Ford Pinto Case Analysis
Unit II Assignment
The Ford Pinto case is a well-known case that is often discussed in the context of business ethics. To summarize, Ford’s design of the Pinto’s fuel tank was defective, causing fires if the Pinto was involved in even minor rear-end collisions. Ford came to learn of the defect, but the company failed to correct it; Ford then predicted, based on a cost-benefit analysis, that it would cost more to repair the defect ($11 per vehicle, or $137 million total) than it would to pay for damages resulting from burn deaths, burn injuries, and burned vehicles ($47.5 million). Consider the Ford Pinto case in light of the who-how (WH) framework for business ethics.
Would Ford’s decision to forego repairing the defective design comply with these ethical guidelines? If so, why? If not, then what actions should Ford have taken to satisfy them? Explain your reasoning.
Your response to this question should be a one page.
Ford Pinto Case Analysis
The who-how (WH) framework for business ethics is normally utilized in the making of ethically sound decisions and require the general consideration of two primary factors i.e. the stakeholders and the manner in which the action as conducted (Birsch & Fielder, 1994). The latter implies that the respective firm ought to consider the effects of its action to the lives of other individuals, especially the consumers, by the utilization of the public disclosure test. Therefore, based on the guidelines dictated by the WH tool, the Ford Corporation lacked the capacity to properly adhere to both aspects of rules in their decision making process. The company justified its failure to implement the new design was based on the monetary benefits; the alteration would require $137 million while the incurred price tags on the deaths and damages equated to $49.5 million.
The following are the fundamental reasons why this strict economic phenomenon, risk/benefit analysis, should not be applied in this situation. Firstly, it is completely unethical to ascertain that individuals ought to either die or sustain serious injuries on the account of minimizing the cost of expenditure. The human life cannot be measured in terms of dollars. In addition to that, the method utilized failed to factor in the negative publicity that the company received, especially the settlements and judgments resulting from the numerous lawsuits. Ford should have generally deviated from the utilization of such standards rather than patronize it. This institution neglected the alternative of positioning the fuel tank behind or above the rare axle and mounting a spare tire between the tank and the bumper; to facilitate the absorption of forces during a collision. This resulted in the creation of a defective fuel system design; hence increasing the chances of exploding in an attempt of being first in the automobile industry. Consequently, it is paramount for this company to consider the safety of its customers during their decision making procedure by developing better vehicles that are in line with the recommended ethical guidelines.
Birsch, D., & Fielder, J. (1994). The Ford Pinto case. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.