Luke is an employee of the ABC company. He has been asked to work on a project that involves building an adult entertainment retail store on an ABC Company development. Luke’s brother, Owen, lives next to the planned development. It has come to Luke’s attention that once the development is made public, property values in Owen’s neighborhood will drop significantly.
Luke has a dilemma either should he disclose his development plan for Owen or keep his knowledge of this adult entertainment development confidential? This is an ethical issue, as there are two sets of positive values: loyalty to Luke’s company or loyalty to Luke’s brother. If Luke Keeps his knowledge confidential, his brother will suffer, whereas if Luke discloses the information to his brother, he will probably face consequences at work. Luke has to choose between either one; his ethical obligation to the company or economizing his brother from a future financial loss.
Two approaches to business ethics,
1) Golden Rule and
2) Virtue Ethics are used for the analysis of the business ethics issue.
The Golden Rule:
According to the principle of The Golden Rule, one should treat others as one wants to be treated. in our case, Mr. Luke can disclose the forthcoming plans of Mr. Owens, so that he will be aware of a predicted loss. Consideration of others will lead to companies performing better. Regarding this rule, Owen should be treated with truthfulness, as Owen has a plan to sell his property. One would not take advantage of someone or lie to get ahead. One should treat people honestly and fairly in business because s/he wants to be treated in the same way. So, it would be truthful, considerate, and fair in how you treat others if Luke informs Owen about the upcoming situation.
What Should Luke Do About it:
As a member of the Ethics Department of ABC Company, it is my responsibility to advise Mr. Luke to take the best course of action. He shares ethical responsibility with the company and provides information to his brother. By following – The Golden Rule and Virtue Ethics, I will encourage Mr. Luke to educate his brother about the upcoming plans for the development of land recently purchased by ABC to build an adult entertainment retail store.
Disclosing any sort of confidential information regarding the company is unethical and Mr. Luke should keep his personal or social interests separate from the company’s interests but in this case, especially if we follow The Golden Rule and Virtue Ethics, Luke seems to have the flexibility to educate his brother. There would be no direct loss to ABC company if Luke disclosed the information, but Owen’s property value will decrease, so Golden Rule allows Luke to communicate about the issue. Also, the ABC company plans to build an adult entertainment retail store which is not considered a good ethical business, so virtues ethics theory, too, allows Luke to inform Owen.