In the book, Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right, author Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., introduces four managers who have been faced with a right-versus-right conflict. These managers are stuck in a difficult situation in which they must choose the best option that will allow them to govern innocently. The three managers are Rebecca Dennet, Steve Lewis, Peter Adario, and Edouard Sakiz.
Everyday, managers are faced with difficult decisions that involve moral responsibility, having the best interest for the company/employees, and also looking out for themselves. The first situation presented in the book involves a lady named Rebecca Dennet who is a branch manager at a major bank. Rebecca’s boss told her that her branch was going to be shut down in a couple weeks and she needed to remain quiet about it until all the papers have been filed. When a co-worker asked Rebecca if she knew anything about the rumor that the branch may be shutting down, Rebecca did not know how to respond. Should she tell her co-worker so that she can plan to find another job before Christmas or listen to her boss and keep quiet? This is the first example of a right-versus-right situation because both are the right options but unfortunately Rebecca can only choose one. This situation is an example of “dirty-hands”. When you have power, it is almost inevitable that you will at some point get your hands dirty and be forced to lose your moral innocence. If I were Rebecca Dennet, my attempt to manage innocently would be to respond without a straightforward response. I would tell my co-worker, “Unfortunately I do not have the authority to answer that question. I am not going to say the branch is or isn’t shutting down. That may be a question for the senior executive to answer.” Although I am passing the dirty hands onto the senior executive, by not answering, I am not letting anyone down. I am not hurting my...
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