A friend of mine who must remain anonymous due to her company’s draconian blogging policy, has an interesting dilemma and I am curious what people might have to say about it.
She works for a company that used to be a wonderful place to work. It used to be the kind of place where everyone loved the company and would often talk about how even though it is a major company and one of the leaders in its industry, it wasn’t “corporate” The company used to do lots of nice things for the employees. Everyone was treated well and in turn everyone worked very hard because they wanted the company to do well.
Over time, management started taking away as much as could from the employees. Raises became less than the inflation rate. Personal days were reduced. Work spaces were redesigned so that management could better monitor the staff. The little parties and other such perks were stripped away. When lay offs happened, it was usually the most senior workers who got the ax. Where there once was a feeling of team work, slowly an adversarial atmosphere developed between management and labor. The workers started caring less and less about the company. The attitude used to be “What can I do to make this company do well because if the company does well, I do well” and it became, “Why should I work hard for this company when they’ll just screw me in the end”
As the workers slacked off, management clamped down on them in order to get them to work harder. And that is when the cheating started. Cheating at the lowest levels anyways which is where my friend is positioned in the company. She has no idea of there is cheating going on with the upper management but after Enron, she wouldn’t exactly be surprised if it were. No this is cheating that happens at the bottom.
Individuals cheat in order to benefit themselves of course. This affects my friend in a negative way because everyone is competing for the same money at raise time. Her colleagues’ cheating makes her look worse relative to others on her team and did result in her receiving a lower raise than others on her team. On the other hand, all of the cheating makes it look to upper management like more work is being done than is actually being done. Therefore, when there are layoffs, her team doesn’t get hit as hard as it otherwise would. The long and short of it is that the cheating means that my friend gets less of raise but still has a job.
The dilemma is an ethical one. Does my friend have an obligation to the company she works for to report the cheating? Doing so would mean tense relationships with her peers. She doesn’t particularly like the company and generally believes that the actions of upper management created an atmosphere where people are prone to cheat. So even though she, herself, isn’t doing any actual cheating, she kind of thinks the company has it coming and certainly is experiencing more than a little schadenfreude watching this company get screwed by it’s own poorly treated employees.
So what do you think?