Case Study: An Ethical Dilemma

A Work Situation that Raised an Ethical Dilemma

Last year decisions on money that could not be accounted for literally changed the course of financial future of one of three candidates because they could not explain how the bank was missing some funds. The bank has three accountants who surely one of them or all of them should have been in a position to explain the situation. I trusted all of them, and I didn’t have even a slight guess on who could have got away with the money. I had to make a decision that explicitly balanced the accomplishments of the past of a candidate with the strategy for the future. I didn’t want to rush to any decisions because I didn’t have even know where to start their investigations but what I was sure is that they were the only ones who were responsible. After raising the issue to the three, there developed a conflict among them and no one admitted but as the managing director I had to act, or the loss would be turned around to me. I decided that I would start by going the files of the three accountants.

Accountant #1

William Wyllie was very popular and served the Bank’s services for many years. He was thirty years old, married, and with a masters degree in accounting, He had an experience of about ten years. He had been promoted to his position from an assistant accountant after the previous accountant retired from his position. He was very loyal to the bank and even would spare some of his free time to balance all arithmetic’s related to the bank. He had no negative issues in the past, and his file was all clean. Not considering that he was a friend of mine I didn’t have the slightest idea of how he could have stolen.

Candidate #2

Eva Bankowski was the first in her family to go to college, much less graduate school. Her parents had emigrated from Poland. While in her job as an accountant, she had enrolled in the part-time MBA program at the University and three years later, at the age of 24, received her MBA. Eva had taken out a student loan to pay for her education, which she was expected to repay for the next 10 years. Being worked for the Bank for 8 years, she was known as a “sales machine.” She opened more new accounts for clients in the previous year than many bankers open in their entire careers. . She understood credit, the bank lending processes and was able to offer prospects a streamlined experience. She had developed a close sense of relationship and clients would mostly choose her to offer banking services. She was friendly and also jovial in her work, and even the fellow employees loved her.  There are no records relating to past conflicts.

Accountant #3

Sophie Aziz had been a banker in the Bank X Geneva, Switzerland office for about five years. She was fairly thirty-two years old a single mother of two. She always remained focused and serious to her work and seemed not so much friendly. Not long she had been involved in a conflict between her and a client who had come to complain about a deficit in his bank status. It was found that the client used abusive words and was harsh. The misunderstanding was solved, and the work continued as per the routine. Her bank account status was normal, and nothing could lead to her being suspected of having gotten away with the money. She was a committed employee, and her file was also clean like her colleagues.

Negative Life Experiences

It is worth emphasizing that sometimes people who seem to be most trusted turn out to be frustration in life which is most unexpected.  Keeping in mind that I had to give the issue the at most attention it deserved without any reference that I had friends, I would not spare anyone if they would be found guilty of the issue. It was an unethical practice of dishonesty and taking advantage of trust given and responsibility.

A strategy to approach the case (AAA model)



I decided I would form a committee that would help me to approach the issue. All members of the committee had qualities that were common to all dignity, honesty, and honor. We would use casuist as the model of unethical practice solving method. We would start investigating from when the bank accounts status went negative then we would narrow to find possible solutions.   To put it differently, my decision did not match my beliefs and values at all. I had never known my position was faced with such difficult moments. We found the date of the cash missing, and the first thing we could think of is approaching the watchman’s record. We would be able to know if all the employees left the bank at the regular usual time. To our surprise, all the bank accountants left almost at the same time at their supposed regular time. We went back to the drawing table to find other possible approaches to the case.

Narrowing to the party that deserves more attention

One of the members proposed that we should even try to focus on the assistant accountants as they would also have been involved. All this time, we had suspended the accountants and got new ones. It was then that we noticed the day around the time of funds lacking, the assistant accountant of Sophie left the bank late. We narrowed the case to investigating more on Sophie.

Deciding on the accused party

We followed the case carefully and called Sophie together with her accountant to investigate them. Their accounts didn’t show any huge transactions that had taken place. At some point, they were even making us feel like we were accusing them falsely and we released them to go back home. It was later that I started checking some friends of Sophie to determine any unusual transactions. I still would not find any evidence. It was then that something closed my mind that they would have used her late husband’s bank account. I became even more curious after finding the account was closed, my suspicions proved me right, and I discovered there were transactions after his death. I added up the money transacted, and to my surprise, they added up to the money that was missing. It was now clear where to get the money back from.

Reflection on the Ethical Theory That Best Supports my Decision

Psychologists have developed different theories of solving unethical practices mainly by employees. Casuist is the best ethical theory I found to use in my case because I had to find the previous ethical dilemmas to judge the best possible outcome. It helps to eliminate some people and remain with those who have had previous unethical dilemmas because most likely they are most likely to repeat the practice. This form of reasoning helped in narrowing the case study making it easier to find the possible findings to the case. The experience was good, and the outcome was satisfactory. It also helped in joining the honest party and explaining to them the process that had to be used to get the point of interest.

Application of the Ethical Decision-Making Model to the Above Situation

Scientists have developed a lot of decision-making models aimed at dealing with ethical dilemmas. By following the American Accounting Association (AAA) model, the above ethical dilemma may be reviewed.

  1. The necessity to choose between three candidates for the unethical practices of not accounting for the bank’s money.
  2. The pressure of the bank manager to decide in favor of a candidate who deserves this accusation less than others is the ethical issue.
  3. The fundamental principles of integrity and objectivity relate to this case; justice, fairness, and honesty are values, which relate to this case.
  4. The alternative courses of action are a) to decide in favor of a candidate who deserves this less accusation more than others, b) to decide in favor of a candidate who deserves the accusation more than others, c) a person who makes a decision about the case risks hurting innocent employees.
  5. To decide in favor of a candidate who deserves this accusation more than others is the best course of action, consistent with the identified principles and values.
  6. All things considered, the decision is to decide who to focus on and leave the others out of consideration.

To decide in favor of a candidate who deserves this accusation more than others is the decision that I would make as a result of using the AAA model. I would make that decision because it reflects business values better than any other decision. Applying this model has made me learn how to approach a problem keeping in mind the ethical norms and values of my profession. I will apply this learning in future through dealing with ethical dilemmas by using decision-making models.

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