Vioxx Ethical Issues

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Cost-benefit analysis Pages: 35 (11046 words) Published: April 27, 2015

Business & Professional Ethics for Directors, Executives & Accountants, 5e,

Leonard J. Brooks and Paul Dunn

South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason Ohio, 2010

Instructor’s Manual

Chapter 4 Practical Ethical Decision Making

Learning objectives ………………………………………………………2 Possible teaching approaches, using cases and readings…………………2 Answers to questions for discussion…………………………………….. 3 Case Notes………………………………………………………………..8 Multiple Choice Questions………………………………………………29

PowerPoints are in a separate file at www.cengage.com/accounting/brooks

COMMENTS ON CHAPTER 4:
APPROACHES TO ETHICAL DECISION MAKING
____________________________________________________________________________

Learning objectives

There are many problems which executives and professional accountants will face which will not be covered explicitly in their company’s code, or in their profession’s code. Moreover, the principles provided in those codes may not be helpful in protecting stakeholder interests or may not lead to a comprehensively ethical decision. As a result, many problems will need to be subjected to further analysis and data gathering for the most ethical solution to emerge. What to consider, and how to put the data together to generate an ethical decision – and hopefully the most ethical decision - is the purpose of Chapter 4. In particular, important points of learning include:

a. why traditional philosophical approaches to ethical decision making are so useful, b. why ethical actions need to take stakeholder interests into account, c. what the fundamental interests of stakeholders are,

d. how to assess the impact of proposed actions on these interests, e. how to make these assessments comprehensive,
f. how to use the approaches outlined and moral imagination to improve unethical decisions, and g. how to deal with problems of the commons.

Possible teaching approaches, using cases and readings

My PowerPoints are available on my website at www.cengage.com/accounting/brooks. They will show the order that I use to develop the material in this chapter. Usually, I begin with a simple case like Kardell Paper Co. or Ford/ Firestone Tire Recall or Betaseron to illustrate the traditional philosophical approaches and the Modified 5-Question Approach to stakeholder impact analysis, and follow on with a discussion of the chapter material. In the second class, I deal with the Pinto Case and the Moral Standards and Pastin's approaches to stakeholder impact analysis. The Vioxx Decisions case is a good one for the students to work with as an assignment.

The Kardell Paper Co. Case provides a good platform for introducing the concepts of philosophical and stakeholder analysis. The stakeholders are easy to identify - for the most part - and the class usually forgets to consider the unborn infants. The discussion of the harm to the unborn tends to accentuate the need for proper stakeholder analysis so that all issues will be included in the decision framework. The issue of proper treatment of the unborn also underscores the need to rank the stakeholders as to their ability to withstand the impacts of the proposed decision. The issue of whether to accord the environment a status on its own, or just according to society's present needs is also a topic which gets the class involved.

This case seems to fit the philosophical and the Modified 5-Question Approach quite well, but leads easily to a discussion of the need to expand the approach to include cost-benefit analysis instead of just profit, and social contract ethics to judge fairness.

Students also like the way this case exposes poorly constructed Boards of Directors, and the related discussion of "due diligence" procedures which hooks back into the environmental material in this and earlier chapters.

The prospect of whistle blowing is one I usually close with. In fact, that's what happened, and it stresses the need to...
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