The Ethical Dilemmas of Providing Or Not Providing References

A very coarse dilemma, which most managers contact at one time or another in their career, occurs when they get a call from man representing another company's Hr department, or maybe a hiring manager, who is calling to ask for a reference about one of our old employees or work colleagues. It is very likely that our firm procedure states that we can only confirm to the caller the name of the past employee, their former title and their dates of employment, and nothing more, or refer the caller to the Hr agency so that they can confirm the same data (Trevino and Nelson, 2005, p. 75).

After complying with the firm procedure by only providing this information, it isn't uncommon for the caller to ask if we couldn't pleas provide a small bit more data about the private which would help them make their decision on either or not to hire the individual. This may seem harmless, especially if we happen to know the worker was exquisite and of course you feel you could provide a good reference. Or, we may be tempted to raise the "red flag" and warn them to avoid the mistake and the headache that you dealt with! However, it is foremost to remember that "whenever you recognize yourself as an worker of your company, citizen can infer that you are speaking on profit of it, which is why.." (p.75) you must remember that anything you tell the private you are of course not speaking for yourself, but the company. "Most companies prohibit their personnel from officially supplying this type of data because of lawsuits that have resulted from employer-supplied recommendations (p. 75).

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The same is true when the ex-employee asks you personally if you can provide a recommendation. If you use corporate letterhead or refer to your position in the company, then you are also representing the firm and it can be interpreted that you are speaking on profit of the company. While you may want to provide the favor, you should decline, unless you have permission from your employer. If you provide a reference as an private and not as a representative of the company, then you must not use your title, firm letterhead, your firm card, or anything else that would refer to your working connection within the firm (p. 75).

Another dilemma we may face as managers is either or not to blow the whistle on an private within our organizations. This becomes an ethical dilemma since we must decide either or not we are ethically bound to narrative data which have about unethical behavior of others within the firm or do nothing, which may seem safer from our personal perspective. However, it is foremost to remember that as managers, once we have received any data about any unethical behavior within the organization; it is our ethical and corporate accountability to make an attempt to post others within the corporation who may be able to take approved activity (p. 79). If we do not, then we come to be partly responsible for any damages since we had data but did not act.

Several years ago, while foremost a sales team, I was notified by one of our sales representatives that another of our representatives had on some occasions drank excessively dinners we sponsored for our clients. He stated that he did not want to cause problems for the individual; he felt that he had to let me know that while drinking the other representative said and did things that were not approved and reflected poorly on the company. Once I received the call, I found myself in a dilemma. I in fact had witnessed the other representative come to be loud when he drank at our firm meetings. While I personally did not feel he was drinking more than others in the team, I know that if I did not do something, that I may be risking relationships with our customers, the good faith of our company, or even worse, the security of one of my employees and or others who may be at danger because of inordinate drinking. I notified our local Hr representative and notified her of the situation and asked her for advice. With her maintain and the maintain of our worker assistance schedule we were able to address the situation in a way that was confidential to the private concerned and in a way that protected the firm and the individual.


Trevino, L., and Nelson, K., (2005). Corporate group accountability and managerial ethics. Hoboken, Nj: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

The Ethical Dilemmas of Providing Or Not Providing References

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