Business Ethics: A Case study

Case 1 Question 1 (word count: 919)

In this question, we will analyze the situation of the following three parties.

Argus incorporated: Susan and Graig

According to the case, there is an awkward situation for Susan and Graig in Argus incorporated that whether to deny they had received the notice of assignment without destroying the document. According to consequentialist theories, the ethical decision should maximize the good consequences over the bad (Trevino & Nelson 2007). And in this case we know the following information.

Firstly, Argus has already paid $380,000 and returned the old equipment to TekUSA. But unfortunately, the payment and old equipment should be sent to Mr. Hayes due to the contract between Mr. Hayes and TekUSA which for Susan, Graig and Argus incorporated is a horrible mistake.

Secondly, due to the embarrassing financial situation of TekUSA as the case mentioned, there may be little chance for Argus incorporated to get the payment of $380,000. And meanwhile the equipment which was returned to TekUSA had been junked. So Argus incorporated may face a big sum of compensation as high as $ 1 million for the equipment and another $380,000 to Mr. Hayes, which may cost Argus incorporated too much and heavily affect its financial situation and future development.

Thirdly, the above mistakes are mostly due to Graig and Susan, so as the key persons of this case, they have to work out a proper approach to handle this situation. Based on this situation, Graig advised Susan that they could deny they had received the notice of assignment. And if they really deny, the responsibility may be transferred to TekUSA. But for Argus incorporated, Graig and Susan, what they will do is totally unethical, which may still arouse lots of unexpected problems.


As the case mentioned, we can get the following information about TekUSA.

Firstly, TekUSA can not shift off its responsibility for accepting the $380,000 payment and the old equipment from Argus incorporated, which should be given to Mr. Hayes. According to the case, TekUSA has sold the lease right to Mr. Hayes more than a year ago. Even under this situation, TekUSA still accepted the $380,000 payment and the old equipment which was obvious its mistake. And worse still, maybe TekUSA has already known the error but still accepted the wrong payment and old equipment, which shows the bad business ethics and faith of TekUSA as a business player.

Secondly, TekUSA as a supplier to Argus incorporated is considered as unreliable and expensive while Susan the computer operations manager of Argus incorporated still has confidence with it potential and lets Argus incorporated have a close cooperation with TekUSA including the business for leased technology products. So from this point, we can conclude that TekUSA and Argus incorporated have a profitable relationship with each other. So whether how much responsibility TekUSA may answer for, the results will still be a loss to Argus incorporated.

Thirdly, the inside situation for TekUSA is not so optimistic. From the case, we got that TekUSA was trapped in a serious slumps in safes and 300 of its employees had been lay off with on choice, the number of which was a fifth of its workforce. So under this panic circumstance, even TekUSA wants to answer for the responsibility of the wrong payment and acceptance of the equipment, it may be incapable. Let alone the near $ 1 million compensation rising from the damaging of the old equipment for Mr. Hayes, which may directly damage the business of TekUSA.

Mr. Hayes

In this case Mr. Hayes may be the less responsible part. Firstly, He has bought the least right form TekUSA which means he is the party that should receive the payment of $380,000 and the old equipment. But unfortunately, TekUSA received all the things including the payment and equipment instead of Mr. Hayes. Secondly, Mr. Hayes should also answer for part of the responsibility of the wrong payment and equipment transferring. Because he complained too late, it indirectly resulted in this error. So we can suppose that if Mr. Hayes had been sharp enough, he would have notified Argus earlier the lease rights he owns or else he would had detected the missed payments earlier enough, all of the problems may not happen. Thirdly, for Mr. Hayes, he may be the party that may suffer the least. The most advantage condition for Mr. Hayes is that he owns the lease right which is protected by the law. No matter which party, Argus or TekUSA, will be responsible for the error, Mr. Hayes can get the compensation.

All in all, from the above analysis of the three parties including Argus incorporated, TekUSA and Mr. Hayes, we can know that the most embarrassing problem for them to cope with is how to handle out the error and decrease the loss for each party. For Argus incorporated, the first task is that whether to adopt the unethical approach of denying they had received the notice of assignment so as to decrease their loss to the least degree. For TekUSA, the most possible problem is how to handle out the possible situation of Argus’s denying they had received the notice of assignment which means TekUSA may face a great sum of compensation. For Mr. Hayes, the situation is relatively easy to handle. And the point is that how much compensation he can receive, because he also has the responsibility for the error. So for Mr. Hayes, the most urgent issue is how to get the compensation as much as he could.

Case 1 Question 2 (word count: 775)

It is possible to develop a win-win solution to deal with the awkward situation mentioned in the case. According to the consequentialist theories that the decision made by Graig and Susan had better maximize benefits over costs (Crane & Matten 2007). And telling the truth is the best choice and win-win solution which may be conducted as the follows.

Firstly, Argus should inform the true situation to TekUSA and Mr. Hayes of the wrong payment of $380,000 and old equipment transferring to TekUSA. Because the error is the reality nobody can deny and what they should do is to make the loss of each party the lowest. So what Susan and Graig should do first is to inform TekUSA and Mr. Hayes the error formally.

Secondly, after the notification, Argus should try its best to make a negotiation with another two parties about how to deal with the error. The key point for this step is to make Argus and Mr. Hayes willing to take part in the negotiation. At first, Argus should notify TekUSA about the error and show the mistakes TekUSA did directly, which are the wrong acceptance of $380,000 and the old equipment. And worse still, TekUSA had already destroyed the equipment as junk, which belongs to Mr. Hayes. And for TekUSA, due to the partial responsibility for this error, it may be willing to join in the negotiation to protect its profit. While for Mr. Hayes, the hot potato for Argus to cope with may be that Mr. Hayes may only accept the fully compensation for the ruin of the old equipment plus the $380,000 payment or else he may resort to the protection of the laws. If it happens, Argus could also show Mr. Hayes his responsibility of late notification of the missed payment. Due to this situation, it is also possible for Mr. Hayes to sit down to negotiate with Argus and TekUSA.

Thirdly, this step is very crucial. That is how to share the rate of the risk for each party. And for Argus, it is wise of it to state the profitable relationship with each other and emphasize the long term profit of sharing risk together rather than only one part bears the responsibility. And for Argus and TekUSA, they are the main factors of this error so they should share higher rate of the risk than Mr. Hayes. And meanwhile Mr. Hayes should also share for some partial rate of the risk.

Due to the benefits and cost analyses for each party, this win-win solution may have great chance to be accepted and successful.

The reason why I recommend the above solution as the win-win approach rather than recommend Argus to deny the acceptance of the Notice of Assignment to deal with this case is due to its lower risk. Firstly, although all of the three parties will suffer a loss at present, all of them can gain for the long term round. Because the risk sharing makes the rate of the risk the lowest and will not let one party encounter a fatal blow in financial situation. Secondly, the three parties can have more cooperation to make up the short term loss. Thirdly, if the three parties all adopt this solution, it can also help them build good reputations. Because from the solution, each party shows a high ethical conscience and great ethical obligation, it can help them attract more business partners to help them gain more profit in the future. So we can conclude that the above solution is a win-win one for the long term benefits.

And meanwhile we can conclude destroying the Notice of Assignment for Argus has greater risk than the win-win solution. Firstly, if it goes smoothly, TekUSA will suffer the most. And as the case mentioned, TekUSA is faced with awkward inside problems. So the inside problems plus the outside problems as fully answering for the error, such as near $1 million compensation, may let TekUSA bankrupt. And due to the profitable relationship with TekUSA, Argus will also suffer a lot. And finding a new partner as TekUSA is also a time and money consuming project for Argus. So the risk is very high. Secondly, denying the receiving of the Notice of Assignment can help Argus shift off the responsibility for the error, which is just the wishful thinking of Argus. And there is also another possibility that TekUSA has already noticed the error and they have another method to shift the error to Argus. If so, the loss of Argus may not be estimated. So compared with the win-win solution, destroying the Notice of Assignment has greater risk.

Case 1 Question 3 (word count: 539)

According to the case, we got that in order to protect the benefit of Argus, Craig, the superior of Susan, ordered she to destroy the Notice of Assignment and deny she had ever seen it. Purely, as an employee, it’s one’s duty to carry out and follow the employer’s order and try one’s best to gain the best interests for one’s company(Company law limited 2010). So for Susan, it is also her duty as an employee of Argus to follow the orders of her superior and work for the best interests of Argus. That means Susan may choose to deny the receiving of the Notice of Assignment. Firstly, if Susan follows Craig’s advice, they may help Argus shift the responsibility to TekUSA. In other words, there may be no need for Argus to pay more money about that error. It may be good news for Argus’s financial situation. Secondly, since the risk may be transferred to TekUSA, the interests of both the Argus Company and its employee may not be affected any more. Thirdly, for Susan, she is also a family member, who should be responsible for her family. So if successfully transfer the responsibility to TekUSA, Susan will answer for almost no responsibility and she will keep her job, which is good for her family’s financial situation. So for Susan who is an employee of Argus, superficially speaking, it is reasonable of her to follow Craig’s order of denying the receiving of the Notice of Assignment.

While the situation is more complicated than just decide who should answer for the responsibility. It involves the issues which are related to legal and ethical fields. Susan is not only an employee of Argus, which she should be responsible for, but also an individual of the society, which she should also be responsible for. Especially for the situation mentioned in the case, although it’s TekUSA’s responsibility of the ignorance of that error, Argus can’t deny its responsibility as well. And especially the receiving of the Notice of Assignment of Argus is the truth, which has legal basis. So if Susan chooses to deny the receiving of the Notice of Assignment, it will be illegal as well as unethical. Firstly, denying the receiving of a legal document goes against the law. Secondly, transferring the whole responsibility to others in order to escape its own responsibility is unethical.

So under the embarrassing ethical dilemma, it is a tough task for Susan to make a decision of whether to deny the receiving of the Notice of Assignment or not. According to Donaldson, Werhane and Cording (2002), the following issues should be take into consideration when Susan is making the decision. Firstly, it is necessary for Susan to weigh her responsibility for the public interest and her responsibility for her company and colleagues. Secondly, the consequences of Susan’s decision should also be considered.

So for Susan, if she follows the order of her superior, she will go against the interest of the public and her own integrity as an individual in society. While if she doesn’t follow the order of Craig, she may face the plight of her career such as being sacked. Generally speaking, the decision which Susan should make is really very tough.

Case 2

Question1 (word count: 787)

As the case mentioned, we got that due to the fierce competition, P&G got some sensitive information about its rival Unilever via questionable tactics known as “dumpster diving”. According to Crane and Matten (2007), dumpster diving is a kind of unethical way to get information from a competitor. Because this kind of action goes against the obligation to be honest and truthful in business society (Boatright 2000 cited in Crane & Matten 2007). On the basis of deontological theories, we can understand the above idea more thoroughly. Kant’s theories as the most typical deontological theories point out that people’s ethical decision should be made based on the universal law (Donaldson, Werhane & Cording 2002). So based on this point we can conclude that dumpster diving is an unethical way to acquire information from a competitor, especially the action that one person of P&G sorted through the trash bins at Unilever’s Chicago office is obviously unethical. Firstly, getting information through questionable means as dumpster diving especially sifting another company’s rubbish to gain information will let P&G suffer a loss of trust. Secondly, if all the players of industry use questionable tactics such as dumpster diving to get information of their rivals in order to gain more in the business world, the whole order of business principles may be disordered. So due to the above analysis, we can conclude that dumpster diving as a means to get information from business competitor can’t became a universal law, because it is unethical according to Emmanuel Kant.

May be some people will hold the idea that if companies don’t take precautions, such as shredding vital documents, why should they be protected from prying eyes. In my personal view, although the companies may bear some responsibility to the exposure some of their information due to the lack of precautions, it is still unethical for another company to pry another company’s private information. Just as the case mentioned, P&G succeeded in obtaining Unilever’s intelligence from gathering the piles of unshredded documents in the trash bins at Unilever’s Chicago office. Although the action of P&G is not necessary illegal due to different countries having different rules on the legal status of rubbish (Crane & Matten 2007), it is the business ethics for a company to respect another company’s privacy even the other company is its rival. According to the view of some people, if there are no precautions for a company, this company shouldn’t be protected from prying eyes. For instance, if a house’s door is open, and nobody is in, is it ok to enter it according to some people’s view? If your colleague’s drawer is unlocked, is it ok for you to dig the privacy of him or her? If a car is unlocked and with nobody in, is it ok for another people to drive it away? In the above three examples, there are no precautions for each owner, but in my view, they should still be protected due to their rights of property. And meanwhile it is also an ethical issue to respect and protect other’s privacy. Just as in the case, even the documents are in Unilever’s trash bin, it’s still their property which should be protected.

While things may not always be so definite, it would make a difference if the dumpster were on private property or on a public street. Firstly, if the disposal documents of Unilever were on private property, the dumpster diving due to any means by P&G would be not only illegal but also unethical. Since these documents were disposed in the dumpster of private property, all of them should be treated as private property of Unilever, even they are rubbish. So digging information from the rubbish is still invading Unilever’s property rights and its privacy, which is illegal. And at the same time, detecting business rival’s private information through questionable tactics just as dumpster diving in other’s private property is unethical according to the deontological theories (Donaldson, Werhane & Cording 2002). Secondly, if the disposal documents of Unilever were on public property, the situation would be totally different. At first, digging rubbish of public property can’t be treated as invading other’s privacy which is just the same as the ragman does. And then, since the rubbish is disposed in public property, every citizen can dig it. Because the action of disposal things in public places means all the disposal things are not important which are just rubbish. So there is no ethical issue and legal item involved in the action of dumpster diving in public property. So if the disposal documents of Unilever were in public places, it is not illegal and unethical for P&G to do dumpster diving in order to get information.

Question 2 (word count: 538)

From the case, we can see that John Pepper the chairman of P&G acted courageously to notify Unilever their misconduct on obtaining Unilever’s information. In my own view, his action is ethical and morally required. Firstly according to Kant’s deontological theories that one’s ethical decision should be on the basis of universal law (Trevino & Nelson 2007). So what John Pepper did is exactly according to the universal law that the operation a company conducts should be with honesty, integrity, openness and respect the human rights and interests both to its employees and its competitors (Jordan & Finkelstein 2005). And gathering information via appropriate public and lawful means rather than collecting information illegally or inappropriate by others is more acceptable as the universal law to guide people’s behavior in business world (Jordan & Finkelstein 2005). So John Pepper action is morally required which can help his company to be alert to other unethical behaviors. Secondly, it is the obligation of the individual to have a sense of integrity and right conduct even when there is a conflict of interest occurs between his organization and the society. As a member of the society, one should be not only responsible for one’s organization but also be responsible for the society and other members. In this case, even though there is an ethical dilemma situation for John Pepper to handle, he still chose to notify Unilever the truth which is due to his obligation as a social member and his individual integrity. We can conclude that the action John Pepper conducted to notify Unilever their misbehavior is morally required.

And we also got the reaction from Unilever to P&G’s action of dumpster diving such as asking for the compensation from $10 to $20 million, third party’s investigation on P&G and so on. And Unilever even threatened P&G of legal action if P&G can’t give Unilever a satisfactory settlement. Although the reaction of Unilever is a little bit excessive, it is still reasonable and wise of John Pepper to notify Unilever their misdeeds. Firstly, it is common to have such an incident in the hyper competitive business market of the US, while the disclosure of P&G obviously became a noteworthy one. Although this disclosure would cost P&G much, it would also help P&G protect its image due to its voluntarily admitting the mistake. This kind of voluntary action can help P&G build its reputation as an upright and honest business player. And compared with Unilever’s over reaction, P&G’s ethical behavior would help it gain good reputation which is good for the long term profit. Secondly, sometime it is prudent to be straightforward when encountering ethical dilemma (ICMR 2004). Supposing P&G had kept this incident silently, once it was found by Unilever what would happen then? At first, the good image and reputation of P&G would be hit heavily. And then, P&G would not only have to face bigger sum of compensation compared to the $10 million one but also be sued by Unilever. So take this possibility into account, John Pepper’s action is reasonable and wise.

Generally speaking, John Pepper’s action of notifying Unilever of P&G’s misdeeds is not only morally required but also wise even facing the over reaction from Unilever.

Question 3 (word count: 706)

According to the case, we got that P&G had obtained intelligence about its competitor Unilever including the information on the detailed plans for a product launch in February and other unknown intelligence. Although P&G’s chairman John Pepper had notified Unilever their misdeeds and fired three executives as well as promised not to use any of the obtained information, Unilever is still owed compensation from P&G from my personal view, because Unilever has suffered harms, this paper will discuss in the following.

Let’s take compensating the owner of an automobile in a crash for example to analyze the case of P&G versus Unilever. A great number of car accidents occur every year which not only injure people but also damage their property. The compensation to the automobile accident is often due to the degree of damage such as minor accident and serious accident (Free Advice 2010). If the accident is minor which means no body is hurt, people only need to inform their insurance company and pay for the loss. If the accident is serious, it is necessary for people to realize that the compensation for the accident should be included both the damage to the vehicle and other damages. So if the car accident is a serious one, especially people are injured, the compensation for the medical treatment, car renting or taking a taxi when the car is under repairing and rehabilitation should also be take into consideration (Free Advice 2010). Compared with the compensating the owner of the car accident, some views about the compensation to Unilever due to the incident in this case can be got in the following.

At first, superficially P&G hasn’t done some substantial harm to Unilever except the information getting via “dumpster diving” which just as the minor car accident, nobody is really hurt. So maybe just as the owner of the car in the crash, what Unilever should get is a promise not to use any of the information gained by P&G from “dumpster diving” and an apology. While the whole situation is not as simple as it is seemed from the surface. The harm what Unilever suffered is more than a minor one, because Unilever was hurt by P&G’s misdeeds. Firstly, although P&G fired three executives and made a promise not to use any of the information obtained, nobody can make sure P&G would really follow its promise especially without the restriction of laws. So if P&G broke its promise and used the obtained intelligence of Unilever, it would be a heavy blow for Unilever. Secondly, supposing P&G would follow its promise and do no harm to Unilever from the obtain information, Unilever also accepted and didn’t asked the compensation as the case mentioned, other rivals of Unilever may do the same thing to Unilever as P&G did since Unilever is so lenient. It would be a big headache for Unilever’s development. From the above analysis, we could conclude that what Unilever suffered from P&G’s misdeeds is just the same as the owner of the car in the serious accident, because both of them were hurt. So it is reasonable of Unilever to ask for compensation from P&G.

And then, since Unilever would suffer a lot as the above analysis, the compensation it asked for as the case mentioned is reasonable. The first compensation is on the issue of money which is about $ 10 to $ 20 million. Since we have discussed, there is no definite guarantee of P&G to follow the promise of no using the obtained information. So the monetary compensation asked by Unilever for the possible loss is understandable. The second requirement of Unilever is to ask P&G to reassign the key personnel who had read the obtained intelligence from Unilever which is also reasonable to avoid leakage of the information. The third compensation is to set a monitor for years in P&G which is just to make sure the promise not to use the obtained information to hit Unilever is carried out by P&G. Technically speaking, the monitor is an independent third party and its task is just to make sure Unilever will not be hit by the obtained information, which will arouse almost no harm to P&G. so it is also reasonable.

Question 4 (word count: 766)

According to the situation in the case, I personally advocate P&G to accept a monitor. Firstly, due to the legal background of the monitor which would be bound by a confidentiality agreement, it would be relatively safe for P&G to accept the audit from the monitor. That is because it’s the legal responsibility of the monitor to keep the private information of P&G secretly. So the possibility of intelligence leakage is at a relatively low rate. Secondly, due to the threats from Unilever that if the incident can’t be settled properly, Unilever might sue P&G in court with uncertain results, P&G had better accept the monitor. And we can see if Unilever sued P&G, things would become worse. As we all know the law suit would be a long and complicated issue which would costs both P&G and Unilever a big sum of time as well as money. So no matter which party would win the case, it would also cost both partied a lot in the end. So due to the above analysis, it is recommendable for P&G to accept a monitor from an independent third party.

Meanwhile, superficially speaking, a monitor may not do harm to P&G. Generally speaking, the harm which a monitor would bring to P&G almost lies on the leakage of intelligence part. But technically speaking, the risk of intelligence leakage from a monitor is very low. At first, on the basis of the confidentiality agreement, the monitor of an independent third party has the legal obligation to keep all of the private business intelligence of P&G secretly. And any leakage of the private intelligence of P&G due to the responsibility of the monitor would make the independent third face legal troubles. So the harm rising from the monitor to P&G may be ignored. And then the aim of the independent third party audit namely the monitor is just to make sure P&G doesn’t use any of the information obtained from dumpster diving. Since the aim of the monitor is just to audit, there is no need for them to leak out any crucial intelligence of P&G to the outside. Because any leakage of the private information would arouse lots of trouble even legal problems, there is almost no possibility for the monitor to do harm to P&G.

While just referring to the effectiveness of a monitor, this paper will have a further discussion in the following. Firstly, the monitor for P&G is just for short time purpose to avoid any embarrassing situation in that sensitive period. Generally speaking, it would be effective to some extent. For example the monitor may conduct an investigation on a new product of P&G to check whether P&G use the obtained information such as Unilever’s marketing plan on its new product’s promotion. Once finding the suspicious action of P&G, the monitor can immediately inform Unilever to adopt proper reaction towards P&G. At the same time, due to the existence of a monitor, P&G would restrict some of its inappropriate actions to some extent.

Secondly, this kind of monitor may only lie on the surface. The function of the monitor is similar to the function of some companies’ online monitor towards their employees. The function of the online monitor is aimed to investigate whether employees are using the internet resource of company for personal use such as on line chatting with friends, playing on line games or using internet to deal with other personal issues. Once employees are caught, they would be punished by the company. While to some extent, the online monitor software can help company monitor the online behavior of its employees, there are means for employees to avoid the monitor, such as some anti-monitor soft ware or shielding means. So if the employees do want to avoid being monitored, they can find means to deal with company’s monitor, which is the same situation for P&G. A monitor for P&G is just like the online monitor for the company employees. What the monitor can investigate is just some superficial issues. And the most important business intelligence of P&G would definitely be protected by P&G and avoided being touched and investigated by the monitor. Meanwhile if P&G really wanted to use the obtained information from Unilever, it can have their own ways to avoid the investigation from the monitor just as the employees in some companies have done to their company on the online monitor issue.

In a word, the effectiveness of a monitor to investigate P&G whether fulfill its promise to Unilever is largely based on whether P&G is willing to cooperate or not.

Question 5 (word count: 786)

According to the situation as the case mentioned, Unilever’s reaction to P&G’s misdeeds includes three parts. The first one is that Unilever asked for $10 million to $20 million compensation. The second one is that Unilever asked P&G to resign key personnel related to the dumpster diving incident. The third one is Unilever proposed P&G to allow an independent third party to be the monitor on investigation P&G business action, which is aimed to make sure P&G wouldn’t use the obtained intelligence. Generally speaking all of these above proposals from Unilever on coping with the incident of dumpster diving is not overreaching even the chairman of P&G acted properly. The reasons are in the following.

Firstly, even John Pepper the chairman of P&G notified Unilever and promised P&G would never use the information gained but nobody can really guarantee P&G would really keep its promise. Based on this reason, it is reasonable for Unilever to ask for compensation from P&G for the unpredictable risk in the future due to the incident. So the proposal of such a big sum of money is understandable. Because once P&G breaks its promise to use some of the obtained information or the information is exposed to outside by P&G, the loss to Unilever can’t be evaluated. And just for business itself, the ultimate aim of it is to make money, including Unilever’s aim (The Times Newspapers Ltd and MBA Publishing Ltd 2010). So the big sum of money compensation asked by Unilever is understandable.

Secondly, Unilever asked P&G to resign the key personnel involved in the incident. This point is reasonable. It is also a relatively direct way to avoid the utilization of the gained information by P&G. If the related people would never involve in the business of P&G, the risk of the obtained information utilization would become lower.

Thirdly, the monitor part may be the most controversial point. But it is also reasonable. Because the promise of P&G not to use any of the obtained information didn’t have any legal guarantee, it is very easy for P&G to break its oral promise. Due to this situation, the proposal from Unilever to let P&G allow an independent third party as a monitor to investigate P&G whether used the gained intelligence is not overreaching. It is only a relatively reassuring means for Unilever to ensure the safety of its information.

As for the function of a monitor itself, it can really help Unilever to settle the incident in a way. Just as we have discussed in question 4, due to the existence of the monitor, P&G would have to act very carefully and consider deliberately even they would like to use some obtained information. That means the monitor does have some constraint on the behavior of P&G. While the idea of monitor couldn’t be considered as a creative solution, it has the shortage as the following description.

Firstly, whether the monitor can function well is based on the attitude of P&G. in other words, if P&G really keep its promise not to use the gained information, it is easy for the monitor to handle its task. But if P&G just pretended to keep its promise, the monitor wouldn’t function well. And what the monitor investigates would be just on the surface, if P&G did want to do something behind Unilever’s back, the monitor wouldn’t find some clues because the monitor is just an third party, it can’t investigate every corner of P&G thoroughly. For example, if P&G planed to promote a new product, the monitor had the right to investigate the promoting plan. But if P&G intended to avoid the investigation, it would just give the monitor some superficial documents to check. So if this kind of situation happened, the existence of the monitor is out of function and totally can’t help Unilever to settle this incident.

Secondly, as the monitor is an independent third party, it must be paid. So there would be an extra cost required by the monitor. And since there would be an extra expense on the existence of the monitor, who should be responsible for the cost would be a problem. If Unilever asked P&G to pay for the bill, it is obvious unfair and it is difficult for P&G to accept. If Unilever would like to pay for the bill, it should also consider whether it is worth paying. If the monitor can really help Unilever to settle the incident, the payment for Unilever is worthwhile. But just as we analyzed above, the function of the monitor may not be effective and creative enough for Unilever to settle that trouble. So the cost on the payment for the monitor may be even a loss.


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Crane & Matten 2007, Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, 2nd edn, Oxford University press, New York.

Donaldson, Werhane & Cording 2002, Ethical issues in business: A philosophical approach, 7th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

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Trevino & Nelson 2007, Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, USA.

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