Gulf Oil Case

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Case Analysis: Gulf Italia
Nicolo Pignatelli and Gulf Italia: Case Analysis
Pignatelli should first and foremost properly assess the ethical dilemma he faces. The problem before him comes down to the decision between two outcomes both with their share of benefits and risks. He can follow guidelines by waiting several months to receive a response from the Italian government while losing millions of dollars and risking his reputation and fate of his company if the government decides to not allow Gulf Italia to refine at full capacity. On the other hand he can attempt to pay someone off either directly or indirectly, a potential illegal activity, and more quickly have his company produce at full capacity, preserving his reputation without losing money and securing the jobs of his many workers. Because this is an ethical dilemma, a straight forward decision is not possible and a careful consideration of the factors must be taken. No code of ethics is mentioned in the case description, so a measurement of the moral intensity factor will be more relevant. The magnitude of the consequences leans more in favor or Pignatelli paying someone off because the employment of thousands of his workers is as stake and because the risks are not as high as imagined. It is mentioned that this practice is common in Italy despite it being illegal. The social consensus also leans in favor of Pignatelli paying someone off because of the fate of his workers and also because he has gone to great lengths to satisfy the local communities already in moving the location around five times and implementing cleaner technology at a higher expense to his company. The probability of effect also leans in favor of paying someone off because it seems as if his company is not doing any harm but rather is being harmed by the limitations placed by the Italian government. Proximity also leans in favor of paying someone off because his reputation is at stake and he could very well lose everything if he decides to wait it out. For these reasons Pignatelli should either pay someone off or ask Mobil to put pressure on decision makers. Although the bribe option is illegal, that should be the last choice he makes after he tries paying someone connected to take care of it and having Mobil work on the problem as well. If I were in his position, I would do as I have just recommended, but only in the context of what his situation was. It seems as if Pignatelli was under intense pressure to lead his company, to ensure the livelihoods of his workers and to turn a profit. On top of this, it seems almost unfair that his company was promised one thing then given another.

If Pignatelli does not pay the bribes directly, it does not absolve him from responsibility because of accountability. If he did not need to have someone indirectly paid off in the first place for a specific reason, then no bribe of that matter would have ever taken place. If Pignatelli ended up paying someone to bribe someone else and the authorities found out, the chain would lead back to Pignatelli and he would most certainly be held accountable for the activity. 3.

The argument that asks if it is justifiable to illegally bribe someone because it is common practice has two sides. On one hand it is simply illegal, should not be done, and will be prosecuted if discovered. However on other side, one could ask the question, is a law really a law if it is not enforced and under what circumstances, if any, would it ever be okay to break that law? If someone is to consider the second stance, they would have to consider the moral and philosophical implications of what justice is. For the example of Pignatelli, if he is doing nothing morally wrong, in fact he is actually creating a commodity for the world to use while ensuring the livelihoods of many of his employees, is it justifiable for him to break the law to ensure that he can maintain his operation? The answer to this question depends on the viewer...
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