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An ethical dilemma

I was having a look at some of the recent discussions on the CIPD Member LinkedIn Group, and I came across an ethical dilemma posted by Maurice Collis. I thought it was an interesting one, so am re-posting here, for your perusal! There was a lively debate about this on the original post: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/106184 (Please note - this is a members only group, although any CIPD member can request to join)

Leadership Dilemma: You are the CEO of a major company and yesterday one of your young "high potentials" secured a gold star contract. It was a major victory for him, you could say global. You went to bed well pleased. But in the morning you woke up to a phone call from your PA who asked you to switch on the TV news. There you see your young star caught on camera wreaking mild havoc in a street and being restrained. Your company's name is linked with the anti social behaviour and criminal damage. What do you do? He has a great future - or did. Do you fire or discipline and keep under watch?

Note: Based on a real case you may all know about from Rio, of course

Another little FYI - this particular part of the community is open to the public :)

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  • Is the ethical angle to this whether or not one should consider an employee's value to the organization when taking disciplinary action? That seems like a no-brainer to me, but maybe I'm unethical.

    But when we are considering disciplinary action following cases of bringing an organization into disrepute, surely we think it's sensible to consider the degree of reputational damage inflicted by the behaviour, as well as the level of criminality in cases of actual criminal misconduct. If so, then it seems equally sensible to look at it from the other angle: we balance the equation of "impact if they stay" against "impact if they leave" and reach our conclusions based on that analysis.
  • I don't see much if any ethical dilemma in such circumstances - it's just another thing that needs an effective, balanced and proportionate response.

    Recall a colleague who was a very able employee but uncommonly over fond of intoxicating beverages, such that once, in a big Moscow hotel in the Cold War / Soviet era, his colleagues returning to the hotel after a night out encountered him slumped stark naked and very much the worse for wear in one of the hotel lifts h and a couple of Russian ladies he'd been in company with for the evening beating a hasty and furtive retreat. No ethical dilemmas or formal disciplinaries ensued, but when back home he was left in absolutely no doubt that if he did it or any like it ever again his illustrious career would be at an end.