Business Finance

Reviewing Theory, Rationalizations, Dilemmas and Resolutions Discussion |

You will see the original questions presented to the class underlined below. I need responses to the following students’ posts and Instructor’s comments #1-4. The #4 Post is a response to the instructor’s comments on my post. I will present #4 with my original post in bold and then the instructor’s comments after, so just respond to the instructor’s comments on that one. Every response to #1-4 should be at least a paragraph or two. This is for Business Ethics 400 class so please read the attached chapter one if you need reference. You need to only reference the chapter for your sources I will attach the citation for it here: The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation. APA Format. Please don’t forget page numbers in your citations. It is for a forum setting so please do not use, …”This student’s post….”. Please write as if you are responding to the student. Also, please complete citations for each response separately in order for me to keep each one organized.

Learning Activity #1

Reviewing Theory, Rationalizations, Dilemmas and Resolutions

You are an executive with a large pharmaceutical company and you have to decide whether to market a product that might have undesirable side effects for a small percentage of users. What is the ethical dilemma and related ethical issue(s) facing the executive? How should you decide whether to sell the product? Specifically, what are the steps you would employ in reaching your decision? How does the theory of ethics that is applied affect your answer? In discussing the theoretical aspect, you must identify and discuss at least 2 relevant theories from this week.

Learning Activity #2

When in Malaysia

W.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacturer of sophisticated computer parts, recently moved the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia. The Company has hired several hundred workers at wages considerably below their U.S. counterparts, but consistent with the prevailing wages in Malaysia. Not only is the Company benefiting from the lower wages, it is also able to reduce its costs further because of the deplorable factories used for its operations (no air conditioning and poor ventilation), it can dispose of waste without any government oversight, and government inspectors are routinely given gratuities for favorable inspection reports or to otherwise grease the skids for the Company. The Company’s operations are in all key respects in accordance with the laws of Malaysia.

You were recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian operations and you are concerned about what you have seen and heard as to how the plants are being operated. When you called a colleague in the states, he said to you “keep your mouth shut and when in Rome do as the Romans do”. Identify and discuss the specific ethical dilemma, including how you would resolve it, facing the senior vice president and Milestone. What are some of the ethical issues associated with the ethical dilemma? Identify and discuss at least two stakeholders in the scenario. Is this a case of ethical relativism? Explain why or why.

Student Post #1

The ethical dilemma here is if the senior vice-president should act on the way these plants are being operated and address the poor working conditions of the workers, or should the senior vice president as the colleague put it “keep your mouth shut” and let the organization continue to gain benefits by operating their plants by these standards.

The way the company has been operating in Malaysia are in accordance with the laws of Malaysia. However, giving their employees lower wages while having them work in an unsafe environment with poor ventilation and without air conditioning is unethical. It is also unethical to bribe the government so the company can pollute without consequences.

Some of the ethical issues that are associated with this business process are the use of bribes, and the discourse ethic practice that the company has used prior to the executive level change. The Entrepreneur magazine stated that American businesses are going overseas to do business to help land contracts and help negotiations (Saylor, 2012, p.147). This poses an issue that the most qualified company may not get the contract bid since they did not offer any monetary gifts. While this may not be a bribe in their culture, it may be seen as a gift. In U.S Business ethics this would be considered a bribe (Saylor, 2012, p.147). Another ethical issue that W.B Milestone is faced with is Discourse. This is when a company tries to solve their problems in reverse in an ad-hoc process (Saylor, 2012, p.162). This is evident with the fact that corners have been cut to make sure that manufacturing is met at the lowest possible price. This causes issues if the stakeholders involved see the production process as immoral and would like to see that change.

One of the stakeholders that would be affected would be the manufacturing employees. This would be a case of ethical relativism due to the fact that they are working in unsafe conditions and their lives are at risk. While their parent company does not see this as an issue. A U.S based company should see this as an issue as they would not place their own employees in these types of working conditions. Another stakeholder effected would be the customers. They may not feel that the treatment of the manufacturing employees is humane and would stop investing or buying the product due to these conditions.

The Saylor Foundation. (2012). Chapter 4: Theories Responding to the Challenge of Cultural Relativism. Retrieved from…

Student’s Post #2
Learning Activity 1

The executive of the company will face an abundance of ethical dilemma and ethical issues. When you are an executive you have decide whether or not to sell a product to the public with side effects. The dilemma is that a small percentage of people will have side effects of the product. If you do not sell the product the company will not make any money and the people who need the product will not receive treatment. I would complete a lot of research on what percentage of individuals this product would harm. Most household medicine have side effects that we experience every day. For example, Benadryl’s side effects are drowsiness, fatigue, tiredness, sleepiness, dizziness, disturbed coordination, constipation, and dry mouth/nose/throat to name a few (Benadryl, 2019). Now let’s talk about the good that the product does for the customer. Benadryl is an antihistamine used to treat allergies, hives, insomnia, motion sickness, and mild cases of Parkinsonism (Benadryl, 2019). This product will help you out if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms but could be deadly if you are allergic to the ingredients. A person should do a review of the ingredients and make sure they’re not going to become sick. I believe that based on ethical issues, I would put a disclaimer out there about the product. These are cautionaries I would put out there as the executive. The best theory in this situation is Utilitarian theory. “Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that places the locus of right and wrong solely on the outcomes (consequences) of choosing one action/policy over other actions/policies” (Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy, 2019). This company would place the product out there knowing that it has side effects. Also, the rights theory applies. Rights theory are generally defined as justified claims for the protection of general interests (Rights Theory |, 2019). They have the right to live but can’t if they die from the side effects of this product.

Common Side Effects of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) Drug Center – RxList. (2019). Retrieved from…

Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy. (2019). Retrieved from…

Rights Theory | (2019). Retrieved from…

Student’s Post #3
Learning Activity #1

The ethical dilemma is Utilitarianism: The Greater Good. The basic question of utilitarianism is qualitative: how much happiness and sadness is there? Inevitably, it is going to be difficult when businesses accustomed to bottom-line number decisions are forced to cross over and decide about general happiness (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.100). The product might have undesirable side effects for a small percentage of users, but the product may not have any side effects for a much larger percentage of users. For some users, usage of the product may enhance their lives. Finding out from research or studies approximately how many people may be affected and if the quantity is low enough compared with being able to provide many more with benefits should be a determining factor on whether the pharmaceutical company should sell the product.

Most of us are used to seeing warnings when reading or watching advertisements about any type of prescription drugs and some of the side effects are surprising and most people for sure would not want some of those specific and more severe side effects but the companies should and are legally bound to inform the consumer of any and all possibilities. Most advertisements will show people smiling, having a good time and enjoying their lives and not the folks that are experiencing the possible side effects.

Two further versions of utilitarian regulation are act and rule. Act utilitarianism affirms that a specific action is recommended if it increases happiness. This is the default form of utilitarianism, and what people usually mean when they talk about the theory. The separate rule-based version asserts that an action is morally right if it follows a rule that, when applied to everyone, increases general happiness (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.105).


The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation

Learning Activity #2

Being recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian operations of W.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacture of sophisticated computer parts that has recently moved the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia, and being concerned about what I have seen and heard as to how the plants are being operated is an ethical dilemma that is related to responding to the challenge of Cultural Relativism.

A culturist believes there are no practices that work everywhere in the world. The advice government bureaucrats give is less than worthless because it departs from the error of conceiving ethics as a set of rules fitting a transnational reality. What people in business should actually do is get in contact with people who really know something about ethics, and that requires turning to the locals, including the chamber of commerce, because they are the ones that are on the scene (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.148).

A possible solution is discourse ethics. Discourse ethics provide a broad range of possible solutions, but every conflict must be addressed from scratch (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.175) which is not ideal but since the business hopes to be in that location for many years, if a conflict can be solved, it may help in the long-run.

Proponents of discourse ethics reverse the order in which ethical uncertainties are normally addressed. Instead of starting with one theory or another and then taking it out into the world to solve problems, they start with a problem and try to create a moral structure to solve it. Ethical solutions become ad hoc, custom generated to resolve specific conflicts. It does not matter so much, therefore, that people come to an issue like bribery from divergent moral terrains because that difference is erased by the key element of discourse ethics: a foundational decision to cut away from old ideas and make new ones (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.162). However, even though discourse ethics allows tremendous latitude in the search for solutions to conflicts, it does risk allowing solutions that many would consider unethical (The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation, p.165). If conditions can be improved for the workers and more than just the minimum is accomplished regarding waste disposal and possible environmental issues, the company may show others by leading what can be accomplished when making better conditions for employees and communities’ stakeholders.


The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation”

Instructor’s Comments #4

Learning Activity #1

The ethical dilemma facing the executive is whether to market a product even though there might be undesirable side effects for a small percentage of users. The decision of whether to sell the product can be made based on the utilitarianism ethical concept, where the outcomes of the decision matter. The basic tenet of utilitarianism is that it is ethical to pursue the greatest good for the greatest number of people (Saylor 2012, 95). The result of marketing the product would be that more people are happier, and that act is ethically recommendable because the greatest number of people will benefit from the product.

In basic terms, the decision will be made based on a happiness calculation. When considering whether to market the product or not, the decision will be reached by taking each person who will be affected and determining whether they will be happier, sadder, or there will not be any difference (Saylor 2012, 96). The people whose lives will not be impacted are not counted. The next step is to ascertain who will benefit from the product, and how much benefit they will derive from the product. Next, for people who will be harmed, ask how much harm the people will receive from the product. If the greater sum is the happy side, then the decision to market the product is ethically recommendable (Saylor 2012, 96).

The decision is also influenced by altruistic ethics. An action is considered morally right in altruism if the consequences are more beneficial than unfavorable for all except the person making the decision. The altruist does whatever is necessary to promote the happiness of others (Saylor 2012, 110). In altruism, the decision is made based on the best way to make many people as happy as possible. In this case, the decision to market the product will be more altruistic, since it is the best way to make as many people as happy as possible.

Learning Activity #2

The ethical dilemma that the executive is facing is whether to change the status quo and institute the right way to do things or turn a blind eye for the sake of the company operations. Although the business is in compliance with Malaysia laws, there are a lot of unseemly things going on within the company that are unethical, for instance, bribing of government officials, pollution, and unfair wages. Milestone is operating within the purview of the law, albeit unethically, how can the executive and the company ensure that their operations are both legal and ethical? Some of the ethical issues associated with the ethical dilemma is whether to do the right thing when it does not matter. For instance, why should the executive and Milestone want to be morally responsible? (Saylor 2012, 144). Is there benefit for the company to be ethical while being unethical is saving the bottom line?

One of the stakeholders in the case is Milestone. The company has set up operations in Malaysia and followed all legal and business laws. However, despite their compliance, their operations are unethical. For instance, the company is engaged in bribery, pollution, and unfair wage practices. The other stakeholder is the government in Malaysia. The authorities encourage a culture where employees are treated unfairly, government officials are permitted to take bribes in exchange of favorable reports, and companies can dump waste without repercussions.

The case of Milestone fulfils the ethical relativism scale. First, the stakeholders in the case are forced to accept their decisions and ascertain whether they are willing to stand by them forever. For instance, is Milestone willing to perpetuate the culture in Malaysia even when it is unethical and continue like that forever? One of the tenets of relativism is that everyone is just being themselves, and since there are no guidelines based on ethics, people make their own reality and hence forced to be who they are. The case study highlights this concept. Since every stakeholder in the case is being themselves, how can they live together when all they are thinking about is what is best for themselves? (Saylor 2012, 145).

The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation

#4 Instructor’s Comments

Would it change your position if the product were one intended to cure a life threatening condition versus a product aimed at a more cosmetic condition such as acne?

If Milestone is in compliance with all applicable laws of Malaysia, doesn’t this resolve any ethical issues?”


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