Since reading the posts related to my friend's ethical
I have been mulling over the question of when a company formally crosses the line into unethical behavior.
Most of the posts were in agreement, that the knowing violation of a regulatory requirement is indeed, an ethical
problem. Randy, however, (as is his wont) had a different take on it. He suggested that all companies bend the rules and my friend should grow up and get over it. While not in agreement with his statement, it did cause me to start looking at the bending which I've observed over the years and wonder what the line is between "normal" business rule bending and unethical behavior.
For example: (these have been accumulated over the years and not necessarily representative of where I currently work)
1. A customer audit is coming up. You know in advance that they have a hot button about drawings being available on-line vs on hard copy. Your company still uses hard copy. You're directed by a senior manager to "fudge" it and have a number of this customer's drawings in pdf form for the audit, so it appears that we do have such a system. Normal rule bending, or unethical?
2. A customer requires notification and approval if you change manufacturing locations. You missed one, and you have a problem that needs to be resolved with the customer. Top management directs you to lie about the location that the product is being made in to avoid problems. Normal rule bending, or unethical behavior?
3. A competitor has had several problems with product that has caused deaths and been through a highly publicized recall. You have a product that could well cause the same problems. An expensive test will tell you if your product is safe. You recommend the testing. Top management doesn't want to spend the money. Is this normal risk management or is this negligence?
4. You utilize a sister division's plant in Asia to provide a lower cost product. However, top management insists that everyone refer to that location as belonging to your own division, to prevent the customer from going directly to the sister division. Corporate management will do nothing to prevent one division from robbing the business of another, so long as it stays in the family. Is referring to the sister plant as one of your own bending the rules or unethical?
Your opinions please?