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Suggested Answers to Cases > Case 14: Nonprofessional

Case 14: Nonprofessional

Helen is in a delicate position. The behavior of Thomas in apparently plagiarizing Helen’s ideas would be considered unprofessional, if not unethical, by most people. But, if she blows the whistle on Thomas without written proof, her accusation could be interpreted by management as “sour grapes” and her own image could be damaged. Although Helen might be tempted to confront Thomas with the matter in front of others, she should resist. Confronting Thomas could irritate and embarrass him, causing him to go behind her back and perhaps hurt Helen even more at a later date. It could also make Helen look bad to co-workers. Helen could, however, confront Thomas in private, so that he knows what he will be up against in the future. She could also protect her creative ideas in the future by refusing to discuss them informally in advance and by submitting them in writing after they have been fully developed.

Openness is a vital part of human relations. Devious co-workers often destroy the element of trust that is vital in any long-term relationship. The reader is encouraged to isolate and learn from other examples of nonprofessional behavior.


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