Learning Activity #1
Show Me the Regulation?
There are at least two different positions taken on the question of whether government regulation or laws can facilitate ethical behavior. Some take the position that you cannot trust businesses on their own to do what is ethical; therefore, some government intervention in the form of laws and regulations is necessary. On the other hand, some argue that overreaching laws and regulations do not facilitate ethical behavior, and indeed might have the opposite effect. What do you think about the debate and what is your position? Why do you believe your position is sustainable or defensible?
Learning Activity #2
When in Malaysia
W.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacturer of sophisticated computer parts, recently moved the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia. The Company has hired several hundred workers at wages considerably below their U.S. counterparts, but consistent with the prevailing wages in Malaysia. Not only is the Company benefiting from the lower wages, it is also able to reduce its costs further because of the deplorable factories used for its operations (no air conditioning and poor ventilation), it can dispose of waste without any government oversight, and government inspectors are routinely given gratuities for favorable inspection reports or to otherwise grease the skids for the Company. The Company’s operations are in all key respects in accordance with the laws of Malaysia.
You were recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian operations and you are concerned about what you have seen and heard as to how the plants are being operated. When you called a colleague in the states, he said to you “keep your mouth shut and when in Rome do as the Romans do”. What are some of the ethical issues you should consider in charting your course of action and how would you resolve them?