First we need to see if this is a ethical or social dilemma. Ethical dilemma (“Ethical Dilemma Examples”) is a situation when use of either out of two choices does not solve the situation in an ethically acceptable manner. Social dilemma (“Social dilemma and related definitions”) is a situation in which there is a conflict between individual and collective interest. What action Lisa Evans (Petcavage, Burt, and Pinkerton) should have taken in this case; complies with business ethics or considers the company’s current economic hardship? The incident is not a ethical dilemma, it is devoted to social dilemma since it satisfies collective interest.
We need to define ethics to see if Lisa did right or wring. Ethics is the basic concepts and fundamental principles of human conduct. Are the fundamental principals absolute or relative? The concept is absolute, but application might be relative. In this case, from a greater ethical viewpoint she should have thought about her company’s financial condition since she and other people get their paychecks from the company. That is exactly what she did. A company expects loyalty from their worker, and if an employee can generate savings to the company he / she should do it. From this viewpoint, Lisa did the right thing.
Yes, it would have been different if the bid opening were public. However, it would have depended on the bidding terms. If the bidding terms had let Lisa cancel one or all bids without an explanation, then public opening would not have made any changes; otherwise she was bound to submit the job to the lowest bidder if that bidder complied with all terms and condition.
From the business point, the original bidders were certainly not satisfied with Lisa about how she conducted the business. They probably realized that it was pre set up game. If, I were among the original bidders, would have wondered why Lisa needed this farce while she could have given the task to Prairie Manufacturing, Inc without offering invitations for bidding.
Ethics is a requirement for human life; it helps us to take decisions both in business and personal life. However, time-to-time we sacrifice one choice against the other.
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