When do you cross the line from marketing to manipulating?
When do you become complicit in other people's unethical behavior?
How far do you have to go to correct other people's moral missteps?
These are some of the questions the ethics panel takes up on this archive episode of Grappling with the Gray.
This episode's ethics challenge:
Benny was widely recognized as a whiz kid by his fellow economics students, asking all the right questions in class and coming up with smart answers that impressed even the professor.
Over the summer, he arranged his notes into a short primer on economic theory, which he self-published in hope of making a few bucks by selling them to incoming freshmen at the start of the fall semester. He left a couple of dozen copies with the owner of a popular off-campus bookstore.
A week later, the store owner called to tell Benny the books had sold out and he needed more copies.
“Wow,” said Benny, “I had no idea they would sell that fast.”
The shopkeeper grinned. “I have a secret system,” he said. “I post a preorder sign-up sheet in the school library. I write about 15 fake names on the sheet, which makes the book look like a hot item and gets more people to order it so they won’t miss out on something good.”
Was the shopkeeper unethical? If so, what should Benny do?
Meet this week’s panelists:
Kimberly Davis is a coach, trainer, TEDx speaker, author of Brave Leadership and founder of the Brave Leadership University.
Kira Day is a passion-based coach specializing in innovation, leadership and professional transformation. She is CEO of The Passion Centre and Creator of The Passion-Based™ Incubator.
Peter Winick is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage and host of the Leveraging Thought Leadership podcast.