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978-1285428710 Section 7 SECTION 7D

Page Count
3 pages
Word Count
1562 words
Book Title
Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings 8th Edition
Authors
Marianne M. Jennings
SECTION 7D – WORKPLACE DIVERSITY AND PERSONAL LIVES
CASE 7.20 – JULIE ROEHM: THE WALMART AD EXEC WITH EXPENSIVE TASTES
This case is an excellent credo case. Ms. Roehm has crossed some lines professionally and personally
and the result has been a devastating impact on her career and professional reputation. Point out to the
students that it is irrelevant what really happened with her Walmart stint (and there are clearly differing
versions of events there) because she now carries a great deal of baggage, both from the accusations as
well as from her litigious response. This is another case in which the Shakespearean “all are punished”
theme applies.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The “tone at the top” is a phrase used often by executives in companies. This case illustrates that the
“tone at the top” means all executives and all behaviors. Ms. Roehm’s behavior affected the
company while she was there and as Walmart tried to deal with the litigation in the aftermath of her
2. There had to be enforcement action taken against Ms. Roehm because her conduct so clearly
crossed Walmart ethical standards. She was a visible and high-ranking company officer and, by her
record, an effective ad executive. However, she had clearly violated Walmart’s policies on taking
Inconsistency in enforcement creates a due process issue. When some employees are disciplined
for breaches while others are not, there is an impact on culture and the degree to which employees
Compare & Contrast
1. Walmart’s culture is clearly defined and perceived to be socially conservative. Walmart has a rural
and conservative customer base, not accustomed to the metro approach that Ms. Roehm exhibited in
her Chrysler ads. A culture fit can be a requirement for continuing employment, but the employee
needs to understand the culture and be coached when he or she is not acting within the culture
1. Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack came from positions in other companies where what they received and
accepted would have been routine, a way of advertising life. Also, talk with the students about the
evolution of ethics as business people progress through the ranks. If the janitor takes something from
the company, he or she is fired. If an executive takes something from the company, the executive is
given a chance to repay or replace what company property was taken. Mr. Scott followed the
CASE 7.21 – FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM, LINKEDIN AND EMPLOYER
TRACKING
Use PowerPoint Slide 289.
Legal Issues
The Internet is not private. And what is on the Internet stays on the Internet. Anyone can pull up what
has been posted in a public space on the Internet. Further, an employer does not violate any laws by
checking on the Internet on a job applicant, so long as the employer checks in a similar manner ALL job
candidates.
This case finds generational differences among students. Undergraduate younger students have different
views about the Internet. In a recent article a young woman who had appeared on her “MySpace” site
drunk and not particularly clothed was appalled when her parents viewed her video and reprimanded her.
She did not change her conduct; she simply locked out certain people (including her parents) from
viewing her cite. For students who are taking this as a graduate course, you will find they are seeking
advice on what they can look at as part of the hiring process because they find what is on Facebook,
MySpace, and YouTube very revealing about the character and nature of those who apply for positions
with their companies.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. No, there is no right to privacy for information that is posted voluntarily on the Internet. The Internet is
2. Google searches are often confusing because there can be names that are confused with one
another. Just the problems with credit reports and the consumer rights to correction indicate that the
Google search may not be accurate. However, the Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube sites are
3. Use PowerPoint Slide 289 to frame discussion. Professor Abelson’s views are not clear on which
school of thought except that if an individual takes actions that reveal his or her personality, activities,
or private information, they should be held accountable for that disclosure – he holds firm to setting
up the rules in advance (it is not private information) and requiring that those who participate in these
CASE 7.22 – TWEETING, BLOGGING, CHATTING, AND E-MAILING: EMPLOYER
CONTROL
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Employers have the right to control anything that is done on work time using the employer’s server
and/or computer. Employers are now putting policies into practice that allow review of blogs. Some
employers encourage employee blogs but put parameters around what employees may or may not
2. A company’s obligation include the responsibility of providing warnings to employees about their
CASE 7.23 – JACK WELCH AND THE HARVARD INTERVIEW
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Yes, there was a conflict of interest. Ms. Wetlaufer’s first duty was to HBR as an editor and journalist
2. Yes, these staff members were correct. What is interesting is the contrast between their reaction and
3. The consequences were personal reputational damage to Mr. Welch and additional reputational
4. Have the students walk through Mr. Welch’s explanation. He has rationalized his conduct with the
5. Yes, if the board had applied that simple test, the terms would have been disclosed. Have the
6. A simple credo element regarding adultery emerges time and again. Not much that is good comes
from adultery – for those who are involved and for the companies of executives involved. The affair

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