Virtue Ethics to the Mattel Case.
In the Module 2 Case, you will be applying virtue ethics to the Mattel case.
In the Module 2 Case, you will be applying virtue ethics to the Mattel case.
Part 1: Critical Thinking
Before you begin to write up your Case, let’s consider what is meant by “critical thinking.” Critical thinking is one of the five key rubric criteria by which your assignments are graded. Therefore, it is required that you demonstrate evidence of critical thinking in all assignments. For an overview of critical thinking, read the following very carefully:
Kurland, D. (2000). What is critical thinking? Critical Reading. Retrieved from http://www.criticalreading.com/critical_thinking.htm
Next, review the Critical Thinking Skills chart at the following site. This is an excellent visual synopsis of the various components of critical thinking. Note the questions that are associated with each element of critical thinking:
A must have chart featuring critical thinking skills. (2014). Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/a-must-have-chart-featuring-critical.html
Part 2: Virtue Ethics
Visit the library, and locate the following article:
Sethi, S., Veral, E., Shapiro, H., & Emelianova, O. (2011). Mattel, Inc.: Global manufacturing principles (GMP) – A life-cycle analysis of a company-based code of conduct in the toy industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(4), 483-517. Retrieved from ProQuest.
In a well-written 4- to 5-page paper, discuss how three virtues apply to the Mattel case.
Keys to the Assignment
1.Choose three virtues (e.g., justice, fairness, integrity, courage, honor, truthfulness, etc.), and define each using a reputable online dictionary (e.g., http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
2.Using a section heading for discussion of each of your chosen virtues, discuss how each virtue applies to some ethical issue raised by the Mattel case. For example, you might describe how the virtue you have selected might have been used to more appropriately guide the actions, behaviors, and/or policies of the company (e.g., you may choose to discuss the company’s working conditions, worker safety, company fairness, or Mattel’s attitudes towards the environment).
3.Be sure to use at least two sources from the library to support your discussion and analysis (choose sources that are not included in the Background section of Module 2).
4.Follow The Student Guide to Writing a High Quality Academic Paper guide.
5.Don’t forget to properly cite your sources – both in-text and as end references!
6.You are expected to demonstrate evidence of critical thinking – as defined in the background materials of Module 2 and the grading rubric.
7.Be sure to organize your Module 2 Case using the Module 2 Case Format document.
Virtue Ethics to the Mattel Case.
Case Virtue Ethics
We will start off the paper by selecting three attributes that will be used to identify with the case study. I will choose the virtues of honesty, respect and justice in my essay. Virtue is a character trait that is deeply-entrenched in the moral fabric of the person performing the action in question.
Honesty: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct or a strict adherence to facts and devotion to telling the truth according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. An honest person is one who tells the truth because they have a moral obligation to do so and not because it is the right thing to be said. A lie is something that would make an honest person to refrain from making certain statements since it would go against what they believe.
Justice: it is the practice of giving people what they are due or a lack of favouritism towards any side in a situation. A just person is impartial when imposing the law and hence everybody, including themselves, is judged according to their respective actions. Justice is just part of the whole complex that is individual morality, and in modern times, the term is mostly used about property or goods. It is unjust for a person to steal from others or fail to give them what they are owed. On the other hand, it is also unjust for someone, which is relied on to provide an individual service, to use the wrong means to offer the service.
Honor: according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is faithfulness to high moral standards. A man of honour is one who sticks to his words and does what the society expects of them. Honour gives someone a good reputation from others since it is a virtue that calls for someone to take responsibility for their actions. The word also relates to fulfilling a promise that is made to someone.
Immanuel Kant was one of the pioneering deontologists who emphasised on the moral duty that people, and businesses, ought to perform. Kant believed that honesty was the foundation of all other morals, “One is only truly moral if he or she is honest.” Kant suggested that people should act on maxims that could be made into universal laws of nature. “Would it be logical to perform the action on a global basis?” (Allen, 2007) In the case of Mattel, they produced toys that were harmful and dangerous to the children. The company had a moral obligation, to be honest and transparent towards their customer base by making sure they were acutely aware of their flawed toys. In their quest for ensuring that the consumer gets a better product, they were obliged to make the necessary inspections to ensure that their toys were safe for use in shipping.
Mattel recalled millions of its toys that were manufactured in China and in doing so, they addressed the fact that their product was indeed flawed (Palmeri, 2007). The response to the code of compliance was proactive since it was meant for the greater good but that initiative was relegated to the background as the company started to place more emphasis on the bottom-line. Since other non-compliant companies did not suffer any adverse consequences, the compliance program was abandoned and so was the campaign for the greater good. The company was dishonest in this case since they did not look after the interests of the consumers by allowing unsafe products to go into the market
Justice is supposed to be applied impartially and should be implemented on all people regardless of their desires or interests according to Kant (Allen, 2007). According to universal laws, anything that is wrongful acts as a hindrance to freedom. The rights of people must be observed at all times if justice is expected to prevail. The firm ought to be treated as a moral community where the rights of individuals are always observed.
In the case of Mattel, justice entails treating their employees in a manner that is fair and in respect of their rights as human beings. Mattel is a massive company with roughly 100 suppliers in China, and an investigation conducted by China Labour Watch uncovered numerous alleged ethical and legal violations at some factories (“The Barbie blues: Workers describe ‘awful’ conditions at Mattel suppliers”, 2017). There were reports claiming that the workers at the Mattel factories were suffering regarding long working hours as the pressure to create more toys for the global market intensified. The company also failed to consider that the workers were underpaid and the suppliers were underreporting their working hours so as to skim money that was meant for workers. There were instances when the factories employed young workers which are an outright violation of fundamental human rights (“The Barbie blues: Workers describe ‘awful’ conditions at Mattel suppliers”, 2017). Mattel decided to outsource their operations so as to drive down the production cost and raise their margins. It is, therefore, their duty to make sure that the workers attached to their brand are treated in a just and fair manner. The company overlooked the plight of the workers by failing to champion for the rights of the employees employed by the suppliers. The selfish interest of producing goods as low as possible for higher profit margins caused Mattel to undermine the rights of employees.
In their defence, it is also good to point out that the company showed some honour in accepting full responsibility for what had happened. When Mattel realised the damaging consequences of the lead coated toys, they were quick to announce a recall of the products in question. 17.4 million toys were recalled because they had loose magnets that were dangerous to kids if ingested while 2.2 million were recalled due to the high lead levels in the paint (Sethi, Veral, Shapiro, & Emelianova, 2010). It might be difficult to police subcontractors, but Mattel took responsibility of the situation and even severed working relations with one of the big suppliers involved in the scandal, Lee Der. I a Kantian perspective, the actions of Mattel, in this case, are ethical. They went to great lengths to reassure the parents of their commitment towards the safety of kids. They took out ads in newspapers such as New York Times and the CEO Robert Eckert even went on video to reinforce this commitment further (Sethi, Veral, Shapiro, & Emelianova, 2010). He called on parents to return the toys and pledged to change how the company operates going forward. The lack of oversight from the company allowed the factories to bend the rules and use inferior paints by subcontracting to other firms. The high moral standards of the company allowed them to face the facts and their promise to provide safe toys for their consumers and they ended up doing the ethical thing.
Mattel suffered financially due to
the large product recalls they had to make. The aim of the company is to make
money for the shareholders, and Mattel was doing exactly that. However,
corporations must ensure that they maintain high ethical standards while
conducting their operations. The actions of Mattel did not reflect justice and
honesty, but at least they were honourable enough to own up to their error and
accept full responsibility for the dangerous toys. When companies outsource
labour to other favourable countries, they should ensure that they conduct
sufficient oversight to champion the rights of employees and ensure that
everything goes according to plan.
Palmeri, C. (2007). What Went Wrong at Mattel. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 27 February 2017, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2007-08-14/what-went-wrong-at-mattelbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice
Sethi, S., Veral, E., Shapiro, H., & Emelianova, O. (2010). Mattel, Inc.: Global Manufacturing Principles (GMP) – A Life-Cycle Analysis of a Company-Based Code of Conduct in the Toy Industry. Journal Of Business Ethics, 99(4), 483-517. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0673-0
The Barbie blues: Workers describe ‘awful’ conditions at Mattel suppliers. (2017). The France 24 Observers. Retrieved 27 February 2017, from http://observers.france24.com/en/20131025-worker-conditions-mattel-suppliers-china
Wood, A. (2007). Kantian Ethics (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.