The Case of When in Rome

The Case of When in Rome

The Case of When in Rome

You are about to make a major presentation to a potential Saudi Arabian partner. As you do your research, you discover that the custom in Saudi Arabia is that women are not present at any of the meetings where either the science or the financial issues are discussed. If women are present, they are not expected to take a leadership role in the presentation. Your lead market rep is a brilliant and very articulate female with a Ph.D. She has been responsible for all of the professional presentations which have been made to other potential partners. Further, her knowledge about both the product and the science behind the product is richer than anyone else's on the team. In addition, the compensation package is set so that the lead rep for any marketing effort receives a 10% bonus when a deal is sealed. However, you are afraid that if the lead market rep actually makes the presentation, given the customs about women, the deal will not be made.

In this question, the company has to work to balance the requirements of two different cultures. Leadership needs to assure that the woman gets the opportunity to have recognition (both in terms of finance and evaluation) for her work at the same time that the difference in roles which may be present in other cultures is acknowledged and respected. A key ethical question is when to push the cultural envelope and when to accede to the cultural expectations.

Be Attentive

If we consider each of the lenses a pane in a window which gives us a balanced view of the problem, the final process combines all four of the lenses as we balance among the four core values of our community. After working through each of the lenses individually, you can now see how to put the pieces together in a whole. The process requires that you diligently ask the core questions over and over as you analyze problems that come to you.

All four lenses are needed. In the question about what comes first, rights and justice or results and virtue, the answer is - it doesn't matter. If you prefer to start with rights and justices, your horizons can be expanded as you dream of possibilities with those who focus on results and reputation. If you start with imagining what is possible, those dreams need to be disciplined by the constraints of rights and justice. As you go through all four lenses, you can calibrate your response and assure that you have considered all facets of the problem.

For the final round, we will work through the lenses in the order in which they were presented: (1) Rights/Responsibility Lens; (2) Results Lens; (3) Relationship Lens; (4) Reputation Lens.

We begin by setting the context. Please address the following questions: • Who is the ethical actor? Who or what group will be taking the action in this particular problem?

• Who are the stakeholders? Who are those people and/or groups to which we owe a duty? What are the express and implied agreements that you have with each of the constituents?

• What is the context and assumptions? What are the facts that need to be considered? In framing the context, what assumptions as to competing rights and responsibilities are present?