From a business perspective, working under government contracts can be a
very lucrative proposition. In general, a stream of orders keep coming in,
revenue increases and the company grows in the aggregate. The obvious downfalls
to working in this manner is both higher quality expected as well as the
extensive research and documentation required for government contracts. If a
part fails to perform correctly it can cause minor glitches as well as problems
that can carry serious repercussions, such as in the National Semiconductor case.
When both the culpable component and company are found, the question arises of
how extensive these repercussions should be. Is the company as an entity liable
or do you look into individual employees within that company? From an ethical
perspective one would have to look at the mitigating factors of both the
employees and their superiors along with the role of others in the failure of
these components. Next you would have to analyze the final ruling from a
corporate perspective and then we must examine the macro issue of corporate
responsibility in order to attempt to find a resolution for cases like these.
The first mitigating factor involved in the National Semiconductor case
is the uncertainty, on the part of the employees, on the duties that they were
assigned. It is plausible that during the testing procedure, an employee couldnt
distinguish which parts they were to test under government standards and
commercial standards. In some cases they might have even been misinformed on the
final consumers of the products that they tested. In fact, ignorance on the part
of the employees would fully excuse them from any moral responsibility for any
damage that may result from their work. Whether it is decided that an employees
is fully excused, or is given some moral responsibility, would have to be looked
at on an individual basis.
The second mitigating factor is the duress or threats that an employee... [continues]
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"Ethics in Business." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ethics-Business-1147.html.