October 6, 2015
Resolving ethical business challenges: Frank Garcia and Acme corporation (Chapter 1; page 26)
Answer the following questions in your discussion post:
Q1. In reading the predicament of Frank as a salesperson for Acme Corporation, the entire scenario while plausible, seemed riddled with ethical issues. The tickets for the Cubs game(s) struck me as bribery – beyond entertainment – and seemed to only escalate with the Cancun trip and eventually the Las Vegas “thank you” event. While Frank attempted to seek advice from his management, Amber proceeded to only provide direction that continued to stretch the boundary in the pursuit of increased sales and therefore revenue or profit.
Q2. First, Acme Corporation should develop, implement and communicate a policy on acceptable behaviors for sales representatives with their clients and what is, and is not acceptable. Additionally, this new policy should outline what is acceptable for entertainment practices, which should be embraced by senior leadership to develop a sufficient “tone at the top” and communicate down when employees and clients ask. Furthermore, Acme Corporate could consider a code of conduct that their clients are required to abide by. This is a new concept many companies, my own included, have started to include in their procurement process. In doing so, it would establish boundaries for the sales representative to avoid confusion around sporting tickets, trips, or other potentially unethical situations during contract discussions or negotiations.
Q3. Frank should have an understanding of what is within the boundaries and acceptable business behavior for both his company, and that of his clients. While Frank did seek advice from his manager, he should have possibly sought additional input from Amber’s boss or from a hotline or similar compliance program. Frank should also have a better understanding of how his compensation is determined, as the bonus structure wasn’t clear prior to his contract agreements, but actual sales targets and performance metrics could help reduce inclinations to stretch, or bend the rules.
Overall, because of a lack of strong corporate governance around the sales procedures of Acme Corporation, a corporate culture of “whatever it takes,” developed and resulted in unethical decisions by its sales force when encountered with challenging situations by new or existing clients. Additionally, the financial compensation of such “winning” contracts only reinforced the culture.
Business Ethics, Ethics, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,