Ethical Dilemma

We must get it,” Courtney Lowell, president of Industrial Fasteners, roared. “Without it, we’re in big trouble.” The “it” Mr. Lowell referred to is the renewal of a $14 million loan with Community First Bank. The big trouble he fears is the lack of funds necessary to repay the existing debt and few, if any, prospects for raising the funds elsewhere.

Mr. Lowell had just hung up the phone after a conversation with a bank vice-president in which it was made clear that this year’s statement of cash flows must look better than last year’s. Mr. Lowell knows that improvements are not on course to happen. In fact, cash flow projections were dismal.

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Later that day, Tim Cratchet, assistant controller, was summoned to Mr. Lowell’s office. “Cratchet,” Lowell barked, “I’ve looked at our accounts receivable. I think we can generate quite a bit of cash by selling or factoring most of those receivables. I know it will cost us more than if we collect them ourselves, but it sure will make our cash flow picture look better.”

Is there an ethical question facing Cratchet?

In your post discussing this case please include the following:

Step 1: State the facts

Step 2: What are the ethical issues and who are the stakeholders?

Step 3: What values are at stake?

Step 4: What are the alternatives?

Step 5: Evaluate the alternatives in terms of values

Step 6: What are the consequences?

Step 7: Make a decision. What should the company do?

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