In this instance, the case scenario involves a sales manager at a Fortune 1000 company. In essence, the sales manager is expected to ensure that the sales threshold is on an upward trend each consecutive quarter. However, in the particular case, there has been an apparent decline in sales in the last five successive quarters; thereby, it raises the question of the aptitude of the manager and other employees in the division. According to a sales manager, there are some projected sales deals that are expected to materialize shortly. Notably, several high-value sales contracts with a high likelihood of success exist; however, they have been held up due to minor logistical issues.
Ideally, the role of the sales manager is to push deals. For this reason, this employee was put on notice to the effect that any further decline in sales will potentially result in the termination from duty for him and much staff of the division. As such, the sales manager faces a dilemma. In the sales manger’s perspective, the most appropriate action is to present a fictitious report indicating that there were several successful high-value deals with a hope that he will appease the supervisors and buy time for the options to materialize. Arguably, while this action is tantamount to the forgery and manipulation of information, the sales manager expects that the deals will compass their purpose. In this case, the ethical standpoint depends significantly on the manager’s ability to reason rationally. To this end, the paper explores the ethical dilemma in the case scenario and attempts to evaluate the existing conflict.
Ethically, the action of the sales manager is wrong regardless of whether the deals will go through or not. In his perspective, the argument is that, as long as the contracts are expected to materialize, his action will be justified. For this reason, the sales manager seems to value sustaining a job by whatever necessarily means as opposed to presenting an actual state of affairs to the company’s leaders. Conversely, the employee appears oblivious to the fact that by altering the report, he compromises the trust that the Fortune 1000 superiors have bestowed on him as a manager. On the other hand, the only source of livelihood for the whole staff in the sales division hangs in the balance. The situation may prompt the manager to justify his action in this delicate scenario. In the case, the man must decide whether in his judgment, upholding ethics and integrity is more important than retaining a job by dubious means.
The most appropriate ethical theory to be considered in this particular instance is the deontological conjecture. The choice of the approach is informed by the fact that there exist rules and regulations on how the sales manager should present reports regardless of whether they are positive of negative (Boylan, 2014). On the same note, the theory is applicable because it seeks to clarify the notion that an action, whether good or bad, is only justifiable based on its consequence. However, according to the deontological theory, a person must always strive to operate according to the pre-set regulations in spite of the situation. In line, the utilization of the deontological theory to reflecting on the current case may present some imperative ethical insights. For instance, it is questionable whether it would be wrong for the manager to forge sales report if, ultimately, such an action does not negatively affect the company.
Agreeably, the deontological theory addresses an imperative aspect, which follows all set rules and standards that define and regulate an entity. For instance, there are rules that govern report writing and presentation at the Fortune 1000 company, the negation of this regulation for whichever reason goes against this theory. Deontology argues that when people undertake an action, they should assume the a direction because the deed is fundamentally right, as opposed to the consideration of other aspects such as the motivation to act or the consequences of such decisions (Boylan, 2014). Ostensibly, in this case, the sales manager assumes that his actions are meant to save his job and those of his colleagues. However, this idea would be fundamentally wrong because while he may keep his job and those of his colleagues, he will break the set-out laws and regulations, which govern the company. The ability to consider the act rather than the result is a significant advantage of the deontological theory.
On the other hand, the Unitarian theory dictates that the rightness or wrongness of an action can only be determined based on the outcome. In essence, this conjecture alludes to the idea that ultimately, the summation of benefits that an action brings minus the apparent shortcomings in executing the act justifies the deed (Boylan, 2014). In this case, it is still difficult to determine whether the manager is right to forge documents with the view of saving his job as long as the outcome does not affect the company. The theory may only work to satisfy the actor without considering the adverse consequences to the company and other employees in other divisions. For instance, in the case of the sales manager, Unitarianism may justify his action of altering the sales report as long as the end result secures his job. Conversely, the theory may fail to address the outcome of the decision regarding the greater good to all the parties involved including the company. The assertion is explained by the fact that ultimately, the profitability of the enterprise will affect many workers while the non-profitability of the entity will result in more workers facing termination.
In this regard, the only key advantage of the theory is that it calls for the consideration of the greater good. In this instance, the utmost good would mean considering the adverse impact that an alteration of the report would have on the future stability of the company. Suppose the sales manager proceeded with the decision to change the release. Ultimately, several deals will be successful; however, it is arguable whether they would justify his action or not. Perhaps, no one will lose their jobs, and the firm’s sales will be on an upward trend. Superficially, the deed appears as a timely measure that aims at saving jobs. However, the contravention of the laws governing the company confirms that though being seemingly permissible in Unitarianism, such an action is ethically wrong if evaluated in terms of the deontological theory.
The other perspective in assessing the case scenario is through the lens of the ethical intuitionalism theory. Debatably, the theory has close links with the ethical theory of deontologists because it asserts that certain ethical and moral principles may determine individual actions without these principles being documented or preset (Boylan, 2014). The theory stipulates the need to do what is right regardless of whether the law binds one or not. The assertion means that an action can either be moral or immoral while connoting that an individual may be able to discern what is morally acceptable without actually considering the outcome. For instance, regardless of the law governing the report writing and presentation, it is questionable whether forging a statement is right or wrong.
In this case, had the manager considered the ethical intuitionalism, the most probable outcome would have been presenting a negative report regardless of adverse effects that such an action would have on his job security. Conversely, the standpoint of the theory of the moral good may be undermined by the fact that morality is relative and depends majorly on an individual’s evaluation of the right and wrong. The assertion means that what is considered as immoral or evil by a person may vary significantly from what another individual believes. In essence, this inconsistency is a significant disadvantage of the theory.
The evaluation of the case scenario from a virtue ethics standpoint reveals that a human’s actions depend significantly on their personal characteristics and core values. Ideally, the dogma argues that while there may be set rules and regulations and applied moral principles, the decision to do what is ethically right may significantly depend on personal traits and beliefs (Boylan, 2014). For instance, it is probable to discuss the sales manager’s actions from a virtue ethics perspective and agree that his decision to forge or not to produce the report may depend solely on his belief system and character. Ultimately, one should consider whether the decision to falsify the statement is coerced or it is an individual choice. The fact that the sales manager has an own choice to make is reflective of what role personal traits play in determining one’s action. Virtue ethics eliminates the aspect of written rules and regulations and presents people with an opportunity to act on the premise of what they perceive as ethically and morally right or wrong. To some extent, virtue ethics may negate the deontological theory as the conjecture assumes that written regulations should not be applied; thereby, it allows actions to be driven by personal discernment of extremes. In the end, it is a major disadvantage of virtue ethics as it assumes that each has the self-discipline to decide what is right and what is wrong in the absence of written regulations (Boylan, 2014).
The evaluation of the scenario reveals absolute prohibitions. Evidently, by falsifying the report, the sales manager would be lying to various stakeholders who need accurate sales reports for different purposes. The action of altering such critical information is nothing but a deliberate decision to misrepresent facts for the personal gain. Factually, it is agreeable that, in the end, the company as an entity will be the injured party due to the adverse effects that falsified data may have on the sales report, as well as the firm’s credibility and profitability. On the same note, the case scenario also reveals certain obligations. For instance, there seems to be an apparent lack of commitment to take personal responsibility by the sales managers (Boylan, 2014). Similarly, there are no observable signs of engagement by the company in enforcing and encouraging the fulfillment of legal obligations. On the other hand, the manager has the permissions to either report a negative result as it is in the current quarter or falsify the statement and stand to be responsible for the apparent outcomes of his actions.
Professional practice dictates that over and above personal beliefs and other premises such as situational factors, an individual must strive to operate according to the pre-set laws and regulations (Boylan, 2014). Instantaneously, one realizes that working in any company means adapting to its ethical culture. Interrelationships between the moral issue and those of professional practice are far-reaching in this case scenario. Ethically, it is wrong to lie or present false information knowingly. On the same note, the integrity and honesty are fundamental pillars of the professional practice. In this particular case study, the embedded levels indicate that the depth of the professional issue can be termed as a deep level and not a medium or surface one.
The assertion implies that an alteration of the sales report would have far-reaching implications for the sales manager as a professional and the company as a whole. The ethical issue is also profound because it touches on the core principle of deontology, which adheres to the pre-set laws and regulations as opposed to justifying an action or the consequences (Boylan, 2014). In this case, the embedded level of the cost issue is also deep given the fact that the company may stand to incur tremendous losses while the sales manager and the other staff in the sales division may sustain enormous losses if they lose their jobs.
In conclusion, the ethical issue presented in this case fundamentally considers the ability to do what is right regardless of the consequences. Essentially, the deontological theory offers the most appropriate assessment of the case scenario and adjudges the sales manager’s consideration to alter the sales report as ethically wrong. In the case scenario, the conflict is based on the fact that by falsifying the statement, the overall financial standpoint of the Fortune 1000 company would be fictitious. In this regard, the action by the sales manager would potentially affect a broad spectrum of divisions within the entity. Similarly, as noted, whether or not the anticipated deals succeed, the mere fact that the sales manager can present false information implies that he is morally corrupt. The detailed evaluation of the case also confirms a lack of obligation by the sales manager to take responsibility for his division’s failures. On the same note, the embedded level is cavernous with reference to the professional practice, the ethical issue, and the cost aspect. In the end, it is imperative that the sales manager appreciates the greater good of the company as a going concern and, thus, act in the firm’s best interest regardless of the outcome.