San Francisco: Waste from computers, televisions and other devises used in the United States is polluting environment and exposing workers to toxic chemicals in region of India and China where discarded electronics are dismantled, a study released on Wednesday said. Researchers detected high levels of toxic metals in more than 70
samples collected in March from industrial waste, river sediment, soil and groundwater around the southern Chinese City of Guiyu and the suburbs of New Delhi, according to the report by Greenpeace International. Dust from dismantling workshops contained the highest level of contaminants. “The extent of the contamination is even worse than we had feared. The levels analyzed are really scary and very concerning,” said Ted Smith, the founder of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition who chairs the computer Take Back Campaign, which promotes electronics recycling.
Most of the electronics collected in the United States for recycling are supplied to China, India and other Asian countries where worker protection and environmental safety standards are weak, Smith said. The researchers chose to collect samples from the Mayapuri and Burari areas of New Delhi because the two regions are known to dismantle discarded American electronics to recover valuable metals such s gold, platinum and silver. The samples collected from those areas contained elevated levels of heavy metals including lead, tin, copper, cadmium and antimony.
Answer the following question.
Q1. Give your viewpoints on the above case.
Q2. Why the surplus electronics items of United States are accepted by India and China? Explain in detail.
Sick of angry campaign ads invading your living room? Dismayed by the vulgarity and poisonous political messages of the primary season? Don’t change the channel quite yet. As USA head into the general election in 2016, there are things to learn from political communications, and it is our duty as voters to cut through the rhetoric in order to vet these applicants for the most important job in the country. The American process for electing public officials is born out of the ethical ideal of creating an informed electorate. It is the campaign’s task to introduce the candidate and inform the voters about the candidate’s background, his or her positions on the issues, and how the candidate is different from the opponent. Political communications serve to inform the electorate, as long as the content of the communication is true, fair, and relevant. It is our task as voters to analyze all political communications to make sure that they meet this standard. It should be of no surprise to anyone that campaign communications often distort the truth. For example, who can forget Donald Trump’s television ad showing hundreds of immigrants streaming across the border. The only problem was that the video was taken in Morocco. Bernie Sanders came under fire when an ad about endorsements quoted favourable comments about him from a newspaper that had actually endorsed Clinton. Truth is the first task of campaign communications, but something true can still be unfair. We need to be wary of statements or facts which, while true, are being used out of context. Clinton was recently criticized for taking Sanders’ voting record out of context when she claimed in Michigan that he had voted against the auto bailout. Sanders had in fact supported a standalone bill bailing out the auto industry, but voted against the larger bill that not only included support for the auto industry but the banking and insurance industries as well. Whenever a candidate is criticized for casting a vote, we need to make sure we know the whole story. Not only should political ommunications be truthful, and fair, but they should also be relevant to the issues in the race. We have all seen political attacks that talk about a candidate’s youthful indiscretions, private marital troubles, or about problematic behavior on the part of a candidate’s family member or associate. The question of whether these types of attacks are relevant to the issues in the campaign can only be decided by the individual voter. For example, was the fact that Melania Trump posed for a risqué “British GQ” photo shoot 15 years ago, before she was married to Donald Trump, really relevant to the issues facing our country today? Is Bill Clinton’s past infidelity relevant to Hillary Clinton’s ability to govern? We must question whether a spot is designed purely to appeal to our base emotions (such as disgust at a family member’s behavior) or whether the content of the ad is pertinent to a legitimate interest in the race.
Answer the following question.
Q1. Give an overview of the case.
Q2. In your opinion, what are the unethical issues being used in election campaign? Discuss in detail.
The new CEO of a corporation learns that he has inherited problems with growth and profitability. A fourday workweek and, eventually, layoffs prove necessary. Who is the CEO obligated to inform and when? George Anderson was just a few months beyond his 40th birthday on the day he became CEO of Astratech Communications international (ACI). What an upper! He was still basking in the glow of his good fortune, eager to try out his skills as the CEO. He hoped to get the chairmanship one day when the company’s founder, Mike Marcus, decided to step down. Life was good. ACI was a leading supplier of fiber optic transceiver components for the telecommunications industry. It sold to companies like Alcatel, Northern Telecom, and Ericsson, who put ACI’s components into the lightwave equipment they manufactured. The company was based in Irvine, Calif., a great place to live, work, and raise a family. ACI’s annual sales were around $500 million with 2,500 employees in locations in Mexico and Scotland, in addition to its Southern California headquarters. All of ACI’s hourly employees in the United States and abroad were represented by the IBEW, a union with a history of good working relationships with management. The Mexican operation was launched to take advantage of lower labor costs and close proximity to headquarters. The Scotland plant gave the company relief from onerous European tariffs. Both offshore facilities enjoyed excellent employee relations. After settling into his new position, George busied himself identifying the major issues facing the company. Coming in, he had realized that ACI’s growth and profitability were problems, but he wasn’t sure if the source was the management team, product development, marketing and sales, or something else. After several months, George was clear that it wasn’t the people. Sure, there were a few problem areas, and some employees seemed a bit too comfortable. But the main issue was a lack of focus and a general weakness in the business systems required in this fast paced industry. There was no clear vision of what ACI wanted to be and no acceptable plan on how to get there. What was it that someone said? “If you don’t know where you are going, all roads will lead you there.” To address this weakness, George implemented a task force made up of middle managers from all the various disciplines, as well as the executive team. He chaired the task force because he believed strongly that CEOs shouldn’t delegate strategy. When it came to business systems, the problem seemed to be a lack of adequate cost accounting. The company didn’t know its individual product costs to any reasonable degree of accuracy. To address this challenge, George brought in a new chief financial officer. But just as George was beginning to feel optimistic about where ACI was going, he got a phone call from sales to tell him that Alcatel was canceling its backlog. Apparently, Alcatel’s customers were slowing their acquisition of new equipment, and Alcatel seized that opportunity to shift all of its business to a French competitor of ACI’s that had a reputation for higher product quality. George’s first call was to the chairman. To his surprise, Mike handled it well, voicing his empathy and support. But clearly, George was expected to take action quickly. He decided that one way of avoiding a layoff was to implement a fourday workweek. That spread the pain evenly among all employees. George called his executive team together to tell them the bad news and to get the necessary action underway. Next, he went to discuss the issue with union leadership. The regional head of the union also the local steward was in George’s office before lunch with a stern look on his face. “Look, George, you’re the new kid on the block, so we don’t think this setback was your doing. No one likes to lose part of their paycheck, but your plan treats management the same as the blue collar workers, so you’ve got our support. We want to give you a chance to act. If we don’t like what you’re doing, we’ll be back.” The fourday workweek was implemented. Without being told, the entire management staff knew that they got four day’s pay, but they were expected to be there five. After about six weeks, the lower costs began to kick in, and ACI was again holding its head above water…barely.
Answer the following question.
Q1. What were the reasons for the business downturn? Comment.
Q2. How did new CEO Mr. George Anderson respond to the business downturn? Discuss, what was ethical in his decision.
Aristotle was the most practical and businessoriented of all philosophers who asked ethical questions. Now you may scoff at the idea that a person who’s been dead for nearly 2,400 years has anything practical to say about the modern organizations in which you all work. But, let me see if I can give you an example of his doing so that will at least get your attention. Aristotle tells us that acts are not ethical if they are accidental. What he means by this, in modern terms, is that, if I am driving drunk and I hit a water hydrant, knock it off its pedestal and cause a 20foot geyser which, in turn, puts out a fire in an adjacent house, I cannot claim to have committed a virtuous act. To illustrate the ethical centrality of right motivation, Aristotle cites a fragment of brilliant dialogue from a lost play by Euripides, Character A: I killed my mother, brief is my report. Character B: Were you both willing, and neither she nor you? It is difficult to set aside the relevance of this 2,500yearold exchange to the current debate about the morality of physicianassisted suicide, but let’s focus for a minute on why Aristotle cited it. He wanted to call our attention to the significance of motivation as a factor in ethical analysis. In this minicase, Euripides implies three different situations, each quite morally distinct from the others: In the first situation a mother is murdered, as we would say “in cold blood” by her child. In the second situation, a mother’s request for mercy killing is granted by an unloving child who is only too happy to comply. In the third situation, the mother, who is perhaps dying from some terrible disease, asks her child to end her pain and, in great sadness and reluctance, he grants his mother’s wish. In Aristotle’s terms, only the latter situation contains the possibility of ethical virtue. Although the moral choices we face in HR, thank God, are far less dramatic than these, Aristotle tells us that motivation is a powerful indicator of the degree to which virtue is present in all of our social acts. I have gone to Aristotle because he is particularly interested in defining the principles of ethical leadership. In his Ethics he sets out a series of practical and analytical ethical tests (or examinations), and at the end of these, he concludes that the role of the leader is to create the environment in which all members of an organization have the opportunity to realize their own potential. He says that the ethical role of the leader is not to enhance his own power but to create the conditions under which the followers can achieve their potential. It was this point Jefferson was paraphrasing in the Declaration of Independence when he noted the goal of the new country being founded in 1776 was to provide conditions in which all citizens could pursue happiness. In Aristotle’s terms, happiness means the realization of one’s potential. Aristotle said a nation succeeds to the extent that its leaders create the opportunity and conditions under which its people can develop and grow. Of course Aristotle never heard of a large business or corporation. Nonetheless he did raise a set of questions that corporate leaders who wish to behave ethically need to ask themselves: Am I behaving in a virtuous way? How would I want to be treated if I were a member of this organization? What form of social contract would allow all our members to develop their full potential in order that they may each make their greatest contribution to the good of the whole? To what extent are there real opportunities for all employees to learn and to develop their talents and potential? To what extent do all employees participate in the decisions that affect their own work? To what extent do all employees participate in the financial gain resulting from their own ideas and efforts? If we translate Aristotle into these modern terms, he provides us with a set of ethical questions to determine the extent to which an organization provides an environment conducive to human growth and fulfillment. And, Aristotle would say, not only does an ethical leader create that environment but, he or she does do so consciously, and not coincidentally. Motivation is important. Miami hoteliers cannot claim credit for sunny days, and leaders in Silicon Valley get no ethical credit for providing jobs that are accidentally developmental. Just because working with computers may be an inherently a developmental task, one is not necessarily a marvelous employer for providing people with that opportunity. Aristotle also asks the extent to which we as leaders observe decent limits on our own power in order to allow others to lead and develop. What he’s saying is that leadership is inherently such a valuable thing in terms of our growth that, if leaders take all the opportunities to lead for themselves, and don’t give others the chance to lead, they are denying their followers the possibility of growth. That’s why he says leadership should be shared, rotated, so that everybody has the ability to participate in it. He says that too many leaders turn their people into passive recipients of their moral feats, and there is nothing inherently ethical about that. In essence, here’s the question that Aristotle asks leaders to ask themselves. To what extent do I consciously make an effort to provide learning opportunities to everyone who works for me? To what extent do I encourage full participation by all my people in the decisions affecting their own work? To what extent do I allow them to lead in order to grow? To what extent do I measure my own performance as a manager or leader both in terms of my effectiveness in realizing economic goals and, equally, in terms of using my practical wisdom to create conditions in which my people can seek to fulfill their own potential in the workplace? Very few CEOs that I work with would be able to respond to those questions with positive selfassessments. Indeed, I think many successful and admired corporate leaders consciously reject such Aristotelian measures of performance as inappropriate, impractical, and irrelevant to the task their boards have hired them to do, which is to create wealth. They say their responsibility is to their shareholders, not their employees, and if the social responsibility of employee development interferes with profit making then tradeoffs must be made. Aristotle would answer that virtuous leaders have responsibilities to both their owners and their workers. If there’s a conflict between the two, it is the leaders’ duty to create conditions in which those interests can be made the same. He would remind us that while most potential leaders measure themselves solely in terms of their effectiveness in obtaining and maintaining power, virtuous ones also measure themselves by ethical standards of justice. He was talking about political leaders but, by extension, in the modern business context, it is appropriate that executives are evaluated not only in terms of their effectiveness in generating wealth for shareholders but also by the opportunity they provide for their followers to find meaning and opportunity for development in their workplaces.
Answer the following question.
Q1. Aristotle told “Acts are not ethical if they are accidental” Explain with examples.
Q2. As per Aristotle, what should be the qualities of corporate leaders? Discuss.
US researchers said on Monday they have created a new human embryonic stem cell by fusing an embryonic stem cell. They hope their method will provide a way to create tailormade treatments from scratch, using cloning technology. That would mean generating the valuable cells without using a human egg, and without creating a human embryo, which some people, including President George W. Bush, find objectionable. But the team, led by stem cell expert Douglas Melton, Kevin Eggan and others at Harvard Medical School, stress in a report to be published in next Friday’s issue of the journal Science that their method is not yet perfect. Stem cells are the body’s master cells, used to continually regenerate tissues, organs and blood. Those taken from daysold embryos are considered the most versatile. They can produce any kind of tissue in the body. Doctors hope to use embryonic stem cells as a source of perfectly matched transplants to treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and some injuries. But because some people object to the destruction of or experimentation on a human embryo, US law restricts the use of federal funds for this kind of research. It is a hot debate in Congress and several bills have been offered for consideration that would either relax the federal restrictions or tighten them even more. Melton has complained about the restrains and, like other experts, has used private funding to pursue stem cell work. He and other experts say they only want to understand how to reprogram an ordinary cell and hope the use of human embryo would only be a shortterm and interim step to learning how to manufacture these cells. The Harvard team says they have taken a big step in this direction. Currently, embryonic stem cells are either taken from embryos left over from fertility clinics, or generated using a cloning technology called nuclear transfer. This requires taking the nucleus out of an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus of an adult cell, called a somatic cell, f from the person to be treated. This reprograms the egg, which starts dividing as if it had been fertilized by a sperm.
Answer the following question.
Q1. Give an overview of the above case
Q2. What is cloning technology? Explain.
Q3. Explain the unethical aspects of cloning.
Q4. Discuss necessity and ethical aspects of cloning.
CASE STUDY (20 Marks)
The notion of corporate moral responsibility has expanded significantly in the past few decades, according to Manuel Velasquez, chair of the Santa Clara University Management Department. The Charles Dirksen Professor in Ethics provided a theoretical look at the topic in a presentation for the June 13, 2006, meeting of the Business and Organizational Ethics Partnership. Katie Tillman Buck, associate director of corporate affairs and ethics at Affymetrix, followed Velasquez with a description of how her company, a leading supplier of genetic diagnostic research equipment, approaches corporate moral responsibility. Moral responsibility can be interpreted two ways, Velasquez said: in terms of obligation or duty; or in terms of culpability. “The notion of moral responsibility that we have, both in the law and in our everyday lives, is fairly straight forward,” Velasquez explained. “A person or an agent or a party is morally responsible for an injury if 1) they caused it, 2) they knew what they were doing, and 3) they could have prevented it.” This concept applies to corporations as well. Traditionally, a company was morally responsible for injuries it inflicted provided the same three factors held. However, the idea of moral responsibility has been expanding over the years. “During the second half of the 20th century, a company was held responsible for injuries users of its products inflicted on themselves,” he said. “The company is held morally responsible provided they knew about it in some way, or should have known about it, and it could have prevented it.” This interpretation expanded even further with the idea of strict liability. “A company is now held responsible also for injuries users inflicted on themselves, even when the company could not have prevented it,” Velasquez said. Over the last couple of years, a company’s scope of moral responsibility has even extended upstream (to suppliers) as well as downstream (to endusers). “During the last 20 years or so, there are a number of companies that have been held morally responsible not legally but in the eyes of the public have been held morally responsible for injuries that their suppliers have inflicted on some third party,” he noted. Companies in the apparel industry, toy manufacturing, electronics assembly, and others have been perceived as accessories to the mistreatment of workers by their suppliers, even if they have not been directly involved. Many now try to prevent that by doing onsite inspections. Downstream responsibility has also expanded in the last two decades or so. “Companies have been held morally responsible for injuries which they did not inflict on somebody else, injuries in which their product was not defective, but injuries in which one of their customers used one of their products to inflict an injury on a third party,” he said. Gun manufacturers and bar owners are two notable examples. “It’s odd when you think about it, because this differs pretty substantially from that first notion of moral responsibility with which we began, where a party is morally responsible for an injury they inflict on another person knowingly and being able to prevent it. This is a very stretched notion of moral responsibility that’s being used today,” he said. This brings up two theoretical questions: 1) To what extent is a company morally responsible for the way in which its customers use its products? 2) How can a company minimize its exposure to this kind of moral responsibility? The second question is commonly dealt with before the fact by monitoring who buys the products (for example, checking the background of potential gun buyers) or after the fact by using publicists and lawyers. But as one attendee of the BOEP meeting noted, many companies do not want to answer the first question because they are afraid of the answer. By asking the question, they become responsible for monitoring their product’s use. Such reluctance has not been the case with the Santa Clara, Calif., company Affymetrix. “There’s this awareness in the general community as well as the genetics community that genetic information is powerful,” Buck acknowledged. The Affymetrix technology, for example, can put 6.5 million discrete pieces of genetic information on a single chip. “It can be used for a lot of great things, and it can probably be used for a few bad things.” According to Buck, Affimetrix understands that exploring the ethics of how its chips are used is ultimately in the company’s best interests. “Our interests looking into these issues of moral responsibility, looking at these ethical issues, really melds very well with what our business goals are,” Buck explained. “We’re at the stage where not being thorough, getting embroiled in something that just feels bad to people, would be bad for us and would be bad for the technology’s ability to address all those markets we want to be in.” The company has taken a proactive approach to these concerns, setting up an Ethics Advisory Committee to address moral and ethical issues. The committee consists of seven external participants who have varied backgrounds, including law, anthropology, genetics, bioethics, and sociology. They offer independent, noncorporate views on the issues. “They’re very different. We actually picked them not with the idea that they wouldn’t get along, but with the idea that they wouldn’t agree. Our goal at these meetings is to really get everything out on the table,” she said. The committee meets four times a year. “We always have two or three executives in the room, as well as a selection of people from throughout the organization,” Buck said. Her goal over the past five years has been to embed the idea in the corporate culture that ethics are important and that this committee is available to people throughout the organization. Discussions vary at the meetings. “A lot of what we talk about at the Ethics Advisory Committee is completely hypothetical. It’s becoming less hypothetical over time. It’s becoming more and more realistic now,” she said. “But we’re really trying to get ahead of the ball.” One issue the committee has looked at has been newborn screeningthe practice of automatically testing newborns for existing diseases and conditions before they leave the hospital. Even though Affymetrix products are not currently used in newborn screening, they could be, so the committee has addressed issues such as informed consent, genetic privacy, storage of samples, the need for federal regulations, etc. Putting ethics into practice The committee has discussed less hypothetical situations as well. For example, the company received a proposal from an Israeli company that intended to use an Affymetrix chip to test for disorders common to that population, including TaySachs disease. It included several other disorders, as well, both treatable and untreatable, in addition to late onset diseases, with no indication of when the testing would be done. The proposal also indicated that the company intended to market a Palestinian chip, and even a Swedish chip. The red flags this project raised (possible geopolitical implications and questionable genetics, among others) concerned Affymetrix. Additionally, Affymetrix determined that the company was more of a marketing firm than a genetic testing company, so they declined to be involved with the project. “That wasn’t really the first thing we wanted to do coming out of the gate, so we passed on that,” Buck said. The constant emergence of new markets for genetic technology means new questions every day. “This is a new industry. This is new research people are doing,” Buck noted. Taking part not only in internal discussions about moral responsibility, but national discussions as well, “being informed on what’s going on and weighing in on the things that are particular to the kinds of data that we’re generating” is a way of helping shape the moral climate of the industry as well.
Answer the following question.
Q1. Give your views on corporate moral responsibility and Product Use or Misuse.
Q2. Discuss the role of Ethics Advisory Committee.