BP#4: Is playing by the rules actually the best thing to do?

For the 5,300 Wells Fargo employees that were fired due to setting up illegal bank accounts to meet their target sales goals, it doesn’t seem like it was the best thing to do. In the article Wells Fargo Workers Claim Retaliation for Playing by the Rules by Stacy Cowley, the Wells employees are now retaliating saying that although their actions were wrong, they came forward and were honest about what they did. Their unrealistic sales goals pushed them to make an unethical decision because they didn’t want to get fired, which obviously backfired.

When it comes to following the rules, it can sometimes put us at a disadvantage if the consequences outweigh the benefits of telling the truth or doing the right thing. For the Wells Fargo employees, they thought that by being honest about what they did and telling the truth, they would not be penalized as harshly because they would be seen as honest individuals with their integrity still intact. According to Michael Davis, there are some bad ways to follow the rules and the Wells Fargo employees fell into some of those categories. They were blindly following the rules without knowledge or care for the potential consequences of their actions and they were ignorant as to how their actions would cause problems once they were caught.

The problem with doing something that is unethical is that people can usually justify it to themselves until they are called out for it, then their justifications just don’t seem to cut it. The same goes for following the rules; just because you follow the rules, doesn’t necessarily make you a morally good or responsible individual. You may follow rules that lead you to do bad things and therefore you are at fault, not the commander of the rules. In order to become more morally responsible individuals, the Wells Fargo employees should have realized that their unreelasithc sales goals would force them to do things that were unethical and therefore, they should have went to their manager or a higher power to confront the issue. For one particular employee who did try and sound the alarm about the illegal opening and closing of accounts, she was fired for insubordination for trying to reach out to a higher up official at the bank. What does this say to employees? Doing the right thing and calling people out who are doing something wrong will get you fired, so why do the right thing? This is a serious issue in the business world and the fine line between following the rules and following the rules for the wrong reasons is often met with a unwanted fate.



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