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A procurement officer has got himself into some difficulties by trying to do what he thinks was the right thing in being responsive and accommodating for an internal client. In doing so, he has violated a number of unwritten ethical expectations of his role. He is wondering what he could have done differently and, specifically, how to handle an upcoming conversation with his chief executive officer about his future with the company.
This case could be used in undergraduate, graduate or high-potential leadership development executive programs. It illustrates how one can get into some quite serious ethical difficulties without the intention to do anything wrong — moral blindness. Furthermore, it makes a direct link between demonstrating ethical behaviour and career success, especially in those companies for whom ethical management is important. It also identifies issues of conflicting obligations in matrix structures.