I was asked to present you a memo with 3 possible decision alternatives to address the problem with one of the toys included in the elementary toy collection that included a metal whistle which did not pass the testing due to small traces of lead which was slightly above the U.S. legally acceptable limits for children ages 7 and younger.
The information, provided by the manager of the quality assurance department , mentions that a large shipment of the toy collection is scheduled to be shipped to schools in South America at the end of the week, just in time for the beginning of the school year. The approximate cost to reproduce the product and repackage the toy collection is $100,000.
Meeting with the quality assurance manager and key employees of quality control to verify testing was accurate and there is no possibility of a measurement mistake of the lead found on the whistle.
Meeting with head of production department and packaging key supervisors to determine length of time to reproduce the product and repackage the toy collection.
Meeting with shipping and handling department to evaluate actual workload and schedules impact when changing the date of an oversea shipment.
Meeting with financing department to review the $100,000 dollars figure to make sure it included all possible costs to reproduce product and doing the repackaging.
Meeting will all heads departments impacted by final decision to identify perspectives involved to determine if there are any conflictive perspective ,prioritizing values, and consider all potential criteria including relationship and others to make an ethical recommendation on how to proceed.
As a result of the meetings the group considered that we are facing an ethical issue which besides knowledge of facts required sensitivity to ethical issues, discussion and dialogue with parts impacted, careful exploration of the problem and perspective of all parts involved making an ethical choice. I asked their support in the process to do some important research, including similar cases, data, legal issues, financial implications and social responsibility to validate the recommendation of the memorandum to top management.
I emailed each participant some questions I considered to be vital to arrive to a recommendation for top management:
1) Do we know enough to make a recommendation?
2) What are the most important concerns and why?
3) What options do we have?
4) Have all relevant persons being consulted?
5) Which options would produce the most good and the least harm?(Utilitarian approach)
6) Which options respect in the best way the rights of all parts involved (Rights approach)
7) In our recommendation will everyone be treated equally? Our company, the buyers, the society? (justice approach)
8) What solution would better serve the community at large? (Common good approach)
9) Would we be pleased if our recommendation would be aired in the media, or known by our mentors, closest friends, or the people we respect the most?
10) How this recommendation will impact the button line of our company?
11) Is our recommendation protecting our company in the legal aspects as well as in the areas of business reputation, customer’s trust, relationships, and even stress issues?
After doing extensive research the group came up with the following outcome:
The lead issue has been verified and it is a fact that the level of lead found on the whistle is slightly above the USA legally accepted limit for children 7 year old and younger.
Time to reproduce the part and repackage the product would be around 2 weeks
Shipment department will have to ask some employees to work overtime hours but cost is already included into the $100,000 figure.
According to the article “Who should pay? Product Liability Research” published on the web of Santa Clara…