Charlene Milton has spent the past three months trying to gather all the information she needs to submit a bid on an order that is very important to her company. Bids are due tomorrow and the decision will be made within a week. She has made a great impression on the purchasing agent, Jamie Arnold, and she has just ended a conversation with her sales manager who believes Charlene needs to make one more call on Arnold to see if she can find out any additional information that might help her prepare the bid. Charlene’s boss specifically wants to know who the other bidders are.
Later that day, Charlene visited with Jamie Arnold. During the course of the conversation with Arnold, Charlene asked who the other bidders were. Arnold beat around the bush for a while, but she did not reveal the other bidders. She did
mention the other bids were in and pulled the folder out of the filing cabinet where they were kept. Jamie opened the file and looked over the bids in front of Charlene.
There was a knock on the door and Jamie’s boss asked if he could see her for a minute and she walked down the hall with her boss. Charlene realized all the bids were left out in front of her. There was a summary sheet of all of the bids on top and she could easily see all the bids. When Arnold returned she returned the folder to the file and the two made some small talk and ended their conversation.
Charlene returned to her office and completed her bid and turned it in to Jamie Arnold the next morning. Charlene knew her bid would be the lowest by $500.00. One week later Charlene learned she won the bid.
1. What are the ethical issues involved in this situation?
2. If you were Charlene Milton, do you think Jamie Arnold intended for you to see the competitive bids? What would you have done, given this situation? Why?