Supplement F Computer-Integrated Manufacturing DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Questions such as this one put the student in the center of a dilemma. Sometimes a firm has a clear ethical choice, but it runs counter to the firm’s short-term financial interests or jeopardizes the manager’s job. In other cases, there is not even a clear-cut choice on ethical grounds. The larger the gray area, the better the class discussion. As for this particular question, some argue that if the automobile manufacturer hadn’t automated, its market share would have dropped to the point that it could not retain even 72,000 employees. The automation improved worker productivity, reduced costs, and ushered in a period of high profits. The automation also responded to opposition by trade unions to traditional and stressful assembly line work. Retaining the 72,000 jobs and enhancing the quality of the remaining jobs can be offered as ethical defenses to the automation. On the other hand, cutting so many jobs certainly had a human cost. A
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Economy of the United States, clear ethical choice, short-term financial interests, stressful assembly line, standardized production