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Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

This book documents the progress that managerial and professional women have made in advancing their careers, and the challenges and opportunities that remain. In the context of increasing numbers of women entering the workplace and indeed pursuing professional and managerial careers, it examines why so few women occupy the top positions in corporations.
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Chapter 8: On the ethics of office romance: developing a moral compass for the workplace

Lisa A. Mainiero


8. On the ethics of office romance: developing a moral compass for the workplace Lisa A. Mainiero INTRODUCTION Consider this dilemma: you have just been hired by a major consulting firm to work on an important $10 million account. Your ability to handle this assignment effectively will make or break your future promotional status in the firm. On your team, you have hired some of the best and the brightest MBAs that universities have to offer. One of the new highly qualified MBAs is unmarried, adorable and interested. He has sent you an email asking you to attend a musical performance in the city where you are both working that night. Should you say yes? Or a resounding no? Or, perhaps … a maybe? Office romances are here to stay, but love, lust and labor have long been strange bedfellows. It has long been accepted that personal relationships may compromise otherwise objective business decisions. This is the strife that often makes for tantalizing movie fodder, such as that which was shown in the film Disclosure,1 as well as highly polarized corporate politics, such as the recent resignation of a Harvard Business Review editor when it became known that she bedded Jack Welch, then CEO of General Electric, while working on an article about him.2 The problem is that sex is a commodity that can be traded for power. Personal relationships may compromise objectivity, which in turn may lead to improper or misaligned business decisions. Office romances...

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