The case study is for Business Ethics Case raise issue with government agency responsible for environmental protection

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Business Ethics Case

Analysis Paper 1

In the business ethics case “Little Enough or Too Much", Bryan has three decision options. In the first decision option, he could decide to remain silent on the issue and enjoy the benefits of the new product while they last, and keep his newly acquired job. Secondly, He could raise his concern on the pollution of the river with the Vice President of Operations when he visits the plant, and have the additional recycling process installed to reduce the amount of waste dumped in the river. Lastly, Bryan could raise the issue with the government agency responsible for environmental protection to have the permit reviewed and check on the amount of waste that is dumped in the river.

Section I: Stakeholder Analysis.

1.            The first action plan available for Bryan is to stay quiet on the issue and enjoy the success of the new product while it lasted. Below is an analysis of its effect on various stakeholders.

a.            Although he knows that the decision by the company will come to hurt them in future, he may decide to enjoy the success on the short period it happens. Olong other company employees, Bryan will enjoy huge bonuses. This action could also ensure that he maintains his job owing to the threat he had received from the plant supervisor.

b.            This decision would be favourable for the stockholders in the short run since they would collect more dividends due to increased profits. 

c.             The action would also be good for employees who would collect huge bonuses from the product.

d.            Customers would benefit from this action since they would continue enjoying the quality product at a favourable price.

e.            The community would be adversely affected owing to the pollution the extra waste is causing to the river.

2.            The second available action plan involves raising the issue with the Vice President of Operations of the company when he visits the plant. This action would result in the Vice President ordering the addition of the extra production process to recycle and reuse some of the waste. However, this would lead to a pause in the production of the new lubricant as the new process is installed.

a.            The installation of the extra production process would halt the production of the product hence reducing the dividends of the stockholders in the short run. On the other hand, the action would be good for the shareholders in the long run since it eliminates more cost they are bound to incur in the long run from pollution.

b.            The action plan would negatively affect the company employees since they will not enjoy the benefits from the sale of the new product.

c.             Customers will be adversely affected by the halt of the production of the new product and will have to purchase other less efficient and expensive products.

d.            The community would benefit massively from the action since the dumping of the extra waste will be corrected implying a cleaner river and environment.

3.            In the third decision option, Bryan is considering seeking help from the government agency in charge to have the company permit reviewed.

a.            This action would mean reduced dividends for stockholders since it will paint a bad image of the company for failing to install the additional process, an action that resulted in the pollution of the river. The review would require the company to add the extra recycling process before the license is approved, which would mean the company would have to stop the production of the lubricant for a while and spend more in the process.

b.            The halt in the production of the product would mean no bonuses for employees.

c.             Customers would also suffer from this action because they have to shift to other lubricants, which are less efficient and  more expensive.

d.            This action would be of great benefit to the community since the company would be forced to reduce the amount of waste it disposes of in the river.

Section II: Decision Analysis

The analysis of various available decision options is necessary for anyone faced with an ethical problem. In the case of Bryan and his dilemma, it is essential for him to conduct an in-depth analysis of the three available action plans available for him. The analysis should be carried out based on the utilitarianism, profit maximization, and universalism perspectives.


Utilitarianism is seen as the strongest and most persuasive standpoint to ethics. The theory states that the most ethical plan is the action in which utility; which is the well-being of stakeholders, is maximized. According to utilitarianism, the best action plan is measured in terms of its consequences on the affected parties. Therefore, the utility can be measured as the sum of the positives a particular action plan has on the stakeholders minus the negatives of the same decision. Therefore, in this case, I need to check on the decision which has the pluses outweighing minuses.

For the case where Bryan decided to remain silent on the issue and enjoy the success of the new product while it lasted, there are 4 pluses and 3 negatives. In the second case where Bryan would raise the issue with the Vice president of operations in his visit of the plan has 4 positives and 2 negatives.  The last case on having Bryan report the problem to the government agency and have the permit reviewed has 3 positives and 4 negatives. Therefore, the best decision would be for Bryan to report the issue to the Vice President of Operations.

Profit Maximization.

The profit maximization standpoint in ethics requires a decision maker to take an action that just maximizes the profit for a company or him or herself. Therefore, based on the profit maximization theory, Bryan should remain silent on the issue. The decision would mean the company continues making profits form the new product while he maintains his job and at the same time he benefits from bonuses from the lubricant.


The universalism ethical perspective is based on moral absolutism and states that if a decision negatively affects a person or group, then it is not right for everyone. In the three decisions available for Bryan, there are one or more stakeholders who are negatively affected. Therefore, according to the universalism ethical theory, Bryan should not adopt any of the three decisions.


Section III

If I were Bryan in an ethical dilemma in the business management case, I would choose to raise the issue with the Vice President of Operations in the company during his next visit to the plant. This decision would be best to make since it would be good for the company in the long run. I arrived at the decision based on the stakeholder analysis table using the utilitarianism ethical standpoint. Based on the theory, the best and most ethical action plan is one that maximizes the well-being of the stakeholders. In this case, the decision to inform the Vice President about the problem maximized the utility of the shareholders, employees, customers, and the community since the positives outweighed the negatives.  The decision would also be a good sign of the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, a good public image and hence increased profits. Therefore, this decision would be the most ethical among the three available options.

On the other hand, the decision is not consistent with the ethical theory of profit maximization. In profit maximization, the most ethical decision is one that profits the individual  or institution involved, which is in line with Mackey’s argument that profit maximization is the only corporate social responsibility (Mertens 8). Unlike the utilitarianism perspective, the profit maximization standpoint points to the decision of Bryan remaining silent on the issue as the ethical action. I find the decision wrong and unethical because it brings out the issue of conflict of interest. In this decision, Bryan was torn between keeping his job and the company’s corporate social responsibility. This is similar to the case of Jimmie Carter’s presidency and his farm (Broader). This perspective also disregards corporate social responsibility, which is very critical to business ethics.

My decision to stay quiet on the issue is inconsistent with the universalism theory of ethics. Based on this perspective, the action plan of my choice negatively affects at least one of the company’s stakeholders and therefore would not fit the universalism standpoint. This ethical theory is wrong since in most instances a decision does not favour all the interested parties and hence in most cases would hinder a decision from being made. 

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