World-Class Bull- Case Study Essay Example

  • Category:
    Business
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Masters
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2276

9World-Class Bull- Case Study

World-Class Bull- Case Study

World-Class Bull- Case Study

The ethical and/or business ethics problem(s) in the case study

Specialty Fleet Services (SFS) is a company that offers the FleetNet, an online system that provides its clients with customized support through its GPS enabled modules installed in vehicles. This system provides enhanced security to the customers because it tracks location, distance travelled, fuel consumption and driver behavior in real time. Through this system, the company provides clients with record of maintenance and accidents on every vehicle owned or leased to a client. The company has been trying to sell this product to one of the successful companies, Armadillo. However, the sales department has continuously failed in its efforts because Armadillo’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO) considered the FleetNet to be relevant for the company. Christopher Knox, one of the sales representatives of SFS decides to embrace a different approach with the objective of convincing Dale laundry to accept the company’s product. From his research about the CFO, Knox realizes that Dale and his wife Carol inherited a ranch where they reared a small herd longhorn cattle within which there is the Big Buddy, an old bull that the family cherishes. Knox uses this bull to reach out to the laundry. He takes a picture of the bull with permission for Carol. He then frames the picture and takes it back to the family. He captures Dale’s attention. He orchestrates other meetings to ensure that he develops a close relationship with the CFO. The begin engaging in work related discussions and Knox talks to him about SFS and the products they offer. After a series of meetings, Dale agrees to try the FleetNet demo and finally signs with SFS to apply Armadillo with the products. Jeremy Silva while appreciating the efforts made by Knox sends members of the sales department with an email with the subject title World Class Bull where he describes the maneuvers used to get Armadillo to sign the contract. According to SFS’s ethical review board, the strategy used by Knox was exploitative hence unethical. His behavior according to the ethical review committee was in violation of teh company’s ethical code. Jeremy is faced by the dilemma of defending Knox from technical codes that he initiated.

Normative ethical theories

Utilitarianism

According to this normative ethical theory, the determination of right and wrong from a business perspective is by cost benefit analysis. This makes it the responsbility of an actor in any decision making process to consider all the bad and good consequences of an action before making a decision.1 According to utilitarianism the amount of good or happiness generated by an action to the greatest number of people makes such an action ethical. Furthermore, it also means that an action is good if its produces good results in the form of happiness to the majority even if it is made for the wrong reasons.2 Utilitarianism upholds that for a moral decision to be considered right if according to the available information it will enhance the interest of the majority. This does not make the utilitarian approach a decision-making procedure but it can be used in understanding if by adopting a course of action it is possible to generate highly good results and minimizing negative results.3 Utilitarianism requires moral actors to ensure that they consider the consequences of their actions in any decision making process. Maximizing the good from a utilitarian perspective is the duty of any moral agent.

Virtue ethics

According to virtue ethics, flourishing which is defined by individual happiness is the ultimate goals of any moral agent. For this theory, it is the responsbility of every moral agent to act in virtuous ways. By being virtuous, it is possible for a moral agent to learn of behaviors that cause happiness, which means that individual have the responsbility of being sensitive to any moral situation.4 The morality of any decision according to virtue ethics is based on its sensitivity to the situation and the ability of that decision to lead to personal happiness. According to this ethical theory, virtue is the greatest form of happiness. This can be enhanced when moral agent are engaged in the development of their unique human capabilities. For virtue ethics, happiness is realizable by developing the rational and political capacities of moral agents.5 This can be facilitated by avoiding extremes by finding a moderate middle ground, the golden mean. This is the general rule when making moral decisions. The most appropriate action, according to virtue ethics, will generate happiness because it avoids extremes by considering the interests of other individuals.6 In virtue ethics, focus is often on the moral character who must use his attributes such as honesty and decency to inform his moral decisions.

Aristotle’s’ virtue ethics allows the moral agent the responsibility of making moral decisions based on rationality. This is based on the acknowledgement that morality is a complex entity. Virtue ethics provides man with techniques of handling different ethical problems using the golden mean.7 Human emotions according to this theory are important in developing moral attributes and this places virtue ethics above other ethical theories since it recognizes the role of different social factors in the decision making process. 8

Categorical imperative

According to this normative ethical theory, moral agent should always act in ways that they would accept if they because universal laws. This implies that when making decisions moral agent must behave in rational ways that can be rational to anyone.9 Categorical imperative, as propounded by Immanuel Kant, is a technique of finding out the plausibility of any moral action. This process begins by formulating a maxim that enshrines the reasons for acting in a certain way. The first maxim of the categorical imperative implies consistency. According to this maxim, a moral agent should only act in ways by which he can act if the action became a universal law. The second maxim implies humanity to treat everyone involved in a moral action as an end in themselves not as a means towards the realization of a particular end. The third maxim implies universality. According to Kant, an individual should act in ways that he would accept if they were to be made universal law.10 This means that to gauge the morality of an action, a moral agent while acting according to the dictates of categorical imperative should ask if it would rationally appropriate for everyone else to act in the same manner when confronted with a similar situation.

In terms of strengths, categorical imperative provides a distinction between emotions and the duty of man. This theoretical approach provides the assertion that the process of making decisions should be based on that, which is right at all times. In addition, this theory appeals to innate human reasoning with the aim of establishing criteria that comprises moral actions.11 This makes it easier for decision makers to decide on the right actions to take

Justice as fairness

According to this normative ethical theory, in any decision making process a moral agent has the responsbility of acting in all fairness. This theory considers every individual to be equal and therefore their interest and opinions must be considered. According to this theory, the main consideration is fairness.12 This means that while undertaking any initiative a moral agent must assess the extent to which the actions resulting from the decision will be treating everyone fairly. In addition, the moral agent must assess the extent to which the processes that have been established provide all those involved with equal chances especially when focusing on the consequences of the decisions.13 Throughout his deliberations, the moral agent, being the main decision maker, should ensure that there are no major disparities between the winners and losers especially when confronted with an ethical dilemma.

The rights theory recognizes that human being possess certain inalienable rights, which the moral agent, being the decision maker has the responsbility of protection in any, deliberation. This makes it the responsbility of moral agent to identify these rights and assess the extent to which their protection enhances the wellbeing of those affected by the resulting decision.14 Respect for human beings, according to the rights theory, is the most fundamental responsbility of any moral agent. Rights theory does not focus on consequences because it is based on the rationality of the moral agent.15 For a moral agent, human beings are distinguished by their dignity and this explains why it is immoral to exploit them for the realization of an objective. An action is considered moral if it recognizes the duty of a moral agent towards protecting humanity.

The most effective ethical perspective

Utilitarianism is the most relevant ethical perspective that can be used in providing a solution to the ethical problem facing SFS Company. According to this theoretical perspective, an action is considered ethical when it generates the greatest amount of happiness tote highest number of people. The greatest happiness principle that is propounded by utilitarianism is based on cost benefit analysis. Chris Knox was acting with the objective of improving on the profitability of SFS. By convincing Armadillo to signal contact accepting the incorporation of the FleetNet into their systems, he will be providing happiness to the greatest number of people. Part of the result of this deal is that the sales department, the management and other stakeholders at SFS will have their reputation improved considering that Armadillo is one of the most successful companies and through such an association SFS will be able to secure additional business opportunities. According to the human resources vice president at SFS, Samantha Williams, despite bringing one of the most profitable business deals to the company, Chris Knox was in violation of the company’s code of ethics. This is because he used devious and exploitative techniques that were unfair to the client.

Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that focuses on the social consequences of any moral decision. According to this theoretical perspective it is the consequences of a moral action that determine their morality. Knox cannot be considered to have violated the ethical codes of SFS because he was acting in the best interest of the company. Furthermore, at the time of their engagement, Armadillo was not yet a customer of SFS making any association between the two parties to be personal. Knox recognized the availability of an opportunity of improving on the profitability of the company and devised techniques through which he could maximize on the available opportunity. The end, according to utilitarianism, justifies the means. When Armadillo signed the contract because of the relationship it had established with SFS through Knox, every member of the organization except the ethical review committee were satisfied. From an ethical perspective, Knox was representing the desires of the greatest number of people and this explains why he cannot be considered to be in violation of the company’s ethical code.

Bibliography

Cohen, Stephen. The Nature of Moral Reasoning: The Framework and Activities of Ethical Deliberation,

Argument and Decision-Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Daft, Richard L. Management. Mason, OH, USA: Thomson Southwestern, 2008.

Dreier, James. Contemporary Debates In Moral Theory. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

Driver, Julia. Ethics The Fundamentals. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Fatić, Aleksandar, and Lydia Amir. Practicing Philosophy. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge

Scholars Publishing, 2015.

Humphreys, Jogn., Ahmed, Zafara and Pryor, Mildred. World-Class Bull. Harvard Business Review,

Iphofen, Ron. Ethical Decision Making in Social Research: A Practical Guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave

Macmillan, 2009.

MacKinnon, Barbara, and Andrew Fiala. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues. Boston, MA :

Cenegage, 2018.

Morrissey, Shirley Anne, and Prasuna Reddy. Ethics and Professional Practice for Psychologists. South

Melbourne, Vic: Thomson Learning Australia, 2006.

Petrick, Joseph A., and John F. Quinn. Management Ethics: Integrity at Work. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage,

Schwartz, Mark S. Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach. Malden, MA : John Wiley &

Sons, Inc, 2017.

Shaw, William H., and Vincent E. Barry. Moral Issues in Business. 2010.

Smit, P. J. Management Principles: A Contemporary Edition for Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Juta,

Tännsjö, Torbjörn. Understanding Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ.

Press, 2013.

Timmons, Mark. Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

1
Smit, P. J. Management Principles: A Contemporary Edition for Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Juta, 2007.

2
Fatić, Aleksandar, and Lydia Amir. Practicing Philosophy. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.

3
MacKinnon, Barbara, and Andrew Fiala. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues. Boston, MA : Cenegage, 2018.

4
Tännsjö, Torbjörn. Understanding Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2013.

5
Iphofen, Ron. Ethical Decision Making in Social Research: A Practical Guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

6
Dreier, James. Contemporary Debates In Moral Theory. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

7
Driver, Julia. Ethics The Fundamentals. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

8
Daft, Richard L. Management. Mason, OH, USA: Thomson Southwestern, 2008.

9
Shaw, William H., and Vincent E. Barry. Moral Issues in Business. 2010.

10
Schwartz, Mark S. Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach. Malden, MA : John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2017

11
Petrick, Joseph A., and John F. Quinn. Management Ethics: Integrity at Work. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage, 2007.

12
Shaw, William H., and Vincent E. Barry. Moral Issues in Business. 2010.

13
Timmons, Mark. Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

14
Morrissey, Shirley Anne, and Prasuna Reddy. Ethics and Professional Practice for Psychologists. South Melbourne, Vic: Thomson Learning Australia, 2006.

15
Cohen, Stephen. The Nature of Moral Reasoning: The Framework and Activities of Ethical Deliberation, Argument and Decision-Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.