Note: This is a discussion post so it can be short.
Discussion case study
Henry Espinoza knew this proposal was important to his company, Valen Industries. If the proposal was successful, it could be worth millions of dollars in short-term and long-term projects for his employer. For Henry, winning the project meant a likely promotion to vice president and a huge raise in salary. The company’s CEO was calling him daily to check up and see if it was going well. That meant she was getting stressed out about the project. Through the grapevine, Henry knew his company really had only one major competitor for the project. So the odds were good that Valen Industries would win the contract. Of course, Henry and his team needed to put together an innovative and flawless proposal to win, because their major competitor was going all out to get this project. Then, one day, something interesting happened. One of Henry’s team members, Vera Houser, came to him with an e-mail from one of her friends, who worked for their main competitor. In the e-mail, this person offered to give Valen Industries a draft of its competitor’s proposal. Moreover, this friend would pass along any future drafts as the proposal evolved. In the e-mail, Vera’s friend said he was very frustrated working at his “slimy” company, and he was looking for a way out. He also revealed that his company was getting “inside help” on the proposal, but Henry wasn’t sure what that meant. Essentially, this person was hinting that he would give Henry’s team a copy of the competitor’s proposal and work as a mole if they considered hiring him at Valen Industries. Henry knew he would gain a considerable advantage over his only competitor if he had a draft of its proposal to look over. The ability to look at future drafts would almost ensure that he could beat his competitor. Certainly, he thought, with this kind of money on the line, a few rules could be bent. And it seemed that his competitor was already cheating by receiving inside help. Henry went home to think it over.
What would be the ethical choice in this situation? How do you think Henry should handle this interesting opportunity?
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