Ethic Case Study

Whom to Promote?

One of the problems, Lael Matthews has had to deal with to climb the corporate ladder is the glass ceiling issue for minorities and women. In her current position, she must decide which of three managers to promote. Her superior has informed her that making the wrong decision would not be good, either internally or externally. These are the candidates:

Liz (African American, divorced, one child) graduated in the middle of her college class (Northwest State). She has been with the company for five years and in the industry for eight years, with average performance ratings but a high energy level. She has had some difficulties managing her staff. Her child has had medical problems and so higher pay would be helpful. If promoted, Liz would be the first African American female manager at this level. Lael has only known Liz for a short time, but they seem to have hit it off. In fact, Lael once babysat Liz’s daughter, Janeen, in an emergency. One downside to promoting Lael is the impression that Lael would be playing favorites.

Roy (white, 57, married, three children) graduated from a private university in the top half of his class. Roy has been with the company for twenty years and in the industry for thirty. He has always been a steady performer with mostly average ratings. Roy has been passed over for promotion previously because he refused to relocate but that is no longer a problem (his children are grown). Roy’s energy level is average to low, however he has produced many of the company’s top sales performers in the past. This promotion would be his last before retirement and many in the company feel that he has earned it. In fact, one senior manager stopped Lael in the hall and said, “You know, Lael, Roy has been with us for a long time. He has done many good things for the company, sacrificing not only himself but also his family. I really hope you can see your way to promoting him. It would be a favor to me that I wouldn’t forget.”

Quang Yeh (female, Asian, 28, single) graduated from State University in the top 3% of her class and has been with the company for four years. She is known for putting in 60-hour work weeks and for her meticulous management style which has generated some criticism from her sales staff. The last area she managed showed record sales increases despite the loss of several older accounts that for some reason did not like dealing with Quang. One fact about Quang is that at her previous place of work, she sued that company for discrimination and won. A comment that Lael had heard from that company was that Quang was intense and that nothing would stop her from reaching her goals. As Lael was going through her notes, another upper management individual came to her office and said, “You know, Lael, Quang is engaged to my son. I’ve looked over her personnel files and she looks very good. She looks like a rising star, which would indicate that she should be promoted as quickly as possible. I realize that you are not in my division, but the way people get transferred, you never know. I would really like to see Quang get this promotion.”

Finally Lael’s immediate supervisor came to her to talk about Liz. “You know, Lael, Liz is one of a very few people at the company who is an African American female who is qualified for this position. I’ve been going over the company’s hiring and promotion figures and it would be very advantageous for me personally and for the company to promote her. I’ve also spoken to public relations and they believe that this would be a tremendous boost for the company.”

As Lael pondered her decision, she mentally went through the candidates’ records and found that each had advantages and disadvantages. While she was considering her problem, the phone rang. “Lael I’m sorry to disturb you at this late hour but I need you to come to the hospital. Janeen (Liz’s daughter) has been in an accident and I don’t know who to turn to. Can you come?” was Liz’s frantic question. “Yes, I’m on my way,” Lael responded. When Lael got to the hospital, she found that Janeen’s injuries were fairly serious and that Liz would have to miss some work to help with the recuperation process. Lael also realized that this accident would create a financial problem for Liz which a promotion could help solve.

The next day seemed very long and was punctuated by the announcement that Roy’s son was getting married to the vice-president’s daughter. The wedding would be in June and it sounded as though it would be a company affair. By 4:30 that afternoon Lael had gone through 4 aspirin and two antacids. Her decision was due in two days.

### Write a 750+ word essay to answer the following questions:

1. Please provide a brief summary of the case.

2. What are the main legal issues and ethical considerations for Lael as she faces this dilemma?

3. Please identify the key stakeholders and their involvement in this situation.

4. Which candidate should Lael choose to promote? Be sure to provide support for your choice.