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Case Stude of Ethical Conflicts


Submitted By tankdawg06
Words 468
Pages 2
Coty Hampton
Business Ethics
Cohorts 49
Ethical Conflicts in Ethical Companies There's a story making the rounds about a consultant who was called into a lumber company. Profits were slipping and management couldn't figure out what was causing it. All of the other performance measures were stable or increasing. The consultant did what consultants do, talking with a large number of employees. He observed several things about this particular lumber company, including the fact that working conditions were somewhat austere and that the dominant leadership style was autocratic, almost to the point of being abusive.
In one of his many conversations, the consultant asked an employee how it was that, given the difficult working conditions and harsh leadership style, there wasn't more absenteeism, poor production or any of the other typical symptoms of an organization that was "hard" on its workers.
The employee answered, "Oh that's easy. When we get frustrated, or angry we just feed the hog." Seeing the puzzled look on the consultant's face the employee explained. The "hog" was the big mechanical wood chipper at the back of the plant. All unusable scrap was fed to the hog to make the wood chips that go into particle board, one of the least profitable products the company manufactured. "When we get upset," he explained, "we take finished lumber and feed the hog." (And the company never knows where the chips came from. After all, you can't tell scrap wood from finished lumber once it is reduced to chips.) There is a problem with this story. When we talk about feeding the hog it sounds funny and clever. There is no denying that it is clever, but it is far from funny. Neither the actions of the organization which stimulate that degree of anger within an employee body, nor the unethical retaliations of the employees are at all funny.
We prefer to call the intentional,

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