SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [16th February 2018]- Day 60
1. A junior member of staff has just returned to work after taking special leave to care for her elderly mother. For financial reasons she needs to work full-time. She has been having difficulties with her mother’s home care arrangements, causing her to miss a number of team meetings (which usually take place at the beginning of each day) and to leave work early. She is very competent in her work but her absences are putting pressure on her and her overworked colleagues. You are her manager, and you are aware that the flow of work through the practice is coming under pressure. One of her male colleagues is beginning to make comments such as “a woman’s place is in the home”, and is undermining her at every opportunity, putting her under even greater stress.
As a manager, I have to keep my team motivated and encourage them to give their best performance and as per my job demands I also have to provide efficient output for my company.
- How would you deal with this situation?
So certain steps have to be taken. As manager I would take these steps:
- Reschedule meeting: As per convenience of all stakeholders.
- Minutes of meeting: In case the meeting is important which cannot be rescheduled and involved that day’s working. And pass on the minutes to the missed member.
- Loans: Check with management if some loans can be arranged so that she can hire helper/nurse at home.
- Work from home facility.
- Transfer: If possible to other department which won’t require her physical presence in office
- Flexible working hours.
- Team hurdles: To motivate team and make them understand the contribution of all members.
- Empathy: Also encourage voluntary help for work sharing to possible extent because everybody has humanitarian side and they know it can happen to anybody in future.
- Pull up: Male member for making such sexist comments and ask him to apologies if it has hurt female employee and making sure gender based discrimination has no place in office.
Note: Empathy can be shown in your points but do not take emotional stand like allocation of work load to team, motivating team to contribute finance etc. It is a work setup and everyone works for monetary benefits, emotions have least space especially in competitive world.
2. Do you think the mentality of the male colleague is not surprising keeping in mind the current social structure? Critically examine.
The comment made by the male member is not surprising because:
- Social structure: Presently it is patriarchal society and we are told girl’s place belong in kitchen.
- Upbringing: Since childhood, observing house situations, family, relatives and friends circle.
- Inequality: Treating girl and boy kids differently. Right from bringing toys to clothes.
- Home work: Traditionally it has been told kitchen work and other home works like child caring, old age people caring etc. are primarily responsibility of women.
The social structure is under change since last decade and it cannot be considered only because of the same:
- Competition: In this corporate world, rising to top by pushing others down is common and even if he has women members of his family circle working he will make to discourage her and gain advantage.
- Nepotism: To bring in someone he might favor to her place by making her quit or move out form her present role.
We have seen that how women are breaking gender barrier and excelling in predominantly male areas like Indra Nooyi, Kalpana Chawla, Arundhati bhattacharya, Durga Shakti Nagpal etc.
Meeting can be arranged in the team to show them about importance of every last and weakest link for the chain to hold together. Of course in office setup emotions have no place but humanitarian side can be shown. In terms of male member comment, it should be sorted then and there so that rest females feel there contribution is equally important that as men.
Best Answer: None
2. You are one of three partners in a firm of accountants. Five years ago the firm was appointed as external accountants to a young, successful and fast-growing company, engaged to prepare year end accounts and tax returns. The business had started trading with a handful of employees but now has a workforce of 200, while still remaining below the size of company requiring a statutory audit.
Due to your close relationship with the directors of the company (who are its owners) and several of its staff, you become aware that staff purchases of goods manufactured by the company are authorized by production managers, and then processed outside the accounting system. The proceeds from these sales are used to fund the firm’s Christmas party.
Do you think there is a compromise on professional ethics in this case? Examine. What is the best course of action in this case? Examine its pros and cons.
- This case study deals with crisis of professional ethics and ethical dilemma
- You first discuss how your action or inaction will compromise your professional ethics (try to use ethical terms here)
- Lastly, discuss the course of action (see below)
As an external auditor, I am professionally bound to ensure that the accounts of my client are kept and reported in order and honestly. Failing to do so, puts not just my personal integrity at risk, but can also damage the reputation of my firm.
In the given case study, since I am aware of certain improper conduct related to accounting at my client’s company, I’ll be compromising my professional ethics if I do not raise the issue with concerned parties – i.e. my client and my partners. I will duly inform my partners of the said ethical dilemma as it puts our firm in legal and moral jeopardy.
I will need to find out how the non-reporting of income from above mentioned sales affects the tax returns. I will also have to ensure that any financial information produced by me or my firm is proper and in accordance with the laws. I will insist my client to rectify the same on their end, failing which I’ll consult my partners in taking an appropriate legal action.
Lastly, as I share a close relation with the client in personal capacity, I will temporarily step aside from auditing his/her firms while they rectify their income records.
Possible Course of Action
Having brought the issue to the attention of my partners, and obtained the relevant details of the client’s system for accounting for staff sales, I can raise your concerns with the directors of the client company. I will also have to determine whether the financial statements of previous years are likely to be misleading and, if so, consider my responsibility (or that of your client) to inform the relevant authorities (including the tax authority).
I should strongly advise the directors that a staff sales policy should be introduced to ensure that these sales are fully recorded in the company’s accounting system in the future. I will explain to the directors the implications of their actions. If the directors are co-operative, I will advise them of the recommended changes to the accounting system and how they might disclose the past undisclosed income to the tax authority.
If the directors appear unwilling to change the system in respect of staff sales, I am obliged to disassociate myself from any involvement with the company’s financial statements, and this will require my firm to resign as the company’s accountant. I may also seek advice from our professional body for auditing. Lastly, if the client’s conduct is negative, I will consider my whistleblowing obligations and will report the matter to one or more relevant tax authorities.
Best Answer: None
3. You are working in a big media house. The channels owned by the house have wide reach across the country. The new CEO of the media house is showing signs of allegiance towards the ruling party of a particular state. You are able to gauge his inclinations by the fact that there is hardly any news item being shown which criticize the action or inaction of the government. You are perturbed by this as you feel that free, independent and unbiased media is the lifeline of a vibrant democracy. Yet you are silent on this issue as your bread and butter is dependent on this job. You can’t offend your boss after all.
However, one day the limit is breached when the CEO calls you and directs you to stage a false sting operation against the opposition party’s leader. You are also given monetary inducements to follow his directions. When you oppose, he tells you to either do the job or quit the company.
What would you do in this situation and why?
Dilemmas in this question:
- Professional ethics Vs. personal ethics
- Integrity Vs. partisanship
- Freedom of information Vs. corrupt nexus of political and media
- Independence of journalism Vs. partisan boss
Options I have as a journalist:
Option one: As per the direction from the CEO, will do the false sting operation against opposition party’s leader and take monetary inducements as per the offer. If I follow this option these are following pros and cons are there:
- I will get the monetary benefit and it is good for government and our company.
- I will save my job as I am completely depend on it for my bread and butter.
- I will satisfy my boss and this will help me in promoting my position as well as I will get more monetary benefits if I continue to follow my boss orders.
- I will be getting any future political favors, if needed.
- This is completely against my personal ethics and it is against the journalism ethics as well, this will lead to dishonesty to my job, and I will be part of that media and political nexus.
- It will definitely hamper my conscience along with that I may save my job, but every day I will go through mental trauma for doing the things which are against my principles.
- These kinds of acts are like slippery slope once if we get used to it, we will lose our conscience and after some time, it feels like we are not doing wrong at all, which I am aware of, so I don’t want to lose my character just for meagre material benefits.
- This is more about short term gain VS long term pain, by opting for this option, I will be doing negative ethics of my profession and this act is against the freedom of information.
Option two: As the question clearly stated that the CEO has ordered to follow the orders or else I have to quit my job, and it is the question of bread and butter. If I opt for this option there are following pros and cons are there:
- I might leave my job to uphold personal ethics, and will be satisfied with the act I have done as I strongly feel that doing unethical things is the worst form of corruption.
- It will satisfy the ego of the CEO as well, and he will get his work done with other person smoothly as he understood that I am not the right person to do this job.
- If I quit the job, that doesn’t mean that the false sting operation won’t happen, I have saved myself from doing wrong, however, now someone else will do that job which is against the freedom of information as it will promote the corrupt nexus between politics and media.
- This will lead to curb in the independence of journalism and also the CEO who has this biasedness, will dominate the field which is dangerous for the democratic values as well as accountability in the society.
- But the crisis will remain in the media and especially in my company, which I have first-hand experienced.
- Boss might think that he can pressurize anyone who doesn’t listen to him, I will set the wrong precedence in the company itself.
Option three: If I have experienced that biasedness, there must be other people who must have felt the same and as I am working in that media house before the CEO, I must have good knowledge about the people who will stand for the democracy and freedom of information and without any biasedness.
I will reach them and will try to escalate the issue to the board members and also will try to resolve through internal mechanism as there must be some mechanism to solve the crisis like these. I can be a whistle blower from the institute, and I can register a complaint to press clubs, board of directors regarding the CEO, etc., if I opt for this option, there will be following pros and cons:
- This will restore the peoples’ faith in the media as these days, most of the people lost their faith in the media, due to lots of scams as well as news itself shows that biasedness.
- This will not cost my job, as it will also raise the consciousness of the media, if something is going wrong in other companies, they might introspect and some people who are under pressure due to the bosses and their hierarchical heads can now come out and raise the issues going on within their companies.
- This way my integrity and also my personal ethics will be upheld, which also means personal and professional satisfaction for staying for the truth and honesty.
- By opting this option I can curb the nexus between media corporates and politicians.
- This will help our company to remain neutral and also this will improve our companies image in the public
- Unnecessary rivalries in the company and also people who are supporting the CEO of that company.
- He might target me again and again for no reason, if board of directors and some of the staff have already known and they are getting some favors and monetary benefits.
In this situation my options will be:
- I will opt for the third option as it is my duty to restore the public faith in the media and also by doing this, sometimes it might cost my job.
- But that won’t be a big issue, as I have already worked and I have the experience to get into another job role or other company, as these days most of the companies are looking for persons who are ethical as well as professional.
- The Public trust in media to hold government accountable is the most important function as a journalist.
- My efforts is to preserve that trust and adhere to the ethical norms of the media profession, which I might be able to do it.
Best Answer: jyothi singh