You’re a management consultant who has been asked by Green Company to help design an ethics communication and training program for all Green Company employees. Your meetings to date have been with the head of human resources, and your contract with the company has been negotiated with him. Once the papers have been signed, you begin your research and are quickly stymied by Green’s corporate counsel. He says you will not be allowed to ask employees about ethical dilemmas that have occurred at Green. He specifically asks you to get your information from other sources such as press accounts of problems in the industry, or from other organizations you’ve worked with. In addition, the head of human resources has told you that you’ll be unable to meet the three most senior executives because they’re busy negotiating a large acquisition. You will have access to other high-level managers who can tell you what they think the seniors want. You’re instructed to write a code of conduct for the company and a mission statement, and to prepare presentations for the senior managers to give to employees sometime next month on corporate expectations and values.
1. Based on what you know about developing ethical cultures and programs, identify the problems presented by this case.
2. Why do you think the corporate counsel has responded in this way? What will be your response to him, if any?
3. As a consultant, what are your ethical obligations, if any?
4. How will you proceed?