Human Resources

Using Case Studies in Your Ethics Training

We’ve often discussed the positive effects of storytelling in making training more relatable to real-world situations, and this is what makes case studies great training tools. In today’s Advisor, we present an ethics case study that may be helpful in your company’s supervisory training.

Realistic case studies during training can help demonstrate the types of ethical dilemmas that supervisors face daily. The following case study may resonate with some of your supervisors. It involves a supervisor who is faced with an ethical dilemma concerning hiring.

Mary had interviewed numerous candidates for the job opening in her department. She’d finally settled on Brian. He had good credentials and was available to start working right away, and she urgently needed to fill the position. So Mary offered Brian the job, and he accepted.

A couple of days before Brian was set to start work, a colleague told Mary about her friend, Joe, who was looking for a job and had excellent qualifications for the one Mary was looking to fill. Mary explained that she’d already hired someone but agreed to talk to Joe anyway as a favor to her colleague.

After they talked, Mary was so impressed with Joe that she wished he had come along before she hired Brian. She was sure Joe would do a better job, require less training, and be a greater asset to her department and the organization. The only problem was that she was already committed to hiring Brian. Or was she?

Would it be ethical for Mary to rescind the job offer to Brian and hire Joe instead? No.

Here’s why it would be unethical for Mary to hire Joe instead of Brian:

  1. First, she made a commitment to Brian, and she needs to stand behind that commitment. It may not be against the law to rescind the offer if no contract was signed, but it just isn’t the “right” thing to do. It reflects poorly on the integrity of the supervisor and the organization.
  2. Second, Brian is qualified for the job. He may not be as outstanding as Joe, but he meets the criteria of the job description and has the right credentials. If he wasn’t someone she really wanted to have working for her, Mary shouldn’t have hired him. She should have kept interviewing and kept looking.

 

What about Joe? Well, if he’s really that great, Mary could talk to other managers and see if someone can find a spot for him in the organization. Failing that, she can at least keep his name and number on file, and if an opening does come up for which he would be qualified, she could give him a call. That may not be the most satisfying choice. It may not be the one a supervisor who always wants to hire the best wants to make. But it is the ethical choice in this situation.

Case studies can be very effective in training, but the real word is also constantly providing training lessons for employers. In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll give you a real world case to drive home the importance of training managers on how to supervise telecommuters.