How to Spark Ethical Change in an Adverse Environment
Ethical Decision-making in Business
The ability to make complex ethical decisions is a crucial skill that must be possessed by managers, especially those who work for global corporations. Doing business internationally provides additional challenges to managers due to cultural differences and increased competition from companies that may possess different ethical standards. The case “This Whole System Seems Wrong: Felipe Montez and Concerns about the Global Supply Chain” provides an excellent example of this dilemma. This paper will analyze, in detail, a specific ethical situation facing Felipe Montez, the Purchasing and Product Development Director for Spanish electronics company, as he attempts to deal with the chaotic conditions of his company’s Chinese manufacturing factories. This paper will also recommend how to deal with his situation effectively, and discuss certain courses of action.
Upon his return from China to tour the company’s manufacturing factories, Felipe met with his manager to discuss his concerns, however, the situation seemed fragile, and the changes Felipe hoped would come about were discouraged. Given his unrest, Felipe felt the need to take action, however before doing so, he must evaluate and analyze the situation prudently. Gathering the Facts: Determining the Situation and Choosing a Path
Felipe must first analyze the situation subjectively and be knowledgeable of the situation in full, while being especially careful in making assumptions about matters lacking clarity. First, Felipe knows that many of the girls working in the factory are between 12 and 16 years old, and worked at least 48 hours per week, while being forced to maintain complete concentration. Furthermore, as reported to his manager, Felipe noted the safety hazards present, the poor living conditions outside the factory, and the overall lack of equipment to provide protection for employees, or to increase ease of work.
One problem restricting his action is that his manager asked him to not raise large issues. It is assumed that the costs of providing safety equipment, improving housing, decreasing hours, or using older employees would be passed onto Felipe’s company, and it is assumed that his manager would not allow even the slightest increase in prices due to Felipe’s dismay in the current state of the factories. It can also be assumed that switching factories would decrease speed and quality of production. In all, it seems that Felipe’s hands are tied, and that his manager only wishes him to oversee that the current state of the factories is only improved to the point that prices are not affected.
The fact that Felipe has been told to not raise these issues seems to be the dilemma at hand. As a manager in a corporation, one is responsible to, at minimum, do what is considered right and to avoid doing harm to others (Ch 2 Power Point, 2010). As it stands, censoring Felipe’s alarming discoveries allows children to continually be put in harm’s way. Doing so also creates a conflict of interest, where his judgment is compromised and he is no longer able to act impartial (Ch 3 Power Point, 2010). Based on the situation, Felipe must seriously consider blowing the whistle. However, before making such a decision, there are other steps in the ethical decision making process that must be taken. Who is involved?
Before evaluating possible action, Felipe must take into account those who are to be affected by any potential move. Those who have an immediate stake in Felipe’s actions, or primary stakeholders, are Felipe, his company, the operators of the factories, and of course, the children being put in harm’s way. Felipe is a primary stakeholder in this situation because he may lose his position by making decisions that may increase prices, or that would put a bad name on the company. Second, the company may...