A friend of mine recently took on a position at a company that she felt had poor business practices in the past. She was concerned about how she would be able to handle the potential situation where her ethics and the ethics of the company did not align. While, ultimately, she chose to take the position because she felt that the likelihood of such a situation arising would be minimal, this is something that we should consider.
Ethical issues come up in many companies whether the potential is expected, as in the case of my friend, or unexpected. When faced with these dilemmas, it’s important to have a solid grounding in what is most important to you. If you have a good understanding about what drives you, you will know how to handle these extreme situations.
When faced with a questionable business activity, you first have to wonder, “why am I questioning this decision?” Generally, that question will provide enough insight to help guide you. The other question should be “what matters more to me, my job or something else?” If you find your conscience pulling you in a particular direction, there is probably a strong reason behind that, cultural, religious, or otherwise.
We’ve had highly publicized cases of whistleblowers going against their organization’s wishes. Not all cases of conflict between a company and individual’s values are so cut and dry.
It may be worthwhile to discuss your situation with your loved ones or colleagues, just ensure that conversation doesn’t slide towards gossip. More importantly, if your concerns remain, you must have a conversation with your superiors about your dilemma. Ask to be reassigned, ask for the task to be reassigned, explain your moral dilemma. If you do find that you are experiencing an ethical dilemma, be sure to do all that you can to minimize the impact to your future.