Tri-star cellphone manufacturer Essay.
- Review the following fact pattern and respond to the question at the end of the fact pattern by writing a brief (maximum 500 words, excluding footnotes) essay.
- This assignment is due at the beginning of the 10th class of the term.
- Please ensure that you include the following information on the title page of your assignment:
- Student number;
- Section umber; and
- Total number of words in your essay.
- This is an individual take-home assignment.You are NOT to work in groups; you are NOT to consult with peers; you are NOT to contract out the writing of the paper; and you are NOT to submit the same or strikingly similar essay as any of your classmates.
- Your essay must be typed and, if there are multiple pages, stapled. Please double-space your essay and use Times New Roman or Cambria or Palatino as a type all in 12 point font.
- Please review the definition of “plagiarism”. It is set out below, along with other information about academic integrity. There is also a link to a style guide to show you the proper format for footnotes.
- You MUST submit this paper to turnitin.com. You will shortly be provided with further instructions about the process of submitting the paper to turnitin.com.
- A list of campus resources that provide assistance with essay writing is set out below.
- The rubric that will be used to grade your paper is also set out below.
FACT PATTERN AND QUESTION
Tri-star is one of the world’s leading cellphone manufacturers. It manufactures all of its cellphone parts (such as screens and batteries) in Canada and sells its cellphones around the world. The cellphone business is fiercely competitive, with major competitors in Japan, Germany, Korea, USA and China. Everyone is furiously fighting to retain and expand their market share. Tri-star is currently a world leader.
The president of Tri-star is under extreme pressure to maintain the market lead for Tri-star. Failure to keep the market lead would mean that not only would her personal executive position be at risk, but also that she will have to order lay-offs. The president knows many of the workers on the factory floor personally. They are highly skilled professionals with families to support and with children in post-secondary institutions, and she cares about them deeply.
The president has fostered a corporate climate at Tri-Star that values achievement and initiative at any cost. The corporate climate is captured in the saying “seek forgiveness not permission” and permeates the company. The president is not interested in excuses or explanations or details, but only in the bottom line and in ensuring that Tri-Star continues to make money.
Market research has shown Tri-Star that there is great demand for better, faster charging batteries. The president knows that if she markets a truly better battery, Tri-star will have plenty of world-wide customers and therefore not only keep but increase its market share. Consequently, the president orders the vice president of engineering, Mr. Cutthroat, to build a new battery that will operate the phone for 25% time longer, and charge 50% faster than Tri-Star’s existing batteries. The harsh reality is that this objective cannot be met without investing millions of dollars and at least two years of testing to ensure the safety of the batteries. Tri-star however, does not have the luxury of time. The president wants the new battery in place for the launch of Tri-Star’s flagship cellphone next year.
Mr. Cutthroat has fully absorbed the culture of Tri-star. The VP knows he has to come up with a new battery in time for next year. Therefore, he decides to simply skip the safety testing of the developed batteries. The long safety testing process at Tri-Star is a voluntary process that Tri-Star developed to ensure quality control. It is not legally required by Canadian law. Skipping the safety testing will allow Mr. Cutthroat to develop the battery in time for the new product launch. Mr. Cutthroat excitedly presents this solution to the president.
To protect herself and the engineering staff, the president seeks a legal opinion from the Tri-Star law department that it is legal to skip the safety testing. Moreover, the president makes it clear that if the law department will not approve skipping the testing she will find new lawyers that will, and fire the current lawyers. The legal department writes a memo saying that according to Canadian law it is not necessary to test the batteries for safety.
Unfortunately for all involved, a few days after the launch of the new flagship cellphone, numerous reports appear in the media that the batteries overheat and explode. Airlines ban all Tri-Star phones from their flights, and angry consumers demand a full refund.
While the president appears in the media defending her company and stating that it complied in its battery testing with all applicable Canadian law, Mr. Cutthroat leaks to the media that the president forced him to eliminate the safety testing against his wishes. The president promptly fires him for breach of his duty of loyalty to the company.
Write a brief essay [maximum 500 words] that analyzes the ethical issue concerning only the president in this fact pattern. In your essay, please identify and briefly discuss:
- an issue within the above scenario with the president that has both a legal and an ethical dimension;
- the president’s legal obligation to Tri-star, and any other person (or not); and
- An assessment of whether the president acted ethically, using one of the four types of ethical reasons discussed in class and in the ethics video / slides. (For your convenience, the four types of ethical reasons discussed in class are set out below.)
Again, this is an essay. You must use a proper essay format, and not simply provide point form or bald statement in response to the above questions.
Tri-star cellphone manufacturer
The president of Tri-Star limited, in her quest to maintain, and possibly expand the market for the company’s product in the face of increasing competition from global competitors instructed the vice president of engineering to design and manufacture phone batteries that were more advanced than the existing ones. Although it was not practical to do so without flouting the company’s laid down procedures, the president pushed through the manufacturing of the batteries, even threatening to sack the legal department if they gave a contrary opinion. This essentially was the cause of the poor quality batteries that could overheat and explode. The above issue has both a legal and ethical dimension. Legally, the president has a duty of care, to ensure that products produced by the company were safe for use by end users (Wade and Cheryl, 2012). As the final authority in her company, the president can be held personally responsible for the explosions and overheating of the company’s batteries. She appears to have breached that duty, leading to a financial loss to customers who have spent money on the company’s faulty batteries. On the ethical aspect, the president emphasized more on the company’s bottom line, the need to produce new batteries even without following laid down procedures and processes just to maximize profitability for the company. This is a very unethical practice that puts the interests of the president before the safety and security of the end users.
The president holds a fiduciary position, and therefore by virtue of her position, has legal obligations to various stakeholders of Tri-Star. The president has a legal obligation to discharge his duties in accordance with the companies laid down rules and procedures. Ordering for the production of the battery, with full information that the necessary procedures were not followed is a clear breach of the president’s legal obligations to the company.
From the case study, it’s evident that the president acted unethically on a number of occasions. Her action to order for the battery production without following due process, for the sole aim of maximizing profit to protect her job and that of her staff, at the expense of the safety of end users is the height of unethical business practices. Ordering the legal department to approve of the production of the battery, and even threatening to fire and replace them in case they did not approve of the intended production reveals a president who is bent on the bottom-line, at the expense of basic ethical standards. Using ethical reason of character/virtue, it’s clear that the president acted unethically, by portraying a character devoid of business virtues as she was only concerned about the company’s bottom line (Page, 2012). As the president, she failed in setting a good example that can be emulated by her subordinates, instead of coming out as deceptive, treacherous and a bad example of leadership especially in the 21st century, where ethical leadership is the key pillar of success for most institutions.
Wade, Cheryl L. (2012) “Corporate Governance Failures and the Managerial Duty of Care,” St. John’s Law Review: Vol. 76: Iss. 4, Article 4. Available at: http://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/lawreview/vol76/iss4/4
Page, K. (2012) The four principles: Can they be measured and do they predict ethical decision making? BMC Med Ethics. 2012; 13: 10.