During the third week of the MCI pilot program, the main character meets their new mentor, Raymond, who explains their first work assignment and introduces them to some of the older, more established employees. The protagonist quickly learns that this workplace filled with many disparate personalities and that while the company’s message is focused on unity and teamwork, some of the individuals working there aren’t exactly focused on the larger good of the business or on the well-being of their co-workers. This becomes very clear when they encounter a case of workplace bullying with one of their fellow new hires. After this incident, the pilot readers were asked to think about the question of authority (“What do legitimate authorities (e.g. experts, law, my religion/god) expect of me?”) and select one of four possible actions while determining an appropriate course of action for the central character. The following answers were chosen as good examples of how these readers explained their decision-making process for this chapter:
“After witnessing this event and considering all of my options, I have decided to stay neutral in this situation. This decision was rather difficult for me in that I had to put my personal beliefs and morals aside in order to do what was best for my career.
When focusing on what authorities expect of me, I had to decide who exactly the authorities were. Was the authority Morgan? Was the authority Julie? Was the authority the law? Was the authority God? After thinking about this, I realized that authorities are ever changing and it is impossible to please all of the authorities. Due to this fact I realized that I needed to keep my own best interest in mind for it is impossible to make all of the authorities content.
Once I established that, I tried to balance fairness and possible outcomes. What Morgan did to Luis was not fair and I understand that. However, the possible outcomes of me reporting the incident to the police or the company would have a negative effect on my career, including possible unemployment. Along with this, reporting the incident may cause Morgan to harass him more if he believes Luis was the one who filed a complaint. However, this was a hard decision for me in that I do not condone bullying whatsoever, whether it is based on ethnicity, gender, appearance, religion, or anything else.
Despite this I sadly had to put my best interest in mind and choose to D: Stay neutral and try to change the subject.”
Authority: What do legitimate authorities (e.g. experts, law, my religion/god) expect of me?
I believe that is expected of me to be honest in what I saw. It is expected for me to tell others of what I saw because it could potentially hurt someone. I think that since Miri and I both saw Luis being bullied by Morgan, we both have to be honest and tell someone else in order to protect Luis and others from being emotionally hurt by Morgan.
Fairness: How can I act equitably and balance legitimate interests?
In order to go about the situation fairly, I think that it’s necessary to stay by Miri’s side so she isn’t alone with bringing up the bullying. However, I also think that it’s important that Luis knows that Miri and I saw Morgan bullying him and want to help Luis out. I believe that filing a police report is too drastic for this situation, but staying neutral and forgetting about it won’t be fair to Luis and other people Morgan might bully.
Outcomes: What achieves the best short- and long-term outcomes for me and all others?
- Reporting the incident to someone in the company with Miri will have the short-term outcomes of Morgan’s bullying habits being brought to the company’s attention. A long-term outcome of this choice would be people seeing me and Miri as “tattle-tales” because you said something bad about a long-term, trusted employee.
- Filing a police report will result in the short-term outcomes of Morgan being reprimanded for his actions. A long-term outcome from this choice would be Morgan losing his job and resenting me and Miri for ruining his career.
- Mediating the situation may result in the short-term outcomes of Morgan retaliating against Miri and me for standing up to him. A long-term outcome may be Luis being thankful to Miri and me for standing up for him against Morgan.
- Staying neutral could cause a short-term outcome of Miri and me feeling guilty for not doing anything to help Luis. A long-term outcome would be Luis becoming severely emotionally discouraged due to the constant bullying from Morgan.
I would choose the option of reporting the incident to someone in the company with Miri, Option A.”
“After going through my first day at work, I have to choose a decision that results in a positive, ethically sound impact as an effect of my choice. There are multiple authorities that expect a certain action from me. The experts, or mentors, of the company expect me, Luis, and Miri to “sugar” our resume up and make us look good to the higher ups, which has a direct impact on our mentors as well. The higher ups in the company, not the mentors, expect the new hires to be honest and display our positives and negatives to them, which conflicts what the mentors want because it could possibly backfire and make a new hire look unimpressive. When it comes to breaking the law, Morgan stole Luis’s crucifix and could be reported for theft. My religion, or lack of one, demonstrates that stealing a crucifix is morally wrong because it is highly significant to both Luis, demonstrated by him crying, and to the new hires because everyone should be religiously tolerant.
I want to balance all legitimate interest, however, the best short and long term outcomes are entirely dependent on what Miri and I should do next. If I go with Miri to report the incident to someone in the company, in the short term I am being honest and reporting a violation that I have seen someone make within the company, which the higher ups in the company would appreciate in the short and long term. This would, however, create a rift between the new hires and the mentors because we ignored the trust that they want us to have with them so that everyone could exceed in the workplace. If I called the police, I would be yielding to the authority of the law, however, reporting a theft while ignoring any potential solutions to the problem would be ignorant because communication could easily solve this problem, and it jeopardizes the company and the people who work in it. Calling the police would only be an available option if nothing remains solved, therefore it is the last option.
Working with Miri to attempt to mediate the conflict between Morgan and Luis demonstrates how I am choosing to trust the mentors by directly talking with Morgan about his improper conduct, without betraying them by going to a higher authority. The company in the long term would not have to find any violation, and the mentors would have security in knowing the new hires found a way to solve conflict without taking it to someone in a higher position. If I choose to stay neutral and change the subject, I am not being faithful to my religion or a good law-abiding citizen. I am jeopardizing the company by watching a violation take place and doing nothing, and I am demonstrating that the behavior of the mentors is acceptable, which, in the long term of the company, is unprofessional and potentially damaging, (what if Luis attempts to sue?).
I would (A) report the incident to someone higher in the company while voicing my concerns about the mentors wanting us to be dishonest in our resume. I cannot recognize the mentors as a legitimate authority because they pressured me to lie in my resume, which is against my morals. They also mistreated Luis, and this abuse could be very damaging to the company. Bullying is not okay, and I would never go to the bullies and attempt to solve it if the bullies have already been pressuring me to lie to higher authorities.”
Such great answers! The students in the MCI pilot program are doing such a wonderful job of providing thorough and deliberate responses to each installment—we really appreciate their participation.