This article is part of the George Kalmar Business Ethics Series
Throughout our business and personal lives we are faced with dilemmas that place us between a “rock and a hard place;” dilemmas that are always win-lose. They force us to choose between saving one person’s job while costing another’s; causing one person to lose money while another gains; and hurting one friend while helping the other. They occur both by accident and as a result of the actions of others. The latter is what recently happened to me.
I was working as a business consultant for two sister companies, Alpha, Inc. and Beta, Inc., that have the same parent company, Gamma, Inc. During my initial interactions with Alpha, Charlie, an administrative assistant, informed me that Gamma and Alpha were having some sort of dispute. Charlie was highly stressed about the dispute and told me that he was considering looking for a new job. The president of Alpha would later confirm that she was indeed having a dispute with Gamma.
The plot thickened.
During my communications with executives at both Beta and Gamma over some mutual business endeavors, a senior executive at Gamma asked for my professional opinion about Charlie as a potential employee for Gamma. He admitted to me that he and Charlie had discussed him working for Gamma. He was aware of my consulting arrangement with Charlie’s