Two months ago, Eve Duplessis left her job as an information technology professional at Banana Co. to take a similar, but better paying, job at Orange Co.



Case number 1


Two months ago, Eve Duplessis left her job as an information technology professional at Banana Co. to take a similar, but better paying, job at Orange Co. Both Banana and Orange are huge corporations producing wireless mobile devices for consumers around the world. Her employment contract with Orange obliges her to use all her skills and knowledge in the service of improving Orange’s products. Her employment contract at Banana contained a clause obliging her not to reveal any of Banana’s commercial information, processes, and techniques to anyone else for one year after the end of her contract with Banana. Banana treated Eve very well, and she has many friends who still work there. Some days she regrets her move to Orange, despite the higher salary, because the tenor of the workplace at Orange is more competitive and less cooperative than it was at Banana, and managers at Orange seem to have little empathy for their subordinates. She is finding it difficult to make friends at Orange, even among the members of her project team. Orange has assigned Eve to a project that is developing a more efficient way for Orange’s devices to connect to the correct signal from a cellular network. As Eve gets up to speed on the project, she realizes that engineers at Banana had solved a similar problem by applying the Kalashnikova algorithm to the signal selection. The Kalashnikova algorithm is in the public domain, but the technique of using it to speed up cellular connections took a large team of engineers at Banana half a year to develop. Eve also realizes that she could significantly contribute to her project at Orange if she were to point out to her development team how to use the Kalashnikova algorithm in its new design. Making this contribution would be a big boost to her career at Orange, and put her in line for promotion to team leader next year. She would not have to reveal that she learned the technique at Banana Co. because Orange engineers have been unable to reverse engineer the Banana design. Both Banana and Orange have gigantic and expensive legal teams who are in continuous legal battle with one another. The two legal teams try to protect the intellectual property of their respective firms from what they deem to be the other firm’s infringements. Eve does not think that making this suggestion to her team will get her in any legal trouble, but she would have lots of legal backup if it did. She also doubts that Banana will be able to reverse engineer Orange’s solution to discover that Orange uses the technique, let alone when Orange started using it, or that she, Eve, was the one who suggested using it.




Should Eve reveal Banana’s technique?












Case number 2


Faruq Habib is a board member of the Foundation for International Development in the Americas ( FIDA ). FIDA  is a very large, international, non-profit, non-government organization that funds local development groups in Central and South America. It raises these funds by seeking donations in Europe and North America. In his day job, Faruq is a human resources professional employed by a large multinational in Toronto. He has always been committed to international development work. Seven years ago, when he had just graduated from university, he spent two years working in Honduras with a Peace-Corps-like organization called Professional Service Overseas. When FIDA  asked him to join its board last year, Faruq felt much honoured, since FIDA  is a well-respected organization that could have its pick of senior professionals and public figures for its board. His employers were also pleased, and have been very accommodating regarding the time-commitments of his FIDA  work. FIDA  does not work directly with people, but instead funds the work of local, Spanish-, and Portuguese-speaking groups that provide aid to and that do advocacy work on behalf of local people. Poor people in these countries often ask for very little because years of poverty have severely lowered their expectations. FIDA ’s work has been very successful raising local standards of living, which people much appreciate after the fact. Unfortunately, local government officials and local agri-businesses do not always approve of FIDA ’s activities. FIDA  is in the process of hiring a new chief executive officer. The search committee has recommended Joan Rockingham, who is an almost ideal candidate. Joan has a tremendous record of accomplishment in raising funds for international development organizations. She has told the search committee that she thinks she can raise donations to FIDA  by $5,000,000. Joan comes from a very well to do family, went to an expensive prep school, and then to Ivy League universities for her philosophy degree and for her MBA . Her study of political philosophy led her to reject living on her family’s money, and to go into international development work. Nevertheless, she grew up with, and she still enjoys, all the f iner things in life. Her family connections have always helped her with fund-raising.  The only problem with Joan’s candidacy is that her asking salary is triple that of the outgoing executive director. FIDA  is a global justice organization, and as such has a generally accepted, but unwritten, policy that the salary of the highest-paid member of the organization cannot be higher than three times the salary of the lowest paid members of the organization. Joan’s asking salary is nine times the salary of the cleaning staff. The next best candidate, who is asking for the same salary as the previous CEO , is very competent and will be able to keep FIDA ’s work going at its current level.


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