Course: Business Law, Ethics and Social Responsibility
- Bob, President
- John, Chemical Engineer
- Henry, Controller
- Kirk, Assistant Controller
Kirk is a bright
individual who is being groomed for the Controller’s position in a medium-sized
manufacturing firm. After his first year as Assistant Controller, the officers
of the firm were starting to include him in major company functions. For
instance, today he was attending the monthly financial statement summary given
at a prestigious consulting firm. During the meeting, Kirk was intrigued at how
all the financial data he had been accumulating was transformed by the
consultant into revealing charts and graphs.
generally optimistic about the session and the company’s future until the
consultant started talking about the new manufacturing plant the company was
adding to the current location and the costs per unit of the chemically plated
products it produced. At that time, Bob (the President) and John (the chemical
engineer) started talking about waste treatment and disposal problems. John
mentioned that the current waste facilities were not adequate to handle the
waste products that would be created by the “ultramodern” new plant in a manner
that would meet the industry's fairly high standards, although they could still
comply with federal standards. Kirk’s boss, Henry, noted that the estimated
cost per unit would be increased if the waste treatment facilities were
upgraded according to recent industry standards.
standards are presently more stringent than federal regulations,
environmentalists are strongly pressuring for more stringent regulations at the
federal level. Bob mentioned that since their closest competitor did not have
the waste treatment facilities that already existed at their firm, he was not
in favor of further expenditure in this area. Most managers at this meeting
resoundingly agreed with Bob, and business continued on to another topic.
Kirk did not hear
a word during the rest of the meeting. He kept wondering how the company could
possibly have such a casual attitude toward the environment. Yet he did not
know if, how, or when he could share his opinion. Soon he started reflecting on
whether this was the right firm for him. What should Kirk do? Putting Corporate
Responsibility first, but recognizing the politics at play, what is the most
ethical thing to do? The most practical? What strategy would you suggest to
Kirk if he came to you for advice?
Instructions for Case Analyses (attached) to craft a response to this case, articulating
the main issues and ethical dilemma.
Review the assessment criteria below before you begin writing.
Submit a written
paper which is 2-3-pages in length exclusive of reference page and that is
double-spaced. You should cite relevant
resources in APA format.
Papers will be
assessed using the following criteria:
- identifies all the relevant facts of the
- articulates overarching ethical issues
including the extent of Kirk's responsibility to take action; how the interests
of the firm (and stockholders) can be balanced against the environmental
interests; what obligation the company has to future generations and citizens.
- identifies all stakeholders
- poses possible alternatives and ethics of
each alternative. Paper should explore
the possible alternatives and ethics from the Utilitarian Perspective, the
Rights Perspective, or the Justice Perspective
- identifies all practical constraints
- recommends a specific action Kirk should
take (may include leaving the company)
- is of high quality, writing is clear and
- conforms to the structural requirements
including APA style guidelines for References