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Gray Zone of the Week

Use The Gray Zone ethical dilemmas to introduce your students to problems and situations that don't have one specific right or wrong answer. This week’s Gray Zone topic: Using Feedback for Personal Growth.

How are we doing? How could we better serve you? What could we do to improve? It seems as though just about every business asks its customers these questions in some way or another. Some companies use feedback cards, some use online customer satisfaction surveys, and some even ask their customers these questions face-to-face. No matter how businesses solicit information from their customers, they are all after the same thing—feedback. Companies want to know what they are doing right, and they need to find out what they’re doing wrong as well. But, do businesses have an ethical obligation to make changes based on the negative feedback that they receive? And, at what point do the scales tip from being “just one person’s opinion” that the business doesn’t need to worry about to being something significant enough for the business to address?

This Gray Zone comes from the Grin and Bear It lesson module (LAP) and aligns to performance indicator EI:003 Explain the use of feedback for personal growth.  

Last week's Gray Zone topic: Nature of Human Resources Management.

Human resources managers know that there are certain questions they cannot ask potential employees during the application and interview process. However, there are sometimes ways to ask legal questions that still gather the same information as illegal questions might. Here are a few examples:

You can’t ask an older candidate, “How much longer do you plan to work before you retire?” But, you can ask, “What are your long-term career plans?”

You can’t ask a female candidate, “What is your maiden name?” because it violates her right to privacy regarding her marital status. But, you can ask, “Have you ever worked or earned a degree under any different names?”

You can’t pose the question, “How tall are you?” on an application form. But, you can ask, “Are you able to reach items on a shelf that is five feet high?”

What do you think about these methods of obtaining information about job applicants? Are they ethical or unethical?

This Gray Zone comes from the People Pusher lesson module (LAP) and aligns to performance indicator HR:410 Discuss the nature of human resources management.