Some ethical issues are very easy to understand such as don’t steal and respect others. However, when it comes to the market, the dilemma of what is right and wrong is quite a blur. Kelly Meyers has spent much time gathering information about an important bid for her company. Additionally, time is not on her side as she must submit the bid tomorrow for final decision making that shall occur the next week. Meyer’s boss wants her to contact the agent, Williams, to enquire about the other bidders since this information could help her prepare the bid. She visits with Williams, and she is in a position that she could access the information when Williams goes to see her boss. But, she is in an ethical dilemma trying to decide what is right or wrong concerning the information on the desk.
Q1. What are the ethical issues involved in this situation?
The ethical issues in this situation are those of trust and confidentiality. Firstly, Williams trusts Meyer not to access the folder as she leaves it on the desk. Also, Meyer is aware that the information about other bidders is confidential. Therefore, she has the responsibility not to access the folder for the information she needs. Thus, the need for trust, and the type of trust needed depends on this situation Meyer is in. On the other hand, the company trusts Meyer to keep the information on the other bidders confidential. But she leaves the information on the desk which an action she could have avoided in the first place. Maybe, Williams chooses to trust Meyer with confidential information through leaving it on the desk.
Q2. If you were Kelly Meyers, do you think Janet Williams intended for you to see the competitive bids? What would you have done, given this situation? Why?
As Kelly Meyers, I think Janet Williams intended that I see the competitive bids as she left them on the desk where I would easily access them. She could have returned the folder to the filing cabinet before she could see her boss. In this situation, I would be facing an ethical dilemma of whether to access or not to access the folder containing the information. But, I would access the folder to see the other bidders’ information to assist in preparing the bid. I would access the folder since in some situations one needs to focus on the results and not the means of delivering the results. As seen, Meyer focused on the results and not the means of delivering the results as she knew her bid was the lowest, and she won the bid. To her, it did not matter how she got the information she needed as long as she got the information.