Essay: Ethical Issues in This Case

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¶ … ethical issues in this case. The first is the question of cash payments to secure deals. This is a substantial issue, in large part because it violates the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This act prohibits such behavior as bribery in U.S. firms operating abroad. Firm policy may also stand against bribery but in practice such policy is not enforced, unless the company wants some leverage over the employee.

The second ethical issue in this situation is that of the liners. They are clearly dangerous, yet the company does not seem to be concerned with the damage caused to workers. The company stance is that the liners are within federal safety guidelines, therefore Jacob should not be concerned. However, there is a strong case to be made that the company should enforce some standard of corporate social responsibility and address the liner issue in a timely fashion to prevent future injuries.

The third ethical issue in this case is with respect to the apparent blackmail issued by Hillary, wherein she threatened Jacob with regards to his knowledge of the liners. This threat is meant to implicate Jacob in the liner scandal, should it break public. Jacob must consider the ethics of working for an employer engaged not only in bribery but in blackmail as well.

The fourth ethical issue is more personal, and deals with the implicit contract that Jacob made with his wife. They have two separate issues on the table, on regarding a move to Seattle and the other with regards to the baby and the health insurance. Jacob needs to consider to what degree his acceptance of his wife's desire to remain in Texas obligates him to stay, even under such difficult circumstances. The second is the degree to which Jacob might compromise her health should they be faced with the need for health coverage that Jacob forewent by taking the Seattle job.

2. These are ethical issues for a variety of reasons. Bribery is an issue because it directly contravenes the laws of the United States, to which Jacob should adhere. Bribery also contravenes industry norms. Additionally, bribery encourages corruption, which has been found to be detrimental to the long-term economic growth of nations. By bribing officials in Mexico, Jacob is contributing to the stunting of that nation's economic growth, to the detriment of millions of hard-working Mexican citizens.

The liners are not an ethical issue because they violate the law of the land. They are an ethical issue because of the profoundly negative outcomes that the shoddy liners are having on workers exposed to them. Injuries have occurred, and there is reason to believe that more injuries will occur before the liner situation is correctly addressed. There is a moral imperative not to harm others, especially when one has the opportunity to put a stop to that harm.

The blackmail is an ethical issue for a couple of reasons. The blackmail is probably illegal, even if it would be difficult to prove as much in a court of law. Furthermore, blackmail of this type violates the moral imperative as defined by the American business culture. Jacob clearly is not implicated in the liner scandal so the threat to do so violates this imperative. In terms of outcomes, Jacob suffering the consequences of failing to adequately address a known problem is likely a fair outcome, however,.

Jacob has to weigh the Seattle decision in the context of whether or nor a moral imperative was defined between he and his wife with regards to communication. He may feel that the decision is strictly business-related, but to her it hints at his being disingenuous with respect to living in Texas. It is also worth considering this issue from an outcomes perspective. Jacob's ability to not only preserve his job in the face of impending takeover but also to earn more money must be balanced against the health and happiness of his wife and future child.

3. Richardson's organizational culture appears to lack fundamental ethics. The culture places strong emphasis on earning revenue and profit, no matter the cost. This is evident in the disregard for life and limb in the liner situation and also in the disregard for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with the bribery situation. The company lacks a significant moral beacon, as evidenced by Hillary's words and actions promoting a lack of ethics. In addition, the company has rewarded Jacob handsomely for his unethical behavior, which further indicates the lack of ethics on the company's part.

Richardson's approach to foreign cultural issues is also unethical. To determine the ethics for the foreign people, a consequentialist perspective might come in handy. Bribery and other unethical practices may benefit the person who accepts the bribe, but there are many negative consequences to bribery that must also be considered. For example, bribery encourages future bribe-taking. Corruption ultimately saps money from the economy. It also increases the level of red tape, and makes it more difficult for foreign companies to compete, as they cannot outbid Western bribes (Bailes, 2006). The consequences of bribery and other corrupt practices abroad are generally negative to the culture, and there is a high degree of negative correlation between bribery levels and economic development.

There are also the outcomes to the industry as a whole that need to be considered. When in Seattle, Jacob talked to a company that did not engage in bribery, and this company indicated that most in the industry did not engage in such practices. While bribery may result in a temporary competitive advantage for Richardson, the company is making life difficult for all other American firms and all other oil industry players as they will now be hassled for more bribes -- all with a net negative consequence to the U.S. economy.

4. Teleological analysis in business tends towards total stakeholder analysis. Underpinning the teleological approach is the idea that all actions have an underlying purpose. The dilemma that Jacob is facing, for example, may comprise a multitude of ethical issues but most of these issues serve to focus Jacob on a specific choice. He does not fit with the corporate culture at Richardson, and as a native Cascadian he seems to need that type of environment in which to truly thrive. The threat from Hillary with regards to his knowledge of the liners underscores the purpose of these multiple ethical dilemmas -- to take the Seattle job. It is in the long-term best interests not only of his career, but of his family as well.

His wife appears to be at least somewhat open to the Seattle move, even if she ultimately will not be as happy there as in Texas. There is a balance, though, with the family given that Jacob is not happy in Texas. Perhaps more important is the health care crisis with the baby. The lack of insurance coverage puts Jacob in a short-term bind, especially financially. However, a short-term financial bind not only fails to outweigh a long-term ethical dilemma but also provides Jacob with a point of negotiation with respect to his salary and benefits at the new company.

From the deontological perspective, Jacob must consider his options in respect to the moral imperative, which is defined in large part by the actors involved (Moore & Alexander, 2007). The decision with regards to working at Richardson is clear. The moral imperative is defined in part by the law (Foreign Corrupt Business Practices Act) and in part by industry norms. In both cases, Richardson fails, which should guide Jacob towards taking the Seattle job. He must also, however, consider the obligation to his wife. A move to Seattle might put here in a difficult position not only with regard to geography, but also with regard to her medical condition. If… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Ethical Issues in This Case.  (2009, November 23).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ethical-issues-case-first/3283147

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