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Business Ethics in Reference to Union Carbide of Bhopal, India Term Paper

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Updated: Sep 13th, 2021

Introduction

The Bhopal plant was constructed in 1970 in India with the aim of producing pesticides to aid agricultural production, provide employment, and more so provide enable India, the world’s most populated country to meet its domestic food need. A terrible disaster occurred at Bhopal, India in 1984 on December 3 early in the morning whereby a chemical firm caused a major industrial accident due to gas leakage, though the incident occurred many years ago, it still remains fresh in the mind of many and there are still court cases proceeding filed by the victims, to date the chemical firms have taken maximum precautionary measure to curtail any likelihood of such an episode. The firm, Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) was ordered to pay a lump sum of money which was 470 USD but later the amount was reduced after a legal tussle but besides that amount, the firm spent millions of USD to cater for the victims in many ways.

Business ethics is the code of behavior displayed in reference to the principles in the commercial context; it’s generalized in normative and descriptive business ethics. The businesses ethics of a firm are determined by how the firm carries its self or displays its noneconomic social principles. Business ethics are closely related to the culture and the identity of a firm

Main body

From the general business ethics point of view, whereby a firm has laid down its own principles and objectives, the firm (UCIL) was not brought down or did not stop carrying on its business even after the tragedy in which about 3800 people perished, the firm continued to carry on with its business beside paying compensation which was huge. Further the firm’s social responsibility, the firm displayed this by providing immediate aid to the victims by providing them with all the necessary support by providing the financial, psychological, and physical needs during the time of need. This included a clean of the sight at Bhopal which was preceded by daily assistance to the victims including setting up a charitable organization and millions of USD to care for the victims. The clean up of the site has stopped due to political stalemate and the place still remains contaminated with metric tons of toxin thriving area, cases of poisonous toxins have been reported in breastfeeding mothers milk and ground ware has been reported to have a high level of toxins including mercury due to the high level of contamination.

The professional code of ethics of the plant came into question since the firm was said to have tried to lobby with some lawyers so that they would favor them during the legal suit, more so the firm did not have enough professionals who could serve the firms needs, some supervisors were also bending the precautionary rules in preference for short cuts which could have lead to gas leakage. The firms also did not have a strong well-structured control system since some essential machines like the fridge which was supposed to have been used to maintain MIC at 4.5 degrees but instead it was stored at 20 degrees. The human resources ethics involves how the human resources are managed in a firm; this includes matters like discrimination, promotion, decision making, whistleblowing, and issues about termination of the employees. The workers of the firm were not well trained and were using English manual which some did not understand, promotional of employees was halted and employees hence they were always not motivated in there work, to add insult to injury, the employees complain were ignored and employees who refused to follow deviate from the safety precaution were fined. The kind of management was that of an autocrat since only a few people were involved in decision-making. The ethics of production determines how a plant produces its goods ensuring that there are necessary safety measures are put in place during the production. This includes ensuring that their products and production process do not cause any harm even to the environment. The firm should ensure there is harmony with its environment by preventing all the possible chances of pollution and even reducing carbon emissions and carrying out extensive product testing to ensure that product testing is carried out to reduce any chances of harm to the recipients of the product. Firms should even adopt the latest technology to ensure that all the kinds of safety measures are put in place. The firm did not follow the accept the persuasion by people to relocate to a less populated area from the heart of Bhopal town which was heavily populated since it was producing chemicals which were lethal in case of an accident, the firm further was using a cheaper raw material (MIC) which was not safe workers and worsened their working conditions which against human rights and production ethics. The means to reduce the costs was a good move to increase revenues but it applied unethical means which included not using manuals which could be understood by the Indians more so the plan had not been prepared for such big problems and some machines had not been ordering for long period with no corrective measures being taken and there were even extreme cases where workers were forced to bend safety rules by the supervisors. All these factors put on show the big magnitude of the level of negligence leading to this problem.

The firm was run in an unprofessional way because several alarms had been raised about the occurrences which were ignored including one raised by the firm’s scientist months before the incident. In fact, it was claimed that the siren gas leakages were so frequent in the plant to the extent that the alarm sirens had been turned off. After the disaster, an independent investigation team was appointed to determine what may have caused the trouble, it was coincidental that Union Carbide India Limited had put all the necessary safety measures in place to curb the chances of such an ugly incident, it was further concluded that the problem was created by a person intentionally with an ill motive by putting water into the gas storage tank which followed a chemical reaction hence leading to a gas leakage which resulted to massive killing of innocent people. The firm, therefore, had to accept the liability which arose and pay the plaintiff compensation for the damages. This has lead to some of its top executives being sued after the investigations found them guilty of negligence.

To improve disaster preparedness by the general public and to the firm in all kinds of business especially those dealing with the production of dangerous products, the firm in cooperation with other international firms came up with a well-defined code of ethics on matters of safety during production called Globally implement responsible care whose purpose includes stepping p the safety standards and increasing the community awareness on emergency preparedness.

Corporate ethics in the field are meant to guide the employees on how to follow the corporate culture and more so this includes holding workshops and seminars to make sure that all the environmental factors which can lead to workers to engage in unethical conduct, in our reference the firm practices the corporate which is questionable because if all the workers moral fiber was upright, this kind of incidence could have not occurred since the firm claims that there was foul play by one of the workers The firm production and all other departments should always ensure that all the security measures are put in place and on time, this is because such an incident usually creates a negative public image of the company especially where the victim’s losses life. The firms should ensure that the priority for noneconomic social values is given some contemplation to ensure that the business identity is protected.

Conclusion

The production ethics should be clearly defined and closely monitored to ensure that the safety measures in place are up to date so that chances of accidents are minimized. The international rules and regulations should also be well-thought-out when putting the production firms in any location

References

  1. Sekhar R. C, Ethical choices in business, 2003, Sage publications
  2. Sheila Jasanoff, learning from disaster: risk management after Bhopal, 1994, University Of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania
  3. . Web.
  4. . Web.
  5. . Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web.
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IvyPanda. "Business Ethics in Reference to Union Carbide of Bhopal, India." September 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/business-ethics-in-reference-to-union-carbide-of-bhopal-india/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Business Ethics in Reference to Union Carbide of Bhopal, India." September 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/business-ethics-in-reference-to-union-carbide-of-bhopal-india/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Business Ethics in Reference to Union Carbide of Bhopal, India'. 13 September.

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