You work in Human Resources. This morning, you were called into a meeting and told that there will be layoffs in specific parts of the company and you will be responsible for implementing them. Your Vice President reminds you that this information is, of course, confidential until all the decisions are finalized. You are concerned about the people in the company but determined to administer the layoff as professionally as possible.
One of your friends, John, also works for the company. When you meet him for lunch, he tells you that he and his wife are expecting their first child and are going to buy a house. In fact, they’ve already found the house they want and will be putting a deposit down when they meet with the realtor tonight. “It’s probably a lot more money than we should spend, but we fell in love with the house,” he says. “Besides, business is good, right?”
You know that John’s department is part of the layoff, and it’s possible that John will lose his job. One of your personal values is honesty, but one of your professional values is that HR information must be kept confidential and that you must act in the best interests of the organization.
The article on Google helps you to give the answer: How to Be an Ethical Leader: 7 Tips for Success.
Questions: How would you handle the situation? How would you categorize the conflicting values, and how would you assess the potential consequences of your decision? What lessons from the John Gutfreund case influenced your thinking?