Randy Cohen has a column in the NY Times Magazine called "The Ethicist". Readers of the magazine write in and ask Randy for his opinion on real life ethical dilemmas they are facing.
The December 24, 2006 issue has the following story:
When a co-worker of my husband's found out she had breast cancer, many of her duties were distributed to her peers to allow her time for treatment. In September, it was revealed that she'd been faking the illness, but she continues on the job as usual. My husband and many of his colleagues feel betrayed and angry by her deception and management's inaction. What should be done?
There are two transgressors in this situation: the co-worker AND management.
To go through with such a lie as this, the co-worker is guilty of moral and/or mental problems and, like Randy, I can't imagine management knew of the lie in advance or condoned it.
In a situation like this Management has an amazing opportunity. They can pull together and ask themselves what they did to create (or attract) this situation.
Yes, the leadership of the team (managers, ceo, etc.) is responsible for attracting people who will lie and hurt their fellow team members. It's leadership that sets the tone, creates the rules, hires the staff, etc.
There are no victims in this story.
Not even the team members that feel betrayed and angry from the deception. They aren't victims because they chose to join the team.
What type of people and situations is your team attracting? Are you enjoying what you are attracted as a team?
What you experience as a team is a result of the collective level of consciousness of your team.
Though Randy Cohen doesn't address the concept of who created this situation in the first place, you can read his response to the "Cancer Chicanery" ethical dilemma HERE