Ethics in the work place.

I think it's fair to say that swiping a paper clip, notepad or left-over mouse pad from the user conference circa 2003 is no longer a grappling issue. Larger and more complex issues have found their way into our working lives.

Let's examine this dilemma, presented by a friend that works at a PR firm. Her firm is working on a strategy for a specialized drug and they are actively recruiting people who understand the niche market that intends to purchase this drug. Finding people that fit the desired qualifications has proven almost impossible.

My friend, who we'll call Ana, knows a head-hunter who represents a resource that fits Ana's needs. The truth of the matter is, Ana just doesn't know this person, it's her very close friend. To make the situation all the more complex, Ana's friend is living with the president of Ana's company. To further complicate the situation, Ana's friend represents clients for income, meaning that if Ana selected the client, Ana's company would need to pay in order to hire this person.

Ana, in a desperate bind to find the right person, has another member of her team phone-interview the candidate. The team member reports back that the candidate, who we'll call Stella, is pretty solid and would be worth bringing into the office for a formal interview.

Moments before Ana's team member reported back, the company president told Ana that he is not willing to pay for a candidate; further, the president is aware that the candidate is being represented by his girlfriend.

Ana feels the pressure and confesses the situation to the team member who performed the phone interview, Claire. Claire asks Ana "So, you want me to decide if the candidate is worth paying for or not? I was simply asked to give my professional opinion, not to make a call on the candidate's worth. Further, I think it's a bit strange that the president's girlfriend wants to charge our company for her client."

Ana feels awful, Claire is upset at the situation and Ana still does not have the resources to move forward on her latest account.


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