Overtures and Undertones at the Workplace

This is an original free case-study I wrote for a class on Business Ethics. Feel free to use this in any way you like. All I request is that if you do use this case study (or a derivative of this case) in any way, please drop me a message with a link. Thanks!

Overtures and Undertones at the Workplace: an Ethical Dilemma

Rajat Sharma settled into his chair at the office. It was going to be one of those late nights again. Although he was the CEO and Owner of Globodyne Software, Inc., tonight he had sent the staff home and was alone in his office at Calcutta, waiting for an important conference call with a client based in Columbus, Ohio. This was not unusual, as Globodyne, Inc. was a small software firm, and things were run pretty informally. Bored of reviewing his notes for the meeting, Sharma checked his mobile phone. There was one new text message, from his project manager Anita Vohra. “Sir, I have mailed you some pics of mine. Let me know what you think of them.” Puzzled, Sharma logged into his work e-mail. To his surprise, he found that Anita had mailed him five pictures of herself, in which she was wearing practically nothing. The meeting was just five minutes away, but, as he looked at the pics, Sharma realised the meeting was now the least of his problems.

Undertones of Overtures

A year ago, Rajat Sharma had started Globodyne Software, Inc., in a small rented flat in Calcutta. While still at his day job, he had assembled a team of his friends from college to launch his own venture. Working for Sharma, they had developed Aegis, an security software application that was Globodyne, Inc.’s flagship product today. The Aegis software was a runaway success, and within a year it had over a million users in over 40 countries.

Despite its fledging success, Globodyne, was still a very small company with only seven full-time employees. When he needed more employees, Sharma just hired people he knew from his college days, or by references, and managed the HR functions himself.

As the software market moved towards the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, Globodyne, had just launched Medusa, an expensive project to develop a cloud-based data encryption application. The development was being outsourced to four teams, located in Ukraine, South Africa and America. To manage this complex and expensive project, Sharma had hired Anita Vohra, a smart, self-assured and good-looking MBA with a few years of project management experience.

Anita turned out to be good at her complex job, and she efficiently coordinated the efforts of Globodyne’s multiple design, development and testing teams around the world. The Medusa project was Sharma’s largest investment and his biggest bet for the future. Things were going really well, until today’s e-mail with her nude photographs attached.

Sharma’s thoughts wandered to the conversations he had had with Anita in the office. Had he encouraged her in any way? Globodyne, Inc. had a young workforce, and the average employee age at the office was 24. Since all his employees and himself were so young, Sharma had always encouraged an open and friendly atmosphere at work. He would often have friendly chats with the employees, and they would all have lunch together. He would often lend a sympathetic ear to his employees’ troubles – but now it seems his gestures had been badly misinterpreted. Had he brought this on himself? Had he misled Anita by his behavior?

Globodyne was a small company, and had no pre-existing HR policies against workplace relationships. Moreover, Sharma had been deeply involved in his venture for a year now, and that left no time for a personal life. Neither was he married, nor did he have a girlfriend; he was single. However, he knew there was no question of encouraging Anita further. As a boss, he believed he had a fiduciary relationship towards his employees, and a relationship with a subordinate could be a breach of trust, and at worst it could even expose him to claims of favouritism, or even sexual harassment.

For a moment Sharma considered ignoring the incident. If he didn’t respond or mention the matter to Anita, hopefully she would get the hint and refrain from such improper suggestions. On the other hand, he had his doubts. Wouldn’t ignoring this incident embolden Anita and encourage further such behaviour? Sharma remembered some advice his mentor had given him in a different context, but which seemed applicable here – “never leave problems to grow”. Would his silence tonight be read as acceptance tomorrow?

“So,” Sharma felt, “I should say no.” He did like Anita, after all she was smart and pretty, and he could definitely do with a girlfriend in his life – but somewhere inside he knew the right answer was no.

But could he reject her advances without affecting her work performance? By e-mailing him nude pictures, Anita had already crossed an unprofessional line. In such a situation, rejecting her outright handling the situation indelicately would affect her morale, and more importantly, her work on the Medusa project. That project was too important and too expensive. If Medusa failed, Globodyne would have to bear heavy losses, as well as be unprepared for future customer demands. Would it not be better to play along for the time being?

As he pondered his response to his employee e-mailing him nude pictures of herself, Sharma leaned back in his office chair. He couldn’t say yes, since it would be immoral. He couldn’t say no, since it could affect his expensive project. And he couldn’t ignore it either. As his phone rang for the conference call, Sharma felt caught between the devil and the deep sea.

Unboxing the Celestron CG5 ASGT Mount

After an arduous trip from China to America to Indian shores and Calcutta via a short halt in Customs at Mumbai, the Celestron CG5 ASGT Advanced Go-to mount is finally here!

Here’s a small ‘unboxing’ post, for the mount and two accessories

  • The Celestron CG5 ASGT
  • The Polar Finderscope
  • The 17A Celestron Powertank battery pack

The mount, item #91518, came in a fairly large brown cardboard box, with a gross weight of 35 kgs. That is with one counterweight, but when bought in combination with a larger scope, this mount comes with two counterweights.

Shipping box for the CG5 ASGT

As you can see, the box is huge. My Thinkpad L421 is shown for scale. There was a double-box of corrugated cardboard, inside which were 4 more smaller boxes.

Double Packing Boxes

The longest box contained the folded tripod feet, tucked between styrofoam blocks at both ends. This box also contained the accessory tray (a cast-metal spacer-cum-eyepiece-holder triangle) that goes between the feet to hold them apart. The tripod feet are capable of extending quite a bit, and I don’t immediately understand why they extend till so long.

Tripod Feet

I first set up the tripod, with the accessory tray.

Accessory Tray

The metal spacer and weight goes below the accessory tray, not above. Reviews say the CG5 has its limitations, but from first impressions this seems to be a rock solid tripod.

Where do people hang out on the other continent? At the Counterweight Bar!

Another box has a nice heavy counterweight.

A Counterweight

Since my first goal is wide-field astro-photography with only a DSLR, the counterweight might not see immediate use.

The actual mount

The actual mount was in another box, with custom foam inserts. It also came with two little allen keys (hex keys) which I didn’t end up using at all. I needed other tools, though. Even my tiny Orion Mini-EQ came with a more complete set of needed tools. This is something Celestron ought to think through.

Azimuth Adjustment Counterscrews

Since all my potential observing locations in India [(Calcutta, 22°35’N), (Mumbai, 18°55’N), and (Hyderabad, 17°22’N)] are below the CG-5’s lower limit of 30° latitude, the mount won’t work without some modification.

I removed both latitude adjustment screws (the front one is shorter, the rear one is longer). There is a small plate behind the front latitude adjustment screw (see pic). This plate is secured by two screws. I removed these using my own #5 hex key, following online instructions from Celestron.

Removing the bar behind the front latitude adjustment screw

Remove the plate that holds the latitude screw from the front side of the mount. Since it is on the same side as the counterweight, it is really not needed when the scope is in use, as equatorial head’s weight is always resting on the back latitude screw. Taking the plate off allows the latitude of the head to be lowered to your location.

The unneeded parts

So the ‘unneeded’ parts go back into the box.

But note that this modification reduces the mounts stability, in that it might increase the chance of the mount tipping over in odd positions – typically when the counterweight is absent or when the mount is pointing in an extreme direction.

Now works at lower latitudes

This modification extends the minimum latitude of the Celestron CG5 ASGT from 30° to around 7° or 10°, which covers almost all of India except the southern tip. If I ever happen to be in those parts, I will have to adjust (tilt) the tripod legs for polar alignment.

The next modification is also low-latitude specific. The mount needs to be installed 180 degrees rotated from the original position on the tripod, to prevent the counterweight from banging into the foot at low latitudes.

To prevent this, take the equatorial mount head off the tripod, exposing the top of the tripod. You will see the square-shaped azimuth adjustment post. Unthread the post from its current position in line with the single tripod leg and move it to the threaded hole 180 degrees away located between the tripod legs. Reassemble the head to the tripod.

Caution: this rotation of the head on the tripod will shift the scope’s center of gravity, increasing the likelihood of toppling the mount. Tying or weighting of the opposing tripod leg is recommended in this situation.

Since I can’t find an appropriate tool to ‘unthread’ the little square azimuth adjustment post, I leave this for later.

Now to install the polar scope.

The unboxed Polar Scope, with a Blackberry 9900 Bold for scale.

Had some trouble figuring out how to remove the finderscope housing. I had to cover one of the three thumbscrews in soft paper and hit on it with a heavy tool to get the housing to loosen. The entire thing rotates counter-clockwise and comes off.

Unscrewing the finderscope housing part with the 3 screws
The polar scope attached. Not a perfect fit.

I didn’t like that the polar scope doesn’t fit flush with the mount, but it’s no big deal.

View from the Polar Scope
View from the Polar Scope

Finally the mount goes on top of the tripod. This is pretty simple, especially without any counterweights. I think various little things on the mount might be needed to be tightened once the weights pile on.

The CG5 ASTG mount on the tripod

Opening the next box, I found the Nexstar hand controller, a declination cable, two plastic pieces that comprise the hand controller holder, a cast metal dovetail and a car lighter plug cable. Attaching the controller holder and wiring up the controller were simple.

The hand controller and accessories
Power up!

Time to power the mount up! I attached the provided car lighter cable to the Celestron Powertank, and… er, no response? I noticed the power jack on the mount has to be pushed in real firmly, and has a screw connector for more secure attachment.

Pushed it in harder, and the mount powered up. Success!