Moral Reasoning Assignment Essay Example

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Moral reasoning 8



Moral reasoning takes different forms and is subjective since it can be viewed as opinions of individuals. In this paper, an analysis of morality on incidences of two companies, GlaxoSmithKline and Coca Cola, are analysed with respect to morality and the constructs used compared.

Section A

  1. Ethical concerns raised by GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to promote and market drugs for unapproved uses are bribery of doctors, advancing the use of antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for cases that are unapproved including prescribing to adolescents and children (BBC News 2012). Such practices are not permitted morally. Bribing is an indication that an individual lacks integrity, and honesty making it morally wrong. Prescribing a drug that is not approved is morally wrong since one is aware of the possible catastrophic consequences and people receiving the prescriptions have no knowledge of the risks that come with the treatment.

  2. GlaxoSmithKline withholding the relevant research data and to making unsupported safety claims for one of its drugs for diabetes amounts to contradicting the right to information. The case is an example of moral reasoning and ethical decision making (Shapiro, Jazaieri and Goldin, 2012, p. 3). Withholding of data from the public is wrong itself and the reason behind it. Unsupported safety claims amounts giving false information. People have the right to correct information. GSK sharing speculative information amounts to misrepresentation. For the first instance, information is found out and the information withheld which is wrong (Bebeau and Pimple, 1995, p. 3) while in the second case portrays information that is known to be unsupported as the truth. The common factor is the compelling reason behind the two decisions. For both cases, the information is not revealed because of the decision that the public will take and how it will affect the company. Individuals make decisions on moral reasoning based on consequences (Belanger, Valorie, and LeBrasseur, 2012, p. 72). There is no moral difference in the two cases.

  3. In the case that the activities of GSK were not found to be illegal, it would not have made any difference in the opinions above on morality as moral reasoning depends on the background of an individual (Mayhew and Pascarella, 2003, p. 6). Even in the case that they were not against the law the opinion on morality would still not have changed. The reason for this is there are occasions where what morality and the law consider right or wrong do not coincide. There are some cases where what is seen as morally right is wrong by the law and other times what morality finds wrong the law does not view as wrong (Daneker, 1993, p. 49).

Section B

  1. The issue of moral obligation needs an inspection of the underlying factors (Bucciarelli, Khemlani, and Johnson-Laird, 2008, p. 122). Corporates are faced with moral issues when choosing between pursuing business interests and maintaining ethics while some are not aware of these arising issues (Bryant, 2009, p. 505). The moral decision also depends on the understanding of the discourse provided by an individual (Narvaez, 1999, p. 378).The case is a mixture of both scenarios depending on the specific factors to consider (“Foreign” 2012). The step of lowering prices to lure buyers is not morally wrong, and the companies have no moral responsibility to change the prices as this is just a marketing strategy and does not have any element of misrepresentation. For the occasion where these companies are changing the perception of these high-calorie foods to seem normal is in some way a form of deception which is not morally right as the companies are giving out information that is not true and hence have the moral obligation to change this strategy. The fact that coca cola compromised school principals to sell in schools is morally wrong as this involves bribing which is not accepted morally and are obligated to change this strategy. On ‘popularly positioned products,’ the packaging of these foods in small packages that are affordable has no moral wrong as consumers are aware of the product and consequences, but on the scenario that they are fortified with iron and other micronutrients to portray them as good for nutrition is false presentation of the products and the companies have the moral responsibility to change this marketing strategy. Therefore, in general, these companies have the moral obligation to change some of the strategies they use to market and distribute their products. These arguments may change if one looks at it from the just community strategy as outlined in Enright, Lapsley, Harris, and Shawver, (1983, p. 8).

  2. Marketing of soft drinks to schools is morally problematic as one expects that minors cannot make rational decisions concerning their health, although the companies view morality from self-interest oriented point of view (Kohlberg, 1981, p. 4). The door to door vending of the snack foods is no problem regarding morality as one expects that parents are home and are responsible for the health decision of the children and their own. The snack food boats also have no moral problem as they are selling to people that make their decision with knowledge of the consequences that come from consuming these snack foods.

Section C

Moral reasoning varies with individuals (Kortenkamp, and Moore, 2001, p. 9). Sometimes, one has to choose between two rights to make a decision (Kuyel, 2002, p. 8). Therefore one can make moral decisions that contradict each other in different scenarios. The concepts and standards of conduct applied to pharmaceutical companies are the same as those applied to food and beverages enterprises. When bribes are involved, it is morally wrong. When there is presenting of false information, and when there is a withholding of factual information it is not morally right.


The two scenarios presented are analysed using similar concepts. Although some strategies are viewed as morally wrong, the question of companies changing strategies largely depends on policy makers in the company and government to make decisions to protect the public.


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