Essay Case Analysis : Hughes Microelectronics

Essay Case Analysis : Hughes Microelectronics

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Introduction
Hughes Microelectronics is a company that were found to have unethical practices during the 1980’s when handling government contracts. This was brought to light by two whistleblowers that worked for the company at the time. The purpose of this is to review four main questions concerning the situation and how it was handled ethically by the whistleblower. The first and second parts will be fairly similar what were the responsibilities of the company itself, what were the responsibilities of the main whistleblower Margaret Goodearl. Next, the conflict between the two parties will be examined and also whether or not the situation was handled ethically. Lastly the question of whether or not whistleblowing is the most ethical solution to report unethical corporate behaviors, or if perhaps it should be saved as a last resort.
Discussion
There will be many ideas present in this examination. One being the obligation of being bound by a contract, an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing something specified.(Dictionary.com) Hughes was contractually obligated to build specific types of microchips that met very specific quality standards. This was one of their main obligations, when in a contract it is your duty to stay within the contract and meet those standards. Hughes, however, did not follow this obligation as they cut corners and passed items that had not passed the tests that were required. The focus was on creating as much product as possible even though many did not meet the standards that were set. This on one side does fulfill one obligation of the company, to create the product in order to receive the income. This will benefit the Hughes stockholders maintaining an income, however the other...


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... that were not meeting the contracted standards but were being passed through testing regardless. This in itself is an unethical practice as the company had a duty to fulfill their side of the contract creating a viable product. Margaret Goodearl was a supervisor in testing and noticed the issue. I believe that she handled the situation correctly and ethically, first taking the issue to different supervisors on different occasions but each time being ignored or threatened. After this she resorted to whistleblowing on the company, which was also an ethical option and used as a last resort when nothing else was able to produce results in attempting to alter the company’s practice. Her value of integrity was not something she could allow to be compromised and even after she was laid off by the company she still pursued options to ensure that the issue would be resolved.

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