The case study that I have chosen is the Conflict of Interest: Case study 2. As it mentioned in the case study, Hardeep who is the IT manager in a government department with more than 500 staff members and six branches across Australia. He received the two offers from company A and company B of the proposal (RFP) for the procurement of the software for the new ERP system. Now he is in an ethical dilemma when he has to choose the best offer, as he found out the offer who made by Mandeep is the general manager of company B is his best friend. He discovered that the offer from company A is better than company B. He realized that company B’s software may require more modification where to increase the total cost. To resolve this conflict of interest, I would like to use Thomas White’s Framework. Thomas White’s framework for ethical decision making should be more useful to deal with situations in dilemma.
White’s framework states:
· Analyze the consequences and collecting necessary information.
· Analyze the actions.
· Making the final decisions.
01. Analyze the consequences and collecting necessary information. In Thomas White’s framework, the first task is to analyze the consequences by answering following questions.
· Who will be helped by this decision?
· Who will get hurt by the decision?
· What type of benefits or harms will cause?
· How does all of this look over the long run as well as the short run?
According to these answers from above questions, Hardeep has two options and their respective consequences are different. By analyzing both options as follows,
01. Hardeep can accept the offer from company A, being professional and fair to his workplace. According to the ACS Code of Conduct, Hardeep follows “The primacy of the public interest- identify those potentially impacted by your work and explicitly consider their interests” It shows how he places the public interests and benefits at top priority. Overall, the outcome will be a good for all employees and management of the department to receive the profit. On the other hand, his best friend might not be happy and the Hardeep’s decision can affect the friendship between them.
02. Hardeep can accept Mandeep’s offer from company B as considering their friendship. According to the ACS Code of Conduct, Hardeep follows “The enhancement of quality of life- Attempt to increase the feelings of professional satisfaction, competence, and control of those affected by your work” In this situation, even though Hardeep has to help his friend, but at the same time, then he will be unfair to the whole department by losing big profit which can be gained by Company A.
02.Analyze the actions.
According to the code of conduct, “ACS Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct “Honesty- Reject, and will not make, any offer of bribery or inducement” It mentions that the importance of being honest in the service you provide and it tells not be partial when it comes to making decisions. According to my opinion, Hardeep should be fair to the company and give the priority to the welfare of the department instead of thinking about the personal relationships. Accepting a right offer will benefit the welfare of the whole department. As an example, “ACS Code of Conduct- Honesty: distinguish between your professional and personal opinions and advice”
describes that Hardeep should take honest decisions behalf of the company and need to clear perspectives about the difference between professional and personal
03. Make the final decisions.
The decision should be based on the analysis of both the consequences and actions. Furthermore, it’s important to take the final decision by considering the ethical, legal and professional aspects of the scenario. According to the ACS code of conduct – the Public Service Act 1999, If the employee makes an inappropriate use of their duties, power, status or authority to show favor in their personal relationships, this action is considered as illegal. If Hardeep considers the ACT 1999, He should accept the offer from company A by being honest and professional to his department. By considering, ACS Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct “Professionalism – take a calm, objective, informed and knowledgeable stance on your professional work, complementing your enthusiasm and engagement in it”, it will be more important for Hardeep to act professionally without misusing his powers of the employment, take right decision by accepting offer from company B. Moreover, he should be able to explain his friend Mandeep that he cannot work against rules and regulations, be unfair to the department and also the importance of giving priority to his professional life.
There are some laws and legislation which are applicable to this scenario. The main federal law, the Competition, and Consumer Act 2010 (Legislation.gov.au, 2016 ensures that the trading is fair for business, customers and stakeholders. According to this scenario, company A and B will be stakeholders and Hardeep’s final decision should be transparent. If he misses his work power and be unfair to the department, company A has full authority to take legal actions against Hardeep’s department according to the above law and legislation. At the same time, according to the ACS Code of Ethics “Competence- work competently and diligently for the stakeholders”, Hardeep’s responsibility as an employee is to be fair for the stakeholders by taking right decisions.
In conclusion, I believe that Hardeep’s final decision will have an influence on the functioning of his company. The software which Hardeep’s department was trying to purchase should be easily accessible to the company employees and should be the best service for a reasonable price. Therefore, Hardeep should act ethically, professionally and faithfully to his company and to his colleagues by accepting company A’s offer. Hence, the role of Thomas White’s framework in resolving such situations in an ethical dilemma is instrumental indeed.
White, T. (2016). Resolving an Ethical Dilemma, viewed on 25th January 2017, http://bourbon.usc.edu/engr102-f09/ethics.pdf Accessed 8 Oct. 2016
ACS Code of Professional Conduct. (2014). 2nd ed. Australian Computer Society, pp.5-8.
ACS Code of Ethics. 2nd ed. Australian Computer Society, pp.1.