of Ethics’, n.d)

Factor 4: Insider report on former employer, especially on pricing model- The new boss, after inviting Jimmy to a sumptuous lunch in an exclusive club, asks him to make a detailed report on his former employer and the implied reward is for personal and professional (career) development operations and even nomination to the membership of the exclusive club where most people develop invaluable networks.

Factor 5: He is facing the prospect of having to work with Alec, someone Jimmy knows to have issues with integrity, professionalism, and honesty (Aynsley, 2015). Alec has previously asked Jimmy to lie and act unethically and professionaly by not raising issues about the prfessional competence of Dev A and not to request for a performance review

Factor 6: Refusal to act unethically on Alec’s request: Jimmy refused unethical and unprofessional requests by Alec not to request for a performance evaluation and to lie about the professional competenece of Dev A, yet this factor led to a contract being halted and eventually cancelled.

Factor 7: Offer for professional development and membership to exclusve club: Jimmy has just been offered the opportunity for career development, something he really needs given the past issues he has had to face leading to loss of his job. He will also get membership to the exclusve club which will help advance his career and social standing from the numerous networking opportunities. But there is a caveat; he is expected to give detailed insider information on his former employer to a competitor he is working for at present

Conclusion

According to the EDM, personal factors are looked in terms of personality and repreent aspects for a person environment that have an effect on their sense of morals and how one deals with issues regarding professional, employment, and social challenges. This study brings out some personal factors of jimmy

Factor 8: refusing to be complicit in an unethical issue – In the past, Alec has demonstrated his unprofessionalism, asking Jimmy to lie about the professional competence of a colleague and the need for a review to have closure on a cancelled project.

Factor 9: Being employed based on performance for an unethical company- Jimmy got a second job with an e-commerce company based solely on his skills and work in the Reaper project, where customer details were captured using interfaces he developed. Yet the reaper project engaged in unethical behavior and were purveyprs of fake news. However, Jimmy has not picked the ‘bad’ habits fro his intercations with past employers or colleagues with unethical behavior, including his new boss who has asked for a detailed report on his former employer. 

Factor 10: Professionalism and Ethical Standards; Jimmy has had several encounters that were unethical, and downright illegal.  While working for the first employer, he was faced with an incomeptenet developer and bad work prcatices, for whichh he sought an audit. Despite being pushed to put the matter under wraps and lie about te professional cmpetence of a colleague, Jimmy declined such requests from Alec. These issues show that Jimmy observes and has ingrained in him, the provisions of the ACS code of conduct. He refuses to endeorse Dev A due to his observed incompetence; this is provided for in the ACS code of conduct on profesiionalis, honesty, and  reverence for the primacy of public interest. SO he has done a lot to resist unethical practice, despite having a background working in an environment that was not particulalrly ethical (Hullaballoo).

The list below prioritizes the issues raised and discussed in the analysis of the case study (part 2). The prioritization is a ranking of the issues from those that are of a higher priority to those of low priority. This hierarchical ranking is essential in better understanding of the ethical issues in the case and what should be done. Based on the EDM process, leagl issues are ranked highest because of its higher repercussions

Factor

Related Issue

1

Theft and sharing of proprietary information

Information theft for personal gain

2

Lying and complicity in passing an incompetent person as being competent

False information

3

Falsifying information and collusion to act unprofessionally

False information

4

Obtaining and passing on insider information from a former employer to another party

Information protection

5

Working with Alec despite past history of unethical bhavior and professional misconduct

Professional development

6

Declining to collude in falsifying information and professional misconduct

Work ethics and professional conduct

7

Professional and acreer development but with a requirement to share insider informaton from former employer

Ethical dilemma

8

Refusing to be complicit in illegal and unprofessional/ unethical behavior

Honesty and primacy of public interest

9

Professionalism and ethical standards are ingrained in Jimmy, despite working in environments that do not promote such behavior

Professional ethics

10

Table 1: Priority List

Jimmy is faced with a huge decision to make; he has a chance for excellent career development at his new employer; he has even been promised nomination to an exclusive members club where he can network professionally and advance his development. However, he has to make a deyailed insider report on his former employer especially on pricing, which the competitor would use for future bidding strategies. This is coming from none other than the company CEO, which speaks volumes about the ethical and profesional culture at his new company. There is also the prospect of having to work with Alec again, which puts Jimmy in a huge moral dilemma, given his past experiences with Alec. Jimmy has had to deal with serious cases f professional misconduct that have in cases seen him lose a job ane be a victim of backk biting. Giving detailed insider infrmation from his former employer to a new employer may attarct legal and professional repercussions from the former employer and will inevitably get him into more problems. Yet he has an excellent opportunitu for career and social development at the new employer, if only he cooperates with the Ceo and does something unethical, and bordering on the criminal. The best thing for Jimmy to do is to face up to the CEO and cordially raise his concerns with that kind of business approach Jimmy can give the CEO reasons for the same, including the risk of legal action (criminal and civil), that will cost the company much more. Jimmy should also indicate to the CEO about Alec and his past incidents with him and how this could affect their relationship. This disclosure may help persuade the CEO, and after all, Jimmy should convince the CEO that with his skills and past performances, even at Hullaballoo, they can still offer clients the solutions they need. However, if these fail, then Jimmy should decline the position and the club memmbership offer; job openings will inevitably and eventually come from firms that are ethical and offer Jimmy a real oportunity for professional and personal growth, without the threat of legal and ethical repercussions.

The EDM model was applied to identify and rank issues and factors relating to the jimmy case scnario and made the decision that is most ethical and poses little or no danger now and in future, based on the rankings of the issues discussed. The important factor that are of interest in the case scenario include legal and professional issiues in the context of the ACS code of ethics, personal responsibility and what the law says. The important factors in case include the need to remain professional and ethical despite the circumstances; jimmy has consistently sought to be profesional and cat based on ethical principles; he declined to falsify information on Dev A, even at the insistence of Alec. He also asked for an evaluaton of performance, and remained cool, even when Alec blackmailed hime and led to his job interview being cancelled. The issues were prioritized based on their impact/ effect and  the likelihhood of happening. Legal factors were given the higest priority because they can lead to fines and jail sentences, as well as getting banned from professional bodies. Information theft fr personal gain (career and social growth) became the most important legal factor and it was a major factor in influencing the final decision made.  Some factors, such as personal and intrinsic issues were less important because their consequences in terms of legal and professional repercussions. For instance, being ethically inclined will not have as serious reoercusions as engaging in criminal acts

Conclusions

Jimmy got a job at an e-commerce firm, based on reputation for working for a non-ethical company. The boss (Alec) then resigned abruptly, but left staff that Jimmy continued to work with. Of the three developers, two had issues with competenec; Dev A was outright incompetent, while Dev B had challenges settling in and getting used to the work enviornment. This caused project slippage and halting of a project, that led to a client project being cancelled. Jimmy ensured the contract of Dev A was not renewed, and ordered an investigation; Alec nmade a strange request that Jimmy cancels the performance review and to lie that Dev A was competent. Jimmy refused such proposals, but at a cost, Alec instigated bad rumours about hime, eventually causing his job interview to be cancelled. Jimmy then got a new job with a competitor of his former employer and the CEO has now offered him an excelleny opportunity for carer growth, along with a chance for recommendation to membership at their exclusivve club; this would offer him great opprtunities for networking and further professional growth. But the CEO wants Jimmy to give a detailed insider report on his former employer, which is both unethical and illegal. Further, the company will hire Alec. The decision reached is that Jimmy should raise his concerns cordially with the CEO and be hinest with him; if the CEO changes his mind, well and good, bt if not, then Jimmy should resign

References

'ACS Code of Ethics' (n.d.). ACS Code of Ethics. [online] ACS Code of Business Ethics. Available at: https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/acs-documents/Code-of-Ethics.pdf [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].

Aynsley, B. (2015). The importance of ethical conduct. [online] Theaustralian.com.au. Management at: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/opinion/ethics-essential-for-ict-professionals/news-story/78307af0586683a61e7a0d537c5f6cf8 [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].

Henricks, M. (2013). What Happens When an Ex-Employee Steals Company Secrets?. [online] OPEN Forum. Available at: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/sue-an-ex-employee-for-stealing-company-secrets/ [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].

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