Ethics in Development and Training Case Study

Ethics in Development and Training: A Case Study of Brighten Inc.

In an increasingly complex and dynamic environment, organizations must have a competent pool of human resources. They must have individuals with unparalleled skills, knowledge, expertise and capabilities to handle sophisticated tasks. This is particularly true for key positions in the organization such as top and middle level management. With competent leadership and management, an organization is better placed to achieve its strategic vision as well as goals and objectives (Saks & Haccoun, 2010). Nonetheless, having the right pool of leaders and managers is often not an easy undertaking for organizations. Organizations must continuously invest in developing the leadership and management potential of promising and high-performing individuals within the organization (Lawson, 2008). This explains why most organizations have comprehensive internal training and development programs for their employees. Nevertheless, for training and development initiatives to achieve the intended outcomes, integrity must be maintained (Werner & Desimone, 2012). In some cases, enrollees may want to take shortcuts, a phenomenon that may have disastrous consequences on individuals and the organization. Accordingly, the leader of the training and development program must ensure every enrollee goes through all the required training.

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Brighten Inc., an organization with more than 30,000 employees and locations across North America and Europe, has been at the forefront in terms of talent development. Nonetheless, the integrity of the organization’s training and development program is usually under threat as some employees often request to be fast-tracked through some of the training so as to graduate earlier than usual, and take advantage of the opportunities that come with the training such as promotion. The training usually takes two years, with focus specifically on topics such as management skills, people development, engagement, as well as leadership strategies and influence.

Given the criticality of the topics handled during the training, skipping some topics can have detrimental consequences on individuals, the training process, and the organization at large. Bypassing some of the training may particularly present a liability to colleagues. Some of the key areas explored during leadership and management training include team building, conflict management, communication, and delegation. Employees are equipped with these skills so that they can apply them in the execution of their day-to-day responsibilities, which often improves the effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of individuals and teams within the organization (Kozlowski & Salas, 2010). Thus, bypassing some employees through some of the training means that some may be less knowledgeable in leadership and management than others, which may be disadvantageous to those that went through the entire training. Consider a knowledge area like team building, for instance. Today’s increasingly complex tasks require individuals to work in teams to ensure quicker and more effective task execution (Saks & Haccoun, 2010). When some colleagues do not have comprehensive understanding of teamwork and their role in making the team a success, they may slow the work of the team, which may create interpersonal conflicts.

Failure to complete training may have negative consequences at not only the team level, but also the company at large. Through the training, employees are prepared for handling complex management and leadership tasks, particularly with regard to advancing the vision and mission of the organization (Kozlowski & Salas, 2010). These tasks generally revolve around strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation, which involve processes such as strategy formulation, resource mobilization and allocation, stakeholder engagement, as well as opportunity and threat identification. As an international company, Brighten requires leaders and managers that can quickly perceive adjustments in the organization’s operational environment, especially in terms of competition, consumer needs, technological advancements, and regulatory requirements. Without quick response to such adjustments, the competitive advantage of the organization may be threatened, resulting in loss of customers, loss of market share, stalled growth, and other negative consequences.

Leadership and management training enhances an individual’s ability to solve complex problems facing the organization (Lawson, 2008). This means that lack of complete training may hinder the organization’s ability to solve the recurring problems it experiences in the course of its operation. Instances of organizations collapsing due to ineffective leadership and management are not uncommon (Saks & Haccoun, 2010). The ineffective leadership may have resulted from ignorance of or little attention to leadership and management development. In essence, bypassing some employees through some of the training may set the organization up for failure in the long run.

Compromising the training process may also generate negative attitudes and perceptions about the process. It would most likely set a bad precedent by invalidating the relevance of the training. Employees who have no chance of being fast-tracked may start viewing the program as useless, and may reduce their commitment to it. For instance, they may start missing sessions, or taking them for granted; after all hard work and commitment would no longer matter. What would be the need of one taking the program with the seriousness it deserves if one can easily talk to the program director to quicken their graduation? There would absolutely be no need. In fact, when some employees are fast-tracked, others in the program may also want to be fast-tracked. Naturally, everyone would want to be treated the same. Everyone would want to graduate faster, and climb through the company ranks faster than usual. In essence, allowing some employees to skip some of the training may cause other employees who must complete the entire training process to view the program as a waste of time or less important.

Agreeing to fast-track some employees may affect not only colleagues, the organization, and other employees in the program, but also the program director. The director of the program is entrusted with ensuring integrity of the program. By allowing some employees to graduate faster, the director may cultivate a culture of cutting corners in the organization. When they become leaders in the future, employees that were allowed to take shortcuts may themselves cut corners in critical matters of the organization, which may have severe implications on the organization. The program director would have a substantial responsibility to bear for allowing such a culture to thrive. Compromising the program would project the director as a person with no regard for ethics. In today’s ever more transparent world, lack of commitment to ethics can drastically damage the reputation of an individual or an organization. With questionable credibility, the director’s prosperity in their career may be significantly affected. Nonetheless, it is also important to consider the possibility that employees who cut corners and become leaders in the future may be reluctant to question the credibility of the program director. Either way, there could be disastrous consequences on the organization in the long run.

Overall, training and development is a crucial organizational process that must be taken with the seriousness it requires. Individuals tasked with the responsibility of coordinating training and development programs must uphold integrity of the process to the latter. Failure to do so may have negative consequences on individuals and the organization at large.


Kozlowski, S., & Salas, E. (2010). Learning, training, and development in organizations. New York: Routledge.

Lawson, K. (2008). Leadership development basics. Alexandria: ASTD Press.

Saks, A., & Haccoun, R. (2010). Managing performance through training and development. Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd.

Werner, J., & Desimone, R. (2012). Human resource development. 6th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.

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