Learning Activity #4: Ethical Decision-Making Exercise
In this learning activity, you will be assuming the role of a management team member of Global Chemical Company, and you are required to make a decision with regards to the strategic issue presented in the case below. “Global Chemical Company” Several years ago, a citizen environmental group from Kentucky began complaining about the health hazards they claimed were being carried downstream from the processing facility of Global Chemical across the state border in Ashton, West Virginia. Several small towns along the river in Kentucky had been affected by the pollution. They brought in health specialists to support their claims that pollutants from the river were causing serious health problems in these towns. An independent study conducted
by the state of West Virginia concluded that while the residents of these towns did experience higher-than-normal levels
of a number of types of cancer, there is no proven link between these diseases and the chemicals from Global.” The company management is considering two solutions. One option is to replace/upgrade an existing filtering system. To put in a new system would cost millions and would close the plant for months. An alterative solution is to build a new plant somewhere else, maybe overseas where environmental laws are not as strict rather than put an entirely new filtering in such an old facility Further complicating the situation is that almost half of the workers in this community work at Global Chemical Company. Closing the plant for even a few months not only would cause extreme financial hardship but also would threaten the existence of many local businesses Understandably
, the unions at the company are totally opposed to any actions that might hurt their members. Especially since none of the pollution charts have been proven. The citizens’ environmental group from Kentucky is threatening to cooperate with a 60- minutes-type program
that is going to develop an expose of the situation on national television. If it gets to that point, it might not matter that there is no proof that the chemicals from Global cause the diseases found in the Kentucky towns. Evaluate each suggested solution using ethical decision-making principles discussed in Chapter 4. Which solution is more ethical? What would you do?