Ethical Dilemma- Case Studies

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Ethical Dilemma- Case Studies

“Producing Toys: Child’s Play”

The product manager of a confectionery corporation seeks to make a deal with a company that is based in Thailand for the supply of toys that the company sells. The Thailand firms give a very attractive deal by offering prices that are two-thirds the Portuguese suppliers are offering. However, the Thailand organization does not have an official workshop, but every morning men collect materials, take them home to work on them together with their families. The men then return the finished goods and collect their pay.

Following this case study, some ethical dilemmas exist. First, as a product manager, closing a deal that will cost the company less money is a step towards minimizing operations cost. This could earn the product manager a promotion opportunity and bonuses (Beauchamp, et al. 2004, pg.78). However, the performance of this deal is possible at the expense of underage children who are exploited in Thailand. Secondly, reporting the matter to the necessary authorities would lead to penalties for the Thailand Company, and termination of the deal with the confectionery company. Besides, it would provide no chances for promotion to the product manager. On the contrary, reporting the matter would protect the reputation of the firm and save underage children from exploitative activities but also affect these families’ incomes.

On a personal perspective, it is ethical to protect the rights of the minority. Besides, the deal could have significant repercussions on the reputation of the company. Though bonuses and promotion may not be obtained, it is legal and ethical to report the matter to Thailand’s administration. Such exploitation of children goes against the universal rules and are at the expense of the children’s future. Secondly, terminating the deal on the basis that their production methods are illegal according to human rights. These actions will protect the company’s reputation and protect the young children in Thailand (Johnson, 2017, Pg. 16).

“Who cares who shares?”  

PCC is a pharmaceutical and chemicals company that is performing well according to the stock market records. However, recent information shows that the prices of PCC will be affected. A company meeting provided that a scientific research had lethal outcomes. Since the finding are set to be reported in an industry magazine, this would damage the firm and consequently lead to the fall of PCC financials. As an employee in the company, stocks held will reduce in value and so will those of a dear friend and his client. There are definitely ethical issues.

This case presents some ethical dilemmas and depending on the actions taken it could lead to legal consequences. First, during the meeting to report this issue, it was asked that the matter remain confidential and strategies formulated on how to deal with the problem. However, remaining confidential means the dear friend and his clients will suffer significant losses once the matter becomes public information. Secondly, as a holder of PCC stock, selling share together with other employees could lead to suspicion and affect the company. It will also be a case of insider trading that is punishable by law.

Therefore, on a personal perspective, the ethical solution will be retaining the information as confidential and strategizing on how to deal with the issue as an organization (Carroll, and Buchholtz, 2014, pg. 105). First, the termination of the production the drug with lethal side-effects should cease. However, losses will be incurred. As a person, selling the shares will save a lot of money but with the risk of being charged with insider trading (Crane, and Matten, 2016, pg. 64). Telling the friend would also have similar effects. Though remaining quiet may affect the friendship, it is the ethical thing to do. Strategies to sustain the reputation of the company may help regain the value of the shares.

“Off your face on Facebook”,  

As a human resource manager, the task of recruiting personnel falls under the job description. At AllCure pharmaceuticals, the human resource needs to hire a new team member to fill a position in the department. Luckily, two applicants match in qualifications making them equally suitable for the job. However, after social media research, one of the applicants has an incriminating social media page. Her page shows that she has taken illegal drugs and some photos of her are taken while partially naked. This situation raises some ethical dilemmas for the HR manager.

Using social media to screen applicant is considered risky and quite unethical. This is because it involves invading the applicants’ privacy and the information gathered may create a biased opinion about the applicants. Nonetheless, for justifiable reasons such as participating in illegal activities could form a basis for disqualifying a candidate using social media (Ferrell, and Fraedrich, 2015, pg. 165). In this case, the ethical dilemmas related to wrongful disqualification and protecting the reputation of the company. Disqualify the candidate with an incriminating Facebook page is unethical as her personal issues lack adverse impacts on others. However, her former actions will implicate the company’s image.

On a personal viewpoint, it would be preferable to place the two applicants on probation. This gives both candidates equal opportunities to prove their value to the company on a leveled platform. It will also provide an opportunity to gain an unbiased opinion of the applicant with an implicating Facebook page (Kluemper, 2013, pg. 13). Nonetheless, strategies to remove those pictures should be discussed with the candidate to ensure that she approves. As such, the company will not only observe their capabilities first-hand but also examines their abilities to relate to people within the organization and contribute to teamwork. After the probation period, the candidate with better performance and who is also best suited should be chosen to fill the position. It will also ensure that the operations of the clinical trials are not stalled (Melanthiou,  Pavlou, and Constantinou, 2015. Pg. 43).

“Organic Food – what’s an ‘organic’ label worth?”

There is an increasing demand for organic products globally. However, the production of organic foods takes almost twice as much land and effort as using conventional methods. Though consumers are willing to pay for these premium products, the supply can barely meet the demand. In the USA and Europe alone, up to ninety percent of the population demands organic products. Consequently, these governments have supply labels to protect consumers and only give an allowance of 95% organic. Nevertheless, ethical problems have been encountered. They range from shell companies supplying counterfeit labels to farmers to companies replacing organic ingredients with inorganic ones.

A number of ethical issues have to be considered. First, consumers have inferior information to corporations and can only rely on the integrity of the government. Misleading advertisements such as using counterfeit labels and altering ingredients affect consumer choices. Besides, some countries such as China and Italy have been found in grave misconduct. Fraud cases have been encountered with conventional products being relabeled as organic (Nuttavuthisit, and Thøgersen, 2017, pg. 325). On the other hand, it is less expensive to grow conventional products than organic. The former requires less space while the latter, however, has an adverse impact on the environment.

On a personal perspective, companies should avoid fraudulent behavior by reporting the correct information relating to the ingredients in their products. Secondly, stringent measures should be placed on countries using banned pesticides to grow their products. Thirdly, the government should implement procedures to determine the nature of the products offered to the society by ensuring integrity in the offices that provide these labels (Vitell, and Hunt, 2015, pg. 22). In the meantime, new methods of dealing with climatic issues should be developed. Agroforestry should be employed to solve the problems that may arise such as cutting down of trees.

“Uzbek Cotton: a new spin on responsible sourcing”  

Cotton is a common raw material in the manufacturing of clothes. This raw material is sourced from different nations. However, the supply of cotton has been associated with cases of child and forced labor coupled with poor working conditions. Uzbekistan is one of the leading countries that supply cotton worldwide. It is also reported to exploit children and adults in the harvest of cotton. Most importantly, the government forces its people to harvest cotton, pay low wages and official reap most of the benefits. Since government action was not possible, international organization resulted in compelling the buyers of cotton, clothing companies, to boycott Uzbekistan cotton. This was initially met with resistance and denial of any knowledge of human rights violations (Kolk, 2016, pg.32).

Following the facts of this case, numerous ethical issues arise. First, the cotton supply chain is compromised. The buyers of cotton mix their products making it a challenge to trace the origin of cotton. Boycotting Uzbekistan cotton reduces cotton supply and affects revenues for the buyers raising ethical dilemmas. Secondly, the supply of cotton from Uzbekistan relies on child and forced labor. This is a violation of human rights. The working conditions are poor and the wages paid are low. For Uzbekistan government, ethical dilemmas lie between revenues and the exploitation of citizens (Donnelly, 2013, pg. 21). Lastly, the clothing industry claims to have no knowledge of the issue, yet they benefit from countries using forced labor to supply cotton.

Based on the above ethical problems, the measures installed are appropriate in the protection of Uzbekistan citizens. However, international organizations should influence a change in the administration of Uzbekistan. The government should increase media freedom and abolish forced and child labor. Additionally, the wage rate policy should be revised to distribute more money to the people rather than corrupt officials. Besides, the country should embrace democracies (Tomuschat, 2014, pg. 16). These approaches should solve the ethical issues relating to cotton supply.


Beauchamp, T.L., Bowie, N.E. and Arnold, D.G. eds., 2004. Ethical theory and business.

Carroll, A. and Buchholtz, A., 2014. Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.

Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.

Donnelly, J., 2013. Universal human rights in theory and practice. Cornell University Press.

Ferrell, O.C. and Fraedrich, J., 2015. Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Nelson Education.

Johnson, C.E., 2017. Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Sage Publications.

Kluemper, D.H., 2013. Social network screening: pitfalls, possibilities, and parallels in employment selection. In Social media in human resources management. (pp. 1-21). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Kolk, A., 2016. The social responsibility of international business: From ethics and the environment to CSR and sustainable development. Journal of World Business, 51(1), pp.23-34.

Melanthiou, Y., Pavlou, F. and Constantinou, E., 2015. The use of social network sites as an e-recruitment tool. Journal of Transnational Management, 20(1), pp.31-49.

Nuttavuthisit, K. and Thøgersen, J., 2017. The importance of consumer trust for the emergence of a market for green products: The case of organic food. Journal of Business Ethics, 140(2), pp.323-337.

Tomuschat, C., 2014. Human rights: between idealism and realism. OUP Oxford.

Vitell, S.J. and Hunt, S.D., 2015. The general theory of marketing ethics: the consumer ethics and intentions issues. Handbook on ethics and marketing, pp.15-37.

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