Ethical Business Challenges Today
Ethics establishes the nature of obligations to one another in the society. A corporation is a member of the society. In business, it has ethical obligations to employees, customers, and shareholders. Perhaps, the basic concept of corporate ethics may be described through Hippocratic oath – Do no harm, and the religious belief – Thou shall not kill (Resnik, n.d.). The CornCo is facing serious ethical dilemma brought by the market competition whether it should use contaminated product that induces liver cancer. The domino effect of this decision challenges the survival of the company. By supplying the questionable product to Mexico, the company can prevent employee layoffs. Should CornCo adopt this approach? From the ethical viewpoint, the answer is no, since it does harm and kills people.
George knew that he had three choices: not to use the corn since it induces liver cancer; use it and send it to Mexico since it stops layoffs; use it and sell the product in the U.S. market since it stops layoffs. Under the circumstances, George personally will be responsible for any decision that he takes. Jake has refused to stand beside him if he takes any unethical decision. Drop box suggestions have no influence except George’s own ethics.
The company is facing two pressures: to stay in the business using contaminated product, and to send the questionable product to Mexico. Market competition has created the first pressure and FDA regulations the second. The company has to take a decision. In this situation, corporate behavior and FDA legal rules reflect cause and effect situation. Ethical norms govern the corporate behavior, and legal rules govern the corporate behavior. The ethical issue in this case is whether the company should care about the contamination and continue production. The legal issue in this case is if the company is caught, it could pay the penalty and get back to the business as usual.