Whistle-blowing: Harder Than It Looks?
R.U. Kidding, the comptroller for Rocket Man Enterprises, a government defense contractor, has a delicate ethical issue on his hands. In the course of his employment, Kidding has uncovered evidence that seems to indicate that Rocket Man has been overbilling the government for a weapons system project. Under its contract with the government, Rocket Man was supposed to calculate its hourly rate with a formula dividing charges between the more expensive work done directly in their offices and the less costly hourly labor performed by subcontractors. What Rocket Man did was simple: they billed subcontractor work at the higher in-house rate.
R.U. Kidding, realizing that the weapons system project is the lifeblood of Rocket Man, is at a loss as to what he should do with the information he has uncovered. On the one hand he feels he has a duty to bring this wrongdoing to light. After all, he reasons, there is the greater public interest and common good to consider. On the other hand, the project is so critical to the financial future of the Company that the disclosure of wrongdoing could be devastating for the Company and its employees, many of whom are R.U.’s colleagues and friends. If you were in R.U.’s shoes, what would you do and why? What specifically are the ethical dilemma and the related ethical issues for R.U.? Identify and discuss the relevant stakeholders for Kidding and his Company.
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