Case Study Business & Society

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For this coursework I have chosen case study 2. Within this assignment I will be able to highlight the key stakeholders and identify their main ethical issues and evaluate the case using two ethical theories; Utilitarianism and Ethics of Duty. Furthermore, I will be able to evaluate on Tom’s decision and whether it was ethical or not. Within this case I have been able to identify many ethical issues, however the main issues I shall be discussing are, Tom taking the designs without permission and breaking the code of practice and company trust. Tom’s decision to still use Nina’s design without her permission not only breaks the copyright laws it also means he has gone against the copyright rules for his company. This decision will have a knock on effect on the stakeholders. Reading this case study, I have identified the key stakeholders for this business to be Nina, Tom, Managing Director, Supermarket Chain and the Competitors. Nina

Tom’s decision to use Nina’s design could affect her financially and emotionally. If the design was used without her permission it could go one or two ways, firstly the design would be a super seller however as Nina did not know about her design being used she will not receive any profit. On the other hand if the design did not do so well she would have lost the opportunity for her design to be used the way she wanted it to be used. This could affect her emotionally, as she may have put a lot of hard work and time into designing this, but never had the chance to have any input. Tom

The main issue Tom would face would be the result of losing his job, as he has not worked within his company’s copyright rules. This decision could also affect his further opportunities in employment which could result in future financial issues. Managing Director

The managing director would be majorly affected as he would be held responsible for Tom’s actions and would have to deal with legal actions from the Supermarket Chain and Nina. Consequently he would be held responsible for not questioning where Tom got his design from. If he had done this he could have saved legal actions taken against his company. Supermarket Chain

The supermarket chain could face a damage of reputation if they decide to go ahead and put the sweatshirts on sale. If Nina discovers that her designs have been put on the market without approval she could result in taking out a law suit against the supermarket chain and sue them. Also this could affect any further business deals for them as suppliers and consumers may be hesitant to supply or shop there, as they have been unethical by not following the correct copyright rules and regulations. Competitors

Unlike the supermarket chain competitors would have a higher margin of suppliers and consumers willing to use their services. This would have a positive effect on the competitors as it could bring in more business for them. It can be seen that regardless of what stakeholder it is they have a great impact on the company. Due to Tom’s decision each stakeholder has been affected. His choice to use Nina’s design without her permission is not only ethically and morally wrong but he has broken his companies “copyright rule”, which is also illegal. After analysing the effect on the stakeholders, Tom’s decision to use the design would have a negative effect on both the supermarket chain and the textile firm that Tom works for. It is clear that by using Nina’s design both firms would accumulate a negative reputation which could have future effects on their business financially, by resulting in their competitors gaining their consumers.

Utilitarianism
“According to utilitarianism, an action is morally right if it results in the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people affected by the action”. Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten (2004).[1] There are two types of utilitarianism. Firstly, Act Utilitarianism which is when moral judgement is based on the amount of pleasure or pain a...
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