Case Study Analysis of Personal and Organizational Ethics and Values Between For-Profit and Not-For-Profit Organizations Case Study

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Ethics Case Study

This report presents an analysis of the ethical challenges faced by two organizations -- one in the not-for-profit sector named Susan G. Komen for the Cure and one in the for-profit sector named The Lubrizol Corporation. A brief background of the two organizations is provided which also includes a description of the ethical challenge. Several alternatives for each organization are discussed along with implications for various stakeholders. Out of the three alternatives for each organization, two are rejected and the reasons for rejection are also presented. The proposed solution for each organization is discussed and is followed by a detailed recommendation based on specific steps and measures to be taken by the management. The report concludes with a reflection on the qualities of an effective response to real-life ethical challenges faced by organizations.

Table of Contents





Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3

2.2 The Lubrizol Corporation 4

3.0 Analysis of Alternatives 5

3.1 Alternatives for Susan G. Komen for the Cure 5

3.2 Alternatives for The Lubrizol Corporation 6

3.3 Reasons for Rejection 8

4.0 Proposed Solutions 9

4.1 Proposed Solution for Susan G. Komen for the Cure 9

4.2 Proposed Solution for The Lubrizol Corporation 10

5.0 Recommendations 11

6.0 Conclusion 12

References 12


1.0 Introduction

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a not-for-profit organization, faces the challenge of conflicting values and priorities for its funding decisions. This has resulted in the organization becoming embroiled in a controversy about discrimination and hypocrisy in providing funding to other charitable institutions. On the other hand, The Lubrizol Corporation, a for-profit organization, is likely to face a challenge from environmental investors who may not want to invest in the company because of its supporting the consumption of fossil fuels, which leads to environmental pollution. This organization has to balance the duty to be economically efficient and profitable for its investors with the demands for being socially and environmentally responsible.

This paper analyzes the ethical implications of various alternatives available to the two organizations and proposes a solution to each of them. These solutions reflect the need for organizations to formulate a formal code of ethics that accommodates economic principles for organizational sustainability, reasonable expectations of important stakeholders and the personal values of the organizational members.

2.0 Background

2.1 Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1982 by current CEO Nancy Brinker in memory of her sister's struggle with breast cancer (Susan G. Komen, 2012). The organization is widely respected as one of the leading and most influential advocates for raising awareness of breast cancer and funding research for its treatment. The organization has affiliates operating across the United States where teams of employees, inters and volunteers strive to improve the quality of life for the women suffering from breast cancer and helping their families get along with their life. The organization attracts millions in donations every year that it spends on breast cancer research and the treatment of breast cancer patients. The official slogan, Race for the Cure, has found resonance among the public so much that the organization has had to make quite an effort to prevent other organizations from appropriating it for their own drives. To date, the organization has contributed two billion dollars to breast cancer research.

An ethical dilemma that faces this organization emerged in February of 2012 when the organization decided to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood on the grounds that it was following a policy of not providing funding to organizations that were under state or federal investigation. Planned Parenthood was at that time under investigation for whether it was using donation from federal funding to finance its abortion services (Roan, 2012). It also offers breast cancer screening and mammography services. This withdrawal caused a huge controversy and the organization was accused of discriminating against those opting for abortion for the reason that it was discovered that Susan Komen regularly funds organizations under state or federal investigation. These include the University of Texas at Austin, Duke University's Medical Center and the University of California at San Diego's Medical School (Ryan, 2012). The ethical issue faced by the organization is whether or not to resume funding to Planned Parenthood.

2.2 The Lubrizol Corporation

The Lubrizol Corporation is one of the world's renowned oil additives manufacturers. The company was established in 1928 and today it employs more than 7000 employees (The Lubrizol Corporation, 2012). The company relies on its scientific research as the core strength behind its phenomenal success and leadership. In 2011, the revenues of the company exceeded $6 billion. In addition, the company has embarked n continuous innovation and diversification to expand its product base and the number of patents under its belt. Based in Ohio, United States, the company manages operations across the world in countries as diverse as Germany, China and Australia. The company has diversified away from its core competency in developing fuel additives to manufacturing engine oils, household lubricants and personal care products. This has allowed it to become a more stable company without depending on a limited range of products and markets for its success. Despite the current recession in the economy, the company has been able to grow because of effective structural changes initiated by the management.

One ethical issue that applies to this company is that of being aligned with companies that produce environmentally-damaging products or who habitually pollute the environment as a result of their operations. The Lubrizol Corporation manufactures fuel additives as its primary product. This has made it the famous and respected company that it is. However, from an ethical viewpoint, the company may not attract investment from ethical or environmentally-conscious investors on the grounds that it manufactures products that are used by industries that pollute the environment. Recently, the company has also diversified into polymers, which is also a sector that produces non-biodegradable products, thus adding to the problems of environmental pollution. In this regard, it must be seen what the company can do to demonstrate its principles and ethical stand on environmental issues such as pollution and resource conservation.

3.0 Analysis of Alternatives

3.1 Alternatives for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The first alternative available to Susan Komen for resolving the ethical dilemma is to develop a clear articulation of its funding policy and to describe the criteria that were used to withdraw the funding from Planned Parenthood. Abortion is a controversial issue in American society while Susan Komen works for a cause that is widely appreciated. It should detach itself from controversial issues by clearly stating that it makes economic sense for the organization to seek funding from the broad spectrum of society without causing hurt feelings or sensibilities to any particular section of the community. Although Planned Parenthood provides breast cancer screening services, but as the name suggests, its primary service is abortion, which may be offensive to many people. Therefore, in order to maintain its general appeal and acceptability in the community, Susan Komen should withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood by clearly articulating its donation policy.

The second alternative available to Susan Komen is to continue to fund Planned Parenthood as it continues to fund other organizations currently under state or federal investigation. It should develop a policy that states its desire to focus on the welfare of breast cancer patients as its primary aim. Any other activity of the organization, even if controversial, would be irrelevant for the purpose of deciding the funding to the organization. According to this argument, Susan Komen should continue to fund Planned Parenthood as long as that organization provides breast cancer screening services to the community. That it also provides abortion services that are viewed controversially by certain sections of the community does not in any way help or hinder the provision of breast cancer services, which is the reason why donors give millions to Susan Komen.

A third alternative for Susan Komen is to withdraw funding from all organizations that are under investigation by federal or state agencies. This policy should be developed and applied uniformly across all sections of society. This policy should appear objective and should not be viewed as a bias by members of the public because the decision is made on the basis of how the law-enforcing agencies perceive recipient organizations and not how Susan Komen perceives their activities. Under the previous two alternatives, the decision to fund or withdraw would invite suspicion and criticism from certain sections of society who would be offended by the decision. On the other hand, the present alternative would result in an objective criterion for funding that might result in reduced donations to Susan Komen by philanthropists and organizations who perceive such a policy as an excuse for discriminating against organizations like Planned Parenthood and the concept of individual rights.

3.2 Alternatives for The Lubrizol Corporation

The first alternative available to The Lubrizol Corporation is to continue…

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