Whirlpool’s decision to close the manufacturing plant in Evansville, Indiana was a business decision the company made in response to poor sales. The decision most likely pleased shareholders but had social and ethical implications. The plant closure impacted the lives of an entire community. According to the mayor of Evansville, 10,000 jobs will be lost due to the plant closure. Since business ethics is concerned with morality and fairness in behavior, actions, and practices that take place within a business context, this case is a prime example of Whirlpool’s operating strategy of Immoral management. They exploited an opportunity for corporate gain.
2. What are the legal and ethical responsibilities of Whirlpool in a plant-closing case such as the one in Evansville, Indiana?
The legal responsibilities assumed by Whirlpool in a plant-closing case are to comply with all laws and regulations so close the plant, relocate, and honor warranties and guarantees. Since law “often lags behind more recent interpretations of what is considered appropriate behavior,” is can be assumed that Whirlpool’s decision to close the plant and open a plant in Mexico was completely within the confines of the law. Whirlpool is spending $21 million in employee termination costs and has given enough notice to employees to adapt to the changes. The ethical responsibilities in this case are for Whirlpool to do what is EXPECTED of the business by society. Given that the stakeholders had an overwhelming negative reaction to this decision, it can be assumed that Whirlpool did not take into consideration their ethical responsibilities to the stakeholders.
3. In light of the federal stimulus funds that Whirlpool received, did it have a greater responsibility to make the Evansville plant sustainable? Or were the funds received