James Burke, CEO of Johnson & Johnson during 'Tylenol Crisis', handled the barrage of ethical dilemmas he encountered during this crisis with intellectual skill and strategy. He was most successful because he recognized what was most important to the company. As a guide he referred back to the company credo which identified the moral responsibility to the people that use and distribute the products they manufacture.
This family company knows that through their credo that decisions they make directly impact their employees. Johnson & Johnson recognize their employees are an integral part of the company and there is a moral responsibility to them as well as the communities of the world. The credo includes the Moral, Economic, and Legal ethical position of the company that ultimately defines their image in the marketplace.
When notified of the deaths in relation to the Tylenol name, James Burke acted quickly in determining where the product tampering had taken place. After successfully establishing that the tainted product was in the Chicago area, the company quickly took the steps necessary to communicate any and all facts with the community. With the company's honest stream of communication to the public and the recall of millions of bottles the company not only reestablished its image and good name with its customers, it saved the extreme losses that would have been felt by the retailers and distributors with the Tylenol product. These decisions, though costly to the company initially, also saved their employees' jobs. By bypassing the shock of the loss of millions of dollars, the company stuck to its credo to do what is moral and proper for the individuals that use their products as well as those they employ.
Burke most likely understood the economic impact of a $100 million dollar recall might make management and stockholders think twice before initiating...