After posting part one of the NASBA CPT’s ethical dilemma, we requested feedback, and received a number of responses regarding your thoughts about the use of a raffle as a team’s video marketing strategy. A summary of your responses and considerations are listed below:
Comments supporting the raffle:
- The raffle does align with the rules, but people may be voting for the money, instead of the videos.
Comments against using the raffle:
- Some teams may not be able to afford to give away raffle items.
- I believe the raffle conflicts with the CPT’s ethical values and principles
- The purpose of voting is to recognize a well-made video, not choose a video that is giving out a random freebie.
- I believe that using a raffle is considered buying votes.
- Do state laws regulate raffles in the state(s) in which students are participating?
- Discussion from every possible viewpoint should be considered.
- The input of coworkers, judges and board members should significantly impact the team’s final decision, since ethical values tend to be set by society, rather than a small group of individuals.
- The raffle does not conflict with the CPT’s values, nor does it align.
These are all important considerations. In fact, most of these items were discussed as our team deliberated to determine an appropriate response.
After conducting days of research, interviews with the teams involved and consultations with objective stakeholders, the CPT concluded that the raffle did not violate the rules of the contest, nor the ethical values and principles of the organization. We determined that this did not create an unfair advantage, because any team in the competition could have used this strategy. Each year, we ask teams to encourage others to vote for their videos, and the CPT staff determined that this team operated within those guidelines.
The CPT also evaluated its role in the cause of the dilemma, and determined that it should enhance the clarity of its guidelines for future contests.
You may have noticed that the opinions of some team members changed after learning more information about the situation. That speaks to the importance of having the patience to conduct due diligence, so all decision-makers can have a more complete view of the given situation.
Most importantly, we want you to realize that ethical dilemmas are scenarios that do not always have clear cut, right or wrong answers. They are often judgment calls, and there is rarely a unanimous decision, that everyone believes is the right thing to do. Even in this case, some people may have responded differently, and they would not necessarily be wrong. The goal is for each team to make the best decision possible, with the information available, given the organization's values.
Ethical leaders need to make sure they have a fair and unbiased process that involves a diverse group of collaborators, who are willing to address concerns and evaluate the pros and cons of each possible decision.
To what extent are you prepared to lead a fair, publicly defendable process, if your organization is faced with an ethical dilemma?
Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.
- Ryan W. Hirsch
Program Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust