Imposing one cultures ethics on another


Problem:

You are to place yourself in the role as the sales manager at a European company that makes sleepwear products for children. Company personnel have discovered that the chemicals used to flameproof the company's line of children's pajamas might cause cancer if absorbed through the skin. After this discovery, the pajamas are banned from sale in the European Union and the United States, but senior executives of your company learn that the children's pajamas in inventory and the remaining flameproof material can be sold to sleepwear distributors in certain East European countries where there are no restrictions against the material's use. Your superiors instruct you to make the necessary arrangements to sell the inventories of banned pajamas and flameproof materials to East European distributors. How would you handle this situation?

Consider the given as you prepare your response:

1. Weigh the concepts of deferring responsibility for ethics in the workplace to the employer under the guise of "following orders."

2. Consider the implications of standing up to an employer based on personal ethics.

3. Consider universalism versus relativism in ethics, including the appropriateness or inappropriateness of imposing one culture's ethics on another.

4. Consider the relevance of the drivers of unethical strategies and business behavior to this situation.

5. Consider recommending an approach for the company to manage their ethical conduct.

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