Kirk’s Dilemma

Kirk is a bright individual who is being groomed to move up in his company’s manufacturing firm. He was invited to join his superiors at their monthly financial statement summary meeting. As Kirk sat through the meeting he felt optimistic about the company’s future. As the meeting went on, and the topic of discussion turned toward the new manufacturing plant the company was building, Kirk found his optimism beginning to wane.

The president and head Chemical Engineer began to talk about waste treatment and disposal problems at the new plant. The Engineer advised that the current waste treatment facilities did not have the capacity to handle the amount of waste the new facility would generate due to the increase in production. He told them that it would keep them in compliance with federal standards; however they would not be keeping up with more stringent industry trends, which had risen, due to pressure from environmental groups. The president stated that their closest competition did not meet these standards either. He felt that as long as the company met Federal standards they would stay out of trouble and they would be able to keep their cost per unit price down. The other managers agreed with the president but Kirk was concerned about their casual attitude toward the environment. Kirk did not hear the rest of the discussion as he weighed his need to stand up for what he felt was right against his desire to move up in the company.


  1. Is Kirk obligated to voice his opinion?
    1. To himself?
    2. To the company?

  1. What tact could Kirk take in voicing his conflicting opinion to the President, Head engineer and the majority voice?

  1. What are the possible ramifications of voicing his opinion or not?

-John Monaghan


2 Responses to Kirk’s Dilemma

  1. greenmba2008 says:

    Kirk is being asked to weigh his values against those of his employer; or at least those values that were expressed in the financial meeting he attended – which may or may not be the full expression of the compny’s values. Kirk could re-examine his values clearly, and make a decision whether or not to speak up based on his core values. Kirk could try to find a way to preserve his values while encouraging corporate values development based on financial considerations. He is considered a ‘rising star’, and as such could benefit the company and his status if he were to bring realistic & well-researched future cost scenarios to the attention of management. Alternately, Kirk could seek allies within the company with which to discuss the situation; perhaps the engineer who issued the warning in the meeting, or his mentor.

  2. greenmba2008 says:

    Kirk appears to be poised for advancement and is wrestling internally with how to integrate his views on the company’s responsibility to uphold it’s environmental standards in the midst of significant company expansion.

    Kirk has an obligation to himself and the company to present his position on this issue. His challenge is to articulate his points in a way that both continue to build respect and credibility with his colleauges and clearly weighs the financial bennefits of staying ahead of the competition.

    If Kirk can put his concerns on the table in a constructive way that draws senior leadership towards his ideas he has more opportunity to influence decisions. Creative short term solutions that are cost nutral might draw initial interest and other players that have similar concerns. In the process Kirk might find himself in a position to “pre sell” some solutions that create long term win-win senarios for both the company and doing what is right for the environment.

    Kirk will better serve himself and the company by presenting his views not as “conflicting” but as “completely in line with the company’s expansion goals” and that really just make sence.

    Using language that the senoir leadership seems to be gravitating towrds might allign his ideas and position so he can be viewed as fully “on board” with the project and at the same time constructively advocate his position and possible solutions. Kirk could persuade…

    1) It’s best way to responsibly and sustainably build the company for the long run.
    2) Our exceedingly high environmental standards will create more demand for our products.
    3) The extra cost associated with ramping up our environmental program will be nutralized by the additional revenue we generate from pulling our competitions “green minded” customers to our products.
    4) As an environmental leader in the industry we have the opportunity to “show-case” ourselves… which is the best business generating commercial going.

    Taking a strong position, ideas that make business sense, and attention to the cultivation of relationships might create a ripe opportunity for Krik to be part of the expansion solution.

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