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Being a professional implies that one seriously considers and depends on a certain way of earning income for a living. This demands consistency in performance. Honesty is a virtue that validates how everyone perceives them in that profession. In order to ensure a constant flow of income, one has to make people trust and respect what they do.
If my company owns 25 licenses for a program and I discover 80 machines have the same installed, I would let the management know about it. As a professional who is responsible, I should be honest to share this information with my seniors whether they are aware of it or not. This reflects the level of integrity in the company and it might save me from negative effects. Assume the previous officer was given enough funds to purchase 80 licenses, and he went round procedures to have 25 only. I would be equally responsible for the mess if I did not raise the alarm at the earliest opportunity. Likewise, it is my duty to enlighten the management on the consequences if they authorized the action.
In this case, the stakeholders are those directly affected by the action to over-install the program. These are the manufacturers, the government, customers and the company as an end user of the program. The manufactures have a right to receive a value commensurate to their products issued. Under subscription by the company and consequent illegal overuse of the program denies the manufacturers revenue. This may also compromise the quality of service rendered by product and tarnish the manufacturer’s image. The government also looses revenue in tax. The company has effectively cost the government tax worth 55 products by not purchasing the recommended license number. The customers have a right to get high quality service from the company. By illegally applying copies of the program beyond the given licenses, the company will experience malfunctions and under delivery, because the efficiency and effectiveness of the 55 extra installations is technically compromised. The company in itself is also a loss due to underperformance of the program. Technically, the first 25 machines with the licensed product will operate well, but the other 55 will be exposed to system technicalities intentionally put up by manufacturers or spontaneous incidences in operation. The manufacturer may have the specific unlicensed programs blacklisted thus affecting their performance without notifying the company. The company also risks legal actions by manufacturers on discovery of the action.
The company will therefore, only benefit from the maximum features of the 25 licensed machines. One may argue that some amount of saving may be realized through the illegal installations. How long will this last? How will the company effectively confirm the quality resulting from the other 55 machines? One faulty delivery might raise a customer complain which will be forwarded and blamed on a certain machine. Audits might place the manufacturers on the receiving end but then an independent audit might unearth the scam. As the professional, one needs not guess who will bear the blame for the company in this event.
In conclusion, it is important to act professionally, not for a personal gain but in the eyes of all stakeholders. This should ensure informed decisions are made especially when the management/company thinks that the ethical issue at hand is subtle. In some cases where controversy arises on ethical issues, one needs to notify their seniors and refer situations using the official channels to the relevant stakeholders. This is the only way a professional can carry around with dignity and pride. Remember that every situation is never a problem until something goes wrong. Procedures, policies and control measures, are to be upheld at every moment in ones line of duty. Honesty remains the best policy.
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