Ethics and Responsibilities go hand in hand. With businesses that develop products for the public, the decision making process is crucial. Before one can make a judgement for what is right and wrong, one must understand to a degree the consequences of those actions.
Businesses have responsibilities for the product they manufacture and distribute, but how much responsibility is too much. In this perspective, we will examine the ethical implications of product manufacturing of Product Quality, Pricing, and Labeling and Packaging.
With Product Quality, the responsibilities of a business are simple. Develop a low cost, high quality product that withstands the normal limitations of it’s use. Quality can be defined as doing the right thing, the right way, the first time, and every time. It is important that this is understood from both the consumer and the business perspective. In short, the product will meet customer expectations, priced appropriately, and delivers as advertised. Within the business, producing a product the right way is the most effective, efficient, lowest cost and most valuable way to produce quality results, the first, and every time. Furthermore, product quality implies that all standards are met, with minimal repercussions of poor quality, reducing the amount of rework and waste. As such, businesses who develop products of poor quality are either failing to do the right thing, or doing the right thing, the wrong way.
In Case Study 6.3, H.B. Fullers products can be considered high quality, based on their status as a leading manufacturer of it’s products, and with it’s slew of awards and honors. Although child welfare advocates campaign for Fuller to revise their products by adding noxious oil to their glue, Fuller maintains that they are doing the right thing by keeping the product the same, as changing the formula would reduce the products effectiveness, and potentially cause injury to legitimate users of it’s products. This would violate the standard of product quality, which is to create a high quality, low costing product as mentioned earlier.
To further illustrate, Fuller’s Company provides industrial glues, coatings, and paints. If a consumer buys an industrial glue, and it does not work as effectively due to the addition to the noxious oil, this is an example of doing the wrong thing. On the other hand, if the glue works as promised, but the consumer gets sick while using the product the correct way, this is an example of the right thing, done the wrong way. Lastly, if the glue holds for some, and does not for others, then the company has failed to do the right thing, the first time, and every time. This would make this product one of poor quality, and that is unethical.
Companies can avoid unintentionally creating poor quality products, and create a peace of mind with their consumers with the use of warranties. Warranties are obligations to purchasers that sellers assume. (Shaw,...