Big companies and corporations usually encounter ethical dilemmas related to various aspects of the working environment. Human resource management, financial operations, or cooperation with external partners can cause certain ethical issues. In such cases, it is important to follow the ethical standards and norms to overcome potential conflicts and solve problems. However, certain issues have controversial and doubtful nature, which makes it difficult to find optimal and relevant solutions. This paper analyzes “A Small Matter of Trimming” by Grant Russell and Duane Kennedy, identifies the ethical dilemma within the case, and suggests probable solutions for the conflict.
In their work, G. Russell and D. Kennedy describe a case study that analyzes the peculiarities of the collaboration with a big company. The latter is responsible for controlling the beer market in the majority of provincial stores and shops. Correspondingly, it pretends to get the lion share of the profits and ignores potential competitors and rivals. However, the development of microbrewers leads to the appearance of new products that start to enter the market. As a result, the company is looking for the legal ways of eliminating the influence of the new competitors and establishing its previous control of the local market. The company needs to gather the relevant statistics and data that could help it address the government regarding the activities of microbrewers.
Tracy and Denise, Dentrac Consultants, Inc.’s founders, received the task to prepare the necessary data. Both of them understand the responsibility and significance of this assignment and its role in their personal growth. Obviously, they want to meet the requirements of the new partner and explore new opportunities. However, after a thorough examination, Tracy reveals that the actual data does not suit the demands of the company, as it does not provide them with any relevant evidence or support of their claims. As a result, Tracy faces the ethical dilemma of either revealing the truth and threatening personal profits or fixing the data to meet the requirements of the customer.
Therefore, in this case, it is possible to observe the ethical dilemma between personal interest and legal verification of the data. Moreover, it is a conflict between the professional duties and individual expectations. Tracy had to choose between the preservation of data credibility and personal chances of getting a promotion and recognition of a big company. Additionally, the ethical dilemma occurred because of the insignificance of data fixing. Tracy did not have to trim important information but just exclude some data from the final report. Thus, she could regard it as a minor fixing of data, which could never catch the attention of critics and experts.
It is best to use the utilitarian approach to find the solution for the ethical dilemma under analysis. This approach evaluates the moral side of ethical dilemmas (Mill 32). According to it, it is essential to consider the results and consequences of every action to define their wrongness or rightness (Fraser 62). In the case, Tracy decided to trim the data. However, she should have refused trimming the data and should have provided the actual statistics. That is because fixing the data could have influenced not only the current report but also the future discussions of the market statistics. Moreover, her actions could have altered the perception of the situation with microbrewers and underestimation of their roles in the market. Besides, even minor changes in the data can be revealed in the course of a thorough check, which could result in the serious penalties for Tracy.
Overall, Tracy should have focused on the preservation of the professional and legal ethics and should have avoided any manipulations with the data for the sake of personal enrichment. In such a way, Tracy could avoid bad reputation and penalties from the company and prove her high professionalism and reliability. Additionally, the professional fulfillment of duties could provide her with new attractive work offers in the future.
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