Kotchian’s Moral Dilemma
Carl Kotchian, President of Lockheed Aircraft Corp., was put in a under of series of circumstances which consequently decided the success of his company. When the times seemed dire, Kotchian initially did what any other leader of a business would do, look to cut costs and reduce product failures. However, when this was not enough, Kotchian explored the negotiation of a contract with All Nippon Airlines, Japan’s leading airlines for. Little did Kotchian know, negotiation was much performed much differently in Japan than in the United States, therefore, Marubeni was hired as a representative of Lockheed to manage relations with the Prime Minister ‘s office and All Nippon Airlines (ANA).
In order to ensure the future financial success of Lockheed, the company needed to commit to a series of payments to various individuals in order to move the process along. The first of which was a payment of $1.6 million dollars to Prime Minister Tanaka in order to schedule a meeting him. Kotchian, although perturbed by the request, understood that movement would not occur without the agreement to pay this fee. This meeting proved to be the first hurdle and progression would continue with the addition payment of 500 million yen to Tanaka. Immediately after the meeting, Marubeni the representative, returned Kotchian with a message stating that so as long as three more conditions were to be met, ANA would purchase the aircrafts. Little did Kotchian know that he had got himself caught in a vicious cycle of greed. These conditions included the a $400,000 payment the next morning, $300,000 payment to the President of ANA, and finally a $100,000 payment to be devised amongst six politicians. Once the all the conditions with ANA resolved and the Japanese Prime Minister had been satisfied, Lockheed had created an invaluable contract. Ultimately, the contract meant financial stability.
At what cost does financial stability for Lockheed become too much? Not only from a financial burden but also from moral burden of knowing they had executed a bribe worth 12 million dollars political figures and middlemen. In evaluation of Kotchians’s actions from a utilitarian perspective, the outcome ultimately outweighs the bribes because utility was maximized for the greatest number of people when he chose to prioritize the livelihood of the company versus his own. On the other hand, Kotchian’s action from a Formalist perspective was unethical; the bribes contradicted Kant’s categorical imperative.
Utilitarianism is a theory of normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximize utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and minimizing pain. The application of the utilitarian perspective is not simple if there are more than one course of action, these complications convolute the decision maker’s decision because each course of action must be assessed in order to evaluate which action will most benefit society. Meanwhile, minimizing the negative aspects associated with the decision. This is why Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism. We will explore the question: will the Kotchian’s means of execution justify the end result?
From the Utilitarian perspective, a critic would be able to conclude that Kotchian’s behavior was entirely justified. Bribery is a questionable behavior, yet the result produced the most benefit for everyone directly involved in the project including the Japanese: Hiyama, president of Marubeni and Okubu, ANA, and most importantly, Lockheed. For Lockheed, not only are the employee’s benefited by the bribes, but so were the other stakeholders such as the stockholders and suppliers. Nonetheless, although there the most stackholders were benefited by Kotchian’s actions, others did not have the same fortune
As previously state, many employees of...
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