This case describes an ethical dilemma faced by Amma Adobea. Amma works for APM, a micro-finance and small-business-finance organization. (Micro-finance organizations provide very small loans to people who want to start or expand small businesses. The amounts of these loans are often too small to interest banks, so an alternative source of credit is needed.
Amma attends an annual meeting of APM, where top managers got large â€œâ€giftsâ€ (a new car at her level of management), and even lower-level employees received incentives. Amma is concerned about these â€œincentivesâ€ because the organizationâ€™s profits have been declining in recent years, while the amount of money spent on executive rewards has gone up and up. The current CEO seems to be spending significant sums of money on activities that are not directly connected to the financial health of the organization.
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1. What action do you think Amma is about to take? What options might she be considering?
Ammaâ€™s discomfort with the behavior of top management leads me to believe she is going to the press, or to some regulatory agency, to â€œblow the whistleâ€ on the unethical behavior by top management at APM. She may be planning to resign first, however; resigning before she is fired by top management will give her greater credibility. It is unlikely that she will do nothing at all, given her level of distress and concern for the organization and its stakeholders.
If she chooses to go to the press, she will be burning her bridges at APM and will likely lose her job. Depending on how influential top management at APM is across the alternative finance industry, she might be blackballed by the entire industry and not be able to find another job. She will need to have copies of documentation showing the excess spending, and taking that information out of the firm might lead to violations of laws that govern operations of such organizations. This is the highest-risk option that she can take.