Reporting Inflated Numbers: Ethical Dilemma Case Study

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Executive Summary

This paper reviews the case, Reporting Inflated Numbers, from the tenet of the Hartman and DesJardins model. The analysis is based on the four elements of this model, which are fact gathering, moral obligation, alternatives, making a decision, and monitoring the outcomes.

From the outcome, it is apparent that the actions by Barbara King attracted ethical dilemmas such as questionable integrity and professionalism.

Fact gathering

In the case of Barbara King reporting inflated numbers as the communications specialist, there are several ethical dilemmas identified. To begin with, she conspired to support the fraudulent dealings despite her ethical responsibility of maintaining integrity in the company.

She conspired with the management to deviate from the main goal of the business and failed to take into consideration the shareholders’ interests when supporting the decision to report inflated numbers. Barbara allowed the top management of the company to use her to release manipulated records with an intention of enriching themselves (Silliman, 2010).

From an ethical perspective, Barbara and the management team of the company conspired to inflate the asset values, overstate the reported income, and eliminate the liabilities from the financial reporting (Hartman & DesJardins, 2014).

Moral obligations

Business ethics are obligations that the management of a business should follow in doing business activities. Reflectively, when a business fails to follow these obligations, ethical dilemmas are likely to occur and negatively affect such the business.

Based on the code of ethics, Barbara King had the moral obligation of exercising integrity, professionalism, discipline, and good business ethics (Rachels & Rachel, 2010). Unfortunately, she failed in all her moral obligations.


The first alternative would be reporting the inflated values. This alternative affects the personal integrity of Barbara and has contingencies such as a legal action from the relevant authorities. The second alternative would be refusing to report the inflated values.

This alternative would be ideal in protecting the rights of the stakeholders through exercising personal responsibilities and good business virtues (Hartman & DesJardins, 2014).

Make a decision

An ethical decision can be defined as a decision with moral and legal appeal to the wider business community. The aspect of commitment is a crucial element in examining ethics of a decision. With precision, a series of tests are carried out by gathering facts and incorporating them in defining issues surrounding ethics.

The aspect of competency is critical in separating the premises from assumptions in making ethical decisions. The dual pillar approach to ethical leadership comprises of a combination of moral being and moral management skills in making decisions.

The combination of the two aspects is critical in building ethical leadership reputation since the executive responsibility functions on moral codes that promote proactive leadership. Thus, the second alternative would be ideal for Barbara King since it is in line with the ethical principles of integrity, factual reporting, and protection of the interests of the stakeholders (Hartman & DesJardins, 2014).

Monitoring the outcomes and learning from the outcomes

The decision outcome will be monitored from the angle of acceptable business ethics. In the above case of conspiracy, it must be understood that following the ethically correct path means that the stakeholders’ interests are guarded. In order to make the whole process to be ethically right, it should integrated integrity and professionalism to restore the faith of the stakeholders.


Hartman, L.P., & DesJardins, J. (2014). Business ethics, decision-making for personal integrity and social responsibility (3rd. ed.). London, UK: McGraw Hill.

Rachels, J., & Rachel, S. (2010). The elements of moral philosophy (6th ed.). London, UK: McGraw Hill.

Silliman, J. (2010). Reporting inflated numbers. Retrieved from

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