A Case Study Analysis
Step I: Understanding the Situation
Step I (A). List and number of relevant facts of the case
Step I (B). Facts in (A) that raises an ethical issue, reasons, and potential or resulting harms.
Step I (C). List and number of all stakeholders involved in the case.
List of principal stakeholders (here you should use a bulleted list).
– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
– Legislative branch of the government (e. g., solons, courts)
– Other state and federal government agencies
– Other concerned stakeholders (especially the public)
– Gigantic Motors Corporation (GMC)
– GMC’s Rugged Trucks Company (RTC)
– Dynamic Motors’ Fuel Development Division
– Jackson Roykirk, RT’s CEO
– Helen Noel, RT’s vice president in charge of safety and public relations
– Richard Daystream, chief safety engineer
– Jonathan Archer, marketer in RTC’s Marketing Department
– Zefrem Cochrane, an engineer in RTC’s Design Department
– Dead drivers and their family members
– Injured drivers and their families
– Other living truck drivers and their families
– Other affected individuals
– Media (e. g., press, news reporters)
Step II: Isolating the Major Ethical Dilemma
Should RT do not recall the vulnerable trucks, what would happen to the family members who will be affected by the personal injuries or deaths of their loved ones (that is, the truck drivers)?
Step III: Analyzing the Ethical Characteristics of both Alternatives in Step II.
Step III (A) – If the action in Step II is done, who, if anyone, will be harmed? How?
Step III (B) – If the action in Step II is not done, who, if anyone, will be harmed? How?
Step III (C) – Which alternative results in the least harm, A or B? Explain.
Step III (B) would have the least alternative resulting harm than Step III (A) because even when the eight additional drivers die and their families lose financial support from them, RT or GMC still have to pay a much larger damages from the affected drivers and their families, not to mention from its millions of consumers who bought the vulnerable trucks, the public and the US government (that is, majority or most number of people).
Step III (D) – If the action in Step II is done, who, if anyone, will benefit? How?
Step III (E) – If the action in Step II is not done, who, if anyone, will benefit? How?
Step III (F) – Which alternative results in the maximum benefit, D or E? Explain.
Step III (F) would have the maximum alternative resulting benefits than Step III (E) because the eight drivers’ lives would likely be saved or not get injured, which in qualitative utilitarianism means the maximum worth of the eight lives is not comparable merely to millions or billions of profits. Additionally, the family would possibly remain together, which no money can buy. Moreover, RT would more likely to become a more reputable company considering that it took even the most drastic steps of recalling vulnerable trucks that cost them millions up to billions of dollars. The public would later find out that RT is more concerned about people’s lives than just profit. Hence, not only RT, but the whole of Gigantic Motors Corporation would most probably continue to keep its good reputation that no money could equal should it recall its vulnerable trucks.
Rights and Duties
Step III (G) – What rights have been, or may have been abridged? What duties have been, or may have been neglected? Identify the stakeholder and the right or duty. When listing a right, show its corresponding duty and vice versa.
Kant’s Deontological Ethics
Step III (H) – If the action in Step II is done, who, if anyone, will be treated with disrespect? Explain.
Not recalling the vulnerable trucks shows that GMC’s RT treats its former customers (that is, those who bought its trucks with the old fuel tank system) with Kantian sense of disrespect because it only uses them only as means to achieve its end (that is, increase its profit even when it has killer trucks). For not recalling the vulnerable trucks, GMC treats it customers with disrespect because it does not consider the innate value or profound worth beyond price of each of the eight truck drivers, not to mention the already personally injured and dead drivers.
Step III (I) – If the action in Step II is not done, who, if anyone, will be treated with disrespect? Explain.
Recalling the vulnerable trucks will show that Gigantic Motors Corporation does not treat its former customers (that is, those who bought its trucks with the old fuel tank system) with Kantian sense of disrespect because it values the innate value or profound worth of its customers who will use the old vulnerable trucks. For recalling the vulnerable trucks, GMC intends to save the lives of its customers who are driving the trucks and may do so in all its other future transactions to make as its primary and utmost concerns the safety of its drivers.
Step III (J) – Which alternative (H or I) is preferable? Explain.
Step III (I) is the alternative that is more preferable than Step III (J) because GMC treats the innate value or profound worth (that is, as ends in themselves) of its customers rather than just treating them as means only to gain more profits. Even when its former customers may have not known about RT’s vulnerable trucks, but still considered recalling them, RT treats its customers not only as objects or tools to generate profit, but as valuable in themselves. For instance, despite possible bad publicity and millions/billions of dollar expenses recalling the vulnerable trucks, RT intends not to just let affected individuals and families to sue them in court and pay them their claims. Instead, RT’s main and ultimate motive is not to continue simply from profiting from its clients, but to save even a few drivers’ lives when it found out that many of its trucks could claim lives.
Step III (K) – If the action in Step II is done, who, if anyone, will be treated unlike others? Explain.
Not recalling the vulnerable trucks would mean that GMC-RT’s officials does not treat its former customers (that is, those who bought its trucks with the old fuel tank system) with Kantian sense of unlike treatment because they would not (that is, as rational, reflective, and impartial actors) be fair to the drivers (and their families) who would possibly die or personally get injured. It is not reasonable to believe that GMC ‘ s intention not to recall the vulnerable trucks would be fair and just to its customers because doing so would lead only to additional deaths other than the previous 50 deaths and 110 personal injuries for the past 15 years.
Step III (L) – If the action in Step II is not done, who, if anyone, will be treated unlike others? Explain.
Recalling the vulnerable trucks will show that GMC-RT does not treat its former customers (that is, those who bought its trucks with the old fuel tank system) with Kantian sense of unlike treatment because it would be fair and just to its customers. It would reveal that recalling the vulnerable trucks, GMC would be acting with rationality, reflectiveness and impartiality. If the GMC officials were on the same shoes as the affected customers/drivers, they might as well do the same of recalling the vehicles to save even a few drivers’ lives from possible side-impact collisions.
Step III (M) – Which alternative (K or L) is preferable? Explain.
Step III (L) is the alternative that is more preferable than Step III (K) because GMC treats its customers fairly and justly as a rational, reflective and impartial stakeholder. Would anyone puts his/her shoes on the drivers’, families’, and drivers’ good motives, they would likely agree that being fair in one’s dealings is more preferable than profits. No one would agree that GMC-RT saving millions and billions of profits that came from customers when they bought the vulnerable trucks is ever tantamount to too expensive recall, which would otherwise cause additional death and injuries.
Step III (N) – Are there benefits if everyone did the action in Step II?
Step III (O) – Are there benefits if nobody did the action in Step II?
Step III (P) – Which alternative is preferable, N or O?
Step III (O) is the alternative that is more preferable than Step III (N) because if every company recalls their vulnerable trucks, each could save drivers’ lives. Although the cost of recalling is more expensive than making the trucks safer, lives are innately valuable in themselves. Similarly, it is just fair and just to save the lives of the drivers by means of recalling the vehicles because families will remain together and it is still the source of the problem that companies like GMC-RT had produced such vulnerable trucks.
Step 4: Making a Decision and Planning the Implementation
Step IV (A) – Make a Defensible Ethical Decision.
Step IV (B) – List the specific steps needed to implement your ethical decision.
Below is the list of specific practical steps that, if taken, would implement my ethical decision:
First, GMC-RT should convene its board of trustees, incorporators, and other key officials regarding its plan to recall the vulnerable trucks.
Second, RT would entertain comments and suggestions why there is a need to recall the trucks despite the too much cost entailed by such decision and subsequent action.
Third, RT would present the advantages that outweigh the disadvantages of recalling the trucks.
Fourth, RT would issue a press release and would anticipate a press conference thereafter.
Fifth, RT would prepare a multi-billion libel suit against any individuals (e. g., employees) and/or entities (e. g., media) who/that divulge any unauthorized information about the vulnerability issue.
Sixth, RT would start recalling the vulnerable trucks and pay the 50 death claimants and 110 personally injured drivers.
Seventh, RT would prepare itself against any other charges, taken into full account its rights, duties and responsibilities as a long-established, well-reputed company.
Step IV (C) – Show how your decision and implementation affect the major stakeholders.
Step IV (D) – What other longer-term changes (e. g., political, technical, societal, organizational) would help prevent such problems in the future?
Other longer-term changes that would help prevent problems raised in the case in the future include non-retroactive sanctions for politically, legally, technically, socially, and organizationally compliant companies to prevent undue payment of damages and recall of vehicles. Likewise, laws that will prove obsolete later on due to significant research findings should be immediately amended.
Step IV (E) – What should have been done or not done in the first place (at the pivot point) to avoid this dilemma?
What should have been done in the first place (at the pivot point) to avoid the ethical dilemma is the immediate recall of all vulnerable trucks when the significant research findings came out. This would have avoided the problem in the first place if the company officials, design engineers, and other concerned employees were made aware of the existence of the fuel tanks’ design fault.
Hasnas, John. An Explosive Problem at Gigantic Motors. Ed. Tom Beauchamp. Virginia: George Mason University Law School, 2003. Print.
Kallman, Ernest A. and John P. Grillo. Ethical Decision Making and Information Technology: An Introduction with Cases. Boston: McGraw Hill, 1996. Print.
Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1879. Web. 5 July 2014.
Pojman, Louis. How Should We Live? An Introduction to Ethics. California: Wadsworth Publishing, 2005. Print.
Ward, Andrew. ” PHIL 320/Business Ethics: Instructions for Writing Case Studies.” Metropolitan State University, n. d. Print.
Ward, Andrew. ” The Kantian Analyses in the Required Case Studies.” Metropolitan State University, n. d. Print.
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