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Your best friend has recently approached you to join his new test preparation company. He tells you, "This is going to be super easy, because there are a lot of other companies out there that we could model. We should simply find the most successful company and do what they do best." You agree to join him as a co-founder.

Sample CASPer Questions:

1. As you get involved, you notice that your friend is practically copying material from competitors and claiming the material as his own to speed up the growth of his business. How would you approach your friend about this?

While I am concerned about the potential moral and legal oversight, I don’t want to risk my personal and professional relationship with my best friend. I will need to remain non-judgmental, because even though it might initially appear as though my friend is copying material, maybe that isn’t what’s going on. Firstly, I would confirm the degree of likeness between our material and the competitor’s material to warrant confronting him. To determine this, I will use a plagiarism detector. If the results show that material has been plagiarized, I will highlight relevant information and take screenshots to present as evidence. Then in speaking privately to my friend, I would explain that I noticed that our material looked similar to other competitors’ material and ask how we’ve been getting our information. If he admits he’s been copying, then I will explain to him that plagiarism is illegal if it infringes on the author’s intellectual property rights. I will also explain that I believe it’s better to create original content and that having a unique brand identity will be better for long-term growth. If he is open to reconciling our material, I will initiate a collaborative brainstorming session to help come up with some ways we can fortify our operating procedures. However, if he still doesn’t believe that plagiarism represents a substantial issue for the company, I will have no choice but to resign.  

2. Would you report a close friend or family member to superiors if you become aware of them acting unethically and/or illegally? Why or why not?

I would report to superior. I believe that for a business or company to operate effectively, nepotism or special treatment needs to be eradicated. Giving family members or friends a pass for ethical breaches will lead to a decrease in trust among our employees. Having integrity is an important part of what keeps a business functioning, and I have an obligation to do what’s right from a policy perspective. Also, if I become aware of a colleague, regardless of how well I know them on a personal level, doing something unethical or illegal, and I didn’t report it, I could be seen as complicit from a legal perspective, and I do not want to become liable for any damages. 

3. What are the implications of a practicing professional, such as a medical doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist, acting unprofessionally, within or outside of his/her professional role?

As a health care professional, acting unethically or illegally can have major consequences. There are many examples and degrees of illegality or unethical behavior, which all have varying degrees of penalty ranging from revocation of medical license to a mere warning or suspension. The main concern with acts such as these is that they can hurt a patient’s ability to access quality care, and in some cases, unethical behavior can cause irreparable harm. Disrespectful behavior can also impede collaboration and trust with colleagues, which will in turn, hurt productivity and the ability to deliver care effectively. Such behavior outside of a health care provider’s functional role can also lead to a decrease in reputation, trustworthiness, and credibility within their field. To avoid infractions of any sort, it’s important for health care facilities to establish a robust code of conduct, manage a strong communication strategy, create an intervention strategy, and encourage reporting or surveillance of unethical behavior. 

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