Managing Business Ethics

1. Identify reasons a business organization should be concerned about its ethical culture.
What key management policies/programs help to determine a strong or weak ethical

2. Define trust and its importance in a business ethical culture? What happens when trust
is lost?

3. Put yourself in the role of the Recall Coordinator for Ford Motor Company in the Pinto
Case study:
(a) Is a cost benefit analysis (define it!) appropriate where human life is part of the
cost calculation? Why or why not?
(b) How would Milton Friedman (profit/shareholder maximization) view cost benefit
analysis in this situation? How would Ed Freeman (stakeholder) view it? How
about the Golden Rule, would there be a different result?
(c) Where do you draw the ethical line on product safety?

4. In the Pinto case study, as the Recall Coordinator:
(a) Identify the ethical dilemmas and ethical conflicts and who are the
affected parties (stakeholders)?
(b) What decision would you make? .Which theory would it be based upon – the
consequential (utilitarian) or the deontological (Kant’s Categorical Imperative) and
what would be the impact of your decision? Be sure to define the theory you
would use.

5. What conditions would have to be present for you to blow the whistle about unethical
conduct you observed at work? How would you go about it by identifying the specific
steps to take and implications (risks) for you?

6. In this case scenario, Green Company–an environmentally sustainable company–has
offered to hire you as a consultant to design an ethics communication and training
program for all Green Co. employees. Your meetings to date have been ONLY with
head of human resources. As you begin your research, Green’s corporate counsel
informs you that you will not be allowed to ask employees about ethical dilemmas that
have occurred at Green. He specifically tells you to get your information from other
sources such as press accounts of problems in the industry, or from other organizations
with which you’ve worked. In addition, the head of human resources has told you that
you’ll not meet the three most senior executives because they’re busy negotiating
a large acquisition. You will have access to other high-level managers who can tell you
what they think the senior leadership would want.

Based on what you have learned about business ethical cultures, identify the problems
presented in this case. Should you take the job? Why or why not?

7. One way to tell if business decisions are ethical is to put them through an ethics check
by asking three questions: (1) Is it legal? (2) Is it balanced? (3) How will it make me
feel? Apply each of these three questions to the following ethical dilemma: your best
friend forgot about a term paper due tomorrow, has not researched or written it and
asks if he could copy a paper you wrote for another instructor last semester. What is
your decision and why?

8. Ninos and Ninas, Inc. is an adoption agency in Massachusetts that specializes in
speedy adoptions of poor Hispanic-American infants. These poor infants, if not
adopted, would end up abandoned on the street or malnourished in orphanages because
their mothers cannot afford to care for them. The adoption fee charged by the agency is
$15,000. You have been accepted for adoption by the agency with a non-refundable
deposit of $10,000.

Two months later, Carmen, the agency’s director of adoption
services, informs you that a baby girl is now available. She then gives
instructions to you to place in post office box the final $5,000 of the fee and an
additional $2,500 in cash in a sealed envelope, marking the envelope for “Senior Jose.”
Carmen further explains that once the $5,000 adoption fee balance and additional cash
payment are paid, you can come to the agency the next day to pick up your little girl.
When you question the additional odd cash payment, Carmen tells you that “Senior
Jose ”is an official in the social agency who handles adoptions and it is the way Ninos
and Ninas, Inc. has been doing business for 10 years.

How would you characterize the additional cash payment and does the benefit to the
infant girl justify the method for accomplishing that benefit? Would you go forward
with the adoption? What ethical and/or moral theories would help in your decision?