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Business and Ethics
The business ethics checklist
Organizational Decisions-Making on Substandard Products
Unaccountable products from companies or manufacturers are often regarded dangerous, unsafe and substandard, both by the target consumers and government. Unfortunately, toy products stand among the most affected group of items within the field of production. Sub-standard products are those that do not meet the legal and safety standards and/or qualities set by the pertinent authorities. Such products may result due to failure in quality control during the production process, or failure in legal handling pursuit. According to Cockburn (2005), these are genuine items produced by legitimate manufacturers; however, they do not satisfy the quality disclaimers that the producer defines. It may not be intent of the company to cheat, but may be as a result of problems during the manufacturing process. Thecase of metal whistle herein is thereby regarded to fall under the category of sub-standard products, which could be hazardous to the target consumers- children (Shapiro, 1988). As the elementary division manager of this toy company, I hereby submit this report, presenting the possible alternatives to deal with or address the problem in question- production of substandard toy products "metal whistles," which could be dangerous or unsafe to children's consumption.
It is important for the company executives to identify the issues of concern and adopt the procedures and guidelines, which will be essential during the process of production or manufacturing (Shapiro, 1988). The company should adopt an ethical code of practice that stresses the significance of having a recognized disciplinary procedure for all the employees, including both the company executives together with those involved in the process of manufacturing (Herbert, 1999). Failure to adhere to the procedural policies (fair procedure) should be punishable by a fair dismissal, even if the employee holds a qualifying length of service for legal protection. Alternatively, if an employee unceasingly fails a set of performance required of her or him, a meeting should be held, in which the employee in question should receive a transcribed notice containing the details of the matter of concern. During the meeting, it is necessary to notify the employee about the consequences of failure to comply, including the further necessary disciplinary actions. Nevertheless, any affected employee should not be coerced to accept low payments or compromised status without his/her consent since that may be the most possible disadvantage of this strategy to employees.
As an alternative, the company should form a working group that includes management representatives, communications professionals, as well as internal and external counselors (Cockburn, 2005). Here, coordination among the regulatory teams, public statements, advertisements, quality assurance team, and the team involved in protocols for addressing the consumer inquiries should be essential to the company management. This strategy will keep the company on toes through developing an ethical communication plan, which consequently helps in building a constructive relationship between the company and its target market. It would be useful in creating a positive image of the company among the public, regarding the quality of the company's products. The issues of concern that will typically keep the production team on their toes involve regular response to congressional quality investigations, handling the media investigations, and response to the state attorney investigations via multi-coordinated departmental efforts. The above alternatives to the metal whistle production problem may involve little or no cost hence having no financial constraint on the toy company.
Alternatively, the company should adopt the general testing requirements to be performed in the process of production before the products shipment. One of the testing requirements would be the "use-and-abuse test" whose objective is to describe the particular testing methods conducted before the dispatch of toys, as well as other items intended for children as the end users. Such tests include "impact tests," which is done by dropping the toy about ten times from a height of 4-5 feet onto a given impact medium. Additionally, the bite tests will involve running of the toy item through a concocted viselike device to feign a child's bite. These testing requirements will vary depending on the intended use the toy product by a specified child age. These requirements would be ethically useful in eliminating the shipments of substandard products by the company; however, it may be expensive in the long run.
Specific to the whistle problem in question, the three alternatives to take may include separating all the whistles from other toys and returning them through the production process once more. This would be termed as re-production of the whistles sincethe company will have to incur an extra cost of $100 for re-production of the whistles.However, the manufacturers this time round will be obliged to keenly assess the actual process of lead application and/or combination with other metals involved it's the whistle production. This alternative will have a minor impact on the company's relationship with customers since the issue at hand shall be solved before reaching the target customers. However, I consider this alternative as honest and ethical act.I thereby recommend this alternative to be the most appropriate, of legal consideration, and ethical act. Upon the re-production of whistles and on keen scrutiny and correction of what could have caused the problem, the end product will finally be approved for repackaging and shipment hence creating positive image on the public for the company's products.
Another alternative for the whistle problem could be packaging and shipment of the whistles regardless of the high levels of lead traces or content in the whistles. This stance does not involve any financial consideration since the cost involved was purely for the initial production. Conversely, this is an illegal act and if realized by the concerned government departments, the company may be a subject to charges in the court of law for such unethical and health hazardous act. This alternative will also create a debauched image of the company on the public who will consider its products to be hazardous or dangerous for children (McDonalds, 2004). As a result, there will be a compromised relationship between the company and its customers. This circumstance may lead to public suspicions and negative perceptions regarding the company's products hence the toy company may undergo financial trauma in long run due to the possible losses on its products. Finally, the company may opt to dispose the whistles with problem at extremely low prices without considering the costs involved in their production. This act still remains illegal and unethical as the destination will still be the target customers (to be used by children) causing health hazards due to the extra traces of lead on the whistles. The major disadvantage here relates this alternative to health issues since the whistles will highly be dangerous for usage by children with age limits of 7 years and below. Additionally, this alternative may lead to financial constraints resulting from enormous loses as the whistles will be sold at extremely low prices regardless of the cost of producing them.
In selecting the above alternatives, I analyzed the metal whistle problem, and asked myself a couple of questions in order to establish the exact purpose of this decision: what is the exact problem? Why solve this problem? Who are the affected individuals by this problem? Does the problem in question hold a specific time-line or deadline (McDonalds, 2004)?In the second step, I gathered the necessary information relating to the problem's effect on stakeholders and set up the baseline criteria for judgment of the possible alternatives. In this stage, the corporate culture, as well as the organizational goals must be taken into consideration. Thereafter, I considered, compared and contrasted the pros and cons of each alternative, and its probability. Using the decision making criteria and judgment principles, I evaluated and compared the alternatives based on their positives and negatives. After the processes above, I selected the best…[continue]
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