Ethics Case Study: A wordily incentive proves very worth in raising morale of the workers which ultimately results in increased output of works. Two girls Komal and Ritika are working in a multi-national company and assigned to complete a project together. Ritika had invested everything in terms of time, knowledge and expertise. Komal also did a bit of work in the project. At the completion of the project, the boss gave complete credit to Komal, when it was in fact her colleague who did most of the work. 1. Should Komal accept the praise nullifying Ritika? What moral principles are involved in this case? 2. What should Komal do and why? Suggest suitable course of action. (200 W/ 15 M)

Model Answer:

Being praised often makes people feel good. Pride, pleasure and increased feelings of self-esteem are all common reactions to receiving a compliment or positive feedback.

  • In the above case, giving credit only to one person may make the other one who invested more in terms of everything feel disappointed and discouraged. When the boss praises only someone who was just involved in completing the project ignoring the person who put her best efforts in the project it would be amounting to injustice for the one who puts in more efforts. It is not about nullifying Ritika’s effort. It is about appropriately acknowledging the efforts of Komal who stood with her and made the project a success.
  • Failing to do so may result in reduced efforts and will-power for Komal which may affect her performance in the company as a whole. Temptation, principles of honesty, team spirit, integrity and respect for one’s colleague are some common ethical principles which can be considered in this case.
  • However, on the other hand choosing to give complete credit to the one who did the most work (Ritika) will downplay Komal’s effort and will paint a negative picture of her. It will make her look like someone who is not needed and that Ritika could have solely completed the project. This will lower the team spirit and willingness to work with edge.
  • Hence, the boss should adopt a smart approach of praising to the entire team and giving honour and respect which are two major things that must never be overdue. This will reflect boss’s ability to deal with the emotions of the employees.

What should Komal do?

  • Komal should make her boss aware that while everyone worked on the project, it was Ritika who managed the bulk of the work. She should speak directly that the real person to get acknowledgement for the work is Ritika and she should be praised instead of her. This will bring mental satisfaction for Komal as well as to Ritika. This will also save Komal from facing emotional and ethical on consequences along with reflecting maturity on her part that she does not accept the things which do not belong to her.
  • However, choosing to fight the urge to accept the kudos and acknowledging people for their time and effort will go long way in assuring both quality and quantity of the work and for the institution as well. It will encourage, motivate and fuel innovation to do things right. Integrity in work will touch new heights. It will also encourage willingness and openness to do better every day in terms of performance.