Jude has operated as a lumber bucker for Woodland Company for the past 10 years. Jude’s work entailed him to reach many decisions when shaping trees into logs and then apportioning them to proper manufacturing facilities. As an expert, Jude knew how to cut each tree into various log lengths and later allocate the logs among different mills in the greatest efficient and cost effective way. Each mill produced a different end product. As a result, his knowledge was instrumental to the company as erroneous carving and allocation decisions can significantly alter the profit contribution from each tree.
What is so exceptional in this situation is how Jude developed his knowledge. Several years ago, Woodland implemented a knowledge management system to guide and assist its timber buckers with their work. Jude exploited this knowledge based system extensively during the first 3 years in the firm. Nonetheless, for the past few years, most of the decisions he made were his own and the knowledge generated was greatly tacit.
This scenario raises the following questions:
- Does the company have a right to Jude’s knowledge?
- Can the company inhibit him from using his knowledge should he step out to launch his own business or even work for a competitor?
Develop your own position of what should have been done in the ethical imperative sense to help this company or any company avoid any potential ethical or litigation problems.