Case Study: Professional Ethics


Prof. Dileep Kumar. M

Sai Nath Institute of Science and Technology, is one of the famous Institute located at Kottayam, Kerala. This institute has one engineering college, Applied Science Institute and a few undergraduate courses. The Engineering College got its best academic training status within a period of 5years. The placement of the Engineering College was fine and many companies like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizent, Eisher, Tata, Samsung, LG Electronics, Whirlpool etc already selected students from the campus. The better placement scenario and the academic reputation had compelled the institute management to start an MBA programme from July Academic Year onwards. They have got the permission to run an MBA programme from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

Though many advertisements have been floated in major dailies, they didn't get proper response from the good faculties in business management subjects who want to switch over from one institute to another. The institute has faced difficulty in getting better faculties from within and outside state. Since the location of the institute was little interior to Kottayam many faculties who applied for the faculty position and selected further has dropped their plan to join the organisation. The institute do not have any permanent building to show and convince the faculty whom selected, with modern facilities that to attract and retain them. More over the institute has not offered better pay packages and accommodation faculties to the faculties who were ready to join. The structure of the management institute was a guesthouse-converted building with a single classroom, office room and conference room. But they have communicated to the interested faculties that they would commission a new building for the institute within the campus, within a period of 3 and half month. The location of the institute was to face many difficulties like the transportation and communication facilities. No STD booths near by to college and there were limited number of line bus through the institute rout. The students of engineering colleges and applied sciences were staying at Hostel.

Ms. Kavitha Shanmugham, M.Phill, PhD has joined as Faculty in Human Resource Management in Sai Nath Institute of Management, at Kottayam, Kerala. She has been working as faculty of HR in one of the premier business management school in Chennai. Within a period of four years she has developed her reputation as a soft skill trainer. Her Psychology background had given her better opportunity to known as a mentor and counselor to the business graduate students and as a practician in the implementation of Psychometric tests. Her skills and expertise had been utilized by her previous institute in the student's selection and training process. Every time she got better appreciation from the Director and faculties of previous institute on her academic contributions commitment and hard work. Her decision to switch over from Chennai to Kerala was based on family concern. The family pressure compelled her to join in any of the institute in Kerala. When she returned majority institute has already closed their selection process for the faculties.  Quiet fortunately, she had seen the advertisement of Sai Nath Institute of Management, Kottayam. Immediately she applied for the post of faculty/trainer Sai Nath Institute of Management. She got the offer letter stating that the institute would be providing single accommodation facility and free mess to the faculty. Believing the offer letter and the appointment order from the Sai Nath Institute of Management, she has joined the institute in the stipulated date.

She took all her belongings from Chennai to the institute. She has been allotted one single room within the hostel. When she entered the room, she has got annoyed by seeing another three beds inside the room. The room didn't have any table and chair for study purpose.  She enquired the matter with the Dean Welfare. The Dean welfare replied that he didn't have any intimation from the institute management to give her a single room with table and chair. She stayed within the hostel during that night with two girl students of Applied Sciences. On the next day morning she took up the matter to the Dean SIM (Sai Nath Institute of Management). By giving hope to her he assured Kavitha that the issue will be settled within few days. Mean while the Director of the institute landed for a discussion with the Dean. She raised the issue to him and the Director also assured her that with two three days the issue would be settled. She agreed with the Director's assurance and adjusted herself with the limited facilities offered to her. Mean while her accommodating has been transferred from one hostel to another. She had to take her entire belonging from one hostel to another.

She started her preparation to the Course launch programme on the coming Monday. The Dean has given her the responsibility of compeering of all programmes, since she found good in communication presentation skills. She agreed the responsibility. On Friday, she asked the Dean about her accommodation. The Dean assured her that he would call the CEO and arrange your accommodation today itself. But she informed the Dean that she wouldn't be attending the launch programme, if they couldn't be able to arrange her accommodation today before evening. She informed him further that as per the direction and assurance she waited the arrangement till date. But there was no communication from either the Dean or the CEO or the Director. The Dean called CEO immediately and asked him about the arrangement made for the accommodation the lady faculty. The Director called the CEO enquired about the same. As such there was no arrangement made, the Director asked the Dean (SIM) to wait another couple of days for the arrangement. The Dean informed the same to Kavita. She has got very much annoyed by hearing the Dean's reply. Without giving any second thought in the matter she informed the Dean that she would be leaving today evening to her home taking all of her luggage and not attending the launch programme on Monday.  She further informed the Dean that kindly inform her when the arrangement would be made for her in the hostel. Till that time she would be staying at her home.

 The Dean once again called the CEO and the Director and reported the matter. The institute has only four faculties at present top run the entire programmed. He informed the Director and CEO of the institute that loosing one faculty was not advisable before the launch programme. It would affect the image of the institute before the parent and students, who are the major stakeholders. He informed the Director that with limited infrastructure and inadequate number of faculties we couldn't run the business school. If you had promised her the accommodation you should give her today itself. The matter became so hot in the corporate office. The CEO called the Dean Welfare and asked the availability of the accommodation. By obtaining a negative reply, the CEO further tried to get an accommodation in the YWCA. They got accommodation in the YWCA. The arrangement made then communicated to Kavitha. She then raised the offer of free food. During night the institute would not be able to arrange food to her. More over she has to travel 15 Kilometers from the City to the institute every day. She then asked about the travel arrangement. The institute offered her the engineering college student bus. This time she asked everything in writing. But the institute was not ready to give her in writing. The Director informed her that this much facility can only be extended to her at present and better accommodation would be provided after 3 months.

Once again problem popped up. She requested the Dean not make further proceeding in this matter. Within five minutes she forwarded her resignation letter to the Dean. The Dean became so annoyed by seeing her resignation letter. He called the CEO and the Director and informed the development. The administration couldn't reach a solution till evening. In the evening hours the CEO called the Dean Students Welfare and ordered him to arrange the accommodation within the hostel with a separate bathroom for faculties and free mess at hostel.

By getting another arrangement offer from the administration Kavitha became so annoyed. Every time the decision to accommodation has subjected to change. She thought, if this would be the decision making style of management she would be facing more difficult situation from the institute. By hearing the new arrangement offer Kavitha became so happy. Her offer at last got materialized.

But she made a second thought on whether to accept it or not.  She made a self-analysis on the issue.

  • The institute management didn't understand the concern and anxieties of a lady faculty in the state of lack of accommodation.
  • The institute management didn't follow their promises and offer given. They violated their promises by allocating her accommodation to a 3-bed, room in the hostel without having the basic facilities.
  • The institute management changed her accommodation from one hostel to another within a period of three days.
  • The institute management tried to arrange the accommodation in YWCA, which is far away from the institution in the city.
  • The institute management was not ready to give free mess facility when they arranged accommodation outside the institute.
  • The institute changed their decision by not giving promised accommodation within a period of 3 months.
  • Within a period of three to four days the institute management changed their decisions many times ignoring all the promises given to a faculty.
  • After this self-analysis she became so silent. Her conscience was continuously advised her not to join in an organization where the leaders didn't follow their word. She called her father asked a second opinion. Her father asked her that 'if an organization couldn't plan, organize and manage even the basic facilities to those who ready to serve the organization, how they could be able to teach management to their students. He suggested her to resign from the organization. By getting the reply from her father she asked the Dean to follow the resignation letter that she had already given to the Director.

    She wrote a simple letter to the Director of the institute before she left the campus and handed over the same to the Dean.

    The letter can be illustrated as follows


      Kavitha Shanmugham
      Sai Institute of Management


      The Director
      Sai Nath Institute of Management

      Respected Sir,

      Hope this letter finds with you in the best of health and spirits.

      As you aware I have been knocking your door since my joining in this organisation regarding my accommodation. I have observed lot of changes in the promises that you had given to me in this regard. At last you arranged an accommodation where I settled first. Mean while many time you changed my accommodation from one hostel to another.  I found there is great discrepancy between what you offered and what you had given. Till date I don't have any experience to work for an organization that does not follow their promises and words. I believe that the greatest asset in human life is keeping the promises that one has given to somebody.  As a leader of the organization if you couldn't follow your word by keeping the ethical practices in the front line, better not to teach the students the ethics and professional ethics in doing business. It could only help you to produce unscrupulous and unethical professional beings to run the business rather that ethical business graduates.

      Let me share all of my concern with you at least in the last day of my job in this institution. It's my humble request to you that kindly don't give promises to people if you cannot follow it. 

      Expecting your professional ethics in your future endeavors,

      Thanking you

      Yours Sincerely

      Kavitha Shanmugham.

    Discussion Questions

    1. Do you believe that professional ethics is an important factor in management of an organization?

    2. Quality and output lies on ethical decision-making. How you perceive this comment.

    3. Major managerial approaches can be perceived through value driven activities. Discuss.

    4. Analyze the managerial style of the institute leaders in relation to various incidents.

    5. To what extent ethics is important in professional interaction and inter relationship at work. Discuss.

    6. Differentiate preaching and practice?

    Prof. Dileep Kumar. M
    Symbiosis (SCMHRD, SCDL), IIIT, SCMLD, SBS

    Source: E-mail July 31, 2006


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