- Alternative testing,
- Stop soap production,
- Product Re-engineering
- Media Campaign,
- Relocate production,
- Doctors/ Medical Practitioners,
- Retailers/ Suppliers,
- Government Agencies
Evaluation of Ethics
Ethics is a broad term especially when viewed from a global perspective; however, when narrowed down to business, it turns out to be a brief and often challenging term. Ethics in business leans towards a core belief around what individuals consider as the guiding principles of good faith (Figar & Đorđević, 2016). Further, business ethics is a roadmap that defines how people relate and negotiate moral dilemmas within the business environment. Therefore, business ethics is to be seen in the light of organizational structures put in place, own principles, corporate oversight, and company policy and regulations.
When critically evaluated, ethics is often mistaken for alternative decision-making choices such as religion, law, or even morality. However, at times religion, law, and morality find common ground in ethics as there are certain virtues and vices that they advocate for and against concerning ethics. Traditionally, ethics is divided into two broad categories; normative ethics and meta-ethics. Normative Ethics expounds that virtue is not a self- sufficient aspect but depends on other factors, which include rule-based ethics, which determine the moral compass of an individual vis-a-vis laid down rules (Robinson et al, 1997). On the other hand, Meta-ethics seeks to determine how issues relating to ethics are handled within an organization. Therefore, Meta-Ethics assessment is accomplished by taking a step back and assessing ethical issues from an outsiders’ perspective.
From the literature reviewed, it is clear that everybody can come agree that something is good if moral objectivity is put into the equation. On the opposite end of moral objectivism is ethical relativism, which asserts that there is no certainty of universal truth. Thus, depending on how one looks at issues, they will see and have a different perspective and people then have to agree on which aspect serves their common goal and objective.
KidSoap Ethical Dilemma vs Benefits
Ethical dilemma, therefore, requires that decisions be made based on the available choices. The choices to be made, may either be a teleological approach, which requires a careful analysis of the alternatives present and the possible consequences or the deontological approach, which calls for doing away with alternatives that cannot be implemented. As such, an ethical dilemma may require one to raise the alarm about a particular activity, agree to a compromise, negotiations on the outcomes, blackmail in future among others. Overall, ethics are guided by theories that determine and show what needs to be done and how it is done.
Kidsoap finds itself in an ethical dilemma whereby on one hand the benefits derived from using the soap is far much better that alternatives in the market and on the other its production process is being challenged. The benefits of its use cannot be gainsaid as it has been found to be efficient on treatment serious wounds and prevention of serious injuries and even death. However, it finds itself caught between a petition raised by People for the Humane Treatment of Animals (PHTA) and rising debt that might cripple the company’s operation if growth is not sustained through sales. This situation will most likely have severe repercussion not only to the directors and shareholders of the business but also to the employees and other players within the value chain and commercial operating space.
Therefore, the management will have to make decisions based on the available alternatives that will enable it steer through the legal, ethical and financial situation that it has found itself. While there are only limited alternatives, studies have shown that ethics can be classified into three broad theories; consequentialist theory, Non-consequentialist theory and the Agent-centered theory (Cardi, 2004). All the above theories are used to manage ethics within the business legal environment.
Recommendation and Course of Action
In view of the ethical and financial dilemma that Kidsoap has found itself in and having looked at the alternatives to the ethical decision, there are various alternatives that can be pursued. The consequentialist theory gives room for using common good approach- this avenue may be used to navigate the challenge posed by PHTA. Looking at the overall benefits of using Kidsoap, which has served to alleviate pain and suffering of children including possibility of death, one therefore can reason the end justifies the means. However, looking at the financial situation of the company other alternatives which include product re-engineering, moving production to states that have not banned animal testing or finding alternative testing may not be feasible at the moment since they are very costly.
Therefore, use of media campaign to communicate and articulate its production process while riding on American Academy of Children’s Medicine publication that endorsed its process may be a worthy alternative. Since this alternative might be less costly in comparison to the others outlined at the beginning. However, while media campaign is ongoing Kidsoap should seek other alternatives for testing and ensuring that they are in compliance with legal and ethical requirements.
In conclusion Kidsoap will have to work closely with all stakeholders and ensuring that they are well informed about what are the current challenges. By doing this they will win crucial support to overcome this ethical dilemma and succeed ethically and financially.
Cardi, W. Jonathan. “Reconstructing Foreseeability.” BCL Rev. 46 (2004): 921.
Figar, Nadica, and Biljana Đorđević. “Managing an Ethical Dilemma.” Economic Themes 54.3 (2016): 345-362.
Robinson, David A., Per Davidsson, and Hennie Van der Mescht. “How Entrepreneurs Deal with Ethical Challenges–An Application of the Business Ethics Synergy Star Technique.” Journal of Business Ethics 71.4 (2007): 411-423.