Does This Milkshake Taste Funny

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 10 (3615 words) Published: October 14, 2011
Thomas, Bevon

Does this Milkshake Taste Funny. George Stein a college student has lived a very sheltered and comfortable middle class life style. George’s interests are few:-hanging out with his friends, cars and his girlfriend. He had very little interest in attending college, however due to his parents’ insistence and cajoling they were able to have George attend college for one year. George was home for the summer working at Eastern Dairy, a local dairy manufactures that produced milk shake mixes and ice cream. This was the first “real job” for George, and he was very elated with the salary he was receiving. Everything for George seemed to be going great, he was making more money than he imagined; he got along well with the other employees on his shift; the job was not extremely exhaustive and he imagined he could make a career working at the plant, no need for him to return to college. That was until George was faced with an ethical problem, which would either cause him to act unethically and ignore the situation, or act responsibly and ethically. On this particular evening while conducting his duties George found the pipes leading to the milkshake vat was leaking, on further inspection it became clear that the pipes were blocked due to maggots. He brought the matter to the attention of Paul the “self appointed” shift leader who didn’t seem too concerned and advised George to remove the pipes and clean the filters. The problem of the leaking pipes reoccurred a few minutes later, and George again brought the matter to the attention of Paul, who advised that George remove the filters as nothing would happen to the mix as it would be pasteurized, in an effort to complete the nights work so that everyone would be able to leave on time.

Thomas, Bevon George was concerned for the individuals consuming the contaminated as they could become ill. He felt some level of moral duty to the consumers. The decision that George needed to make was a difficult one on one hand if he acted responsibly and did the right thing, by reporting the matter, it would place him in direct conflict with his work colleagues, possible uncertainty on how the company would react, if the expected quotas were not fulfilled; but he would be fulfilling his moral duties to the consumers. If George acted unethically and consumers became sick and the problem was traced back to the plant, sanctioning and possible closure of the plant by the Health Department, reputational risk for the company, causing job uncertainty, but his conscience would be appeased. I will now outline the reasons that George would be expected to act unethically. Researchers have shown that age is a contributing factor for someone acting ethically. The aspect of age is linked to a person’s moral development. Moral development is a person’s “sequential pattern of growth and development in moral thinking, beginning with a concern for self and growing to a concern for others broad based principles’’ (Post et al). They are six stages of moral development as seen in Appendix 1. Figure 1. George is considered to be at stage 3 of his moral development. His decision making is governed by the various social groupings within which he interacts; the group that exerts the most influence on George in this situation would be his colleagues at work. As this was George’s first real job he will seek to justify his decision making in the context of the group, and not what is right or wrong. Peterson et al points out that “younger professionals who are at a lower stage of moral development than older professionals, would be more likely to look to external factors or others, to help solve ethical

Thomas, Bevon dilemmas.” In this particular situation George would take the advice given by Paul and allow the contaminated milkshake product to reach the consumers. In addition George’s fear of disappointing and displeasing his colleagues will outweigh his need to do the right thing and report the...
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