When and Who to Tell: The Long Goodbye
(4 pages of text)
Case (Gen Exp)
In October 2015, a low-level staff accountant was suddenly ecstatic about his career prospects. The Chartered Professional Accountant recruitment process had been gruelling, but the end result made it all the more satisfying. After nearly two years of networking and getting to know firms while they closely evaluated him—and which concluded with seemingly endless interviews—the staff accountant had finally received job offers from his top choices. However, thrilled as he was with the result, he now faced a whole new challenge: what approach would he take to deliver the news to his current employer, where he planned to remain employed with for the next 11 months? Should he tell his employer immediately and risk termination and/or a tense work environment? Or should he keep it a secret as long as possible?
This case examines ethical issues related to conducting a job search while employed. It works well in undergraduate ethics courses, third-year human resources courses, and case-based accounting courses. Third- or fourth-year students undertaking the Chartered Professional Accountant recruitment process relate particularly well to this case, although it has broad applicability. The case can also be framed in the general context of a post-graduate employee seeking a job while employed. After completing the case, students should be able to
- identify ethical issues and various perspectives used to assess ethical violations encountered when conducting a job search while employed;
- consider the potential effects on one’s reputation and relationships; and
- recognize the effects, if any, on each of the stakeholders in the case.
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