Business Ethics and Consequences Number

BusinessEthics and Consequences


BusinessEthics and Consequences

Oneof the major topics that has become of concern in the business andorganization management is the issue of BusinessEthics. Different cases have beenidentified and discussed in length concerning an ethical action in abusiness. This paper will look into a case study involving a soletrader, dealing with the supply of transistor that is used in makingof pacemakers. The ‘case’ will introduce the utilitarian issue,as well as applying the Utility Test into the case. In addition,there will also be application of Common Good Test identifying steps.The results from the two tests will later be compared, analyzed anddiscussed, as well as making the conclusion as to which of the testsare effective or can be deployed within the case. This will help todetermine the test that is more informative with reference toevaluating the case given.


Thecase in question entails a company that was used to supplytransistors in 1975 which were used to male pacemakers. At the timeof this technology inception, the technology was faced with numerousand diverse issues with the device. Due to lack of hardware testingas it ought to be tested, the quality assurance of the transistor wasweak right from its production. As a result of adequate testing ofthe device, the company was already in fear of being sued. Theproduction of the pacemaker brought along division within the companyboard members as some wanted the product of the device stopped asthey feared the risk of bankruptcy. They argued that, the money madefrom the sale of the product was far much less than the risk of beingsued. This group of the board members saw their obligation as totheir shareholders. Contrary to this, the supporting members arguedthat, they owed to the community and the public at large who were inneed of the pacemaker. The supporting members, suggested for thefinding of a solution to the issue at hand with the device (Shanks,S.J., 1996).

Usingthe Utilitarian approach to essence of making the decision in ethicalissues, the approach has its key focus on achievements of results.This means that, the action implemented to identify the ethicalactions or the correct action to take is dependent on the number ofpeople that benefits from the result. With reference to the casegiven, there is an ethical issue or difference in opinions in termsof deciding whether the company should continue using the transistorsfor making the pacemakers. With reference to the utilitarianapproach, it looks into doing what is best for all the parties atstake, which includes the community, board members and thestakeholders. The transistor producing company was not in decisionas to how its products were being used, as it sold them to many otherorganizations. This explained the stand, if the transistor failed inpacemaker it wasn’t as a result of the supplied transistor. On theother hand, lack of supply of the transistors, would cause severeshortage of pacemakers, hence no surgeries to save patients’ lives.


Thisis the test for deciding whether an action is morally right(Utilitarianism).In order to apply the test, there are key points to consider whichmust be implemented. This includes the verification of theanticipated benefits as well as damages that could be felt from bothchoices of the ethical dilemma, or the case taken. In addition, theaction chosen must be the one that aligns with the best benefitsafter the examination of costs has been considered into the equation(Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, S.J. &amp Meyer, 2010).

  • Step A: Introduction of the test. While introducing the test, the main question is whether the choice is to minimize the harm or maximize the benefits expected for the affected.

  • Step B: Validity: This target the production of the most satisfying option for all the parties involved in the situation.

  • Step C: Test Application: at this point, alternative actions should be identified as well as the parties affected. For example, should the transistors production for pacemakers continue? The affected parties in reference to the case are the company and its workers, stockholders as well as patients, and the society at large who will bear the cost of taking of their patients till they die.

(2)Deciding on costs and gains for each of the possible alternative.

AlternativeI: If the company choses to continue with the supply of thetransistors for the pacemaker, then there is a good chance, therewill an increase in sales, as it’s the sole supplier of theproduct. They will also be rewarded for identifying solution for thecurrent issues with the transistors. Moreover, the patients will aswell be happy with this action choice, as the life saving device willcontinue being available. Additionally, there will an increasedfinancial gain to the shareholders, and at the same improvingpatient’s life in terms quality and length. However, if thepacemaker continues to have problems, the pain will be felt to thepeople as more will be used to care for the patients, as well as harmthe company profile/reputation.

AlternativeII: the second alternative will be when the company decidesto halt the supplying of the transistors for pacemakers, the companywill continue in business, and stakeholders will continue makingmoney as there would be no any holding liability due to issuesassociated with pacemaker. However, the stop in production of thepacemakers will deprive the patients an access to a lifesaving deviceor surgery as there will no pacemakers available. This will in turnshorten patients’ lives, hence increased cases of death. Companycustomers, may turn away if they realize, the company choose not toproduce the lifesaving devices, this would mean a negative impacttowards the company financials, which may in turn bring down theprices of stocks, and employee may lose jobs.

Selectionof the most beneficial action to the affected parties, withreference to the alternatives identified above, ‘not providing thetransistor for pacemakers has an increased net gain or good than notproducing it.

Whatabout this action becomes a policy, when it comes to such scenariosas given? Production of a products that has issues and problems,and there is no efforts to correct the issues, it would be a threatto the customers as well as to the company.

Inconclusion, from the case above, it can be deduced that, failing toprovide the transistor is unethical both in terms of an actions aswell as a policy. This is because, for alternative II, the companymay not be sued at any given time, but failing to give out theproduct, and in this case being the sole supplier, there is more harmthan good, to the company’s image. This in turn leaves thealternative I, as the alternative with less negative impact, but withmore long-term benefits (Hamilton III, 2009).


Withreference to the same case in question, another approach in makingthe decision of what is ethical or not, is through the use of RightsTest. This test states that, each and every individual isentitled to making his/her own decision on how to live or decisionsthey take/make.

StepA: Introduce the testStepB: Validity: the company mayfeel, the patients’ needs to respect their decisions should theboard on the other hand, respect the patients’ rights?StepC: Apply the test:

Identifyingthe fact in the question: This canbe debated that, failure to supply the transistors for thepacemakers, impends the patients’ rights to health and life, whichcan be defined as a violation peoples, right to health, and bearingin mind that, the company is the sole provider of the transistor.

Clarifyingwhy this is right: Healthiness adthe wellbeing of people is a right to every person. This is because,without health, it becomes hard to maintain people’s happiness andcomfortableness as they may want it.

Identifyingadditional right: in addition toproviding the pacemakers, it’s also essential to let them know itscurrent issues and in turn give them the chance to make decisions onthe risks associated with the surgery.

Clarifyingwhy this is a right: It’s anessential aspect, and the ride of people to be allowed to choose whatthey want. Failure to make their own choices makes people feel lesserthan others.

Arethere clashes/conflicts with other rights/rights of others?With reference to the case given, there are no additional conflictsof rights. In summary of the right test approach, it can besaid that, the patients have their rights to receive any medicationthat is available as well as that can prolong their life. On the sideof a doctor, he also has a right to administer any treatment that isdeemed to save a patient’s life. One essential element of humannature is the wish to aid and give services that would lengthen lifeof another (Hamilton III, 2009).

Compareand Contrast

Withreference to people making decision, it takes only one ethics test toreason out reasonably. Use of different ethics test at the same time,is only valid and helpful when giving different perspectives in anygiven scenario, or else when trying to validate what is acceptable orbelieved to be right decision. This comes effective when thesituation is more of complicated or has is ought to have an immenseimpact to once life. In the case used in the paper about the soleprovider, it could be argued that, from the two tests conducted, it’sunethical not to provide the transistors (Hamilton III, 2009).

Utilityor Rights

Afterthe carrying out both tests, the key question in both cases isshould the company carry on sellingthe transistors for pacemakers? Withreference to the information from tests, and comparing it, as well asemploying the knowledge gained, the company should continue with theprovision of the merchandise. However, it should equally provide awarning to the transistors users, in order to make them aware of therisk they face when using the product. It should be left as adecision between the patient and the doctor to decide on what is thechoice, whether to avoid the risk with the product, or use theproduct and bear the risk.


Withreference to the two test conducted on the case, the RightsTest is the most informative. Thisis in terms of assessing this case. This can be deduced from the factthat, the utility test is dependent on what is superlatively best tothe bigger number of people involved. This is unlike the rights test,which is founded on the basis of rights of people. The rights testshows that, people are entitled to make the decision with referenceto their health, as well as the doctors has the right offer servicesthat they believe would be helpful to the patient.


Makingdecision on what is wrong or right sometimes proves a difficultthing. When it comes to issues to do with ethics, deciding on rightor wrong becomes a challenge. One of the reasons behind thischallenges, is due to the fact that, every person ethics aredifferent from that of a another person. Life experiences teach anindividual different moral behavior, and vary from one person to theother. Moral determines what an individual believes is right orwrong. With reference to the sole supplier case in the paper, issueswere discussed and analyzed through two tests ‘utility test andrights test’ in order to help decide on what is right or wrongdecision as per the case. From the information obtained from the twocases, the best decision is the supply of the transistors tocontinue. This is due to the fact that, it has been identifiedcontinued production of the transitions for pacemakers for a commonessential for the community and patients that are need of the device.Exploiting these ethical tests, people are able to make decisionswhen faced with a difficult situation.


HamiltonIII, J. B. (2009). How to compare conclusions from the differenttests. Retrieved from

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Shanks,S.J., T. (1996). The case of the sole remaining supplier.Retrieved from

Velasquez,M., Andre, C., Shanks, S.J., T., &amp Meyer, M. J. (2010).Calculating consequences:

Theutilitarian approach to ethics. Retrieved from