Importance of Ethical Decision Making

Introduction

I would like to bring to your attention that the quality assurance department, during their routine testing of the above-named product noticed a defective whistle in the elementary toy batch that was to be delivered to the primary market and the elementary schools. “One metal whistle included in the toy collection did not pass testing due to some traces of lead” (Shaw, 2010, p.31). The amount of lead included in the whistles is slightly above the U.S. legally acceptable limits for children ages 7 and younger. Since a large shipment of the elementary toy collection is scheduled to be shipped to schools in South America at the end of the week, which is the most appropriate time since it is just in time for the beginning of the school year.

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In this respect, thinking of making other toys is beyond our targeted expenditure since the approximate cost to reproduce the product and repackage the toy collections could be estimated at $100,000 (Ferrell, Fredric & Ferrell, 2010). This calls for urgency in dealing with this matter which is pertinent and timely considering the time limitation and our planned total expenditure. I acknowledge each individual for the good work and professional prowess you have shown. This is the time to uphold the integrity of this multinational and highly reputed manufacturing organization by dealing with the marketing dilemma facing us at this moment.

This calls for quick measures to correct the anomalies. In my opinion, I urge each one of us to consider these points and take a keener look at the financial, legal, and ethical implications of every point. Here I analyzed the current situation and came up with these three decision alternatives to address the problem regarding the whistles. The first option is to cancel the orders so that the toy collection is reproduced and repackaged according to the required standards. The second option is assuming the anomalies and sending the orders to their destination assuming the defects will not be noticed. If they are discovered we will then think of compensating the affected consumers. The third option is to dismantle all the toys and label them so that the customer selects the toys suitable for them.

Using ethical theories and principles which are the cornerstones for any ethical analysis, I gathered the viewpoints that guided my decision making. Since each theory emphasizes varied ideologies, I then decided to major my points on the prediction of the possible outcomes to reach a sound ethical decision. However, I believe the theories put in place agree with our business goals and objectives. The main theories that support my suggested verdicts are beneficence to the organization which considers the option with the least harms to the children and generally the end buyers, prima facie duties theory, and the common good approach theory (Shaw, 2010).

Basing my judgment on the ethical principle of prima facie duties which is commonly known as the Rights Theory suggests that ethical action is the one that best respects and protects the moral rights of those affected since humans have a dignity based on their human nature (Burton, 2008). This theory, therefore, demands that due respect is accorded to the final consumers of our companies products as they have the right and freedom to consume the high-quality product. This is enough support for not selling the goods after knowing they are defective. Withdrawing the order could be a suitable suggestion because it protects the rights of the innocent children who will be using the toys.

Secondly, analyzing the theory of beneficence also known as the Utilitarian Theory, here I make emphasis the premise that ethical action is one that provides the best or least harm to the community and the people involved (Burton, 2008). From this perspective of view, assuming the anomalies and sending the orders to their destination assuming the defects will not be noticed is a better option since considering the cost of repackaging and reproducing could be too high for the business. This is unplanned for a cost that could destabilize the financial base of the industry. Given that the factory employs many workers, it is prudent to maintain it for the sake of the wider community and just sell the goods as they are. This suggestion also entails selling the products hoping that they will pass through the bureaus of standards unnoticed and that they won’t cause side effects to the final users (Shaw, 2010). In the event, something happens and raises the public attention then the organization will be forced to compensate the children or cater for their hospital bills.

Thirdly, based on the Common Good Approach Theory, we should think of reproducing the commodities no matter what cost will be involved. This theory is based on the notion that community life is good in itself and every action should contribute to the good life. This reasoning suggests the inter-locking in society to be the basis of ethics hence states that the vulnerable and the disadvantaged groups should be taken care of (Ferrell, Fredric, & Ferrell, 2010). Weighing the situation at hand, if we mean good for our customers then we need to act, maybe, we could consider labeling the defective toy whistles so that whoever buys them does so having full knowledge that the product is defective. Since the lead particles traced in the toys mostly affects children under the age of seven years and assuming there are students older than seven years who may not be affected by the mineral components of the toys. Analyzing this problem as suggested above brings balance between the manufactures and the buyers as it acknowledges the mistakes made and puts a provision for buyers to determine what is good for them (Burton, 2008).

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In the first case, the future of this great country is dependent upon these elementary school children. What then will happen if the pieces of lead maimed their life or caused death? Not only will the future of our country be blurred but also severe legal actions will be taken against this company. Of course, the organization will face financial hardships due to the large sums of money required to reproduce and repackage the toys but think about the long-term repercussions such as; revoking the production license, this is more disastrous as the business will be forced into liquidation. In my opinion, it’s better not to take chances on this as we would rather appreciate the challenges and make them our stepping stones in the future than gamble and lose our reputation as an organization. Basing on the rights theory, the ethical cooperate action is the one that produces the greatest good and least harm for all who are affected for instance the suppliers, creditors, community, shareholders, and the customers.

Taking a look at The Utilitarian Theory which supports selling the goods as they are, it will be of a greater advantage assuming that it goes through. The firm would continue with its normal operations and think everything is right. On the other hand, if the goods are discovered to be defective by the standards bureaus, the company could be fined heavily or arraigned in court for legal action to be taken. This will put the company in a risky situation. The third case only affects the company producing the toys because if the whistles are not shipped the children will not be affected. Maybe they could only be affected by delays.

Basing on the legal argument of consumer rights, imagine if all those affected by the faulty toy whistles were to take court action? The company may end up losing much more than it could have lost if the consignment was not sold to the market. The law could again treat this matter as blatant negligence in production and fine us heavily. According to the laws of nature human beings have the right to be treated as the ends and not the means to an organizational achievement since everyone has a right to live the life he or she wants, to be told the truth, and not to be injured either intentionally or accidentally. Financially the firm will be affected as they might be fined in the courts of law or be forced to reproduce the goods. Ethically, selling the goods as they are would be considered unjust and unfair to young children.

Among the points identified, reproduction and repackaging of the goods is the best step to achieve consumer brand loyalty. Rather than compromising quality, it is better to do what you can justify as the right to oneself, the government, and to the consumers. By answering the following questions, the firm can know if what they are into is ethical or unethical for example could the situation or the decisions be damaging to the people of the community, does the issue go beyond the legal or institutional jurisdictions, and what does it do to the people who have dignity, life, and hope for a better life together. What facts are known and which one is not known. My recommendation could bring about a more bonding relationship between the customers and the organization.

Social responsibilities are the actions taken by an organization out of their own will to help the community in which they operate. Such actions are voluntary as a way of giving back to the community for support or to replenish what has been taken from the environment. It comes in handy in implementing decision making as it supports the rights theory and helps the organization prioritize their customers more than their urge for profits.

Importance of ethical decision making

To begin with, ethics is important and key to every organization as it determines a consistent way that is considered right and moral. Values too are essential in the day-to-day operation of a business as they determine what is right and what is wrong while being ethical is behaving in a manner consistent with what is right and seen as moral (Shaw, 2010). For an institution to act ethically, the managers should be ethical too to provide the right motivation to the employees. Most unethical cases ensue when people are in doubt on what to do as the top management fails to clearly distinguish that which is ethical from what is not.

To ensure the making of ethical decisions, the employees should be given achievable targets. At times the management could issue unrealistic goals and targets which tempt the workers into using shortcuts with the urge to achieve. Such scenarios may make employees be obsessed with personal goals and progress. At times, managers fail to lead by example, especially when they want to outshine their peers or are working towards their next promotion (Ferrell, Fredric, & Ferrell, 2010).

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This is how the company could benefit from a code of ethics. First, the ‘infant’ industries are protected from unfair competition. As much as businesses are out to compete, it is prudent for the government to enforce a code of ethics to protect the weaker or the infant businesses from unfair competition. By so doing, there will be growth and development of industries which help in the achievement of balance of payments and in raising of the national income. An increase in the number of industries in any given economy facilitates the creation of employment opportunities which is a major step towards higher living standards.

In another way, the company is bound to benefit from being ethical by protecting its employees. Workers need to be protected from infringement of their human rights and working conditions. An employee is a firm’s asset hence requires to be taken care of. Their rights should be taken into consideration but this is only possible where the organization has values and participates in ethical practices.

A code of ethics is the general principle that an organization belief in such as mission, quality, privacy, or protection of the environment. The company of my choice is the designer cloth production factory. Since the code of ethics is the set of behavior and rules employees should follow to ensure that the company’s morals are replicated in the business dealings, they should be carefully drafted to cover any eventuality. It is regardless of the size of the business neither does it depend on the complexity of the organization, it all depends on the willingness of the workers and the management to implement the rules. Code of ethics determines the daily interactions between the customers, suppliers, and employees and should therefore be based on respect, honesty, and impartiality. A good code of ethics should have principles. Principles support the business values by looking at continuous improvement of the business, business profitability, and customer satisfaction. Corporate responsibility which is the voluntary decisions undertaken by a firm is another factor handled under the principles.

Management support is the efforts made by the administration to ensure that the code of ethics is adhered to (Ferrell, Fredric, & Ferrell, 2010). It could also be documented in the code of ethics how the management should deal with its implementation and ways that could be used by the employees to report unethical plans. To show support for the code of ethics, some organizations go ahead and type them while including the signatures of their top executive management and their commitment to support the code of ethics. They are then aired publicly to remind the workers of their commitment to it. Personal responsibility is the act of being answerable for the actions you undertake in an organization. It is a statement that shows the employee’s responsibility to support the code of ethics and may include information on both legal and moral aspects. This principle not only reminds the employees of their commitment but also gives them the mandate to report unethical practices in their places of work. Finally, we look at compliance with the code of ethics and the charges if one fails to adhere to the rules and the regulations stated.

References

Burton, D. (2008). Cross-cultural marketing: theory, practice, and relevance. Dallas: Edition illustrated Publishers.

Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, L., & Ferrell, L. (2010). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Case. New York: Edition Publishers.

Shaw, W. (2010). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. Texas: Edition Publishers.

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