Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2021, 8th Edition). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
SHORT CASE The Gift
You’re an account executive with a multinational financial firm, and one of your biggest accounts is that of a shipping magnate in Greece. Several months after you’ve arranged very complex financing to build a new fleet of oil tankers for this customer, he asks if you and your wife would attend the christening of the first tanker. You, of course, agree to attend—it would be an insult to him if you didn’t. When you arrive, he asks your wife to break the traditional champagne bottle over the bow of the tanker. Two weeks after the christening, your wife receives a package from your customer. In it is a gold bracelet with her initials and the date of the christening set in diamonds. To return the gift would insult your customer, but accepting it would clearly violate your company’s policy. What should you do?
1. What kind of an ethical issue is this?
2. Why would it be against corporate policy to accept such a gift? Do you agree with the policy? Why or why not?
3. Put yourself in the “shoes” of each of the parties. How might they think about the issue?
4. Imagine that you are the corporate vice president in charge of business ethics and conduct for your firm. Would you be willing to change this policy? Why or why not?