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Prior to the infamous events of January 2001 Walter “Walt” Pavlo was quite a successful, bright and promising specialist in his field. In order to become such a professional Walter earned an industrial engineering degree and moreover got himself an M.B.A. which all in all highly improved his business skills. He served as a financial analyst of Aerospace Division for Goodyear Tire and a contract manager for the English General Electric Company. Such a meritorious employment history he gained allowed him to get a position of a senior manager in MCI Telecommunication’s Division where he was responsible for billing and collecting astronomical amounts of money in the reseller division.
It should be mentioned that Pavlo did his best at making his department work at its maximum. He used his industrial engineering skills to develop computer monitoring software and systems which allowed him to easily deal with all of the transactions his department conducted. Thus we can see that at the beginning of his manager career, Walter used to stick to the fundamental principles of engineering and actually did a very good job. But and increasing flow of problems and unbearable pressure made him bend the rules, neglect those principles and ultimately go on a slippery road. To my mind, by hiding his company’s bad debt in order to maintain an impressive personal record, he had violated all of the fundamental principles in the ABET Code of Ethics. But let’s take a closer look.
Which of the fundamental principles in the ABET Code of Ethics did Walt Pavlo violate? Provide a discussion of why you think his behavior violated the principle(s).
First of all, by committing this fraud he used his knowledge and skills not in favor of human welfare but on the contrary against it. Moreover, I suppose that it is obvious that saving his personal record and gaining incredible amounts of money from dishonest customers was in his top priorities at the moment. So there’s really no way he could have done it in order to grant someone else’s welfare but not his own.
Secondly, by not sharing the crucial information about the clients which were unable to pay for their invoices he had violated the rest of the fundamental principles. Walter proved himself to be dishonest and unable to serve the public and his company with fidelity and dedication. Thus being said he irrevocably sabotaged the prestige and competence not only of his profession but the whole company he was representing.
Which of the fundamental canons in the ABET Code of Ethics did Walt Pavlo violate? Provide a discussion of why you think his behavior violated the canon(s).
By deceiving his superiors and others surrounding him, Walter had violated several canons but not all of them. Yes, he committed a crime, a white-collar one which was motivated purely out of financial and nonviolent reasons. His sort of a selfish act did not actually endanger anyone’s life or safety. But as for the rest of the canons, it is safe to say that he violated them too. By fixing the accounting figures he went out of the area of his competence. It is as well very hard to call him a faithful agent or an honest competitor. For over a six-month period Walter and his accomplice laundered about $6 million from the illicit arrangements they settled with the worst-performing customers. Thus, eventually Pavlo tried to build his professional reputation on the basis of smoke and mirrors but ended up with almost nothing.
Why do you think Walt Pavlo did what he did?
In his own books and articles, which he wrote after serving his sentence, Walt Pavlo described that actually the only motive he had for going into a gray area and committing fraud was the ultimate task of meeting the company’s goal. If he was to officially acknowledge the fact that there’re too many outstanding daily invoices, the company without a doubt would crumble upon the weight of bad debt and its financial condition would be in a very poor state. So under this enormous pressure of duty and responsibility Walter succumbed and made a poor decision to rationalize forging accounting figures which affected his life, both professional and personal, very seriously.
What do you think he should have done?
I think that Walter overestimated his abilities. It should have been obvious to Pavlo as to a professional that committing fraud is probably the worst possible thing he could have done, the only outcome of which could be a disaster. As any employee Walt, instead of going rogue, should have addressed his superior with problem he had ran into. I am almost sure that if he did chose this way of coping with the problem, they would surely find the best way possible to solve it. And in the end of the day the damage done to the company would be much lesser.
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Actually, in one of the articles Walter said that addressing the superior is the only rational thing to do in such situation. And I’m pretty sure that if he had a second chance, he would have done the right thing.
Describe the effect of Walt Pavlo’s mistakes on his life and future. That is, what price did he pay and does he continue to pay for being convicted of this felony?
Repercussions of Walter’s actions were pretty severe and are still haunting him. Needless to say, he lost his job and a respectable position in MCI. Actually, he lost the possibility of ever getting such a high position again. He was sentenced to 25 months in federal prison, where he spent most of his time with fellow white-collars. He must have thought that his life would get better after prison. But that was a false hope. No company wanted to hire him as its employee. His personal life was destroyed after his wife filed for divorce. The mark of shame scarred him forever.
So here he was: broke and pennyless, without a decent job, loving wife and family. It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. But somehow he found a way to get out of this mess. It occurred to him, that he could teach others on his mistakes, that he could at least try to prevent them from committing white-collar crimes and keep them on the right way.
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In some way it was a rebirth for Walter Pavlo. Since the infamous events he almost completely washed himself of the bad deeds he had done. He has become a respectable author, lector and finally he founded Etika LLC, a company which strives to consult different corporations on business ethics and prevent any frauds and scams. Of course, the past still reminds about itself: a large part of his income goes to the MCI.
But thanks to his inexhaustible optimism and confidence, Walt was once again able to reach success and prove that everyone has a chance at redemption.