A textile manufacturer is closing its North Carolina plant and moving the production of its products to a developing nation in Southeast Asia. The primary reason for the move is the lower labor cost that the organization can enjoy in the new location.
Proponents of the decision laud the move as a means to save the organization by taking advantage of the free market and finding cheaper methods of producing the company’s goods.
Opponents of the decision state that a breach of trust existed between the company and the employees, and that a breach of trust will occur due to this decision. Additionally, opponents cite recent findings that contractors in the Southeast Asia region where the company is moving have been cited for utilizing child labor and failing to provide working conditions equivalent to those in the United States.
Officials in the Southeast Asia region have answered the criticisms of the use of child labor by pointing out that
oftentimes children are the only individuals in a family who are capable of working, and to deny them that
opportunity would create greater hardship on the already desperately poor population.
Based on the case study above, apply the deontological and teleological frameworks learned in this unit to provide the
following information in your response:
Describe which framework the proponents of this move would use to support their statement that it be considered ethical.
Describe which framework the opponents of this move would use to support their statement that it be considered unethical.
Describe style of leadership this decision reflects, and discuss whether this move would lead to a positive evaluation of leadership and organizational performance.
Describe the level of corporate responsibility this decision reflects.
Deontological and Teleological Frameworks
Framework to Use
The proponents of this move should use the deontological framework to support their move to relocate the textile manufacturing company to Southeast Asia. The deontological framework is non-consequentialist. In other words, deontological theories place emphasis on the legality of the actions or the decisions rather than the consequences (Traer, 2009). The basic premises in deontological theories are rights and duties. Rights-based ethics hold that individuals have certain justified claims that they can make. In the case of the company, the board members or owners have the right to move the manufacturing plant from North Carolina to Southeast Asia where there is cheaper labor as well as methods of production. The other basic premise is duty. This emphasizes the need to act from duty as a way of justifying the morality of actions. In duty-based ethics, the morality of an action is not judged basing on the consequences but the motives of the individuals (Traer, 2009). The proponents aim at saving the organization from collapse, which justifies relocating it to Southeast Asia.
The opponents of this move should use the teleological framework to justify why the action is unethical. The teleological framework examines the consequences of an action; meaning it is consequentialist. Teleological theories base moral judgements on the consequences of an action or decision (Traer, 2009). If the outcomes of a particular decision are largely positive, then that decision is morally right. However, if the outcomes are negative, then the action or decision is morally wrong. The two major theories that fall under teleological framework are egoism and utilitarianism. Egoism purports that the motivation for individuals to do good stems from the recognition that they gain from others. Utilitarianism focuses on doing the greatest good to the greatest number of people (Traer, 2009). By relocating the company, a breach of trust may occur, which will hurt the company’s employees. In addition, the company will likely utilize child labor once it relocates. This is wrong because the company will provide poor working conditions to those children. It could even impoverish the children further by denying them the opportunity to go to school.
Style of Leadership
This decision reflects the participative style of leadership. This is because the leader informs the employees of the decision made and allowing them to evaluate the possible consequences of relocating the company to Southeast Asia. Participative leadership takes into consideration the input of all workers in the organization (Somech, 2006). Nonetheless, the participative leader still holds the responsibility to make the final decision. The participative leader values the opinions and contributions of the employees towards running the organization. This result to high motivation levels among employees since they feel that their opinions are valued (Somech, 2006). High motivation among employees increases their productivity and the overall organizational efficiency. This leads to positive evaluation of leadership and organizational performance.
Level of Corporate Responsibility
The company is at the first level of corporate responsibility, which is economic responsibility. At this level, the company is struggling to survive and make profits. The major focus of the company is to fulfill customer demands through production of goods and services and to turn a profit through the sale of the same (In Wolf, In Issa, & In Thiel, 2015). At the economic level, the company mainly focuses on financial performance and gives little attention to other areas such as the environment or the social aspect. From the case study, the company’s focus is to produce goods at a lower price.
In Wolf, R., In Issa, T., & In Thiel, M. (2015). Empowering organizations through corporate social responsibility. Hershey.
Somech, A. (2006). The effects of leadership style and team process on performance and innovation in functionally heterogeneous teams. Journal of Management, 32(1), 132-157. doi:10.1177/0149206305277799
Traer, R. (2009). Doing Environmental Ethics. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.