Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the Case of Scott McClellan and Workplace Ethics . . .

U.S. News features a story from June 3, 2008 that discusses George W. Bush's former press secretary Scott McClellan's new book and whether loyalty to a supervisor is more important than demonstrating ethical behavior on the job. An interview with law professor Stephen Goldman, author of Temptations in the Office: Ethical Choices and Legal Obligations, is featured. Goldman mentions that if someone knows about unethical actions at work, they can say nothing, speak up, or quit that job. However, he notes that many people don't have the luxury of jeopardizing their current employment, so they keep quiet.

Interestingly, Goldman points out that the Bush administration didn't dispute McClellan's comments, but accused him of being "disloyal" to the president. The best way to inspire workers to be ethical is to make sure the top brass act with integrity and say that they expect their employees to do the same, he continues. Furthermore, he adds that everyone in the company should take responsibility for their actions and not blame others for lapses in judgment.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Is loyalty to your supervisor more important than speaking up for fairness and honesty?
  2. Would you work for a business that doesn't value honesty and fairness as long as they paid you an outstanding wage?
  3. Did you ever report wrongdoing on the job either anonymously or directly to a supervisor? What was the result?

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