Business Ethics and Values

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BUSINESS ETHICS AND VALUES

The decision makers in the “Something Rotten in Hondo” are George the Plant Manager and Bill George’s boss. The primary stakeholders are George, George’s family (Mary his wife and two children) , EPA (Environmental Potential Agency), the Mexican government, the town of Hondo, all who are affected by the plants pollution and the environment. George had moved from E1 Pasco with his family four years ago, Texas to Hondo assuming the role of the manager at Ardnak Plastic Inc. This is a plant which manufactures plastic parts for small equipment and has several workers from town of Hondo. George has a very good relationship with his boss Bill. For the past few months George has been getting call from his boss Bill due to the emission of smokestack from the plant is constantly above the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines and if the problem is not solved soon there will be fines to be levied. George has admitted that this has been continues problem, but this can be solved by replacing a new smokestack scrubbers, which corporate headquarters has denied. Bill also commented, other plants were in worse shape than this and they are passing the Environmental Protection Agency standards. So George was out of ideas. As George continued to contemplate this dilemma he begun making phone calls to other Ardnak plants and found that they schedule the mass of their production at night so that when the Environmental Protection Agency take their emission readings during the day, they can maintain within the standards. A month later George, still thinking deeply on what to do, during that time he received another phone call from Bill expressing his discontement. Bill reminded George that industrial jobs were hard to find, and if he could not find out a solution to the problem then Ardnak will move the company 15miles south of Hondo to Mexico, where there will be no Environmental Protection Agency. This relocation will result in layoff and continue to pollute the air. George is faced with an ethical issue. Should schedule production at night defend the environment and Protection Agency could read or go to the company and Mexico territory where there is no circle Protection Agency will be forced to hire Mexico. If George and seem great for the production of the night, when the state Environmental Protection Agency does not read, Plastic Ardnak the Inc. will be able to maintain the Hondo hundred workers will lose their jobs. This of course will always resolve the concern of the other pollutants drug being pumped into the air and everyday biases.

By applying Kant’s theory, Utilitarian ethical theory, Kohlberg’s Level of Moral Development theory and by using other ethical theories we are able to consider several ethical and socially responsible alternatives to George’s decision making process.

Ethics and social responsibility is the backbone of American business, when a business or an Individual has good or bad ethical standards they must uphold their social responsibilities and conduct themselves in a professional ant ethical manner. Always going through a morally correct decision is so hard even though it is the right thing to do. People and businesses have obligations to do what is right and not to hurt other people. Ethics involves people’s perceptions about what “should” be. Most people are ethical because of what they believe to be right. Ethics and social responsibility are growing importance in today’s economic world. In the long run they will make or break a company. “If we run a clean and honest business not only puts the individual ahead in life; it will also move the organization forward with a clean principles. Stakeholders will be aware that they are being treated fairly and return to the company that provides good, ethical services.

Utilitarian ethical theory believe that they should make decisions that result in the greatest total utility, that is achieved greatest benefit for all those who affected by the decisions. This decision make relies on a systematic comparison of the cost and benefits to all affected parties. Using such a cost benefit analysis, a utilitarian decision maker calculates the utility of the consequences of all possible alternatives and selects the one that results in the greatest benefits. Accordingly George’s decision to schedule the bulk of production at night, so that when Environmental Protection Agency takes the reading of the emission it will be low, then George would not be fine and hundreds of people would not lose their jobs. And even George won’t lose his job. As getting jobs in the outside industry is very hard due to the high competition for the job vacancy. This decision will satisfy his wife Mary too. But this decision is not an affective decision because the bad thing is the constant emission of this air will pollute the air in the environment, which can cause problems such as smog, acid rain, the green-house effect which is the main cause for the global warming and holes in the ozone layer. All this problems have serious implications for our health and wellbeing, and to the entire people surrounded us. This decision would ensure the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. The problem is this decision good or bad. If George should undergo with this decision he has to sacrifice and leave out all his moral principles and beliefs.

Kant’s theory of ethics is a deontological ethical theory first proposed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The theory, developed as a result of Enlightenment rationalism, is based on the view that the only intrinsically good thing is a good will; therefore an action can only be good if its maxim, the principle behind it, is duty to the moral law. This theory suggest that, if a person feels it is ethical to lie then that person should feel it is ethical for everyone to lie under the same circumstances in order to protect themselves from punishment. Therefore, if the case is George ethical Environmental Protection Agency under an ethical one must believe in all the same to avoid the Environmental Protection Agency reading in order to save jobs of the Hondo population and his job. Then according to the Kant’s theory of ethic his decision would be considered ethical. Because this decision was taken in the circumstance in order to save his own job and to save the population of the Hondo city. Even though it is correct according to the Kant’s theory, this decision is harming the environment by polluting the air.

Moral development people make moral decision based on the consequences of his or her actions in regards to punishment or reward. With respect to the reactions to a moral problem, the person goes through six development stages. The six steps are divided into three main types: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional. At the pre-conventional stage, the individual learns to behave according to acceptable social norms because they are told to do so by authority figures such as parents and teachers. In the second stage on conventional individuals behave in a manner that will obtain authorization of the company. The post-conventional stage is reached when the morals of an individual have developed to the level where there is a real concern for the welfare of others and when there is concern about what is right and fair. If George refuses to schedule the production at night to avoid the Environmental Protection Agency in order to save his job and the Hondo population’s job, then the consequences of his actions would result in punishment which would be hundreds lost jobs, fines and he would have been forced to relocate, along with the company or he should shift or find out another job. Any decision of this will cause the environmental problem by polluting the air.

Its employees, customers, shareholders, communities and environment in all business. When it comes to their social responsibilities it is important and necessary to consider ethics. Ethics and social responsibility go hand in hand. Leaving out those two given solutions of shifting the production schedule to night and relocating the plant to Mexican city, George can go through other alternative solutions in my point of view. If George really wants to go with his moral principles and be an ethical person; he can just simply leave the company, leaving behind the burden and ethical problem of the company. Though George feels no guilt or concern as the matter is not in his hands. The outcome of it would not be sufficient in long-term as he would be forced to look for other areas of job to maintain stream of income. And he will face a huge problem in seeking a job, as his boss Bill has reminded him that there were very few jobs out in the industry. Or else George can go with another alternative solution of, he can whistle blow to regulating agencies about the immoral policies regarding environmental standards. This would be the ideal right thing to do as the wrong acts are being exposed. The result of this action would be surely George will be terminated by the company. And this will be a black mark in the history of George’s life. In order to save his environment, George will be terminated which is ethically very wrong. The last option George is leftover with is, he can move beyond Bill, and talk to the next high position person in the company and get a solution for the problem he is facing out. There is possibility he/she may sympathize to George’s case could overrule Bill’s shady proposals.

If we think a practical solution for the problem faced by George, George cannot take any decisions thinking ethically or with his moral principles. If George is really very concern about saving the environment from polluting, it is something that cannot be happen. Even if he leaves this job and seek for a new job or else he whistle blow regulating agencies about the immoral policies regarding environmental standards the Ardnak Company will just terminate him. As soon George leave the job or else if George is been terminated, the Ardnak Plastic Inc will immediately recruit an employee for the post hold by George, and somehow make the new recruited employee to schedule the massive production at night and emit the smoke. Somehow the company will be saved from the fines and taxes Eliminated by Environmental Protection Agency. George will be affected by any of his decision and he will not be able to save his Environment and act along with his principles. So rather than George complaining to higher persons in the company or the regulating agencies, he can act according to the practical condition. Ardnak Plastic Inc Company’s main objective will be saving their company from this massive fine by any available solution soon as possible. Therefore George can shift the schedule of the production to night, so that during the day when the Environmental Protection Agency too their reading it will be within standards and get rid of those fines and save the company. If George accepts with this he can save his job and thousands of Hondo people’s job as well.

Stakeholders

  • George and his family
  • Bill
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Mexican Government
  • Workers of Ardnak Plastic Inc
  • Community of Hondo

Key facts

George, the plant manager of Ardnak Plastic Inc. is emitting contaminants consistently above EPA. The boss is not ready to invest new scrubbers, therefore the options given for George; correct the problem or face the fines given by the EPA. The other plants have adviced George to release heavy emissions at night when EPA inspector are not there, So George can meet the guidelines. Bill, George’s superior has proposed relocating the plant 15miles south to Mexico, where government regulations on air quality are almost no-existence. George is at a crossroad new, faces with many ethical and social dilemmas.

The issues

  • The EPA is fining Ardnak for violating emissions regulations.
  • To avoid the fines, Ardnak is considering moving the plant to Mexico or operating at night so the EPA would not be aware of the emissions.
  • If the plant moves the city of Hondo would lose a major amount of employees.
  • If the plant operates at night the environment would still be harmed and polluted.

Measuring actions

  • Continue to monitor the EPA emission levels for the next couple of months after purchasing the scrubbers and compare them to the previous months.
  • Continue to measure profit margin as well.

Impact on Image

  • If the public would find out about the negative emission levels society would lose trust in the company.
  • If the public become aware of Ardnak’s effort to become more environmentally friendly society will want to support the company.

Plan for future

  • Continue to monitor EPA emission levels to make sure they never reach a dangerous level.
  • Keep equipment update and in working order so the EPA emission levels never reach a dangerous point.

Alternatives

  • George to simply leave the company, leaving behind the burden and ethical problems of the company. Though George feels no guilt or concern as the matter is not in his hands. The outcome of it would not be sufficient in the long-term as he would be forced to look for other areas of job to maintain a stream of income.
  • George can whistle blow to regulating agencies about the immoral policies regarding environmental standards. This would be the ideal right thing to do as the wrong acts are being exposed. The result of this action would be termination of George by the company.
  • George can move beyond Bill, and talk to the next high position person in the company.

Ethical issues

  • Release heavy-duty emissions at night. Although it helps to pass the reading level of the Environmental Protection Agency, the consequence of this release are the contamination of the air in the environment will increase, which will cause harm to the community and the environment.
  • The relocation of the plant managed by George. Even though this decision would get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency problem, thousands of workers in Hondo will lose their jobs. This will affect the economy of Hondo.

References

Books

O.C Ferrell John Paul Fraedich Linda Ferrell Ethical Decision Making and cases (6th edition)

John R.Boatright Ethics and the Conduct of Business (5th edition)

Websites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantian_ethics

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