Doug Smith was captain of the football team at Prestige University. Later, he earned a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Upon graduation, Doug accepted a position with Financial Express, Inc., in the accounting and finance division. At first, things were going smoothly. He had an outgoing personality, and the president of the company took a liking to him. However, Doug was somewhat bothered when the president started asking him to do some things that were slightly unethical. When he protested mildly, the president said: “Come on, son, this is the way the business world works. You have great potential if you don’t let things like this get in your way.”
As time went on, Doug was asked to do things that were more unethical, and finally he was performing illegal acts. When he resisted, the president appealed to his loyalty and asked him to be a team player. The president also promised Doug great wealth sometime in the future. Finally, when he was told to falsify some financial statements by making improper entries and sign some documents containing material errors, the president supported his request by stating: “You are in too deep now to refuse to cooperate. If I go down, you are going with me.”
Through various company schemes, Doug had convinced some friends and relatives to invest about $10 million. Most of this would be lost if the various company schemes were revealed.
Doug could not sleep at night and began each day with a pain in his stomach and by becoming physically ill. He was under great strain and believed that he could lose his mind. He also heard that the president had a shady past and could become violent in retaliating against his enemies. If Doug blows the whistle, he believes he will go to prison for his part in the schemes.
Discuss the following:
- What are Doug’s options now? List one possibility.
- If you were in Doug’s situation, state one thing you would have done. Briefly justify the reason for your approach.
Your answers to (a) and (b) should be different from your classmates.