Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


The chapter assignments provide a scenario which encompasses an ethical question in a practical workplace setting. At the end of the reading, several questions are posed. Please answer the questions as your response. The duration of the response should be no longer than 2 pages.

In any large organization, people make many decisions day in and day out. In this practicum, you are asked to make decisions in three different roles: a pro-fessional with expertise in beach restoration (the beach guru), the supervisor of the beach guru, and the chief administrative officer. The setting is an urban county renowned for its world-class beaches, memorable sunny vacations, and baseball spring training. Let’s name this fictitious county Stingray.

Laura—The Beach Guru

You were hired by the county of Stingray seven years ago and charged with securing funds annually to replace depleted beach sand. You find that you are quite entrepreneurial and able to acquire millions of dollars for projects that earn you glowing performance reviews. Your achievements become widely recognized at home and in neighboring states. Ahaa, you say to yourself, perhaps I should set up my own consulting firm with the proviso that I would not do any work that is in competition for money that Stingray County might secure.

Decision: Should you move forward? Why or why not? You decide to approach your supervisor about your interest in creating a con-sulting firm and recognize that your work might present a real or perceived conflict of interest. You don’t want to lose your $76,000 county job.

Decision: As the supervisor, would you sign off on Laura’s request to do consulting work? Why or why not? You call Laura into the office to get answers to questions that would help you decide what to do. What kinds of questions would you ask her? Might one of them be: “Will you work for other cities and counties in this state?” Laura’s answers seem satisfactory so you decide to have it put in her contract that she will not work on projects that compete for funds with the county, including other cities or counties in the state. A sign-off on a conflict of interest form is also standard policy, so you include that in her personnel file as well.

Decision: As the county administrator, you learn that Laura has done consulting work with a neighboring county and sought a contract in Texas that competed with Stingray County for beach renourishment funds. What should you do? You decide to review Laura’s performance ratings and learn that she has an exemplary work history, including perfect scores on the ethics portion of the evaluation over the past two years.


1. Given her performance evaluations, should you call her in your of-fice and perhaps warn her that she will be fired if she breeches her contract once more?

2. Should you simply tell her that she has gone over the line and fire her?

3. What should you do?

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