Learning Activity 1: due Mar 26,
Conflict Between CEO and Company Values
Read the news release below and respond to the question following.
Mar. 31, 2014. The makers of the popular web browser Firefox, is facing a media firestorm in protest of their recent promotion of Brendan Eich to CEO. Eich was an internal promotion for the company, having been CEO since 2005, but it’s Eich’s $1000 contribution to the 2008 anti-gay marriage “Proposition 8” that sparked the controversy. Mozilla, a nonprofit organization, is heavily committed to “keeping the web open” as well as values such as equality and inclusivity. In response to Eich’s promotion a number of key employees and developer groups called for his resignation on Twitter and other social media sites. Eich responded in a personal blog post that he would continue Mozilla’s effort of “commitment to equality in everything we do.” Critics are largely unsatisfied by the response, demanding either a retraction and apology from Eich or his resignation. Complicating matters, three of Mozilla’s six board members resigned this week, citing their desire to hire an outsider with expertise in mobile computing.
Can a CEO have personal values that conflict with the values promoted by the organization and still be an effective ethical leader for the organization? (Focus on leadership qualities and factors rather than on the specific views expressed by the CEO.)
Learning Activity 2: due Mar 26
Read the scenario below and answer the questions following.
Scenario: Branford Home Goods Inc. (Branford) is considering genetic screening of its potential employees and current employees.
Branford has retained Veritas Diagnostics, a medical diagnostics company specializing in adult genetic susceptibility testing for a range of heritable and complex genetic conditions. Their main business involves testing for mutations associated with cystic fibrosis, hereditary kidney disease, as well as breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer.
Veritas has a well-staffed, well-run, sophisticated genetics laboratory capable of rapidly processing hundreds of samples for analysis on their many automated high-throughput DNA sequencers. Veritas’ testing methodology is considered the ‘gold standard’, and Veritas implements the latest testing technologies available. Further, Veritas maintains good working relations with leading university research laboratories, with whom they regularly verify their testing methods.
Veritas’ chief clientele are hospitals, physicians, and private insurers ordering genetic testing for patients. The company has become known for providing quick, accurate, and confidential services at a competitive price. Veritas has decided to expand its genetic testing services to other industries and companies.
As corporate Ethics Officer for Branford you have been asked to work with Veritas’ VP to ensure that the genetic screening services for Branford are provided in an ethical manner. As Branford’s Ethics Officer, you are concerned with the ethical issues of fairness and employee privacy. Veritas already has privacy rules for dealing with physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies, and the Veritas VP believes these procedures are a good fit for Branford with only minor adaptations.
You, however, see the situation as being more complex, and so are faced with addressing the following ethical questions and working with Veritas to resolve them:
- Should Branford develop a formal ethics policy statement dealing specifically with issues related to the genetic screening? And if so, what points should be included in the policy?
It is imperative for Branford to develop a formal ethics policy statement which will protect the information and privacy of the employees in the organization (Knoppers & Chadwick, 2014).
First, the privacy of the employees is the most important thing which need to be included in the policy. Also, confidentiality of their information is to be kept secret. There is also the issue of fairness and good relations after the test.
- Who owns the genetic material used for testing – the employee, Branford or Veritas?
In all cases, the genetic material used for medical tests are for the employee and the results and reports are still the employees’ property. Patients own all the material which are extracted from his or her body for tests.
- Can the material used for testing be sold or donated by Branford or Veritas for research purposes?
It is not ethical for Branford or Veritas to sell or donate the materials used in testing without the employees consent because the employees are the owners of the materials and not Branford nor Veritas. It could be a bad thing for the organizations to sell or donate the materials if the employees are not consulted or they are not comfortable with
Adapted from “e-Health and Commercial Genetic Testing”. © Bryn Williams-Jones. This case is fictitious; Veritas Diagnostics does not exist. Permission is hereby given for printing & copying this case, for educational purposes, provided that the author’s name and the URL http://www.businessethics.ca/cases/ehealth-and-cgt.html are included