ATTEMPT ALL QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1 Discuss the merits of using ethical codes as vehicles for resolving ethical dilemmas that professionals face in their day-to-day practice.
QUESTION 2 Locate the place of ethical behaviour within the context of ethical theory and practice.
An external consultant is recruited into an organization to work with eight middle managers in a medium-sized professional services organization. The initiative is led by the HR manager who explains to the consultant that she will be working with these managers on a one-to one basis to assist them in ‘making a significant change’ in their working practices. It is his view that these managers need help in moving away from a more directive managerial style to one that is more collegial and enabling of others to take ownership and responsibility for their work. The chief executive has been persuaded to financially support the intervention by the HR manager who tells the consultant that he had to strongly advocate for the funds as the chief executive was, initially, unclear about what benefit the training would have for the business. The consultant assisted in this persuasion by explaining her approach to training and, based on her experience, how such benefits have been accrued in previous places she has worked. In doing so, the consultant was clear in stating her belief that, in order for the training to be effective, there would need to be clear
boundaries in terms of confidentiality and that, principally, the content of the conversation needed to remain between her and the trainees. This was accepted at the time and then the consultant formally started on her formal assignments with the trainees. Initially, all seem to be working well, with good levels of openness and rapport between the consultant and the trainees. However, after a couple of months, the consultant began to notice trainees appearing more guarded in training conversations, with some postponing/cancelling prearranged training sessions. Around the same time, the HR manager arranged to meet with the consultant and explained that the chief executive was now ‘anxious to see results’ after all the investment that had been put in and wanted to know what progress was being made. It was then apparent that the chief executive had approached a number of the trainees individually to ask them to disclose what they had been doing in the training sessions. Seemingly unsatisfied with their responses, he had tasked the HR manager with getting ‘progress updates’ on each of the trainees from the consultant. The HR manager explains that he is concerned that, if he is unable to provide these updates, the future of the training initiative would be in jeopardy as well as the HR manager’s own reputation and position
within the organization. Discuss this case.
1. What should the consultant do?
2. How can this tension be resolved?