Responsibility for actions

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Responsibility for actions

WorldCom Corporation, the second largest telecommunications company in the United States, became the largest bankruptcyin history due to financial reporting irregularities and misstatements of nearly $7 billion.

WorldCom’s controller, director of general accounting, and director of management reporting all pleaded guilty to financial reporting fraud. These employees all stated that they were ordered by superiors to adjust the records to artificially boost the company’s profits. Under protest, these employees made the adjustments.

a. Should these employees be held responsible for their actions, since they were “following orders”?

b. How should an employee respond to questionable or unethical requests from superiors?

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