Mr. Frank Garcia was a new salesman at Acme Corporation. At Acme Corporation the corporate culture was top down or hierarchal and Garcia quickly learned that because of the competitive nature of the medical supplies industry few mistakes were tolerated. One of his very first sales clients was Mr. Otis Hillman, the buyer for Thermocare, a national hospital chain. The sale was a huge success resulting in a $500,000 contract for Acme and an additional bonus of $1,000 for Mr. Garcia. Months later, Mr.
Garcia called on Mr. Hillman of Thermocare to increase the existing contract by some $500,000.
The deal went through and Garcia received yet another bonus and a letter of achievement from the vice president of Marketing, however the deal cost Acme Corporation a pair of season tickets to the Cubs. On another occasion, Mr. Garcia approached Thermocare for an additional contract worth $750,000, once again Garcia was successful, but this time in return for the favor Acme had to pay for a trip to Cancun Mexico for Mr.
Hillman and his wife. Lastly Acme Corporation decided to host a thank you party in Las Vegas for all of their best clients.
The clients were informed that, if there is anything that they needed that they should let their salesperson know. That very night Mr. Hillman from Thermocare approached, Mr. Garcia and suggested to him that he was interested in attending an “adult entertainment club”. Garcia informed his boss, Amber about his client’s request. Amber was very laid back and replied, “we will take care of it”, however Garcia was a little concerned and asked “but what will Acme say if this gets out? ” to which Amber responded, “Don’t worry, it won’t. ”
Taking a closer look at this scenario with Thermocare, Acme Corporation is faced with a few ethical issues. Firstly, we can look at the ethical issue of bribery. It is clear to see that in order for a sale to be successful, Garcia had to bribe Mr. Hillman on each occasion. In other words, each time Garcia proposed a new deal/contract to Thermocare it resulted in a cost Acme. Another ethical issue is Acme paying for Mr. Hillman to attend an adult entertainment club, an activity that is considered to be morally unaccepted and frowned upon by society.
Additionally, even though Amber, Mr. Garcia’s supervisor was made aware of these unethical situations regarding the sale contracts with Thermocare, she was so concerned about making a profit that she had no issue with complying with their demands. One may ask, if Mr. Garcia was correct in complying with the demands/wishes of Mr. Hillman. In my opinion, Mr. Garcia was only following orders from his supervisor. If there is any one to blame for the ethical misconduct it should be Amber. In each instance, Mr. Garcia referred the situation to Amber.
Furthermore, as the supervisor it was Amber’s responsibility to ensure that Mr. Garcia was conducting business in an ethical manner, however in reality Amber was not doing her job. On the other hand all of the blame should not be solely placed on Amber. It is obvious that Mr. Garcia was also driven by the need for large cash bonuses, in the back of his mind, he knew what he was doing was unethical, however as long as he was getting rewarded for his sales performance, he saw no problem with meeting the demands of Mr. Hillman.
He figured as long as he making money for the company, what he was doing was indeed justified. However it could be argued that, Mr. Garcia could have easily referred the matter with Thermocare to another supervisor, if he felt that the decision he made, would have negatively impacted the reputation of Acme Corporation as an ethical corporate citizen. In conclusion, we all know that in order for businesses to survive, they must earn a profit. However the life of an organization may be shortened if these profits are realized through misconduct.
Additionally businesses must balance their desires for profits against the needs and desires of society, and maintaining this balance often requires comprises. In the case of Acme Corporation if they wish to achieve and maintain a standard as a reputable and ethical corporation it must discontinue its current business practices and sales techniques. Furthermore, Acme must establish an ethics program that will communicate the core values of the organization to all employees and clearly capture the rules and principles that the company defines as appropriate conduct.