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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Onerous Favorites

Jocelyn Tan

Anne is an established electrical engineer at Onerous, a computer hardware company. Not a stranger to incidences of favoritism the company, Anne recently encountered a particularly unfavorable scenario involving a few of her close co-workers.

Two employees, who had been newly hired, were given visible roles in a prominent project. Upon the project’s successful completion, the new-hires were given generous promotions by management. On the other hand, Anne’s co-workers were asked to play supporting roles in the project, and were not given any special recognition (i.e., promotions) for their work.

Anne’s non-confrontational co-workers were angry and came to Anne for advice since they knew she had broad professional experience. They told her that they were going to leave the company if management did not stop playing favorites.

Although strongly inclined to bring this matter up to her manager, Anne felt like doing so would be futile because her manager is stubborn and inflexible. How should Anne deal with this situation?

Jocelyn Tan was a 2014-2015 Hackworth Fellow in Engineering Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

August 2015

Aug 26, 2015