The ethical decision for the Ford Motor Company concerning the Ford Pinto.

timer Asked: Sep 8th, 2015
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Question description

Part One – The Facts of the Situation

·  Review the video concerning the Ford Pinto

o  Link -

o  Case Study:  Ford Pinto by EthicsWatch

Part Two – Materials You Need to Complete the Exam

Part Three – The Exam

I.  The Dilemma – You are the company ethics officer for the Ford Motor Company.  You are scheduled to present to the Board of Directors.  The Board has called upon you for your advice concerning the gas tank problem with the Ford Pinto.

Ford has essentially bet the future of the company on the Ford Pinto.  The marketing department reports consumer polling shows overwhelming demand for the car.  The dealerships report people are pre-ordering the car.  The assembly plants report they are ready to commence production.   All that is needed is for the Board of Directors to say go and then within weeks America’s roads will be crowded with the new Ford Pinto.

But there’s that pesky gas tank problem.  The Board wants to know whether the decision to put the car into production is ethical or not.  Is it ethical to put the care into production given the fact the members know to a mathematical certainty that 180 people will unknowingly drive the Ford Pinto into a fiery and painful death?

Here are the Probable Stakeholders:

1.  Shareholders

2.  Consumers

3.  Consumers who will die

4.  Ford assembly line workers

5.  Auto parts suppliers

6.  Workers at auto parts plants

7.  People in the factory towns who depend on the wages paid to workers at the factories

8.  Feel free to think of a few more

II.  State Five Business Tactics available to the company in addition to putting the car into production with the defective gas tank design.






III.  For Each Business Tactic, State a Key Issue to Think About.






IV.  For Each Key Issue to Think About, State a Probable Response.






V.  For Each Probably Response, Formulate a “But What If” Question.






VI.  Pick One of the Five Probable Responses.  For the Probable Response Chosen, Answer the Five Ethical Analysis Questions.  A “yes” or “no” answer is not acceptable.  State your reasoning.

A.  Will the action clearly help more people than it will harm?

B.  How well can the people who are harmed recover from the type of harm produced?

C.  Is this a win-lose situation in which the decision-maker wins and the other parties lose?

D.  What universal set of rights, values or principles are being honored?

E.  What university set of rights, value or principles are being broken?

Tutor Answer

UT Austin

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