Whistle-blowing: Harder Than It Looks?
R.U. Kidding, the comptroller for Rocket Man Enterprises, a government defense contractor, has a delicate ethical issue on his hands. In the course of his employment, Kidding has uncovered evidence that seems to indicate that Rocket Man has been overbilling the government for a weapons system project. Under its contract with the government, Rocket Man was supposed to calculate its hourly rate with a formula dividing charges between the more expensive work done directly in their offices and the less costly hourly labor performed by subcontractors. What Rocket Man did was simple: they billed subcontractor work at the higher in-house rate.
R.U. Kidding, realizing that the weapons system project is the lifeblood of Rocket Man, is at a loss as to what he should do with the information he has uncovered. On the one hand he feels he has a duty to bring this wrongdoing to light. After all, he reasons, there is the greater public interest and common good to consider. On the other hand, the project is so critical to the financial future of the Company that the disclosure of wrongdoing could be devastating for the Company and its employees, many of whom are R.U.’s colleagues and friends. If you were in R.U.’s shoes, what would you do and why?
Learning Activity #2
Read the scenario below and answer the questions following it.
Scenario: Company A has been approached by the Ozland government to consider manufacturing and selling a pesticide called Grow 2 in Ozland. Grow 2 is a very effective, low cost way to eliminate pests and thus, substantially increase crop production and crop yields per acre. Ozland has a high % of poverty and hunger among its fast-increasing population and desperately needs to produce more food. Use of pesticides is the lowest cost and fastest way to increase crop production and yields.
Pesticides are heavily regulated in the US. It is illegal to sell Grow 2 in the US, as it has been proven to increase the risk of cancer in humans after long term exposure, and to create potential danger to livestock and others animals contacting or eating products treated with Grow 2.
There are no laws regulating manufacture or sale of any pesticides in Ozland, so Grow 2 could be manufactured and/or sold in Ozland legally and at a high profit for Company A.
A has to decide whether to manufacture and sell Grow 2 in Ozland.
A. Define the either/or dilemma A faces. Refer to Student Toolbox in Content in the Course Resources module for examples and info, i.e., Dilemma: A can either…………………………………..with the possible result that……., or A can …… with the possible result that………….
B. Which 1 ethical theory discussed in this class would be the best approach/guide for A in making the decision whether to manufacture and sell Grow 2 in Ozland? Why?