General Motors (GM) was the second among the largest auto manufacturer leaders in the world during a long period. For GM the year 2008 was crucial because they celebrated their 100th anniversary. Unfortunately, this year was the worst regarding their financial situation. General Motors was on the verge of their bankruptcy as they were losing 2 billion dollars per month and by the end of the year, their losses were about 31 billion dollars. This crisis was caused by the «Great Recession» of 2008, high labor costs, and an increasing dependence on large sport utility vehicles. The only way to save the company was to ask the US government for a bailout. First, their attempts were unsuccessful, and government balked the request because the company did not have the detailed plan of further using the funds. Fortunately, in a month, GM came back with a plan and government reviewed their decision and agreed to save the company (Velasquez, 2011).
Regarding the ethical issue of GM, their behavior was definitely unethical. According to the concept of Utilitarianism, every choice must be made in accordance with the consequences it can lead to. However, GM tried to ignore the concept. In 2001, the company received a report regarding the problems with ignition switch in a lot of future car models. However, they had an alternative to redesign the faulty part but, unfortunately, they decided to continue the production. In fact, the procedure of redesigning would require a lot of money and need to delay the entire manufacturing process which was unprofitable for the company. Consequently, hundreds of drivers who bought those cars were injured or perished. Furthermore, for GM, people were just means of profit. The company did not take the trouble to improve their products. Instead, they aimed at building wealth. Obviously, it cannot be attained on account of people’s lives. The company neglected the responsibilities to provide their consumers with welfare and satisfaction. Thus, the facts definitely contradict the definition of ethical behavior.
The solution to this situation should consist of some options. First, General Motors should try to ensure the consumers that their future actions would be held according to the interests of the majority of people. The company would do everything possible to guarantee welfare and safety of their clients. Second, GM should guarantee the high level of quality control of vehicles planned to be produced in future. They should do numerous stringent tests and controls reacting to every report regarding the technical defects of the vehicle. Finally, as the ethical behavior of company depends on the ethical behavior of every employee, GM should create an ethics code, a simple number of basic rules, which should be followed by their employees in order to ensure harmonious relationship between the company and its clients. The best way for the company is to act and promote the ethical manners of every worker without any exceptions.
In conclusion, the General Motors’ case provides a good example for every company, not only auto manufacturer. The ethical issue is the key component of successful prosperity and development. The success of the company depends not only on a large manufacturing process and its profit but also on the ability to organize high-quality work of every employee. Every chairperson of the big company should remember that the consequences of every decision the company made possibly effect millions of people worldwide. Thereby, each company should take care of a vast majority of people, basically their target clients instead of pursuing the goal of making much profit.
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