Ethics Essay Assignment
This is an Ethics Essay Assignment Analysis of my understanding of Dr. Dennis Gioia’s Presentation.
Deriving close reference from the presentation by Dr. Dennis Gioia on the Ford Pinto, it is notably learned that the issue of corporate social responsibility needs to be addressed and followed to the script. I am not fascinated by the work ethics of Ford officials, especially the safety department, in their ethical composure towards the issue of concern in their Ford Pinto’s fuel tank. As laid out by Dr. Dennis Gioia in his presentation, the act of mere ignorance by the Ford management regarding the issue of concern in their product later led to an uncontrolled accident that claimed many lives of people. An ethical dilemma is visible in this context, where the Ford officials discuss whether it is economically viable to redesign the Ford Pinto engines at an extra cost of $11. With a detailed cost-to-benefit analysis, they conclude that it was more expensive to redesign the engine and they decided to continue production of the model (Lampe et al., 2012). This is the negligence of the highest degree and shows how the company lacked corporate social responsibility to society at the time. The company solely focused on its own interests rather than those it serves. The moral lesson behind this presentation is the evidence of a lack of ethics in the corporate world, which is focused on bettering themselves rather than bettering the lives of the communities they serve.
By relating this to the modern era, where technology has dominated most processes and functions, it is evident that most corporations have tried to improve their ethical approach towards some issues, especially matters affecting their clients daily (Lampe et al., 2012). One of the impressions that have impacted me is that due negligence by a company can cause prolonged court cases and, worse of all, unclaimed loss of lives due to mistakes that would have been fixed. This raises the question of corporate social responsibility and if they are answerable to the problems their products cause in the everyday lives of individuals. In such a scenario, accountability would be necessary to ensure that each responsible individual is critically evaluated on his/her competency and, if possible, ordered to resign under exact circumstances. Without such tight measures, the responsibility chain incorporates will not be maintained and wrongs done will lack their prior accountability therein. By referring to the lessons drawn from this presentation, my thinking has been positively affected by experiencing the challenging factor of ethics in corporations and how the topic of ethics is being handled by top officials.
Most corporations exist for the sole purpose of profit-making. That being said, it should also be understood that all corporates have a role to play in ensuring the safe usage of their product, as referred to as social responsibility. Equating the scenario where Ford officials compute a cost-benefit analysis of redesigning the Ford Pinto engine, it is notably evident how such corporates are geared to maintain their own rather than that of the general public (Lampe et al., 2012). With modernization, some strict measures have been put in place to ensure that corporates are socially responsible to those they submit to, especially the public.
Laws have been set to govern the public’s interest to prevent corporate exploitation (Lampe et al., 2012). These laws are followed up by agencies who ensure their equal application and that no substandard goods are manufactured and let out to the public without adhering to the state’s safety precautions and procedures. This has, therefore, enlightened my knowledge of the need always to have laws protecting the buyer against cruel and unethical corporate practices. These practices are initiated solely to benefit the corporation wholly. Therefore, My thinking has changed regarding whether corporations can be trusted to be ethically conducted. However, after reading the presentation by Dr. Dennis Gioia, I have come to understand that the existence of laws is for the sole benefit of the ordinary citizen to bar him against direct manipulation by the manufacturer. Were these safety and precaution standards in existence, I can attest that the number of accidents and deaths related to the consumption or usage of substandard products would be rampant to levels uncontrollable by the government. Therefore, deriving close reference from the case where three teenagers lost their lives while driving a Ford Pinto, it is notably evident that corporations want to serve the public to the level where they feel most profitable.
In conclusion, the cost-benefit analysis carried out by Ford opted for the loss of more lives rather than the redesign of the Ford engines. In their own argument, they claimed that it was more expensive to redesign the existing Ford Pinto engines in the market rather than just compensating for the lives lost. This shows how corporations would manipulate the public if modern safety and standards were nonexistent due to a lack of ethics and corporate social responsibility.
Lampe, Marc, and Crystal Engleman-Lampe. “Mindfulness-based business ethics education.” Academy of Educational Leadership Journal.
Ethics Essay Assignment – Response to Dr. Gioia
You are asked to respond to the following ethics question. The raw material for your answer will come from your reading of:
Kidder, Chapter 1
Ford, Chapter 11
Your notes from the large lecture presentation by Dr. Gioia
The Pinto Case, by Dr. Gioia
Engineer’s Lament by Malcolm Gladwell
Our class discussion of the topic
Other readings posted to ANGEL
Your ethics essay should be 1½ single-spaced pages (or 3 double-spaced pages). Be specific and use examples from the readings or from your own experience. If you would rather write about an ethics topic or event of more immediate concern to you, please do so.
I hasten to point out that this essay should not be considered ‘technical writing’. There is no “correct” answer to this question, of course. Full credit of 3 course points shows that you have presented a cogent response. Two bonus points will be rewarded to particularly persuasive arguments that show extra maturity of thought.
Dr. Dennis Gioia delivered a fascinating Outside Voices presentation on the case of the Ford Pinto from the perspective of one who was personally involved in the imbroglio. Perhaps from that talk, you got a glimpse of how these ethical dilemmas emerge from “normal” day-to-day events and can have a devastating impact on all the players involved. Dr. Gioia raised many challenging points. You are asked to respond to Dr. Gioia’s presentation and to relate the issues he raised to your own experience. You might:
- Discuss one or more of the issues that he raised that made an impression on you;
- Discuss one or more ways that your thinking changed as a result of this presentation;
- Consider the take-away lessons from his experience that Dr. Gioia suggested. (His list, taken from my notes, is provided on page 2.) How do you see these lessons playing out in the Pinto case? Explain how you might apply these lessons in your own professional work.
(While you might refer to more than one of these three suggested topics, choose only one as your primary focus.) Use what you learned in the “raw materials” cited above and give specific examples or scenarios to demonstrate your points.
Dr. Gioia’s “lessons” (with my clarifying comments in parentheses):
- Self-awareness – be aware of your decision making schemas. (You naturally develop shortcuts to cognitive thinking in your daily work. Give examples and discuss how might you keep them from leading you astray?)
- Shifting self: Recognize that your identity is closely tied to your profession, company and job role. (So? If I am to be a good engineer, shouldn’t I think and act like an engineer?)
- Shifting values: Recognize that organizational culture has a subtle but powerful influence on your decisions. Everyone has a referent group that he or she wants to be similar to, but distinct from. (How can you keep from losing your own identity in your effort to serve the larger organization?)
- Urgency: Decide your values and develop your ethical base NOW. If you don’t, someone else will take advantage of you.
- Gravity: Expect critical responsibilities early in your career. Be prepared. (Dr. Gioia commented that NOT to recall the Pinto was a probabilistic decision to hurt someone. Yet, Ford cannot recall everything.)
- Courage: Be ready for subtle challenges to your value system and do the right thing. (He said, “You can do better than I did.” But what did he do wrong?)