Fudge The Numbers

625 words | 3 page(s)

MicroPhone is a large television communication company that wants to improve the quality of service it offers since customer service is critical success factor in its industry. Kristen Cole, head of HR, along with her overworked staff developed a massive training program plan to improve customer service that involved providing 3,000 employees with 40 hours of training at a total project cost of $40 million. Kristen is very enthusiastic about the program and its success would greatly increase her chances of obtaining a promotion. Sara MacIntosh was brought in to evaluate, manage, and implement the plan. Upon evaluation of the project she noticed some major concerns regarding the assumption made regarding the numbers.

Based on her analysis she realized that the budget was not enough to provide such a large staff with 40 hours of customer service training. This was a major issue associated with the project. It appeared as if Kristen had already promised the unrealistic results to upper management without analyzing the data and ensuring that the 40-hour training for the 3,000 employees at the stipulated cost was viable. When Sara confronted and explain to Kristen that the figures were off, and the $40 million budget was enough for only 20 hours of training she did not want to accept the facts and wanted to go forward with the project and sell it to the company as if the original projection were possible. Kristen became very hostile towards Sara and wanted her to hide the truth about the figures to upper management which created an ethical dilemma for Sara. The case study depicted three questions at the end in the form of options that Sara could choose. Each of the three options will be analyzed to choose the optimal solution taking into consideration its ethical implications.

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The alternative depicted in the first question to solve the situation was to make the numbers work. The team put a lot of effort into this proposal and as a new member of the team she would be supporting their efforts. However, doing so is counterproductive and unethical. Sara is the person responsible for ensuring the proposal is implemented within the promised parameters. Signed the proposal with erroneous numbers would be unethical since and it would hurt the company more than it benefit it. Eventually the truth is going to be known that the budget is not enough for the 40-hour training. The only person that would benefit from approving the proposal with wrong numbers is Kristen who is acting in her own self-interest. She wants to be a promotion at any cost and once she leaves for her new job she does not care about the consequences.

The second alternative presented in the second question is to stick to your principles and refuse to fudge the numbers. This is an ethical way to resolve the situation and presenting an alternate plan to provide more training hours to employees with direct customer contact and less training to those not attending customers can help reduce costs to comply with the budget. The problem with this solution is that Kristen is the boss and she wants to force the original proposal and is pressuring Sara to comply. Sara should not do that.

The alternative solution of the third question was to go to the team and reveal what you have been asked to do and if they refuse to support you become a whistleblower and reveal the true numbers to the CEO and members of the board. Kristen forced Sara’s hand by trying to force her to alter data to benefit her. Her demands were unreasonable, unethical, and borderline illegal. Kristen is not above the law and must respond to upper management. The optimal solution to resolve this ethical dilemma is to become a whistleblower.

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