Business Ethics and Virtue Ethics – Mattel Inc Case Study

Analytical and very critical assessment of the processes and corporate structure needs an organization to conduct moral and ethical screening relating to their systems and policies or particularly code of direction which directs them to ethics are incorporated in the social code of conduct of a firm or organization. Mattel Inc. is among the prominent toy companies that were initiated in the year 1945 by Matt Matson and Elliot Handler.  This company was given a name Mattel Inc. after it founder as mentioned earlier. The following were the companies’ major products that were manufacture; Barbie Dolls, matchbox cars and hot wheels. The products generated about 80% of the companies’ revenue.

Virtue and ethics simply refers to the moral values and roles of an individual. The major principles of ethics are entirely based on the action of a person as per the virtue depending with the situation (Sethi, et al, 2011).

Relating to Mattel Inc, I have decided to choose the following three virtues; Honesty, courage and fairness.

To begin with, honesty is referred to as the quality of information being upright and fair, having frankness, truthfulness and sincerity and being free of deceit or any other kind of fraud. In Mattel Inc. Company, practicing honesty helps in keeping high profile of accountability. It’s a requirement that proper and accurate recording and reporting of company’s information and transaction is done appropriately.

Courage is a very vital virtue in a human being because it gives direction towards the possibility of creating other virtues. Saint Thomas Aquinas refers to courage as a cardinal virtue (Barabara, 2013). According to him, he considers courage as the source to develop significance level of endurance in someone. Courage also empowers a person to overcome bodily dangers that tend to harm it and lead to death.

Fairness is one of the core values and pillar of ethical compliance system in Mattel Inc. it’s clear that the manner in which we achieve success is as vital as the success itself hence this acknowledgment underscores that commitment to do business with high level of integrity.

In Mattel Inc. every employee is in charge of treating others dignity and respect, acting with integrity.

In news report, it was discovered that the NGO reported violation in six companies that manufacture toys for the Mattel Inc. Company. The violations include; pollution and discrimination. For example the wages of workers are reduced and no payout for over time. It was also noted that factories stole close to 11 million USD from their employees. This was against the Mattel’s code of conduct which states that everyone in the supply chain should treat employees with fairness and abide by the local law (Seth, et al, 2011).

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that claims that an act is considered to be right if only it obeys the rule of utility.  Utilitarianism was founded by Jeremy Bentham during the era of Victorian. This theory based on the fact that was need for the community to solely rely on reason other than metaphysics (Barbara, 2013). The reason behind this is that human beings counter pain with pleasure. Hence, a morally correct action is the one that results in the greatest pleasure within given set of conditions.

Deontology is the opposite of utilitarianism. Deontologist mostly considers duty concept. This means that they are concerned with accomplishing what they believe is their moral duty irrespective of whether it makes people happy or sad. In other words, deontologists have a strong belief that right actions are clear by duty. I think deontology is most useful in evaluating Mattel case because once we understand what bounds us to duty morally, and then we can do the right action without having to consider the outcome (Barbara, 2013). It’s argued that what matters most is whether we are doing what is right and that which conforms with the local moral law. Immanuel Kant is one of the leading supporters of this theory. For him, right actions are those that are done innocently and simply basing on a sense of duty and not by considering inclinations, impulses or utilitarianism.  Kant also adds that human beings need to know what make right actions right and providing rational explanations as to why we have to obey the moral laws.

Now let’s look at virtue theory. Aristotle sets out his ethical theory later to be known as virtue his theory. His concept is for the human race to live well. For Arisrtolte, the final reason for human existence is referred to as Eudemonia is mostly known as happiness.

Aristotle held that the urge to live a fulfilled life is part and parcel of what it is to be human. A eudaimon life is a life that is fulfilled. It is vital to rely that Aristotle means by flourishing is an activity of the mind and soul but has nothing to do with pleasure in line with virtue (Bob and Mick, 2009). Correspondingly, we’ve got are two types of virtues; moral and intellectual. In addition, virtue whether intellectual is nature of the mind and soul, which finds its face in voluntary action –which means that it is, consciously chosen. Moral virtue is articulated in the choice of detection of a course in the middle of excessive and deficient inadequate action: this is the famous doctrine of the Golden Mean that holds that each virtue stands somewhere, between two opposing sides. Hence resilience is a means between rashness and cowardice fairness is the most significant virtue of the moral virtues, and also anxious about the sense that it aims at each person getting either more or less than their dues. However, it is not like other virtues, flanked by opposing vices since any disappearance from either side, involve simply injustice. Moral virtue prevents chaotic emotion from leading to inappropriate action. What determine, in any situation, what is appropriate action and the correct amount of sensitivity, is the intellectual virtue of caution and practical wisdom this is the virtue of that area of reason that is connected with the action. The virtue of the speculative part of the reaction is education; this virtue finds its most sublime manifestations in more or less solitary contemplation (Bob and Mick, 2009). Supreme happiness, according to Aristotle, would consist in a life of philosophical contemplation. Although, this would be the ultimate in human fulfillment, it is also a life that is beyond the realization of just mere mortals. The best we can aspire to is the kind of happiness that can be found in a life of political activity magnificence in accordance with moral values.

Following Aristotle, Warnock, in his The Object of Morality also takes the view that there is no universal criterion by which our actions can be classified as either right or wrong. ‘It is clear’, says Warnock, ‘that moral principles may point in opposite directions, and I can pronounce no ground on which one could pronounce in general which is to predominate another’. Virtue theorists, then, accept that human beings must be governed by moral upright principles, what they do not accept is the view that these principles are bound by moral absolutes or ‘imperatives’ (Sethi, et al, 2011). For virtue theorists, it is not whether one answers to the demands of the categorical imperative, nor is it one’s determination to opt for pleasure over pain that determines whether or not one is ethical, rather it is one’s natural disposition to lead a virtuous life.

Duty ethics,’ can be held considerable merit, in that it advocates that human beings should be treated as ends in themselves rather than means to ends, as an ethical theory, but as duty automatons, it fails in that it looks on people, not as sentient beings, In addition, an ethical theory, such as Utilitarianism, that advocates that the happiness of the majority takes precedence over the minority cannot be counted as a reliable ethical figure (Barbara, 2013). Hence, of the three theories discussed so far, it’s evident to me, by virtue of its rejection of closure in relation to what it is that determines right action, and its view that it is one’s natural disposition to seek to lead a life of excellence, Virtue Theory is the closest we have come to identifying an ethical theory that requires the least alteration to allow us to lead an ethical life. However, before drawing this discussion to an end there is another ethical theory that deserves close consideration. These are the ethical theory set out by Thomas Hobbes in his magnum opus, Leviathan.

Central to Hobbes’ theory is the view that ‘the human desire for peace is the intention that moves humans from the natural condition to civil society. Hobbes operates on the basis that all men are equal. Nature has created men so equal in faculties of mind and body, when all is reckon together, the difference between man and man is so negligible that no man can claim superiority over another one.

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