Posted: December 1st, 2015
Jeff manages the highest performing sales team in his computer software company. Jeff took over the group 9 months ago and is pleased that they have been able to continue the high sales figures under his leadership. But lately he has been finding himself losing sleep over a growing list of questionable practices. He recognizes the intense pressure his team are under to meet and even exceed their targets � pressures that come from the company, on the one hand, and from the intense personal competitiveness that his salespeople bring to their jobs on the other. And then there are the bonuses, and the desire to please, in order to retain customers. Nevertheless, over the past few months, as he becomes more familiar with his staff and their routines, Jeff sees evidence of activities that worry him:
� sales representatives who make unrealistic promises to customers that put the software developers under huge pressure to meet impossible deadlines
� sales representatives who interact inappropriately with customers (for example, Jeff has heard rumours of representatives sharing pornography via the company e-mail), in order to win their loyalty
� sales representatives who over-promise or who use special promotions inappropriately in order to seal the deal
� sales representatives who submit unrequested credit financing applications for their customers in order to get the associated bonus (in this instance, one of the administrators processing the request approached Jeff because the paperwork looked wrong to him).
� Not all of the sales representatives behave this way, and some have left for reasons unknown. Jeff is concerned about these practices for many reasons; he is also worried about affecting the motivation of his staff who are achieving high sales.
Question 1. Perform an ethical analysis by answering the following questions:
1a) Who benefits from the current practices? (10%)
1b) Who is harmed by the current practices? (10%)
1d) What are the legal requirements? Are these being met? (5%)
1e) What are the ethical duties? Make reference to three ethical theories/philosophers covered in the course. (25%)
Question 2. Assume that Jeff wants to take the most ethical course of action. How could he go about this? What barriers or difficulties may he face and what suggestions do you have for how he may overcome these? (50%)
(advice: allow about 50% of your word count for Q1. 1a-1d should be very brief, and allow more space for 1e).
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