Ethical lapses are often confused with ethical dilemmas! In application, these are two very different things. An ethical lapse is a failure to behave in an ethical way in some specific situation, while an ethical dilemma is a situation in which no good ethical choice or decision is possible. Consider the two following global management situations:A visiting American executive finds that a foreign subsidiary in a poor nation has hired a 12-year-old girl to work on a factory floor, in violation of the companyâs prohibition on child labor. He tells the local manager to replace the child and tell her to go back to school. The local manager tells the American executive that the child is an orphan with no other means of support, and she will probably become a street child if she is denied work. What should the American executive do?A visiting American executive finds that his manufacturing plant in a poor nation is discharging chemicals into the local river in excess of what U.S. laws would permit. It is likely that such levels of toxic waste pose a potential health hazard but the capital investment required to correct the problem will result in the plant not achieving its profitability requirements for the next 2 years.After considering these two different scenarios, discuss the following:Which is a genuine ethical dilemma and which is an ethical lapse, and why?It is frequently stated that âethics rises above the law.â Explain this reasoning as it would apply to one of these scenarios.
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