CONFLICTS OF LOYALTY
WE ALL GET CAUGHT in “conflicts of loyalty.” at times it’s hard to choose between being loyal to our managers or to our coworker friends. At other times we are caught in the middle of being loyal to our families and the demands of our corporations. As one executive said, “My corporate brain says this action is O.K., but my noncorporate brain keeps flashing these warning lights.”1
Joseph Badaracco, professor at Harvard Business School, offers the following case study in his book Business Ethics, which highlights this particular trap.
Jerry is an analyst at Bullard & Bartel (B&B), an investment banking firm. His roommate is his “best friend,” Lori. Lori is also an analyst. She works at universal Bank, a major commercial institution. Even though Jerry and Lori are employed at different firms, by happenstance they are both involved in the buyout of Suntech Corporation. B&B is “orchestrating” the buyout. Universal is providing a loan to Suntech for their “high-growth strategy.” at Home, Jerry and Lori refrain from discussing business due to corporate confidentiality.
Friday after work, Jerry comes home and finds Lori noticeably distressed. With reluctance she tells him that she has been laid off; Universal has dissolved its “capital finance group.” She pleads with Jerry to keep confidential the information she has just told him.
Jerry is concerned about Lori’s unemployment. Moreover, he realizes