Something’s rotten in Hondo
A case study
List of facts
There are many key facts in this case study related to the situation. George, the plant manager of Ardnak Plastic inc. is emitting contaminants consistently above the EPA guidelines. Headquarters will not invest in new scrubbers, therefore leaving George with 2 options: correct the problem somehow or face the fines imposed by the EPA. The other plants have advised George to release heavy emissions at night when EPA inspectors are not there, so George can meet guidelines. Bill, George’s superior has proposed relocating the plant 15 miles south to Mexico, where government regulations on air quality are almost non-existent. George is at a crossroads now, faced with many ethical and social dilemmas.
The stake holders are as follows:
George – As manager of the plant in question, George is at the center of the current situation, and is in charge with any future decisions affecting the rest of the stakeholders.
Bill – As George’s superior, Bill also feels the heat from corporate when the situation is not being controlled. It is important that his subordinate takes care of the matter at hand, else he also held responsible.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – As the regulators of plant emissions, The EPA are the ones presenting George with the option to lower emissions else face substantial fines.
Workers of Ardnak Plastic Inc – Since Bill has proposed relocating the company to Mexico on the condition that the company only hire Mexican workers, these current workers stand to lose all their jobs, severely affecting their family’s economic and social status. Their jobs depend on George’s decision
Mexican Government – The Mexican government is in talks with Bill to host the newly relocated company, they stand to benefit economically, as the factory would create more jobs for the Mexican citizens.
Community of Hondo – If the factory ultimately changes locations, the infrastructure of Hondo will be impacted, along with the economy of the community, as city revenue (taxes) would be lost.
How should George act accordingly?
Should George seek advice from a third, impartial party
Why does the company choose not to invest in the scrubbers? (i.e. the real reason)
Is the amount of contaminants being released really that dangerous?
Will Hondo really suffer as bad as some are saying, or is it just a case of overblown statistics?
There are many ethical issues surrounding the situation of George and Ardnak. One of the ethical issues is whether or not to release heavy-duty emissions at night. Although this does bypass EPA regulations and end the matter, the air contamination levels would increase, which would be bad for the community and environment. A second ethical issue in this case study is the relocation of the plant. Even though this would also get rid of the EPA guideline problems facing Ardnak, hundreds of workers in Hondo would lose their jobs, severely affecting the economy of Hondo. The third ethical issue related to this case study is also about the relocation, but questions the fact that relocating would dramatically affect the infrastructure of Hondo-perhaps a community known for its plastics industry. Also, regardless of the move, contaminants would still be placed into U.S. air, once again questioning environmental morals.
There are many strong implications to be felt in this case. George is an honest, hard-working man and a family of two. The proposals given to him all challenge his integrity and moral character, but at the same time will impact his job. If George accepts Bill’s proposal of relocation, he can expect large amounts of resistance and backlash from the community of Hondo and the workers, as well as his family – his wife being his moral compass by proxy. The local and possibly mass media...
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