Ethical Decision Making Assignment

Ethical Decision Making
Ethical Decision Making

Ethical Decision Making

Order Instructions:

Choose a positive example from the past ten years of a business organization whose leaders acted ethically when they encountered an ethical dilemma. Select, analyze, and describe the ethical decision making and actions in the organization.
Submit a 4-page (not including cover page or references) analysis of the ethical situation.

Your analysis must include the following:
An explanation of the ethical framework applied by the organization to make its decision, including support for your analysis from scholarly research
An examination of both the positive and negative consequences of the decision, including the trade offs that the leadership of the organization made in making their decision
A minimum of five references


Ethical Decision Making

People are commonly required to make decisions every day within the business environment. It is important to follow an ethical framework or model whenever one makes these decisions. Business organizations utilize business ethics as a tool for ensuring that the company’s top officials act in a responsible fashion in different business situations (Woiceshyn, 2011). Ethical decisions could involve a number of determinations. Every decision has a moral or ethical dimension primarily because every decision has an effect on other people. Business leaders and managers should know about their own moral and ethical beliefs so that they may draw on them every time they are faced with tough decisions (Jackson, Wood & Zboja, 2013). Ethical leadership and decision making are the foundation of various concepts such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility, ethical companies, the triple bottom line, and fair-trade. In this paper, a positive example from the last decade of a company whose senior executives acted in an ethical fashion when they faced an ethical dilemma is identified and described exhaustively.

Launch of a defective product at Apple

Anthony Soohoo was one of the leaders at Apple working as a product manager on the company’s PowerBook team. At one point in time in 2010, Apple’s PowerBook team was preparing to introduce a new product. It is worth mentioning that as part of testing this new product before launching it into the marketplace, the company leaders discovered that an extremely small sample size was actually defective and which can potentially be injurious to the end-users (Giang, 2014). As the product manager, Anthony Soohoo was under a lot of pressure to decide on whether to delay introducing the novel product into the marketplace. In essence, there were good arguments that supported to hold off launching the product and arguments that supported launching the defective product without any delays. A product is considered defective if there were flaws in the product’s manufacturing or design, inferior or poor quality materials were used to make it, production did not conform to safety standards, there is unforeseen misuse of the product, or there was product contamination or tampering (Hoyt & Price, 2015). In the case of Apple, the product was defective as it had flaws in design and manufacturing and safety standards had not been complied with.

Consequence of bringing the flawed product to the market

Apple has good reputation for making and selling high quality products. Introducing the defective products in the marketplace could have greatly affected customer confidence in Apple’s brand and this would certainly have impacted negatively on Apple’s business. In addition, bringing flawed, poor quality products to the market could have impacted the emotional engagement of consumers. It could also have impacted long-term loyalty of consumers to Apple’s brand (Hoyt & Price, 2015). It is notable that the negative impact of bringing defective products to the marketplace would result in a major reputation crisis for Apple which might spread throughout different markets where Apple is active and have a considerable impact to the business.

Furthermore, bringing a defective product into the marketplace is an action which is in fact unethical that could cause Apple to lose a lot of brand value. Launching new defective products knowingly is an action that would have amounted to deliberately doing something wrong. The damage to Apple’s brand equity, penalty that Apple could have suffered, and future efforts required to win back customer trust if Apple had launched the defective products into the market would have been costly and significant (Jackson, Wood & Zboja, 2013). The product manager also knew that the lasting impact risk is high. Anthony Soohoo said that if the defective products were more than they thought and if the product flaws were actually bigger than they believed were, then many customers of Apple could have significantly lost trust with Apple.

Consequence of holding off the launch of flawed product

The new products which had defects were very few. Generally, there was a small sample size of the flawed products; the sample size was actually not statistically significant. Furthermore, Apple had spent a considerable amount of money in developing those products and delaying the launch would hurt the company fiscally. Put simply, holding off the shipment would result in the loss of millions of US Dollars (Giang, 2014). On the whole, products which are defective pose a hazard to both the property and health of consumers. Delaying the launch of flawed products until they are corrected helps in mitigating these dangers and reducing the fiscal burden of deaths or injuries that are linked to their consumption (Elm & Radin, 2012).

Ultimate decision reached by Apple’s product manager

Eventually, the decision which the product manager arrived at was to hold off the introduction of the new product until the fault was rectified. At long last, the product manager reasoned that it required taking a lasting perspective and it appeared more sensible and rational to hold off the new product launch. Placing himself in the shoes of Apple’s clients, Anthony Soohoo thought that the decision he arrived at that meant delaying the new product launch was what the customers would have expected the company to do. Even though this was not a popular decision then, it was in fact the right decision for Apple (Giang, 2014).

As the product manager for Apple did, doing it rightly the first time and making the correct decision from an ethical standpoint was actually far less costly. Winning back consumer trust would not have been easy if the defective products had been introduced. All in all, the lesson learned from this ethical dilemma is that a manager should trust his or her gut to do what is right for the company’s clients. When a tough decision has to be made in an ethical dilemma, the manager has to make that decision basing upon what will create lasting value for the company rather than achieving the short-term win (Giang, 2014). Apple is commonly part of discussions on business strategy, customer experience and great brands. The leaders at Apple strongly believe that sticking to a set of values and doing things the right way is of great importance. Great reputable brands in most instances become great given that the products and/or services which are behind those particular brands are great.


To sum up, this paper has analyzed how product manager at Apple in the year 2010 was faced with an ethical dilemma and made the right decision from the moral standpoint. He had to decide whether or not to bring new Apple products that had defects to the marketplace. The consequences of introducing the defective products include considerable damage to Apple’s brand equity, huge financial penalty that Apple could have suffered, and significant future efforts required to win back customer trust. Conversely, the consequence of delaying the launch is that there would be loss of millions of US Dollars. Eventually, he chose not to introduce those faulty products to the market.


Elm, D., & Radin, T. (2012). Ethical Decision Making: Special or No Different? Journal of Business Ethics, 107(3): 313-329. EBSCOhost

Giang, V. (2014). 7 business leaders share how they solved the biggest moral dilemmas of their careers. FastCompany. Retrieved from

Hoyt, C., & Price, T. (2015). Ethical Decision Making and Leadership: Merging Social Role and Self-Construal Perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 126(4): 531-539. EBSCOhost

Jackson, R., Wood, C., & Zboja, J. (2013). The Dissolution of Ethical DecisionMaking in Organizations: A Comprehensive Review and Model. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2): 233-250. EBSCOhost

Woiceshyn, J. (2011). A Model for Ethical Decision Making in Business: Reasoning, Intuition, and Rational Moral Principles. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(3):311-323. EBSCOhost

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