The Corporate Ethical Issue of Providing Questionable Products to Other Markets
The paper presents a real-life case that was witnessed in CornCo plant Company in Arizona. The corporate ethical issue in this case is the provision of contaminated products to other markets as a way of circumventing the strict administration laws concerning foods and drugs. George who the operations manager of CornCo plant has been informed about the aflatoxin- contaminated of the corn that has been brought for processing (Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell 289). Aflatoxin is a poisonous substance that develops when corn is not dried well.
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Therefore, when found in food substances, it qualifies the food as unfit for human consumption (Holland and Albrecht 779). It is therefore unethical for the company to export the products knowingly to other markets that may not have stringent inspection systems for the sole purpose of making profits and/or remaining competitive in the market. By doing this, the company will be deliberately putting the health and lives of consumers at risk.
Discussion of the submissions in the suggestion box
Different people have given George several suggestions, which border more on personal interests. The first suggestion must have come from his colleague who feels that he or she should do anything to save his or her jobs even if it means breaking rules and standards.
The organisation’s environment provides for different levels of ethical conduct. For instance, there is the ethical leadership at the top followed by ethical action, which is then followed by ethical education. At the bottom, there is ethical awareness (Holland and Albrecht 780). All these levels have been satisfactorily achieved by the organisation, thus eliminating any excuse for ignorance.
The second suggestion of exporting products to Mexico is wrong because it is meant to beat the food and drugs administration rules since it breaks ethical rules on food production. The third suggestion should be applied by George because he is aware of the problem and cannot act as if he is ignorant. The reason for observing ethical standards in the food industry is to avoid scenarios where the lives of consumers are endangered.
Pressure behind the Ethical Issues in this Scenario
There are two main driving forces in this scenario. The first pressure is the need to make profits for the company and/or to earn the executive’s bonuses. As Jake puts it, they need to cut costs as a way of making profits because their competitors have upped their game and would easily drive them out of the market (Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell 289). Therefore, there is pressure to buy the contaminated corn at a cheaper price as a way of cutting on production costs and increasing profit margins.
The second source of pressure is coming from George’s his immediate boss and colleagues who justify the need to use the corn to make a profit by saying that there will be layoffs among staff members if the company does not make profits. This has forced the threatened staff members to put pressure on George as a way of keeping their jobs. The third source is George’s awareness that such an action is legally unlawful. Thus, his conscience cannot allow him to do what is wrong.
Ethical principles are supposed to be self-governing and self-regulating for the players in the industry, with utmost good faith being the driver for this need. In most instances, businesses have failed this self-regulatory test, hence attracting the need for a body to enforce ethics and moral standards for the sake of the consumer.
Ferrell, Odies, John Fraedrich and Linda Ferrell. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases. Southwestern: Cengage Learning. Print.
Holland, Daniel and Chad Albrecht. “The Worldwide Academic Field of Business Ethics: Scholars Perception of the Most Important Issues.” Journal of Business ethics 117.4(2013): 777-788. Print.