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Skans

Resolved: When the owner of a business entrusts an executive employee to do a job which should not be delegated to subordinates, and the executive disobeys that directive "for the good of the company", should the executive be fired?

1AC

 Let me be crystal clear... Those posts within this debate that do not adhere to the rules number 1 through 3 regarding use of proper heading will not be considered during the judgement phase!!

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zkyllonen8

Winner Skans... Point Awarded. 

 

In a joined Consensus we felt Skans provided more evidence and substance in his convictions for this Debate Topic. 

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In support of firing the Executive:

 

Background.  I got the idea for this debate topic when I read a post by Teacher in NHB where Teacher explained that David R (the previous site owner) made him site administrator and entrusted Teacher with a lot of power over the way the various forums at Liberalforum are run.  However, the one thing David R told Teacher was to "never give any mod any power other than hide."  Teacher explained that he disregarded the owner's directive and slowly gave out other powers, like edit, pin, merge, even the power to ban/suspend members. He explained that he got away with this for awhile because his boss was lazy.  Teacher even ramped up this effort again after being caught by "sneaking the mod powers back in."  I presume Teacher had his reasons for doing this, possibly to keep moderators around, possibly to eliminate some of the work he would have to do, or couldn't get around to doing.

 

My position.  I support firing an executive who countermands his boss's clear directives simply because he thinks he knows what's better for the company. 

 

Argument.  My reasons for firing such an executive are as follows:

 

1.  Lack of loyalty - intentionally countermanding directives from the boss is a toxic behavior.  It shows a lack of concern for the boss's directives and for company policy.  The disloyal employee also demonstrates disrespect for his boss thinking he knows more than the boss, and it also shows that this employee is willing to go "rogue" whenever he thinks he knows better than others.  By doing this, the trusted employee also sets an example to other employees that 1) directives can be ignored and 2) that he thinks the boss/owner is an idiot.

 

2.  Inability to work as a team member.  By intentionally disregarding a directive from the boss/owner, the executive employee is also showing that he is not interested in being an integral part of a team and living by the same rules the rest of the team is expected to follow.

 

3.  Insubordination - failure to follow chain of command.  An executive employee demonstrates insubordination when he is violating the boss's directives behind the boss's back.  When this happens for a second time, clearly this becomes a a toxic situation where such an employee refuses to present a cogent case to the boss to be allowed to delegate certain privileges and responsibilities to subordinates.  The executive employee, if he is effective at his job, should have made a compelling argument to his boss why he should have the authority to delegate certain jobs to subordinates.  If the boss rejects those arguments, the employee should live by the decision or tender his resignation.  Sneaking behind the boss's back and doing precisely what the boss said not to do essentially strips the boss of control over his company.  This is an aggressive action by the executive employee and an intolerable situation for an owner.

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IN OPPOSITION TO:

 

Since there are no laws governing how an executive responds to an his boss, in this case, the owner, this is primarily a moral question.  Neither is there an encompassing document stipulating an executive's duties, eg, the US Constitution.  So, in reality, the relationship between a boss and executive is fluid and governed by a set of mutually recognized understandings.  Ideally, the boss and executive agree on what is understood.  But if the boss and executive cannot arrive at a satisfactory agreement, the boss has the right to fire or discipline his executive.

 

Lack of loyalty;  Inability to work as a team member;  And insubordination are not grounds for firing unless the boss is unhappy enough with these traits/behaviors to get rid of his executive.  There could actually be situations where these seeming faults might help the boss' cause, and so, be wholeheartedly forgiven.

 

In this specific case, in question, the boss, for reasons ultimately known only to him, decided to retain the executive.  So there is no "should the executive be fired?";  There is only "does the boss want to fire the executive or not?"  In this case, the boss obviously decided that whatever was done, against his wishes, it did not warrant firing the executive.  It is a choice entirely up to the boss.  There is no moral imperative or "should" in the matter.

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IN OPPOSITION TO:

 

It depends. What if the owners orders are illegal, immoral, or unethical? Should an employee cross such lines? Clearly not.

 

Now, to address the specific case of "teacher" and David R. Unless I'm wrong, there was no pay involved in teacher's "job." Without pay there is no employment. Without consideration there is no basis for a contract that obligated teacher to follow David R's rules.

 

David R had the right to "fire" (not the right word) teacher, but he had no reasonable expectation that he could walk away from the website, put the burden fully on an unpaid person (and his team of mods) and expect he could issue "orders."

 

"Loyalty" is earned. Being an absent "owner" who expects others to "work" for free creates no obligatory bonds of loyalty. None.

 

"Team work?" What team work? There was no "team" (aside from the one created by teacher and his mods. David R was not part of any "team."

 

Insubordination? Again, one can not expect to be a "boss" while not compensating one's employees.

 

David R failed here. The was not a team player. He did not compensate others for their work. He was uninvolved in keeping this website going.

 

Given these factors, teacher was fully justified in acting in the best interests of this forum. And that's precisely what he did. He acted in what he believed was the best interest of the forum when the owner failed to be an involved teammate and was not an "employer."

 

Case closed.

 

Bill

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, bludog said:

IN OPPOSITION TO:

 

Since there are no laws governing how an executive responds to an his boss, in this case, the owner, this is primarily a moral question.  Neither is there an encompassing document stipulating an executive's duties, eg, the US Constitution.  So, in reality, the relationship between a boss and executive is fluid and governed by a set of mutually recognized understandings.  Ideally, the boss and executive agree on what is understood.  But if the boss and executive cannot arrive at a satisfactory agreement, the boss has the right to fire or discipline his executive.

REBUTTAL:

You are correct to presume there are no laws nor documents governing the boss-executive relationship in my Resolution.  In fact, I modeled this example on what Teacher did when administrator for David R, which reinforces your presumption that this is not a legal question.  This is, in fact, a moral question as you point out.  However, as such, in addressing the boss-executive employee question we can rely on the norms of the society in which we live.  We can draw upon our general understanding of the responsibilities of an owner of a business; the responsibilities, duties and expectations of a hired executive; and from our experiences and knowledge about managing subordinate employees.

 

In my Resolution, the Owner gave a "clear directive" to the Executive that he is not to delegate certain jobs and privileges to subordinates.  The Executive understands the directive, just disagrees with it.  The Executive, not once, but twice countermands the Owner's clear directive and in an incremental and sneaky manner, which he hopes will go unnoticed by the Owner,  grants privileges to subordinates which he was expressly prohibited by the Owner form doing.

 

There is nothing in my Resolution that indicates the Executive did not understand or overtly express disagreement to the Owner about the directive.  You would be making an incorrect presumption if you are attempting to lead us to believe otherwise.

Quote

 

Lack of loyalty;  Inability to work as a team member;  And insubordination are not grounds for firing unless the boss is unhappy enough with these traits/behaviors to get rid of his executive.  There could actually be situations where these seeming faults might help the boss' cause, and so, be wholeheartedly forgiven.

 

In this specific case, in question, the boss, for reasons ultimately known only to him, decided to retain the executive.  So there is no "should the executive be fired?";  There is only "does the boss want to fire the executive or not?"  In this case, the boss obviously decided that whatever was done, against his wishes, it did not warrant firing the executive.  It is a choice entirely up to the boss.  There is no moral imperative or "should" in the matter.

REBUTTAL:

As the Executive, if he disagreed with the Owner's directive (in this case not to delegate certain duties and privileges to subordinates), the proper course of action is to develop a compelling presentation for the Owner to explain and skillfully convince the Owner of several things:

 

1.   A compelling set of reasons why the Executive must delegate certain privileges and duties to subordinates, complete with detailed consequences of not permitting this.  The enumerated "consequences", if well thought through, is the "buy-in" the Executive wants from the Owner.  For example, if the failure to permit delegation slows the overall operation, then quantify this for the Owner.  Or, if the failure to delegate will lead to subordinate resignations and lower quality replacements, then show how this has happened or is expected to happen.  Whatever the benefit may be, a skilled Executive must sell the idea to an Owner who has expressed reluctance.  And, if the Owner still says "no", then the Executive has explained the negative impact of such a decision, and the Owner should be prepared to live with that. 

 

2.  The presentation should also show how the Executive intends to vet the subordinates, train subordinates and monitor the subordinates to sustain the same level of integrity as when the privileges in question lay only with the Executive.

 

3.  The presentation should suggest a trial period, where if the Executive's plan does not go as anticipated, the authority/privileges could be reversed.

 

If this is done correctly, the Executive has almost no chance of coming out nonplussed by this endeavor.  Even with a "no" decision, the skilled Executive has now modified the expectations of the Owner due to the Owner's pig-headed decision.  However, an Executive who does not have the wherewithal to think thorough a "no" scenario with his boss is likely not worth having around.

 

REBUTTAL CONCLUSION:

In choosing to countermand the boss's clear directive in a stealthy way and do precisely what the boss forbade, I can only surmise that this highly trusted Executive cannot in fact be trusted and further lacks an important skill set, one which I would expect of an Executive at his level to possess.   A boss or owner who keeps a high-level executive employed, whom the owner knows cannot be trusted, is only going to have future problems with that employee; some of which could be quite costly.  Therefore, there is no question in my mind that such an Executive, one who directly countermands his boss not once but twice, should be terminated.

 

 

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11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

IN OPPOSITION TO:

 

What if the owners orders are illegal, immoral, or unethical? Should an employee cross such lines? Clearly not.

REBUTTAL:

 

You raise a good question.  Let's remember a couple of things.  1) we are addressing an Executive employee.  This is not an ordinary employee.  As such, the Owner has entrusted him with quite a number of privileges, a certain level of trust, and with that there is a higher expectation of competency than from ordinary employees.  2) Owners sometimes unwittingly do ask subordinates to engage in illegal, immoral or unethical behavior.  Let's assume this is the case.  Because, if the Owner is knowingly and unabashedly demanding that an Executive engage in immoral or illegal behavior, there is really only one direction for that Executive - to immediately resign. 

 

So, when an owner unwittingly wants the Executive to go in a direction which is illegal or immoral, I still maintain that it the trained Executive's function to develop a cogent presentation to dissuade the Owner from pursuing a wrong course of action, present the concerns associated with such action, and present possible alternatives.  An unwitting Owner should be receptive to this type of discourse from the Executive. 

 

In either case of an Owner demanding immoral or illegal behavior from an Executive, the wrong course of action is to simply ignore the directive and pursue a contrary course of action which countermands the directive.  Such action by the Executive demonstrates ineptness, cowardice, and a lack of trust.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

Now, to address the specific case of "teacher" and David R. Unless I'm wrong, there was no pay involved in teacher's "job." Without pay there is no employment. Without consideration there is no basis for a contract that obligated teacher to follow David R's rules.

Agreed, there was no contract or traditional employment.  That situation is not a contractual or legal matter, and this is why I chose it as an example.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

David R had the right to "fire" (not the right word) teacher, but he had no reasonable expectation that he could walk away from the website, put the burden fully on an unpaid person (and his team of mods) and expect he could issue "orders."

The question is whether David R. should fire or terminate Teacher for countermanding his directive and sneakily giving away privileges to subordinates.   We are talking about stripping Teacher of his administrative duties.  What Teacher does as a member/contributor to his forum is not relevant.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

"Loyalty" is earned. Being an absent "owner" who expects others to "work" for free creates no obligatory bonds of loyalty. None.

You had me agreeing with you up to the point where you said "None".  You make a good point that an absentee owner who puts no effort into a website but appoints an administrator to do all of the work, should expect a degree of insubordination, resentment and perhaps even minor disloyalty.  But no loyalty?  Basically, you think a trusted administrator ethically is given a license to be completely disloyal to the owner who granted him these privileges - I have to disagree with you there.   Hypothetically, to do such a thing would show poor character; I say "hypothetically" because I am not saying that Teacher actually did what I am discussing in this part of my Rebuttal.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

"Team work?" What team work? There was no "team" (aside from the one created by teacher and his mods. David R was not part of any "team."

We don't know what David R's involvement was.  Presumably he had a lot of discussion with Teacher.  We also know he liked to stay in the background.  But, from what I've read over the years from Teacher, he had quite a bit of communication and direction from David R.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

Insubordination? Again, one can not expect to be a "boss" while not compensating one's employees.

I think you are being too literal here.  I only used Teacher's situation with David R as a model for my premise. The premise however is tied to an actual employment situation.  The premise does not actually dwell on non-paid voluntary employment. 

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

David R failed here. The was not a team player. He did not compensate others for their work. He was uninvolved in keeping this website going.

Again, I have no evidence one way or the other whether this is true or not.  Still, I consider that a mere side-bar to this discussion, as the Resolution itself was not specifically about David R. and Teacher.  There are clearly distinctions which can be drawn between a voluntary situation and an paid executive working for an owner of a company who manages subordinates.

11 hours ago, SpyCar said:

Given these factors, teacher was fully justified in acting in the best interests of this forum. And that's precisely what he did. He acted in what he believed was the best interest of the forum when the owner failed to be an involved teammate and was not an "employer."

Teacher did not work "for the forum".  He worked, albeit on a voluntary basis, for David R. David R. ended up having to sell the forum because he could not even cover the costs of this website.  How did Teacher's actions of countermanding a directive given from his boss, David R. benefit David R.?  They didn't.  But, even if they did, it would have been better practice for Teacher to devise a plan which David R. could accept under which he could delegate the burden and privilege entrusted solely to him, to subordinates.

 

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1 hour ago, Skans said:

REBUTTAL:

 

You raise a good question.  Let's remember a couple of things.  1) we are addressing an Executive employee.  This is not an ordinary employee.  As such, the Owner has entrusted him with quite a number of privileges, a certain level of trust, and with that there is a higher expectation of competency than from ordinary employees.  2) Owners sometimes unwittingly do ask subordinates to engage in illegal, immoral or unethical behavior.  Let's assume this is the case.  Because, if the Owner is knowingly and unabashedly demanding that an Executive engage in immoral or illegal behavior, there is really only one direction for that Executive - to immediately resign. 

 

So, when an owner unwittingly wants the Executive to go in a direction which is illegal or immoral, I still maintain that it the trained Executive's function to develop a cogent presentation to dissuade the Owner from pursuing a wrong course of action, present the concerns associated with such action, and present possible alternatives.  An unwitting Owner should be receptive to this type of discourse from the Executive. 

 

In either case of an Owner demanding immoral or illegal behavior from an Executive, the wrong course of action is to simply ignore the directive and pursue a contrary course of action which countermands the directive.  Such action by the Executive demonstrates ineptness, cowardice, and a lack of trust.

Agreed, there was no contract or traditional employment.  That situation is not a contractual or legal matter, and this is why I chose it as an example.

The question is whether David R. should fire or terminate Teacher for countermanding his directive and sneakily giving away privileges to subordinates.   We are talking about stripping Teacher of his administrative duties.  What Teacher does as a member/contributor to his forum is not relevant.

You had me agreeing with you up to the point where you said "None".  You make a good point that an absentee owner who puts no effort into a website but appoints an administrator to do all of the work, should expect a degree of insubordination, resentment and perhaps even minor disloyalty.  But no loyalty?  Basically, you think a trusted administrator ethically is given a license to be completely disloyal to the owner who granted him these privileges - I have to disagree with you there.   Hypothetically, to do such a thing would show poor character; I say "hypothetically" because I am not saying that Teacher actually did what I am discussing in this part of my Rebuttal.

We don't know what David R's involvement was.  Presumably he had a lot of discussion with Teacher.  We also know he liked to stay in the background.  But, from what I've read over the years from Teacher, he had quite a bit of communication and direction from David R.

I think you are being too literal here.  I only used Teacher's situation with David R as a model for my premise. The premise however is tied to an actual employment situation.  The premise does not actually dwell on non-paid voluntary employment. 

Again, I have no evidence one way or the other whether this is true or not.  Still, I consider that a mere side-bar to this discussion, as the Resolution itself was not specifically about David R. and Teacher.  There are clearly distinctions which can be drawn between a voluntary situation and an paid executive working for an owner of a company who manages subordinates.

Teacher did not work "for the forum".  He worked, albeit on a voluntary basis, for David R. David R. ended up having to sell the forum because he could not even cover the costs of this website.  How did Teacher's actions of countermanding a directive given from his boss, David R. benefit David R.?  They didn't.  But, even if they did, it would have been better practice for Teacher to devise a plan which David R. could accept under which he could delegate the burden and privilege entrusted solely to him, to subordinates.

 

 

REBUTTAL:

 

We disagree on basic premises:

 

1) You claim that "teacher" was an "executive employee" who therefore owed David R a special level of duty. I disagree. teacher was not compensated and not paid for his efforts, and was therefore he was not an "employee." Not being an employee explodes you claim of any duty to his "employer."

 

2) While not germane to teachers case, it is false that the only valid response of an employee who is asked to take criminal actions is to resign. No. The person who acts righteously is not the one who should lose his or her position, it is the person demanding illegal action by underlings. This is why we need strong whistle-blower statutes.

 

Your "unwittingly criminal" owner argument is a red herring. How is this germane? I accept that if an owner of an enterprise asked for actions to be taken that inadvertently violated regulations or laws that conscientious employee should raise the issue with an employer  without fear of retribution. But this stipulation of agreement does not advance your case.

 

And, again, an employee should never act in violation of the law. They have no "duty" to an owner to engage in criminality and they have a duty to the republic not to do so. Acting otherwise exposes an employee to criminal sanctions. Your arguments here are deeply flawed.

 

It seems odd that you admittedly chose an example where there was "no contract or traditional employment" and where the situation is "not a contractual or legal matter." Admitting these things proves there was no owner-employee relationship in this case and it utterly undercuts arguments based on obligations an employee has to an employer.

 

As you admit  teacher was not an employee, executive or otherwise. Therefore,  teach was under no such duty.

 

What teacher did was to act in what he felt was the best interests of the forum, when the "owner" abdicated all his responsibilities. It is the owner who failed to engage in "teamwork." In contrast teacher build a team of unpaid volunteers who provided free services that benefited a man who abandoned his property.

 

Even you admit that an absentee owner who puts no effort into a website but appoints an administrator to do all of the work should expect what you call "a degree of insubordination, resentment and perhaps even minor disloyalty." That is a stunning admission. You just lost you case (again) in my estimation. I would strongly reject that teacher's actions were examples of "insubordination" (as David R was in no measure teacher "superior" in this relationship. I also see no "resentment" on teachers part; he almost always spoke of David R affectionately (calling him the Ol' Man) and covered for the owners neglect and laziness. If teacher might be criticized for "lack of duty" it might be for going soft on a negligent owner. But he was stuck in a bad situation and tried his best to serve the forum members and keep this website alive.

 

Nothing in the relationship leads me to belive that David R saw teacher was a "trusted administrator." If this was a relationship of trust, the absentee owner would have trusted the person he abandoned the website to to act in his best judgement for the good of the forum. David R failed here, teacher did not. There was no "trust" here.

 

It is true that none of us know how much input precisely that David R had on the forum. By all appearances he was almost totally vacant. His only viability in recent years was asking for donations under the threat of closing the website. Weak.

 

I do not think I've been "too literal here," with regard to the lack of employer-employee duty. You admit teach was not an employee, yet have based your obligations on duties an employer might have of an employee. That's a fail in my estimation.

 

In my estimation teacher did "work for the forum." And he worked in good faith, trying to do what was best, and trying to manage with unpaid volunteers that he (alone, without the owner's hep) helped build into a team.

 

Had teacher deliberately acted against the viability of the website, then there might be grounds for rebuke. But that's not what happened. teacher kept the site alive and he also helped David R realize a sale (a sale teacher helped set up). Had it not been for teacher and his team (a forum participants) this website would have been worth nothing. David R did nothing to add value and he exploited free labor without offering trust.

 

You ask: "How did Teacher's actions of countermanding a directive given from his boss, David R. benefit David R.?"

 

I've already touched on the answers. teacher helped keep the website alive. teacher was able to keep mods "working" for free by offering them reasonable tools for doing their "jobs." And he kept the website alive, which preserved $1,700 more in value than if he'd allowed it to collapse. He also arranged the sale. David R benefited. 

 

After you deny that David R benefited from teachers action you then say "even if they did, it would have been better practice for Teacher to devise a plan which David R. could accept under which he could delegate the burden and privilege entrusted solely to him, to subordinates." Here you seem to be making the perfect the enemy of the good. We don't know what discussions took place. We don't know that teacher didn't try to get David R to listen to reason. What we do know is that David R abandoned the website and that in the breach teacher stepped in, acted in good faith, and kept the website alive (which is the only reason there was an ultimate sale).

 

Without teacher's good faith efforts and volunteer labor, David would have bupkis.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IN SUPPORT OF:

 

Notwithstanding the executive's inalienable right (and duty) to resign at any time if he is faced with directives from the owner which jeopardize or threaten his principles (the moral question) or freedom (the legal question), we must consider that rationality of all living persons, especially those capable of acquiring an executive position in a significant operation in the first place. What do I mean? 

 

-The instinct to maintain and protect one's career (and therefore his family's well-being). 

-The instinct to be fair and responsible with one's subordinates.

-The duty to do what one thinks is best for the operation. 

-The importance of considering optics and politics in the workplace and industry at large. 

 

All of these factors will govern an executive's behaviour. But, in accepting an executive position, said executive must recognize that the owner is the owner and, as owner, is accepting the bulk of responsibility for the successful operation of the company. This is the "big picture" argument--I'm picturing Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: "I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom!" An executive who wasn't present during the founding of the company, who does not have an intimate understanding of the finer practical details of the industry, who doesn't have a financial stake in the company anywhere near that of the owner can NOT assume that he knows better than the boss. 

 

[However, I disagree that the David_R and teacher example is actually analogous to the real question as stated in the OP]. 

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2 hours ago, kking said:

IN SUPPORT OF:

 

[However, I disagree that the David_R and teacher example is actually analogous to the real question as stated in the OP]. 

 

REBUTTAL:

 

I think you have helped undermine Skans case. Thank you for the inadvertent support.

 

From your examples, David R never accepting the bulk of responsibility for the successful operation of the company that you said was an owner's duty. David R failed, not teacher.

 

David R could never claim that ""I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom!" He took close to zero responsibility.

 

Further, David R did not "found" this website. It was founded by a liberal, from what I understand.

 

As to "investments" in an operation, I'd say the even at a small fraction of the minimum wage that teacher had more of an investment in this website than the $1,700 got (from a sale that teacher helped arrange). David R would likely have gotten far less (zero?) if the website had failed.

 

Skans inextricably linked the case of teacher and David R into his premise. That link can not be undone at this point in the contest.

 

The case for the affirmative fails.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IN SUPPORT OF: 

 

Although @Skans cited the teacher-David_R dynamic as analogous to an owner-executive dynamic, it was merely inspiration rather than the tangible example. His resolution reads: I support firing an executive who countermands his boss's clear directives simply because he thinks he knows what's better for the company. Although he mentions them as inspiring the topic, he does not state that David_R and teacher are accurate examples of the resolution at hand, representing an executive and a boss. So clinging to that belief is a strawman, albeit self-made by the OP, that doesn't actually apply.

 

 

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4 hours ago, kking said:

IN SUPPORT OF: 

 

Although @Skans cited the teacher-David_R dynamic as analogous to an owner-executive dynamic, it was merely inspiration rather than the tangible example. His resolution reads: I support firing an executive who countermands his boss's clear directives simply because he thinks he knows what's better for the company. Although he mentions them as inspiring the topic, he does not state that David_R and teacher are accurate examples of the resolution at hand, representing an executive and a boss. So clinging to that belief is a strawman, albeit self-made by the OP, that doesn't actually apply.

 

 

 

REBUTTAL:

 

Late claims that the central example of this debate question is "merely inspiration" after the central example has been destroyed (and even you call it a straw man) is a prime example of moving the goalposts. The obligation of teacher to follow David R's marching orders has been thoroughly undermined .

 

Time to concede.

 

Bill

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18 hours ago, SpyCar said:

 

REBUTTAL:

 

1) You claim that "teacher" was an "executive employee" who therefore owed David R a special level of duty.

COUNTER-REBUTTAL:

No.  I did not claim this at all.  I structured my premise around an employment situation where an Owner entrusts an Executive employee with certain privileges, gives that employee a directive not to delegate those privilages, but the employee countermands the directive and does it anyway.  As some background information, I explained what influenced me into structuring this debate and provided some information about what had happened between David R. and Teacher.  You are intentionally conflating the two things.  If you want to discuss teacher specifically, I have indulged this a little, but that is not the crux of my argument at all. 

Quote

 

I disagree. teacher was not compensated and not paid for his efforts, and was therefore he was not an "employee." Not being an employee explodes you claim of any duty to his "employer."

I have addressed this above.

Quote

 

2) While not germane to teachers case, it is false that the only valid response of an employee who is asked to take criminal actions is to resign.

First, you have interjected a new fact into this argument to attempt to make some point, ie. criminal activity.  All I said was that an employee is given clear directives from an owner but intentionally countermands that directive and should therefore be fired.  Second, I have already addressed your "criminal activity" argument and explained, in detail, how an employee might better handle this, short of resignation and short of simply ignoring the Owner and doing what he wants anyway.  You have presumed things in your rebuttal which I never raised nor said, and therefore on that basis your Rebuttal fails. 

Quote

 

No. The person who acts righteously is not the one who should lose his or her position, it is the person demanding illegal action by underlings. This is why we need strong whistle-blower statutes.

Again, I have addressed this.

Quote

Your "unwittingly criminal" owner argument is a red herring. How is this germane?

How is it germane?  It's germane because you interjected the "criminal" element into the discussion.  I never said, in my premise, that the Owner asked anything illegal of the employee - you simply presumed this in your Rebuttal.  I addressed it by showing how an Owner can sometimes ask something that is not legal of an employee without knowing this; or perhaps the Owner does know it is illegal - either way, the Executive has a duty to raise this to the person who has requested this of him to see where that goes.  Simply ignoring the illegal request and doing something the owner told you not to do is a poor way for an executive to handle this situation. 

Quote

 

I accept that if an owner of an enterprise asked for actions to be taken that inadvertently violated regulations or laws that conscientious employee should raise the issue with an employer  

This is my main point.  But, the professionalism, tact and thought that goes into this is what, in my opinion, distinguishes a good Executive from an ordinary employee with limited executive experience.

Quote

without fear of retribution.

The Executive certainly must consider the possibility of retribution in confronting the Owner when he wants to move the Owner to a different plan.

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And, again, an employee should never act in violation of the law.

Again, I have addressed this.  This is a new fact you have interjected into this argument, which I have explained in detail in a previous rebuttal.

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They have no "duty" to an owner to engage in criminality

Addressed it.  I never suggested such a thing.  If you believe otherwise, then quote me where I suggested an Executive has a duty to engage in criminality. 

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It seems odd that you admittedly chose an example where there was "no contract or traditional employment" and where the situation is "not a contractual or legal matter."

I provided background for why I chose the premise I did.  Many employees/executives in my area of the country have no contracts.  In fact, even in big union states executives often do not have contracts, as they are no "Executives Union" that I am aware of.  But, I'm not saying that they don't have contracts either -- some do, some don't. However, I decided to make this a moral question rather than a contract question.  Obviously, if a contract was involved I would have to give you a copy of the contract and anyone could read the contract and figure out whether there was anything in the contract that addressed this situation.  But, in many situations, a contract would never go into that kind of detail to address what an Executive should do if an Owner gives him a directive which the Exective, for whatever reasons, feels he cannot follow.  This is about right and wrong, not about what some contract says. 

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As you admit  teacher was not an employee, executive or otherwise. Therefore,  teach was under no such duty.

Regarding Teacher's situation.  Teacher was working as a volunteer for David R.  Presumably, David R. needed Teacher to administer the site for him.  In exchange, Teacher was given broad authority to administer the site.  This is something Teacher wanted to do and therefore he agreed to David R's terms.  David R. had one condition to making Teacher site administrator - Teacher was provided a clear directive not to delegate certain privileges to subordinate moderators.  Teacher bragged how he stealthily countermanded David R's clear directive, not once but twice, providing us with astonishing details on how he did this.  I see this as despicable behavior which demonstrates a lack of loyalty and actual animosity toward the site owner. It was morally wrong.   And, just because someone does not have a contract or is not getting paid does not mean that he (Teacher) was not working in a limited capacity for David R.  In doing what Teacher did, he was disloyal by intentionally violating  the agreement he had with David R.  

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What teacher did was to act in what he felt was the best interests of the forum, when the "owner" abdicated all his responsibilities. It is the owner who failed to engage in "teamwork." In contrast teacher build a team of unpaid volunteers who provided free services that benefited a man who abandoned his property.

I am not supporting or justifying David R's activities with the site - again, neither I nor you know what David R did or didn't do.  Anything you say about David R. is just speculative. 

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Even you admit that an absentee owner who puts no effort into a website but appoints an administrator to do all of the work should expect what you call "a degree of insubordination, resentment and perhaps even minor disloyalty." That is a stunning admission. You just lost you case

I simply  addressed a new fact you  put forth in your Rebuttal - i.e. that David R. was an absentee owner who put no effort into his website.  Again, this was provided as background information as to why I selected the premise I did.  If you said that David R. was using the website to illegally interfere with an election, that would be a new fact as well, and my addressing it does not cause me to lose.  The expectation of resentment and disloyalty, looking at this from David R's perspective, does not in any way exonerate the bad actions of Teacher, or in my actual premise, the Executive.  

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(again) in my estimation. I would strongly reject that teacher's actions were examples of "insubordination" (as David R was in no measure teacher "superior" in this relationship. I also see no "resentment" on teachers part; he almost always spoke of David R affectionately (calling him the Ol' Man) and covered for the owners neglect and laziness. If teacher might be criticized for "lack of duty" it might be for going soft on a negligent owner. But he was stuck in a bad situation and tried his best to serve the forum members and keep this website alive.

This goes way beyond my original premise and my intent is not to get into a discussion about what actually happened between Teacher and David R. You continue to interject new facts into this debate, which 1) gets the debate off track and 2) does nothing to support or rebut the premise.

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I do not think I've been "too literal here," with regard to the lack of employer-employee duty. You admit teach was not an employee, yet have based your obligations on duties an employer might have of an employee. That's a fail in my estimation.

I have pointed out that David R. and Teacher had an agreement between them, even if they were not have a formal employer-employee relationship.  And, again, the Teacher-David R. Scenario was provided as background as to why I chose the premise.  The premise stands, and your failure to address the actual premise is a "fail", in my estimation.

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In my estimation teacher did "work for the forum." And he worked in good faith, trying to do what was best, and trying to manage with unpaid volunteers that he (alone, without the owner's hep) helped build into a team.

While not relevant, teacher did not work for the forum.  He had an agreement with David R.  Not with "the forum".  And, "the forum" was owned by David R.

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and he also helped David R realize a sale (a sale teacher helped set up).

Not relevant to the Premise.  Teacher may be David R's best buddy in the world, may be business partners with him, may be his gay lover - none of which is relevant for reasons already stated.

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You ask: "How did Teacher's actions of countermanding a directive given from his boss, David R. benefit David R.?"

Fair enough, I did ask this.  From my observation, Teacher did very little in moderating the website.  Maybe he managed the other moderators behind the scenes where I could not observe this, but he was about as hands off as David R. was from what I could see.  This is presumably why he delegated such broad power and authority to the moderators, so that Teacher could do less work on this site.    As for preserving a $1,700 value" - I think Kfools has shown that this website can be much more valuable than that pittance which doubtfully even paid David R. back what he has into it.  If $1,700 is your measure of success for a website which has been around for longer than 10 years, I'd call that a dismal failure!   While I have indulged your focus on David R and Teacher, I remain concerned we are getting off topic from the premise as stated.

 

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In support of

 

On 4/29/2020 at 12:17 PM, Skans said:

Insubordination

 

This alone is  incompatible with the boss.

 

Unless the  boss was making a terrible  mistake

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On 5/1/2020 at 6:40 AM, Skans said:

COUNTER-REBUTTAL:

No.  I did not claim this at all.  I structured my premise around an employment situation where an Owner entrusts an Executive employee with certain privileges, gives that employee a directive not to delegate those privilages, but the employee countermands the directive and does it anyway.  As some background information, I explained what influenced me into structuring this debate and provided some information about what had happened between David R. and Teacher.  You are intentionally conflating the two things.  If you want to discuss teacher specifically, I have indulged this a little, but that is not the crux of my argument at all. 

I have addressed this above.

First, you have interjected a new fact into this argument to attempt to make some point, ie. criminal activity.  All I said was that an employee is given clear directives from an owner but intentionally countermands that directive and should therefore be fired.  Second, I have already addressed your "criminal activity" argument and explained, in detail, how an employee might better handle this, short of resignation and short of simply ignoring the Owner and doing what he wants anyway.  You have presumed things in your rebuttal which I never raised nor said, and therefore on that basis your Rebuttal fails. 

Again, I have addressed this.

How is it germane?  It's germane because you interjected the "criminal" element into the discussion.  I never said, in my premise, that the Owner asked anything illegal of the employee - you simply presumed this in your Rebuttal.  I addressed it by showing how an Owner can sometimes ask something that is not legal of an employee without knowing this; or perhaps the Owner does know it is illegal - either way, the Executive has a duty to raise this to the person who has requested this of him to see where that goes.  Simply ignoring the illegal request and doing something the owner told you not to do is a poor way for an executive to handle this situation. 

This is my main point.  But, the professionalism, tact and thought that goes into this is what, in my opinion, distinguishes a good Executive from an ordinary employee with limited executive experience.

The Executive certainly must consider the possibility of retribution in confronting the Owner when he wants to move the Owner to a different plan.

Again, I have addressed this.  This is a new fact you have interjected into this argument, which I have explained in detail in a previous rebuttal.

Addressed it.  I never suggested such a thing.  If you believe otherwise, then quote me where I suggested an Executive has a duty to engage in criminality. 

I provided background for why I chose the premise I did.  Many employees/executives in my area of the country have no contracts.  In fact, even in big union states executives often do not have contracts, as they are no "Executives Union" that I am aware of.  But, I'm not saying that they don't have contracts either -- some do, some don't. However, I decided to make this a moral question rather than a contract question.  Obviously, if a contract was involved I would have to give you a copy of the contract and anyone could read the contract and figure out whether there was anything in the contract that addressed this situation.  But, in many situations, a contract would never go into that kind of detail to address what an Executive should do if an Owner gives him a directive which the Exective, for whatever reasons, feels he cannot follow.  This is about right and wrong, not about what some contract says. 

Regarding Teacher's situation.  Teacher was working as a volunteer for David R.  Presumably, David R. needed Teacher to administer the site for him.  In exchange, Teacher was given broad authority to administer the site.  This is something Teacher wanted to do and therefore he agreed to David R's terms.  David R. had one condition to making Teacher site administrator - Teacher was provided a clear directive not to delegate certain privileges to subordinate moderators.  Teacher bragged how he stealthily countermanded David R's clear directive, not once but twice, providing us with astonishing details on how he did this.  I see this as despicable behavior which demonstrates a lack of loyalty and actual animosity toward the site owner. It was morally wrong.   And, just because someone does not have a contract or is not getting paid does not mean that he (Teacher) was not working in a limited capacity for David R.  In doing what Teacher did, he was disloyal by intentionally violating  the agreement he had with David R.  

I am not supporting or justifying David R's activities with the site - again, neither I nor you know what David R did or didn't do.  Anything you say about David R. is just speculative. 

I simply  addressed a new fact you  put forth in your Rebuttal - i.e. that David R. was an absentee owner who put no effort into his website.  Again, this was provided as background information as to why I selected the premise I did.  If you said that David R. was using the website to illegally interfere with an election, that would be a new fact as well, and my addressing it does not cause me to lose.  The expectation of resentment and disloyalty, looking at this from David R's perspective, does not in any way exonerate the bad actions of Teacher, or in my actual premise, the Executive.  

This goes way beyond my original premise and my intent is not to get into a discussion about what actually happened between Teacher and David R. You continue to interject new facts into this debate, which 1) gets the debate off track and 2) does nothing to support or rebut the premise.

I have pointed out that David R. and Teacher had an agreement between them, even if they were not have a formal employer-employee relationship.  And, again, the Teacher-David R. Scenario was provided as background as to why I chose the premise.  The premise stands, and your failure to address the actual premise is a "fail", in my estimation.

While not relevant, teacher did not work for the forum.  He had an agreement with David R.  Not with "the forum".  And, "the forum" was owned by David R.

Not relevant to the Premise.  Teacher may be David R's best buddy in the world, may be business partners with him, may be his gay lover - none of which is relevant for reasons already stated.

Fair enough, I did ask this.  From my observation, Teacher did very little in moderating the website.  Maybe he managed the other moderators behind the scenes where I could not observe this, but he was about as hands off as David R. was from what I could see.  This is presumably why he delegated such broad power and authority to the moderators, so that Teacher could do less work on this site.    As for preserving a $1,700 value" - I think Kfools has shown that this website can be much more valuable than that pittance which doubtfully even paid David R. back what he has into it.  If $1,700 is your measure of success for a website which has been around for longer than 10 years, I'd call that a dismal failure!   While I have indulged your focus on David R and Teacher, I remain concerned we are getting off topic from the premise as stated.

 

 

IN OPPOSITION TO:

 

Any attempt to remove the central example of the debate from the question after the argument has been convincingly defeated is evidence of a failed premise.

 

But for sake of argument, let's pretend   that the "teacher/David R" example was irrelevant. The premise still fails.

 

Why?

 

Because  while any "owner" would have the right under the law to to  fire an employee who disobeyed directives and therefore "could" fire such an employee, the OP suggests any such employes should be fired:

 

I support firing an executive who countermands his boss's clear directives simply because he thinks he knows what's better for the company. 

 

Let's look to an counter-example taken from the popular current film Ford vs Ferrari, which was based on the real like story of Carroll Shelby. In the film--as in real life--Shelby (who believed, rightly) that he knew more about how to build a successful race car that the people giving him orders at Ford, defied directives issued from above, built a car to his own vision, and--against all odds--succeed in winning LeMans for Ford.

 

Anyone who supported Shelby being fired would a "villian" in a movie version of this story as it clearly would have been wrong to have done so.

 

Written as a blanket statement (as it has been) the premise fails.

 

Bill

 

 

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