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Week 3 - Topic #2: Loose Lips?DMBA

Week 3 - Topic #2: Loose Lips?

DMBA 610 Discussion Week 3

Topic#2
 

Is Sharkey's behavior ethical?  Does it make a difference if the allegation of the affair
between his boss and Sheila Sharpe is true or false?



honeyd


16-09-20 | 19:55:06

For this case study, Sharkey is upset because he was passed over for a promotion. Instead
of objectively looking at the situation, he took every step he could to systematically discredit
Sheila. The allegations will have long last repercussions for Sheila’s personal life, dynamics in
her current place of employment and her future career. Both Sheila and Cypher will have to deal
with the emotional distress the rumor(s) may cause. At this point, it no longer matters if the
allegations are true as the seed of doubt has already been planted. As the news spreads,
employees are less likely to question what they are hearing. Furthermore, Sharkey has created a
hostile work environment riddled with gossip mongering and fear. By allowing him to behave in
this manner without any consequences, the organization is doing a disservice to its employees.
The behavior will be repeated by another disgruntled employee if given the opportunity.
Individuals who engage in workplace gossip (especially malicious in nature) are often vindictive
and are not spreading rumors for the good of the team and/or the organization as a whole. The
gossip also destroys the reputation of valuable employees. Instead of looking at Sheila’s
credentials, Sharkey chose to focus on her personal work relationships.
Badaracco provides a framework for dealing with right versus right dilemmas. He asserts
that individuals should evaluate all of the options by making a list “of everybody who’s going to
win and everybody who’s going to lose, of all the costs, of all the benefits, of all the risks, and
net, net, net, net, net. Pick the plan of action that does the most good and the least harm.” This
particular framework can be applied to this situation as Human Resources faces a pivotal
decision – should Sharkey be fired? The Human Resources team will have to carefully evaluate
the situation and decide on the course of action that will cause the least amount of harm to
everyone involved while limiting any liability the organization may face such as wrongful
termination lawsuits, etc.

Given the hurtful and spiteful nature of the statements made by Sharkey and other
employees involved I think that the Human Resources department should take further steps to
combat the spread of the rumor by educating employees about the negative impact of workplace
gossip and fostering an environment of open communication and transparency.
Sam Cypher finds out that Sharkey has been gossiping about him and Sheila Sharpe. 
Assume the gossip about Sam and Sheila is not true, and Sam wants to fire Sharkey. 
Should the Human Resources Office support his decision? 
Sharkey has created a hostile work environment riddled with gossip mongering and fear.
By allowing him to behave in this manner without any consequences, the organization is doing a
disservice to its employees. The behavior could be repeated by another disgruntled employee if
given the opportunity. Individuals who engage in workplace gossip (especially malicious in
nature) are often vindictive and are not spreading rumors for the good of the team and/or the
organization as a whole. The gossip also destroys the reputation of valuable employees. Instead
of looking at Sheila’s credentials, Sharkey chose to focus on her personal work relationships.
Therefore, I think that Human Resources should support Cypher’s decision to fire him.
 

References

Badaracco, J.L., Jr. (2002).  Defining moments:  A framework for moral decisions.  Faculty
Seminar Series. Harvard Business School. (B)  PURL:
http://ezproxy.umuc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fsv&
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