Stephen Zhang’s Opportunity
Stephen Zhang is a project manager in the Beijing division of Noble Consulting. The firm provides consulting, project management and marketing research services to European clients who wish to establish or continue their operations in China. The firm is registered in the 1980s in Italy by Frank Chan. It’s well-known for its credibility and experience. In early April, the firm has secured a RMB1.6 million project with Salema, a major Italian mass marketer of furniture. Noble has to complete the project within three months, or risk significant losses in financial, and political influences, as well as reputation. Zhang is part of the Salema project team and his role is critical to the success of the project. However, Zhang received an attractive offer from Shen Rui, a former employee of the firm, in the midst of the project, to join him in his new start-up business. Zhang is faced with a dilemma. He understands the critical role he plays in the project and his departure from the company will inevitably damage the company. However, if he remains in Noble, his chance of getting promoted or getting a pay raise is very slim. This paper will analyze the ethical issues and alternatives for this case.
What changed to cause ethical issues?
Noble Consulting enjoyed steady revenue flow from major European clients in the early days of its business. However, by the beginning of the 1990s, more consulting firms entered the market and more clients established their own operations in China. The firm is forced to focus on providing low-cost and quality consultation to maintain a competitive edge.
Shen Rui is the former head of the project management division and chief representative of the Shanghai division. He is considered an invaluable asset to Noble because of his connections to the government officials and his ability to secure orders for clients. It was rumored that Chan promised to promote Shen to partner within three...