Empress Luxury Lines Angela D. Davis Strayer University Management 500 Dr. Prakash Menon April 29, 2012 Abstract This critical analysis case of Empress Luxury Lines is based on circumstances of ethical dilemmas and challenges of top level managers and their employees faced with decisions on what anyone person or persons would do against making ethical decisions. In this case study, we note that the employee has to make choices for doing what he believes is right for him even though it may cause possible termination.
Despite of the needed computer upgrade for the Empress Luxury Liner for Empress, top management issues was to find other ways to limit cost. The luxury liner had fallen on hard times due to numerous factors some of which was not controllable by this business. In this case analysis we will explore how right or wrong decision making can create ethical dilemmas for a business. Faced with such dilemmas, we will try to understand how in decision making for the employees, managers, CFO’s affects the business entity.
Empress Luxury Lines ANALAYZE ANTONIO’S ETHICAL DILEMMA Antonio Melendez, a two year employee of Empress Luxury Lines was starting to feel as stated by Daft, “finally found a way to fund the computer system upgrade he’d been requesting ever since he’d taken the job two years ago” ( 2010, p. 150). Antonio, being that he was only on the job two years, and Kevin Pfeiffer, the new hire, the ethical decision dilemma for them was in facing the truth about the power surge damaged that struck the ship to its onboard computer system.
Antonio knew that the risk in defrauding the insurance company of the true nature of what happened to the computer system onboard the ship could have dire consequences for him and Kevin. Kevin told the truth to his supervisor Phil Bailey, of the $15,000 computer damaged and was told to report back only to his boss Phil Bailey. Kevin did exactly what he believed would be great news of the minimum fixable damage, but Phil was not happy. Instead, Kevin was instructed to remove and destroy all the wires and the cables and haul them elsewhere so that the insurance adjuster upon arrival would not know the difference in the damage.
Kevin refused choosing to make the intelligent ethical decision to not due as instructed and to not become part of a fraud scheme or the culture of top management habitually submitting fraudulent claims. Antonio appreciated Kevin’s integrity of making the best decision to not do as he was asked to do for Empress and his boss Phil Bailey. Antonio knew of years before he was hired, Empress Luxury Lines in the 1990’s, were a healthy business. The cruise liner had unprecedented demand by consumers to sail on its luxury liner. Unfortunately, with external threats of unforeseen causes, such as the 9/11 attacks in the U.
S. , the Hurricanes of 2005, and the Norwalk Virus outbreak, Empress’s volume of tourist booking travel by ship fell off drastically. Empress had to refund monies to its clients for cruises they could not use due to these uncertainties. In essence, contingency planning was enacted to respond to the unexpected conditions of weather, terrorism, and medical emergencies. The current rising demand of fuel cost to sail the cruse liner, slashed into the luxury liner’s profits. This is why Antonio could not or did not see his fervent request to have monies to upgrade the ships computer system was not accepted.
Until the damage of the computer system was verbally reported to Bailey, then the accepted practices of Empress by top management of fraud which was readily the condone nature, the assurance of Kevin, or Antonio being protected under the Whistle-blower act was essentially an ignored, systemic practice and rooted in the business climate culture from top to bottom. CREATE AND DESCRIBE TWO STRATEGIES In this case analysis the strategies to best describe how to address Antonio’s ethical dilemma would be by using two approaches in ethical decision making.
The approaches that can best address Antonio’s in this case study are the Utilitarian Approach and the Individualism Approach. These approaches best describe how Antonio should handle the situation at hand. The utilitarian approach by definition Daft , “ the ethical concept that moral behaviors produce the greatest good for the greatest number” (2010, p. 132). This approach Antonio is ethical decision maker and he understands the consequences of actions and plans to benefit for the greater good for Empress.
If Antonio chooses to use this approach he has the pulse of the organizations systemic practices but he has to figure out how to lead by example while limiting potential dire results for Empress by reporting what really happened to the insurance adjuster and authorities. If Antonio decides to stay quiet and do nothing he knows the risk and the ethical investigation that could ensue by law. The decision to do nothing hurts but if this is his decision, to help defraud the insurance company, the upside is that Empress will have a upgraded and repaired computer system.
I would equate the 2008 fraud case involving the SBA Program of widespread fraud with the HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program similar to how systemic practices of obvious fraud with rewarding contracts to business firms who were not eligible to receive such funding. Bruce Causseaux, a senior level specialist stated, “Three main factors worked to encourage the fraud, he says: the lure of several billion dollars of federal contracting, an SBA control process that largely relied on inadequately verified self-certified information and a clear message that, even if caught, the punishment would not match the crime” (Wilson, 2008 p. 0). This article exemplifies the seriousness that when it all goes wrong, in the utilitarian approach the benefit yielded still the lesser of a potentially disastrous result. The individualism approach’s by definition Daft, “the ethical concept that acts are moral when they promote the individual’s best long-term interest” (2010, p. 132). This approach helps Antonio because he believes in the fundamental rights of individuals in the ethical decision making process.
If Antonio chooses to avoid the systemic behavior by Empress because it will impede on a persons right then he would be ethically deciding to go against the grain of behavior even though he knows he may lose his job by telling the truth. The issue with this approach who determines the legitimacy of what is ethical or not about the way the cruise liner decides to conduct its business. Antonio/s plan of action hangs on the real balancing act of being loyal only to himself, to the health of the company and or lastly, for the greatest good of Empress.
Antonio has to really be comfortable in which ever decision ethically he will make. ASSESS THE PROS AND CONS The pros and cons of the utilitarian approach if Antonio so believes is the best approach he has the option to weigh the differences looking at how his decision will effect his fellow coworkers. For this case analysis, I believe the utilitarian is better suited for Antonio because this approach is not a selfish approach but more in line with having the thoughtfulness of care and concern for others and how his ethical decision could harm everyone.
Antonio does not consider he is just a lone wolf in this decision process because he sees the dilemma as equal parts to be held by together by the belief of all. Antonio relies on the method of substance process quantitatively in his overall objective to be fair for the consideration of the whole in making a just, moral, and pro ethical decision. The utilitarian approach con is in understanding and recognizing the cost benefits of his decision. This approach does not allow for room to be appeasing to all of his coworkers and this approach can cause harm. The end does not always justify the means as this approach states.
In the con of this approach, can Antonio assume the result of perhaps not being ethically honest could yield a positive result no matter of the facts presented to the insurance adjuster? This may happen and he is still left with the decision did he do his best in rising above the fray to do his ethical duty. The pros and con of the individualism approach on the pro side is Antonio will be respecting the rights of his coworkers and doing what is best for the common good of Empress. Antonio will also be protecting his rights as an individual which is a benefit for him.
Antonio has to be careful in upholding for pro rights to not step over the rights of others. A con of the individual approach is could be the true meaning in defining a person’s fundamental rights. This is a con of this approach because in the U. S. we have included our U. S. Constitution the Bill of Rights. If Antonio thinks this is the best approach because the Empress sails in international waters Antonio has to have consideration for the international laws of other countries which the U. S. Constitution with the Bill of Rights won’t apply.
Another con of this approach is that it is a selfish approach and can entice Antonio to consider only his needs and not the concerns of others. DECIDE ON WHICH STRATEGY TO TAKE Given the two approaches of utilitarian and individualism, I would choose the individualism approach for this case analysis if I was in Antonio’s position. I am not a selfish person by nature and in making business decisions I know that the ability to think in ethical decision making when a problem presents itself one has to be ready, willing and able to perform the task of airing on the side of fairness.
I have had similar instances as Antonio in being the one who has to be concerned for his self but by being this way, you ultimately do decide for the good all in the process of ethically doing what is best for the future long term health of the company. Individualism by behavior alone can ensure fellow coworkers that action done ethically for the best business ethical decision outcome is in the best interest of the whole. This action inspires cohesiveness and conformity in our feelings of our behavior.
In their book If Your Life were a Business, would you Invest in It? (2003), Eckblad and Kiel states, “When we acknowledge these feelings in ourselves and reflect on them, we often find their origin in one or more situations where we wish we had had the courage to have challenged someone or done something differently” and “businesslike thinking and planning are no guarantee that there will be “good” or courageous people in either jobs or our live” (Eckblad & Kiel, 2008, p. 37). The individualism approach has worked well for me in my business endeavors and personal life. My willingness to be fair, but yet knowing what ever decisions I make whether they are ethically based on a ethical dilemma or not, I firmly understand that not all decisions I chose to make was good for the whole and that you can not know the true value of the dilemma in your decision choice of how it will relate to other employees or coworkers. This is the dilemma for Antonio.
I do think his best method of approach would be using the individualism approach for Empress Luxury Lines. He will not please all but he will be ethically making the best decision for the greater good of the company. References Daft, Richard L. (2010). Management. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. Eckblad, John, & Keil, David (2003). If your Life Were a Business, Would You invest in It?. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Wilson, Sarah (2008, November), Fraud Rattles SBA Program. Entrepreneur, 30.
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