Ethical Issues and Analysis
The element of the case study to be analyzed is the conflicting personalities between a manager and his subordinate. The case study opens with the dilemma of Keller contemplating what he should do about Brodsky:
The most pressing problem concerned Dmitri Brodsky, Königsbräu-TAK’s commercial director. As Keller saw it, he had three options. One option was to fire Brodsky or, at the minimum, not give him an annual salary increase, which might have the same effect. Keller suspected that firing him would not be well received by Königsbräu’s corporate headquarters, and Brodsky’s voluntary departure might also raise questions. A second alternative was to try, once ...view middle of the document...
(Shaw, p. 304)
The following ethical questions have been raised and analyzed based on the conduct of Keller and his role as a manager and Brodsky’s reaction to him.
It bothered Keller that Brodsky kept his personal life separate from his professional life as it was not characteristic of most of the other managers at Königsbräu-TAK. Brodsky rarely talked about his family with his colleagues, nor did he participate in social outings or lunches with other managers. Brodsky’s formal interactions also extended to his relationships with the sales staff and with customers. Keller considered this to be a problem not only internally, but with the customer base as well. As a result, Keller was convinced that Brodsky was going to become a hindrance to company growth. (GABARRO, 2008)
Ethically, Keller’s judgment of Brodsky and negative assumptions not only influence the decisions he makes as a manager, but the type of response he receives from Brodsky. Obviously, people value being able to make certain personal decisions autonomously. Brodsky has the right to keep private certain areas of his life and it’s reasonable to expect that privacy to be respected in order to function as complete, self-governing agents. (Shaw, p. 348)
The text poses the question: “Does an organization have a right to discipline its employees for off-the-job conduct” In other words, where does the company’s legitimate interests stop and one’s private life begins? In this case, it seem that Keller hasn’t made this consideration when assessing Brodsky. (Shaw, p. 319)
It is equally important to evaluate the way Keller attempts to influence behavior that ought properly to be left to the discretion of their employees—in particular, by trying to impose their own values on their workers. (Shaw, p. 347)
Keller also believed that Brodsky’s formal and distant management style hurt his effectiveness as the commercial director. Brodsky’s formality and distance pervaded his dealings with his peers and subordinates as well as with customers, competitors, and other outsiders. (GABARRO, 2008)
Obviously we can’t spell out exactly when off-duty conduct affects company image in some material way, any more than we can say precisely what constitutes a significant influence on job performance. But that doesn’t prevent us from being able to judge that in many cases organizations step beyond legitimate boundaries and interfere with what should properly be personal decisions by their employees. That interference can take many forms, but two are worth looking at more closely. (Shaw, p. 350)
Firing and Due Process and Employee Performance
As stated earlier, Keller was considering firing Brodsky as a solution to the perceived problems based on personality conflict. Thankfully, today working people have protection against some forms of unjust termination, and many of them enjoy the assurance that they can expect due process and that at least some of their civil liberties and other moral...