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Ethics In Workplace Case Study

2630 words - 11 pages

The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol IncidentIn 1982 Johnson and Johnson, the pharmaceutical company that makes Tylenol announced a nationwide recall of Tylenol; 31 million bottles and a loss of 100 million dollars. This recall was secondary to the death of seven people in the Chicago area after using Tylenol. An investigation reveled the poisoning were found to be that of an outside source. The Tylenol was contaminated with cyanide from an outside source.Johnson and Johnson's response to the poisonings was to face the public, take responsibility, and attempt to regain the marketplace. Johnson and Johnson began a massive campaign, doling out coupons, and redesigning the package to be ...view middle of the document...

Should they invest more money into Tylenol and the safety of their products or just let Tylenol slip to the wayside? These are questions that top officials had to ask in the first few days after the tragic deaths of the seven Chicago residents. (Nelson & Trevino, 2004)Root ProblemsAfter the seven tragic deaths in Chicago, Johnson and Johnson had many questions about how they were going to handle the situation. In the beginning, a representative from Johnson and Johnson had this to say, "The Company's strict quality control and the poisonings could not have been performed in the plants. Because the cyanide laced Tylenol had been discovered in shipments from both of the company's plants and had only been found in the Chicago area, authorities concluded that any tampering must have occurred once the Tylenol had reached Illinois." (Kaplan, 2006) Johnson and Johnson were faced with two major root problems. First, the safety of the consumer and employees, and secondly, how was Johnson and Johnson going to save its reputation and make sure that Tylenol was back on its feet."The company immediately alerted consumers across the nation, via the media, not to consume any type of Tylenol product. They told consumers not to resume using the product until the extent of the tampering could be determined." (Kaplan, 2006) Johnson and Johnson was taking a major risk in the recall, and they were losing money fast trying to warn the public. "This was unusual for a large corporation facing a crisis. In many other similar cases, companies had put themselves first, and ended up doing more damage to their reputations than if they had immediately taken responsibility for the crisis" (Kaplan, 2006).By taking charge of the situation, Johnson and Johnson regained their reputation through the good media they received. Getting involved from the start gave Johnson and Johnson good standing with the police, FBI, and the Food and Drug Administration. Johnson and Johnson were able to save face in the public's eye even though the recalled all their stock and told people not to buy or open any Tylenol until the crisis had been solved. Another way that Johnson and Johnson saved faced was to offer to switch tablets for capsules. They lost millions of dollars in this transaction but the consumer felt safe and knew that Johnson and Johnson was taking care of them.After six weeks, of good relations with the public, Johnson and Johnson announced that the capsules would be returning to the shelves. Since that time, the Food and Drug Administration made it mandatory to have tampered proof seals on all drug bottles. Tylenol was one of the first companies to follow these regulations and when the capsules returned to the shelves it had a three part tamper seal on the bottles.Unresolved IssuesJohnson and Johnson made the right ethical decisions concerning the Tylenol crisis and through good public relations faced the problems head-on. The company does not have any unresolved issues with...

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