Business ethics: balancing compliance with judgement

 

A public administrator is often called upon to make decisions that balance compliance requirements with managerial judgment. Organizational culture—with its hierarchies, distribution of authority, and delegation of tasks—adds an additional layer of complexity to decision-making.

Review the situation below in which Mr. Brown finds himself. Identify the various organizational and ethical issues he faces. Identify at least three decisions he might make based upon the information given. In your opinion, what would be the most ethical of the three decisions? Explain how you arrived at your decision.

Mr. Brown is the administrator of a state government regulatory agency that oversees water quality. His immediate boss, Mr. Smith, is a political appointee of the governor and plays golf with the CEO of the CHEMCO chemical plant.

One of Mr. Brown’s inspectors, Ms. Green, finds evidence of water pollution near the CHEMCO chemical plant. The evidence (testing of the water) strongly suggests that there is clear violation of regulations of water quality established by the water board. In most cases, CHEMCO would be heavily fined for this violation.

What should Mr. Brown do with this information?

Reference

Text Book:  Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2015). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (10th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Stillman, R. J., II. (Ed.). (2010). Public administration: Concepts and cases (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

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