Example Of Ethical Dilemma Case Study
Question 1: Explaining the main ethical dilemma(s) in the case study
The OptiMotors Company is a perfect example on how business management has an impact to an organization. A Proper and mature approach is likely to lead to success while a negative and unstable approach may lead to the organization in the question collapsing. The company arose from a humble background to become an important player in the industry. However, a number of factors may lead to its downfall, despite recent successes. A number of ethical dilemmas play a significant role in derailing the company’s steady rise in attaining its core goals.
According to the case study, the ethical dilemma that arises is as regards to the extent to which the company’s employees are involved in the decision-making of the company. As per Bob’s understanding, Galen had all the ingredients of a good salesperson. With this in mind, he trusted him to control every aspect of the company, without taking keen interest in the grievances of the other employees. Moments after signing the multi-million dollar contract with Kinan Motors, the key employees resolved to move on. April, for instance, cites the strictness of Galen as the main reason as to why she was quitting her job (Modley et al. 36). Although she was not complaining of the high standards that Galen had set for them, Galen had gone to the extent o where he could not entertain the ideas of other employees when they failed to meet such standards. It is apparent that the numbers that Galen required were too high for April to consistently produce. Next in line was Joan who was seeking to resign. Her reason for this move was that Galen had been very strict (he once rejected her request to be involved in the process of negotiating a deal as she was the one to do the follow up). To her, there were some aspects of discrimination based on her gender. To this extent, the CEO (Bob) would find himself in a situation where he needed to make a decision so as to save the company from any potential decline. Would he fire Galen, considering that it was his strictness and firmness that had driven the company to the top? Would he let the employees leave, considering the fact that they were the ones who performed the company’s roles at the basic level? Either of these decisions was difficult to make, as it would entail the company losing some key players. This is the ethical dilemma that OptiMotors found itself in.
The above dilemma can be analyzed using various schools of thought, all of which might be relevant to certain extent. In a nutshell, these perspectives may entail the utilitarian approach, the libertarian perspective, the deontological perspective and the virtue ethics perspective. These perspectives are better discussed below.
The utilitarian perspective bases any action to be taken on morality with the belief that this will maximize utility (Quinton, 54). This means that the moral importance of an action will be given more weight whenever an action for a dilemma is to be sought (Smart, 34). Going by this approach, the ways that the company could approach the problem were limited. Utilitarianism aims at maximizing utility within an organization or a company. With this being the case, the company should engage in ways through which it can make both the leaders and the other employees feel comfortable. Whereas it was Galen’s role to ensure that the employees under his umbrella were productive, it would be prudent to ensure the standards he set were within their ability without subjecting them to unnecessary discomfort. Using this perspective, it is also imperative that respect be a two-way tool, where the leader respects the employees and in turn, the employees to respect their leader. This seems not to be the case. There is a lot of discontent, evidenced by the move by the two ladies to quit their jobs despite the company performing well. This was as a result of them not being satisfied to whatever they were being subjected to.
The libertarian approach is not commonly employed in workplace environments as it may have negative impacts to performance of the company in question (Machan, 43). Freedom of choice is the key tenet of this philosophy, meaning that the employees will be given the right to choose between what is right and what is wrong (Narveson, 32). Whereas this approach may seem to be the best as regards as satisfying its employees, its key failure is that it does not focus on development and success. In the case scenario, for instance, using this perspective would entail the CEO and the sales leader giving the employees the liberty to choose how to go about their work. If this approach is effected, the possibility of OptiMotors rising from the humble beginnings it was once in is limited. Galen’s move to set standards for the employees was crucial as it dictated them to give their best and stay focused for the company to yield better results. Within a short period, this was achieved as the company found itself competing in the industry’s major league. Whereas this perspective could not have led to the dilemma being faced by the company at present (employee quitting), there are doubts as to whether the company could be in the position it is in currently.
The deontological perspective is a bit different from the above approaches. This approach analyzes the action depending on how such an action adhered to rules that are set (Miller, 39). As such, it is concerned in understanding and evaluating whether the available set of rules were followed in coming up with the action in question. In the case study, this perspective of ethics may be concerned in knowing whether in setting the high standards for the employees to meet, Galen followed a stipulated guideline within which the employees were to work. Such would also entail analyzing whether in meeting such a high performance, Galen went against the rules of conduct on how he ought to relate with the employees under him. As a matter o fact, the CEO had entrusted Galen to come up with relevant measures to ensure that the company’s performance was excellent. No information is provided as to whether in setting the high standards, Galen broke the available rules. Despite this, it would still seem that Galen went past his mandate to promote sexual discrimination in the company. By denying Joan an opportunity to meet the prospective partners of the company, Galen had acted outside his mandate, considering the fact that Joan was to play a significant role in making follow ups.
The virtue ethics approach would definitely work against Galen. This is because his activities promoted gender discrimination in the workplace (Peperzak et al. 76). His position as regards to whether Joan was to join the potential partners or not is not morally upright. He also ends up setting high standards for the employees, despite the fact that they were not comfortable with them.
In the situation provided in the case study, the deontological perspective would seem to be the most effective to be employed. This approach is based on the fact that a company has a set of rules and regulations within which the operations are based. To this regard, any action or procedure must be based on the rules provided. Going against such rules that are stipulated would mean that undue procedure is followed. In the case of OptiMotors, the CEO passively gives Galen the powers of directing the operations of the company. A keen analysis points out that there were no rules within which his authority and actions were based. It was because of this that he came up with tough standards to which he subjected the employees under his armpit, causing them a lot of suffering. In an ideal situation, it would be almost impossible to see an employee quitting a job when the company is performing well. This is not the case, however, with OptiMotors where most of the employees are already fed up with Galen’s strictness. As Bob realizes later, Galen had been too strict to the employees, setting them standards that would be very difficult to meet (Modley et al. 34). This meant that although the employees achieved what was needed of them, the conditions under which they succeeded were not appealing. This is the best ethical perspective that should be used when analyzing the case of OptiMotors.
Modley, Edie M., and Humphreys John. "How Long Will You Go." Harvard Business Review, April/May 2004, 33-37.
Machan, Tibor R. The Libertarian Reader. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982.
Miller, Frederic P. Ethics of Care: Ethics, Consequentialism, Deontological Ethics, Relational Ethics. [S.l.]: Alphascript Pub, 2010.
Narveson, Jan. The Libertarian Idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.
Peperzak, Adriaan Theodoor. Before Ethics. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1997.
Quinton, Anthony. Utilitarian Ethics. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973.
Smart, J. J. C. An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics. [Carlton]: Melbourne University Press on behalf of the University of Adelaide, 1961.
Virtue Ethics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997.