Unethical Business Issue

Subject: Business Ethics
Pages: 2
Words: 643
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


The company is applying for authorization for drilling in the Arctic ice fields, having omissions and deficiencies when drilling in more favorable conditions. The two hidden problems are serious enough, as they led to explosions, the death of three people, and a leak, which negatively affects the surrounding flora and fauna. An unethical issue is petitioning the media and Congress while hiding some significant issues that negatively affect the company and its people.

Determining factors likely to influence the decision

The decision in a particular situation can be influenced by internal factors based on experience in the company. When analyzing the situation, questions about professional values, policies, and various company procedures will arise. It is necessary to understand whether there were other work problems or isolated cases and whether the causes of these problems have been eliminated or continue. Potential risks to shareholders of the company must also be taken into account when making a decision. The potential impact on the share price, depending on the situation and in the event of a crisis, must be considered to get a complete analysis and make an informed decision.

Choosing the key values

Advocacy is a fundamental belief that implies a commitment to people. Public relations workers serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates. Honesty does not tolerate hiding facts, allowing to adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truthfulness in advancing in public. In addition, expertise is essential, which indicates that employees acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. The decision also requires fairness, which is the ability to communicate honestly with customers, employers, competitors, colleagues, suppliers, the media, and the public.

Considering parties affected by the decision and evaluating the public relations professional’s obligation

Joint-stock firms and the public will be most affected by the decision they make. Two scenarios are possible for society; people can benefit from an increase in the supply of gas and oil and a decrease in prices. However, people could be seriously hurt if a company gets permission to drill in Arctic ice fields and a major leak occurs. It will be a win-win for shareholders if drilling permission is granted; otherwise, the share price will fall. Other affected parties in this situation will be animals and people living in the vicinity of the Arctic. If another leak occurs, the employees working on the rig will again be at risk, and the political future of the voting members of Congress may also be affected by the decision.

Selecting ethical principles to guide decision making

  • Conflicts of interest: Identifying actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest build trust with customers, employers, and the public.
  • Disclosure of information: Failure to identify or challenge bad behavior, decisions, or actions leads to withholding information when it should be disclosed.
  • Free flow of information: concealment, embellishment, distortion, or outright lies; attempts to interfere with the free flow of information.
  • Strong protection of confidence: Customer trust requires appropriate protection of confidential and private information.

Making a decision and offering a brief rationale

In addition to the ethical issue of fairness in presenting a company’s case to Congress, there are other practical reasons for disclosing the previous two issues. This is a high-profile issue, and the media covering the congressional hearing is likely to investigate the company’s history. If the media unearth this information, it is likely to bias the company worse and render the firm dishonest and incompetent. As a result, drilling privileges may not simply be denied. This can stimulate investigations and other actions that will lower the value of the stock and hinder future operations. It would be in the best interest of both the public and shareholders to proactively disclose prior issues. It is also necessary to ensure that steps are taken to prevent the same issues and that information is provided when submitted to Congress.