Case Study of Business Ethics

Topics: John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarianism Pages: 3 (656 words) Published: June 2, 2011
Individual assignment 2

2.1 Content of assignment

Individual assignment 2: (hand in week 4)
Phase 1,2,3 of the ethical cycle:
Moral problem statement
Problem analysis
Options for action

Phase 4 of the ethical cycle:

2.2 Case: “Fire Detectors”
Residential fires cause many deaths each year. Several companies manufacture fire detectors in a highly competitive market. Jim is a senior manager at one of these companies. He has been invited to discuss with the management team the directions his company should take in manufacturing and marketing fire detectors. Jim knows that there are two basic types of fire detectors. Type A is very good for certain types of fires, but for smoldering fires the detector will delay the alarm too long or fail to detect the fire at all, sometimes resulting in the loss of life. Most companies still manufacture type A because it is cheap to build and generally performs well. Type a sells for $6 to $15. Type B detectors combine Type A fire detecting abilities with a device for detecting smoldering fires, which constitute about 5 percent of all fires. Type B detectors sell for $15-30, but they could be sold for almost the price of type A detectors if they were manufactured in large quantities. In order to bring this about (short of government intervention prohibiting the sale of Type A detectors), many companies would have to decide that, in the interest of greater public safety, they will sell only Type B fire detectors. There is little evidence that this is going to happen. As things stand, most companies either manufacture only Type A detectors, or at lest depend on Type A detectors for the vast majority of their profit. Relatively few Type B detectors will sell under present market conditions. However, we do not know for sure what the actual effect of a company’s example of selling only type B detectors would be. It might stimulate other firms to follow the example, or it might...
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