Ethical Decisions in Business Case Study by Pico

Ethical Decisions in Business
A case study of Merck's Vioxx recall, with a focus on the factors affecting ethical decision-making.
# 116973 | 1,975 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD
Published on Nov 03, 2009 in Business (Companies) , Business (Management) , Medical and Health (Pharmacy) , Ethics (General)

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The paper discusses how a company has to maintain business ethics as part of maintaining corporate social responsibility. The paper then focuses on Merck's recall of the Vioxx drug after a customer died from its use. The paper explains how some thought Merck waited too long to recall the drug because it wanted to maximize profits, while on the other hand, some were happy Vioxx was available for longer since a lot of patients would suffer from a lack of the drug. The paper relates that as a result of the late recall, the company's brand reputation and bottom line faced dire consequences and then highlights how it is not always possible for a company to balance organizational ethics with external stakeholder ethics. The paper propounds that in today's dynamic environment, the critical success factor is to maintain a flexible approach to ethical decision-making and test ethical decisions with the external parties.

From the Paper:

"However the concept of competitive advantage is rooted in employee motivation and customer confidence. This is where the concept of business ethics becomes relevant. Business ethics is defined as the behavioral guidelines that an organization adheres to in its dealings with both the internal and external stakeholders. However the factors of customer confidence and employee motivation do not always facilitate strict adherence to the behavioral guidelines that are incorporated in the code of ethics. For this reason, the management of an organization can find themselves in a situation in which decision-making might have to be practiced with some discretion that is open to debate. In this respect, the management will make the ethical decisions as they see fit in order to balance the interest of the employees and the customers."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gary R. Weaver, Linda Klebe Trevino & Philip L. Cochran, "Corporate Ethics Programs As Control Systems: Influences of Executive Commitment and Environmental Factors," Academy of Management Journal, February 1999, pp 41-57. Retrieved October 19, 2009 from Academic Search Premier database.
  • John Simons and David Stipp, "Will Merck Survive Vioxx?" Fortune, November, 2004 pp. 91-104. Retrieved October 19, 2009 from Academic Search Premier database.
  • Kevin Gibson, Ph.D., "Fictitious Persons and Real Responsibilities," Journal of Business Ethics, March, 1995, pp. 761-767. Retrieved October 19, 2009 from Academic Search Premier database.

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

Ethical Decisions in Business (2009, November 03) Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Ethical Decisions in Business" 03 November 2009. Web. 18 August. 2022. <>