An Ethical Dilemna Essay

This essay has a total of 2406 words and 10 pages.


An Ethical Dilemna




Dilemma-

Taken from: Business Ethics - Ethical Decision Making and Cases
A Real Life Situation pages 62-63
By: O.C. Farrell & John Fraedrich

After three years with the company, Sandy was promoted to assistant plant manager. This
was a big step for Unity Welding and Construction, as well as for the industry; Sandy was
one of only a handful of women who had broken through the “glass ceiling” and made their
way into management. She had proved to the men around her that she deserved the job, and
she was now being toasted by assistant managers from other plants across the country John,
her boss, had been her advocate with the company. He had personally lobbied upper
management in her behalf.

Unity Welding and Construction is a national firm with twenty fabrication plants,
primarily in the South. The company does contract work for other companies that require
welding or fabrication of metals into items used in the construction of aircraft, ships,
bridges, and component parts for consumer durables. Each plant caters to specific
industries. Sandy’s plant produces parts primarily for the automotive industry and is
located in Arizona. Arizona is perfect for Sandy because of her acute asthma problems. As
a teenager, she once visited relatives in Atlanta and had to be hospitalized because of
her reactions to the different plants and foliage. Sandy’s doctor told her at the time
that she would have fewer problems with her asthma if she resided in one of the arid
regions of the United States.

Six months had passed since Sandy’s promotion, and her first performance rating from John
was excellent. John told her that if she continued this type of performance, she would
probably be a plant manager in three to six years.

Sandy developed some innovative ways to increase productivity during her six months on the
job. For example, she successfully implemented a “team concept,” which gave responsibility
for certain projects to the workers on the plant floor. She offered incentives if they
could decrease job times and increase profitability. John gave Sandy his full support, and
the pro-

gram was working well. Worker salaries on these special projects jumped from an average of
$15 per hour to $24 per hour, yet the company’s bottom line continued to improve. Workers
in the plant began competing to get on special projects.

With the increasing competition, Sandy noticed that the workers were starting to cut
corners. Minor worker injuries began to increase, and Sandy was concerned about how some
of the workers were disposing of toxic wastes. She informed John about her concerns, and
he said he would write the following memo:


Attention: Workers on Special Projects

It has come to management’s attention that minor injuries are on the rise. Please review
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines to make sure you are in
compliance. In addition, there are rumors of improper disposal of wastes. Please read
again the statement from the Environmental Protection Agency. Finally, congrats to Special
Project Team Wolf. Profitability on your job increased 8 percent with an increase of $4.50
an hour for each member of the group. Great job!!


Shortly after John sent out his memo, the recession started to hit the automobile industry
hard. Some of Sandy’s workers were to be laid off. Sandy went through the records and
found that her most productive workers had been selected for termination. She went to John
with the problem, and he said he’d take care of it. By calling in some favors, John was
able to save the workers’ jobs, and no pink slips were issued at the plant. Within a week
the workers knew John and Sandy had saved them.

Two months later, in November, the special project teams were working especially hard.
Sandy noticed that the teams with the highest hourly wages were also the ones that were
cutting corners the most. Sandy ran a spot inspection and found major quality problems
with the products, as well as pollution problems. Additionally, she learned that several
teams had “procured” software from the competition to reduce their production times. Sandy
realized that something needed to be done quickly, so she went to John.

“John, we’ve got some major problems,” she told him. “Quality has decreased below our
contract’s specifications. I’ve got workers cutting so many corners that it’s just a
matter of time before someone really gets hurt. And to top it all off, some of the special
project teams have gotten a hold of our competitor’s software. What are we going to do?”

John looked at Sandy and said, “Nothing.”
“What do you mean, nothing!?” asked Sandy. “Let me explain something to you,” John
answered calmly. “We’re in a recession. The only reason 20 percent of our workers still
have jobs is that our costs are down and our production is way up. I know quality is down;
I’ve doctored some of the quality report forms myself. I also know about the software.
Sandy, the only reason we’re still working is because of the special projects concept you
implemented. And I’ve got news for you — production orders are going down in December. If
we lay off the productive workers, we cut out the lean and save only the lazy workers we
can’t fire because of their seniority. Plus, have you ever fired someone around Christmas
time? It’s not a pretty sight.

“So I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. Sandy, you’re going to forget about OSHA, the
EPA, and the software, and you’re going to doctor up the quality-control reports — because
if you don’t, we’re both out of jobs. Have you ever tried getting a job during a
recession? With your health problems, even if you did get a job, insurance would never
cover your asthma treatments. You owe me, Sandy. Don’t worry. When the recession goes
away, we will straighten things out,” said John.

Sandy left John’s office and thought about her options.

“Moral philosophies refer to the set of principles or rules that people use to decide what
is right or wrong.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 61) In this essay I will discuss the
different moral philosophies and explain how one dilemma could have so many possible
outcomes. By examining these various moral philosophies, we could see how Sandy weighs
her options between what is ethically correct or what she believes is morally wrong and
why.

The first philosophy I would like to discuss is Teleological; this philosophy stipulates
that acts are morally right or acceptable if the outcome is beneficial for the good of
one, or the good of many. Two such philosophies are Egoism and Utilitarianism.

Continues for 5 more pages >>




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