Short Case

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At your company, a bottler of natural spring water, the advertising department has recently launched a campaign that emphasizes the purity of your product. The industry is highly competitive, and your organization has been badly hurt by a lengthy strike of unionized employees. The strike seriously disrupted production and distribution, and it caused your company to lose significant revenues and market share. Now that the strike is over, your company will have to struggle to recoup lost customers and will have to pay for the increased wages and benefits called for in the new union contract. The company’s financial situation is precarious to say the least. You and the entire senior management team have high hopes for the new ad campaign, and initial consumer response has been positive. You are shocked, then, when your head of operations reports to you that an angry worker has sabotaged one of your bottling plants. The worker introduced a chemical into one of the machines, which in turn contaminated 120,000 bottles of the spring water. Fortunately, the chemical is present in extremely minute amounts—no consumer could possibly suffer harm unless he or she drank in excess of 10 gallons of the water per day over a long period of time. Since the machine has already been sterilized, any risk of long term exposure has been virtually eliminated. But, of course, the claims made by your new ad campaign could not be more false.

List all of the stakeholders involved in this situation. Do any stakeholder groups have more to gain or lose than others? Develop a strategy for dealing with the contamination. How much does a company’s financial situation determine how ethical dilemmas are handled?

In this situation the list of stakeholders would be everyone in the company. If the company is not able to make money then the company is at stake and this stakeholders are everyone that is employed, this includes myself as the owner of the company to the labor employees that have a...
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