Business Ethics Essay
This paper seeks to analyze the case of ‘The Sole Remaining Supplier’ whereby this researcher is assumed to part of the board of directors who will have to make a decision for the company whether the company as sole supplier of transistor will continue or stop as such in supplying the same to a manufacturer of a heart pacemaker. Some of the questions to be resolved include those of knowing the ethical issue, knowing who the stakeholders are by knowing the latter’s motive and goals. The paper will attempt to identify the most important stakeholders to the company with justifications.
This paper will further identify and discuss the alternatives available and the decision that must be made to resolve the issue identified. 2. Questions and Answers 2. 1 What is the ethical issue? Whether the company is responsible for the use of the transistor that its produces is one that is bothering the present board of directors of which this researcher is assumed to be a part. The present board of directors needs therefore to make a decision whether it is ethically correct to continue producing and selling transistors to a maker of heart pacemaker considering that company is the remaining
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The case facts provide that one of the uses of the transistor is for the production of the heart pacemaker which may have resulted to death of some of the patients along with other factors such as the fact that doctors are not skillful in installing pacemakers. The board was also informed of the story of person having to yawn deeply and thereby pulling the pacemakers in this chest and as caused his death a result. For fear that the company will be involved in a lawsuit together with the company who will use the transistor for the production of heart pacemakers, there appears to be cause to balance things in a proper perspective.
2. 2 Who are the shareholders? The stakeholders are those who have interests from the business and who stand to benefit or suffer some damages or risks from the continued business of selling transistors to the pacemaker manufacturer. They therefore include the customers, employees, the managers, the creditors, the community and the government. 2. 3 What are their motives? The motives of the stakeholders vary in terms of their interests or in their needs brought by the circumstances. For the customers, they want to make use of transistors produced by the company.
For the purpose of this case, the manufacturer uses the transistors to heart pacemakers. Hence patients with heart ailments and who will be advised by doctors to use heart pacemakers are part of extended customers for transistors. For the pacemaker manufacturer, it wants to sustain the provision of the need in the patients requiring such heart pacemakers thus as customer it complained that it the company will not sell to them transistors, none will sell anymore to it and same would mean cessation of service to those who will the need the heart pacemakers.
The employees including the managers of the company that sells transistors to heart-pacemaker manufacturer are motivated to benefit from the continued production and sale of transistors as the same would mean continued and sustained employment with the company. However the managers which may include the board of directors are affected by the liability that may cause the company due continued sale of transistors with the feared eventual effects on the patients using heart pacemakers. The motivation for profit may have to be balanced by the fear of consequences of the decision to continue selling transistors.
The creditors may not have been mentioned in the case but it could be assumed that purchase of some materials for the manufacture of the transistors may involve transaction with creditors where in certain cases, the company would have to avail some kind of credit or any other mode of financing for the acquisition of materials. These creditors may include banks and suppliers of materials and supplies. These stakeholders just like any group of business want to have continued business and they are motivated basically by profit but there could also be some ethical question if they know these matters affecting the company.
The government may be included as stakeholder in terms of ensuring that laws are faithfully obeyed particularly those pertaining to heath and tax laws. It would want that patients requiring pacemakers could acquire the same in the market at the most reasonable price and at the best value or quality. The continued business would also mean continued source of taxes for government to sustain its operations. The community is interested in promoting the people’s health in the community by particularly reducing death incidents caused by heart problems that could have been served or prevented by the use of heart pacemakers.
A continued business could also mean continued employment from people residing within the community thus this could be contributory to some social or economic objectives. 2. 4 What are their goals? The goals of the stakeholders are generally related to their motives and interest. Since these stakeholders would have to live with reality, it would be consistent with human nature if they targets only what could be realistically attained under the circumstances. Their goals therefore include the motives as tempered by realities. 2. 5 Which stakeholders are most important to the company?
Why? The issue of determining the most important stakeholders to the company is a matter of value since every stakeholder is important to the company. For the purpose of this paper, the most important stakeholders are the patients who will need the heart pacemakers and who are part of the extended customers. The value of producing the transistor is in its capacity to satisfy the human need for longer and better life due to benefits from the products produced. The customers start the business thus there is basis to consider the same as the most important stakeholder (Cassidy 2005).
As stated however that every other stakeholders is as important to the company, there is need to make some explanation about the matter. While it can argued that if there are owners or stockholders who will take the risk is using some capital to put the business of producing and selling transistors to pacemaker manufacturer, it can also be argued that if there are no buyers of its product, there could be no market to satisfy. While it can argued that without customers there is no need to satisfy, the employees as well are needed in order to deliver the products to the manufacturer.
If there are no employees to make and deliver the transistors to the pacemaker, no pacemaker will also be produced and the needs of patients will not be satisfied. The community is also important because it suppliers the needed source of employment for the company and will it will make sure that the social and economic needs are met partly because of what the company can provide. The government is also important in ensuring peace and compliance with other laws for the efficient and effective operation of the company. Creditors too must be paid for them to stay in business and be part of the need satisfiers.
2. 7 What are the alternatives facing the company? The alternatives include stop selling transistor to the company making pacers, continue selling without any restriction or condition and continue selling with certain restrictions or conditions. To stop selling is an option that could be justified only of the business is illegal and the business will not produce profits. The case facts appear not to sustain this option. To continue selling without any restriction or condition given the fear that company would be liable to patients is not only ethically wrong because patients could die but also impractical.
The other option therefore is just to continue selling to the pacesetter manufacturer and announcing or making known to the latter about the limitations of the transistors what it is producing and imposing the conditions that the manufacturer should put up standard that would ensure product quality for its pacemakers in accordance with internationally accepted standards and one that would comply with existing laws, rules and regulations. 2. 8 What is the decision? The decision is still to continue selling those transistors but with some conditions and restriction for its use by the manufacturer of pacemaker.
Between selling and not selling, it is more ethical to continue selling. While there may have been causes which are worrisome for the come company like the fact that deaths have resulted, the case facts do not provide a clear indication that primarily cause was the transistor which is just a part of the pacemaker. What was indicated in the facts was the lack of skill of doctors and installing the pacemaker. This cause should not be blamed on the manufacturer of the transistor.
The fact that doctors determine the need to have pacemaker is not illegal and product use is called for by medical science hence the satisfaction of that need cannot be ethically wrong. What is ethically wrong is the failure to maintain the required standard in the manufacture of the product. Since it is the feeling of this board that the specs used by the manufacturer to test transistors are not strong, the same could be corrected by imposing certain conditions and restriction before continued sale to them that would correct the deficiency of the present use of the pacemaker.
By practicing due professional care in insuring safety and quality of the product it sells, the company could put the company to have a good defense in case it will be sued for any liability about the use of its products. The fact that the company could be sued is not justification to stop selling if the company can do some preventive measures to stop the possible cause of the liability. 2. 9 What strategies must be employed for various stakeholders?
The strategies to be employed for various stakeholders should include one that will provide a balance to all the interests of these shareholders as each shareholder’s take is very important and one stakeholder is complementary to the others. One interest cannot operate apart from the other. The stakeholders all live in a community where needs and wants are to be satisfied. If these stakeholders realize this, it is easier for each one to share in building a community of people where everyone is willing to become part to solutions than to problems.
Customers must have their needs satisfied by ensuring quality goods and service. Shareholders or owners need to earn above cost of capital for them to stay in business. Employees need to have a living wage which is a basic human right so as to maintain their self-worth and for their economic well-being. Government must continue to function by paying correct taxes so that it could make and implement laws effectively. Creditors need to be paid the credits to continue if providing financial and other resources.
The community need to accomplish of providing meaningful lives for everybody in making sure that needs and justifiable wants are satisfied legally, morally, efficiently and effectively. 3. Conclusion Every stakeholder exists for a reason which is basically to benefit from cause while it has obligation to other stakeholders. As man is created with a need with humans to satisfy them, nothing could be more ethical than seeing these needs satisfied. In this particular case, the need for patients for better functioning of their hearts is a fact assessed by the medical profession.
Since doctors are not there as manufacturers of products that could assist or help in satisfying that need, somebody like the company as supplier of transistor has to do its part. There may be risks and ethical issues in providing transistors but knowing how to balance the interest of stakeholders as suggested in this case could be a way to being part of the solution rather than the problem. References: Case Study – The Case of the Sole Remaining Supplier Cassidy, A. (2005), Practical Guide to Information Systems Strategic Planning, CRC Press