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35 C HAPTER 5 E THICS AND B USINESS D ECISION M AKING A NSWER TO C RITICAL A NALYSIS Q UESTION IN THE F EATURE INSIGHT INTO THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT CRITICAL THINKING INSIGHT INTO CULTURE (PAGE 112) Clearly, the corporate culture at Siemens, at least in the last few decades, did not distinguish among actions that were both ethical and legal, actions that were unethical but perhaps legal, and actions that were both unethical and illegal. What could have top management at that company have done to instill a different corporate culture that would have resulted in a different outcome? Management might have taken any of the steps suggested in this chapter. For example, they could have created and enforced corporate ethics codes, which could have stressed more than the “moral minimum” of decisions and actions, especially with respect to the specific charges mentioned in this feature. They might also have behaved in a similar manner to serve as examples for their employees A NSWERS TO Q UESTIONS AT THE E NDS OF THE C ASES CASE 5.1 QUESTIONS (PAGE 102) 1A. Would there have been any way for the Baums to operate their business ethically? One way in which the Baums could have operated their business ethically would have been to comply with the law. They should not have pretended to be lawyers when they not, they should not have misrepresented the facts to those they sought as clients, and they should not have lied to the courts. It is fair to note, though, that without the compliance of those clients, who may have been motivated by greed, the Baums would not have been able to act. 2A. Are there situations in which a business owner’s conduct would be more repre hensible than the Baums’ behavior in this case? Explain. When
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36 UNIT ONE: THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS behavior is motivated by greed or some other base emotion, the only limit to unethical conduct is the actor‟s imagination. Specific examples of more reprehensible conduct might include crimes of violence the strongman hired to recover the amount of a loan, for instance, by breaking the debtor‟s arm— or acts for which consequences are of a greater scope —the alcoholic captaining an oil barge with his employer‟s acquiescence and running it aground to the destruction of the environment, for example. CASE 5.2 (PAGE 105) THE ETHICAL DIMENSION Should more consideration have been given to the fact that Fog Cutter was not convicted of a violation of the law? Why or why not? Yes, because those controlling more than half of Fog Cutter‟s stock appear to have believed that there were good business reasons for the firm‟s deal with Wiederhorn. Those shareholders must have thought that “Wiederhorn's continuing commitment to the company and his return to an active role in the company after his incarceration were essential to preserving Fog Cutter's core business units.” No, becaus e, as the NASD found, the SEC apparently perceived, and the court set out, “the company's actions were contrary to the public interest
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