Case Analysis: Business Ethics in the Work Place

Topics: Sales, Decision making, Decision theory Pages: 9 (1488 words) Published: November 26, 2010
David F. Dudley

Week #1
January 16, 2009



This document presents my opinions about the cases presented in (Boatright, R.,

John (2003). Ethics and the Conduct of Business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.)

and articles from (Ambrose, John (2009, January 16). My Own Opinion, The Washington

Case#1.1: Johnson & Johnson: The Tylenol Crisis

This case study was a powerful example to illustrate the presence of ethics within the

business environment today and the impacts they can have on not just shareholder’s

earnings, but on the public as a whole. First, we were presented with a shocking

situation. Seven people had died in January of 1982 from taking cyanide-laced capsules

of Extra-Strength Tylenol. The news made national headlines, and the CEO of Johnson

& Johnson, James Burke had to make some swift decisions about how the company

was going to handle this problem. What added insult to injury, was that Extra-Strength

Tylenol provided Johnson & Johnson with a large piece of the company’s total profits

which amounted to seventeen percent. The company was now in risk of loosing this

income at the hands of someone sabotaging their product line and the public was in

danger if they consumed it. The company had to find out what the cause was and how

to stop it. Had James Burke not acted swiftly, more people were at risk of being harmed

and Johnson & Johnson could be looking at disastrous failure. By adhering to the

Company Credo and pulling the product, he determined that the brand name could be

saved if Johnson & Johnson restored public confidence by doing what was in the best

interest for the public. This was the ethical decision that saved lives and the company.

Case #1.2. The Sales Rep

The case study titled “The Sales Rep” presents us with an interesting dilemma that forces

one to think about how they would act if confronted with a personal choice on whether or

not they should fully disclose to a potential client factors that could cost them money or

the business-person a sale. Tell the truth or lie? This is the question that can be found

when getting down to the crux of this situation. Sometimes, withholding the truth is as

bad as telling an untruth. On one hand, the sales representative has a chance to close a

multimillion-dollar deal for an office system to be installed. However, they are not sure

that the subsequent deliveries can be made on time due to issues stemming from the

manufacturer. Since delays in delivering and installing the system could be costly to the

client, the sales representative could potentially loose the sale if he divulges this

information to the client pending their reaction to the news. On the other hand, there is a

chance that the client will never learn of the delay or that they are loosing money because

of it. This would mean that the sales representative would keep the sale and the profit

that would stem from its existence. It is here where the sales representative can build

their economic character by making the right decision based on ethics as opposed to

compounding the difficulty of their decision making by adding deception through

disinformation. By seeing past the immediate economic reward they would receive from

landing the contract had they not said anything, they should see the possible business

opportunities that could open up for them in the future with the client had they decided to

share with them the information concerning the delay in process of delivery and

installation. This could prove to be not just honorable, but the right thing to do as well.

Case #1.3. The Ethics of Hardball

There are two examples that have been illustrated by the third case study in chapter one

that deals with hardball ethics. The first one depicts a gruesome exchange of...
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