Professional Enviorment Essay Example

Professional Environment and Ethics

Is there an ethical dilemma?

Alice is an ACE systems employee with great knowledge and expertise on corporate problem solving. Specializing in systems security software, she developed an anti-virus to secure ACE systems hardware and software platforms. However, Ted did not support Alice’s quest to safeguard the ACE’s systems and unfairly dismisses her. In agreement with Ted, Sheila maintains that the dismissal was in order. Busta learns of Alice’s work and solicits her expertise. Ted and Sheila are torn between re-hiring Alice or explaining to Busta that the company does not need the security program.

The major stakeholders are Alice, Ted, Bulletin Board, Sheila and Busta. While Alice provides innovative services to ACE systems, she expects fair treatment. Ted expects respect and obedience from junior staff as Sheila looks for strong followership and adherence to formal structures and attitudes. Bulletin board is interested in what is trending and exciting in the industry. Busta desires a stable and cohesive team as well as quality, thinking power and expertise.

Ted decided to dismiss Alice, which could be deemed unfair, while Sheila upheld the decision, yet their boss needs her services and innovativeness constituted an ethical dilemma. First, Ted was furious that Alice went ahead to implement her security software systems outside ACE systems. Second, Sheila will feel embarrassed that they have to re-hire Alice. Finally, it would be disrespectful to Busta if Alice is not hired.

Four-step ethical analysis and decision making process

Step I: Understanding the situation

A1: List and number the relevant facts

  1. Alice is a systems developer at ACE systems in charge of networks, security and programming.

  2. Alice is a well-known problem solver within and outside ACE systems and understands challenges that the company is facing

  3. Alice developed an anti-virus program with features such as screens and graphics, GUI, back-up procedures, capacity to destroy old and new viruses.

  4. After several trials on the software, Alice approaches Ted, her manager to support her vision of buying and implementing the program with ACE systems.

  5. Ted dims Alice’s quest to have the program implemented and his decision is supported by Sheila, Ted’s immediate boss.

  6. Alice decides to host her program privately as Lock-Smith under Bulletin board, a move that makes Ted fire her at ACE systems.

  7. Increased demand for Lock-smith’s program attracts the attention of internet users and Bust Bigwig, the owner of ACE systems.

  8. Busta prevails on Sheila to hire Lock-smith, actually Alice, to ACE systems as her expertise was urgently needed in the company.

A2: Ethical issues raised and the potential or resulting harm

Potential or resulting harm

Alice sells her innovation to the same company one works in. Amounts to conflict of interest.

Ted along with Sheila discourages Alice. Kills team innovativeness and creativity

Alice’s contribution is diverted from ACE systems.

Will Ted and Sheila work cohesively if Alice is re-hired?

A3: List of stakeholders involved

  • Alice, program developer at ACE systems

  • Busta Bigwig, owner of ACE systems

  • Ted, Head of IT security at ACE systems

  • Sheila silk, IT manager at ACE systems

  • Bulletin board systems

  • Lock-smith and Look-ahead

  • Internet users and ACE customers

Step II: Isolate the major ethical dilemma

The ethical dilemma is whether Sheila should offer Alice, Lock-smith, a position at ACE systems to bring in innovation and creativity, as desired by Busta Bigwig, even after agreeing to her dismissal previously.

Step III: Ethical Analysis


A: If Sheila offers Alice a position at ACE systems who will be harmed? Ted’s discretion to hire and fire is violated. This will affect the team’s cohesiveness.

B: If Sheila does NOT offer Alice a position at ACE systems who will be harmed? ACE systems will be run down by viruses. This will lead to lower productivity, low reputation and damage to the brand. Furthermore, security of ACE systems documents and files will be at risk.

C: Alternative B has the least harm

D: If Sheila offers Alice (Lock-Smith) a position at ACE systems, all the employees, customers, internet users and the management would benefit

E: If Sheila does not offer Alice (Lock-Smith) a position at ACE systems, Ted and ACE systems competitors will benefit.

F: Alternative D provides the maximum benefit

Consequentialism comments (C & F)

The entire ACE systems will run down into losses from due to loss of data and other classified information. This means Busta, Ted and Sheila will also be negatively affected. Selecting A and F give maximum benefits to ACE systems while E is catastrophic as it will only serve to massage the egos of Ted and Sheila as the company losses in innovation.

Rights and duties:

G: List of neglected duties and relevant abridged rights

  1. Alice has a right to fair hearing and lawful dismissal. Ted has a duty to tell her rights and the reasons as to her grounds of dismissal.

  2. Alice has a duty of offering total attention to her employer. Ted has a right to demand her obedience.

  3. Sheila has the duty to review unfair dismissal. Ted has a right to free conscience and decision making.

  4. Alice has a duty to protect the assets of ACE systems. Busta has the right to request her help.

  5. Alice has no right to sell innovative services to ACE systems while employed there. Busta has the duty of fostering teamwork and individual contribution by team members.

Rights and duties and comments

The duties and rights in the case study are in conflict. For example, Alice does not know her rights as employee and ACE systems management duties towards protecting her rights and creativity. In passing the judgment, these matters are weighted.

Kant’s Categorical imperative

H: If Sheila offers Alice a position at ACE systems who will be treated with disrespect? Ted

I: If Sheila does NOT offer Alice a position at ACE systems who will be treated with disrespect? Busta Bigwig, ACE systems owner.

J: Which alternative is preferable? H

K: If Sheila offers Alice a position at ACE systems who will be treated unlike others? Alice

L: If Sheila does NOT offer Alice a position at ACE systems who will be treated unlike others? Busta Bigwig

M: Which alternative is preferable? Neither

N: What are the benefits of everyone actioning step II? Yes. ACE systems will secure its data and privacy of systems.

O: What are benefits if nobody takes action in Step II? No. ACE systems will lose its data and security systems.

P: Which alternative is preferable? N

Step III: Discussion

The issue in the case study culminates to obedience to employer versus retaining the most valued employees. While Alice had the duty of securing the company’s data and files from harm, she had the right of fair hearing. Ted was impartial and inconsiderate to her role in the company and failed in his professional duties to treat her with dignity, recognize her skills and experience in the company. Teamwork is a recipe for organizational growth and development (McDermid, 2008). However, Alice was not obedient and committed to the goals and objectives of ACE systems by deciding to sell her innovation to the company she works. Ted was egoistic by demeaning and, without attention to detail, rubbishing the creative proposal by an employee. Again, it is against the corporate policy to dismiss others without valid reasons and inhibit progress (Kallman & Grillo, 1966). As Ted played the role of a blocker, he wore self-centered behavior that did not exploit full contributions of each member. Under Belbin’s (2010) team roles, Ted and Sheila should act as team workers (TW) while Alice should play a role of specialist (SP). Besides, Alice being a woman will raise ethical issues on how to deal with employees based on gender.

We may not know the harm caused by firing Alice but it is up to Sheila to establish team cohesiveness once Alice is re-hired to the company. While Ted will feel intimidated and angry that his junior has found her way back, her role in the company is of utmost importance. ACE systems may suffer more harm from not hiring Alice than it would suffer the reduced egos from some members of its management. In conclusion, D and N should be given more weight and attention as it is sensitive to both the company employees and its customers.

Step IV: Making a decision

IV A. Making a defensible ethical decision

Sheila should offer Alice a position at ACE systems. As shown in D,G, and N, Alice deserves fair treatment and equal opportunity for hiring even after being dismissed previously on frivolous reasons. This act will be respectful to the request by Busta and a honor to Alice for her innovation and creativity.

IV: B. Steps needed to implement the defensible ethical position

  1. Ted and Sheila will need to meet to discuss issues of unfair dismissal, complaint reporting channels, and employee handling

  2. The management should publish a policy of employee commitment and conflict of interest such that employees do not outsource to the company while still employees

  3. Engage human resource consultants to understand professional code of conduct and corporate policy

  4. Management needs reorganization to prevent collusion and agreeing with bad decisions

  5. Ethical decisions must be defended if they are in agreement with team work, collective responsibility and consistent with corporate values and vision.


Belbin, R. M. (2010). Management Teams : Why They Succeed or Fail. 3rd ed. Burlington Elsevier.

Kallman, E.A. & Grillo, J.P. (1966). Ethical Decision Making and Information Technology, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill.

McDermid, D. (2008). Ethics in ICT An Australian Perspective, Pearson.