Business Ethics Assignment: Ethical Dilemma of Protagonist Regarding a Controversial Product
Task: As part of your business ethics assignment, you have to choose an ethical dilemma. The ethical dilemma should be in an organization context. You have to decide a protagonist of your organization. For instance, the protagonist may be an advertising manager who is facing the dilemma of launching a controversial product; the protagonist could be a committed employee who is caught in the dilemma of whether to blow the whistle or not; the protagonist may be a HR manager who has to fire some loyal employees for the sake of cost-cutting. Similarly, the protagonist could be a financial investor who is thinking of doing a small fraud to help his friend who needs some money urgently. To create a dilemma you should start thinking wild and wacky, and be creative – I know you people are good at it! Kindly note that I am using protagonist as a sex-neutral term, therefore protagonist could belong to any of the sexes.
Ethical Dilemma of an advertisement manager regarding a controversial product
Ethical dilemmas might arise when working in an organizational contextwhen an individual is posed with the choice of selecting between two clashing alternatives. These options might not appear to be pleasing to an individual and might not be either morally acceptable.The business ethics assignmentanalysesthe ethical dilemma of a protagonist of the organization, the advertisement manager, who is facing the ethical dilemma regarding the launching of a controversial product, chocolate made from Carob. Carob is derived from a Mediterranean tree and when its pulp is roasted it tastes similar to cocoa powder. Though it does not contain caffeine or theobromine and is less bitter than cocoa, yet its health benefits are debatable. The most captivating controversy regarding the product is its natural sweetness that does not require additional sweetening. The organization is also highlighting the many forms in which Carob comes, which can be used in cooking and it is cheaper than cocoa. Therefore, the organization is combining various flavors and condiments to design chocolates of various types from this raw material and selling them to children as the world's cocoa reserve is almost running out. The organization has planned to sell the product at a higher price compared to chocolate and state regarding all the false benefits associated with consuming it. The company aims at selling around 2000 packets of the product each day after announcing its sale. It plans to profit $ 10,000 in the first month of launching the product. The yearly budget for advertising and sales of the product has already been estimated and it aims at gaining $ 150,000 in profits from the sale of this product alone. There will be celebrity promotion and advertisement campaigns to promote sales of the product in a rapid manner in the country.
The first point of evaluating this moral dilemma is to consult personal moral beliefs. As per the advertisement manager, it is wrong to sell and brand a productin a false manner. Also evaluating societal ethical and lawful norms, it is unethical and unlawful to package and brand a product falsely and sell it to such young consumers such as children. Not many studies have been conducted and not much evaluation has been done regarding the benefits or harms from carob. Thus, without such studies and analysis if an organization decides upon making a product then it is for the sole purpose of making profits. The advertisement manager evaluates that the organization has not explored all the perspectives relating to the consequences of selling of this controversial product. There is tremendous pressure on the advertisement manager regarding the product launch and he has to conduct all planning and strategy development regarding the product such that it sells well starting the first week of launching. While the advertisement manager is facing an ethical dilemma, he is in complete shock regarding how to promote a product that he does not believes in.
However, this type of ethical dilemma can be regarded as an epistemic moral dilemma where the organization has purposefully designed the product even with the knowledge regarding its wrongfulness. This situation typically includes two moral choices, that conflicts. Either the advertisement manager can select to sell the product as desired by the company or refused to sell the product of the company. The advertisement manager is facing a dilemma of whether to promote the product or not.
The ethical dilemma of the advertisement manager is that these actions of selling an inferior product at higher prices, stating it false benefits are bound to have moral and ethical consequences, which will bound back upon the company. The moral and ethical consequences will arise when consumers realize that the company has created them to eat and alternative to cocoa by adding some artificial and synthetic flavors in the product. Then consumers will directly switch from the brand to alternative brands that offer authentic chocolate made from cocoa. The company will lose its brand name and brand recognition in the market as well as sustainability regarding its product. The company might never be able to bounce back again to resume its business under the same brand name. The biggest struggle to resolve the moral dilemma discussed in the business ethics assignment is deciding what action needs to be taken and whether it will be ethical or not. It is just a matter of choice that the advertisement manager needs to make. Resolving this ethical dilemma will not be easy for the advertisement manager as he faces this complex and arduous situation. It is the moral responsibility of the advertisement manager to conduct his roles and responsibilities as he is employed in the organization. It is his moral obligation to follow instructions given to him by his organizational heads and design promotional plans accordingly. If he decides he will not promote this product then he will be ignoring his responsibilities as the advertisement manager of the organization. It is his sole responsibility to abide by his role as the advertisement manager of the company to design promotional plans for the product however his individual moral dilemma of not promoting the product. The advertisement manager needs to overcome his emotions such that he can make an informed decision in this matter. He needs to analyze his ethical dilemma that is a responsibility towards the company or whether to promote the company. This will allow undertaking a better perspective regarding the situation. It might be morally challenging for him to take the decision, weighing the positive and negative consequences of each action.Each option might have various negative outcomes, but the one outcome with a positive consequence needs to be selected by the advertisement manager such that he can balance and take the right action to take. Ideally, the advertisement manager if he possesses truly virtuous and moral character then social factors will influence his decision. He will finally decide to do what is in favor of the broader society and in turn long term good for the company. He will try and dissuade this product, otherwise, he will follow directives of his organizational heads and prepare an advertising plan for the product.