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Moral Responsibility And Alternative Possibilities

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Discuss about the Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities.



Every organization in this modern period has a set of added responsibility other than simply providing services or products. The use of business ethics in this period is immense and every organization has to adhere to a certain set of such ethics in order to sustain in the market (Trevino and Nelson 2016). The following essay will focus on such ethical issues and a recent case in the world business that reflects an ethical misconduct. The chosen incident that leads to the ethical misconduct was the forceful removal of a passenger from the United flight by the security staffs ( 2018). The essay will delve into greater detail and analysis of the incident and also focus on the business ethical issue that is relevant to the case.

The idea of business ethics is constantly applicable to all the organization in this world. The incident that took place in the United flight was a supreme level of misconduct on the part of the organization towards its customers. The organization went against the moral responsibilities that are imbibed upon them and this lead to customers losing trust on them. A passenger was chosen randomly and was asked to move out of the flight, the passenger resisted and hence was dragged out of the flight by the attendants and security official. The entire situation occurred due to overbooking done for that particular flight and every customer was charged for seats but they were not accommodated in the flight as it was full already ( 2018). The passenger who was dragged out of the flight had a face that was bloodied and he seemed beaten up. The entire scene created a bad reflection of the organization towards the customers. The team at United was completely unaware of the idea of corporate moral responsibility and hence such steps were taken to bring out a passenger from the flight. The entire act was horrendous and the flight staffs were aggressive throughout their interaction process with that passenger.


Corporate moral responsibilities

The organization these days have to abide by certain ethics that reflect their goodness towards the society and its consumer base. The corporate moral responsibility are known as a set of duties that an organization has towards the society and if they fail to follow those then can be acquitted of immoral practices in the society (Widerker 2017).  The idea of corporate moral responsibility has been in debate because it is said that the organizations are not living beings and hence they cannot be always acquitted for moral responsibility. However, in case of extreme misconducts it is essential that it being put under the category of corporate moral responsibility misconduct by an organization (Blowfield and Murray 2014). The Kantian theory of ethics suggests that the morality of an act does not depend on the consequences that it may bring but the way in which it is being implemented. The issue becomes grave when it is matched with Kant’s theory of ethics as United and its staff were completely unethical in their way of dealing with the passenger on board management.    

The case that has been discussed in the essay is that of the misconduct by the staff of United Airlines. The dragging away of a passenger and making the person bleed and bruised is a serious case of corporate moral responsibility misconduct. The people in and around the flight during the time of action have felt serious unease and trauma at such behavior of the airline staffs. The morality of the organization went below all standards and people started perceiving the organization as immoral and wrongful in their customer dealings. The news spread out among the people like wildfire and the image of the airline giants fell down. People started having negative perceptions for the organization and its services (Benoit 2018). The reflection of cruelty in the practice was something that took the entire consumer base in a shock. The media had captured the news and marked out United as an immoral organization that has no security for their passengers and tickets are being sold as a scam practice. An organization is believed to act via its members and hence it is said that the organization is responsible for the morality that is being displayed by the organization. United was held guilty for the way they dealt with the passenger and it was seen that subsequently ticket sales dipped down for the organization. The action was completely done due to a failure on the part of the airlines and in order to fulfill their requirements such a harsh action was done against the passenger. This is completely against the Kantian ethics as it shows that the interest or the goals of the human beings were not addressed rather the motives of the organization were fulfilled (Herman 2016).


Relevance with the modern business world

The modern business world is becoming demanding with each passing day. The organizations need to deliver a lot of other things than just the product or service to the consumers. Each of the organization has to keep in mind the various issues that can rise in the manufacturing process or in the process of the delivering a service to the consumer. Every organization has to keep in mind the various ethical issues that can arise in the working process and the qualities of the organization that are to be met and delivered. In this modern world, people have expectation from organizations regarding their contribution towards the society and the way they operate with the customers. The Corporate Social Responsibility suggests that an organization has to adhere to certain norms and they should contribute positively to the society (Carroll 2015). Organizations these days need to have a separate plan for the CSR activities to be implemented, it is mandatory for a certain share of their profits to be invested in the field of CSR by the organization (Kang, Germann and Grewal 2016). In the same way, there is a moral responsibility that every organization has and needs to make sure that they are being implemented rightly. The behavior that the organization shows towards its clients and consumers are the foremost reflectors of the moral responsibility of the organization. It has to be understood by the people who are part of an organization that it is their responsibility to act in a moral way so that people do not have negative perceptions regarding the morals of an organization. In case of the United airlines, it was seen that the irresponsible behavior from the staff and security team lead to the depreciation of the moral values of the entire organization. The issue of morality is extremely sensitive and it has to be understood that any kind of moral lapse from an organization will have serious negative implications and the annual reports shall show a trend of lowering profits over a period of time.  Kant in his theory of ethics responds to such moral duties as mandatory and categorically imperative (O'Neill 2013). The misconduct of such CI will lead to the organization stoop low in the global market. Ethical misconduct can damage the results of an organization in the market management.



The United flight was overbooked and it was seen that they were randomly selecting people to drop from the flight so that their standby crew members could sit. The last man to be asked to leave the flight was a doctor and he did not follow their commands and stayed. The steps taken to remove him from the flight created a wave of fear among the other passengers. The people were afraid to see such a behavior from the airlines staff. Such fear in the customers leads to a huge impact on the sales of the organization. The company has to make sure that the staffs understand the duties that are being assigned to them. The staffs should understand that United is a huge airlines company and they are imbibed with an additional responsibility to make things work in a positive way. A proper training has to be scheduled where the staff needs to be trained in the prospects of the moral responsibility that they hold for the organization (Keep 2014). The company must have a transparent public relations system that shall accept the fault and make sure that the involved people are either punished or fired from the system. Such steps will make sure that the audience gains back trust in the company and gets assurance that the company does take severe steps in such cases rather than defending their action just like United did through their official statement regarding the issue. The organizations are expected to follow a maxim in their business ethics according to Kant’s theory. The organizations have to behave in a way that does not harm the people and their interests. It has to be understood by the organization that they should act only in a certain and with certain morality so that they can also get the same in return from the audience or customers.



The disturbing event that took place in the flight of United airlines makes it sure that such events are completely against the business ethics that prevail within an organization. The globalized marketplace has various organizations that makes sure that people are flooded with choices and hence any kind of lapse by an organization will lead to consumers moving to a different company altogether. The business ethics pave the way for an organization’s success in the market.  It has to be kept in mind that the people are proactive these days and hence none of the organizations shall get away with any wrong doings. The use of social media and the viral nature of the web 2.0 platform make sure that anything that is posted on the internet reaches out to a huge number of audiences in any part of the world (Paquette 2013). In this world of technological excellence and advancements, it is impossible to cover up any such practice that will be done by any company around the world management.



Benoit, W.L., 2018. Crisis and Image Repair at United Airlines: Fly the Unfriendly Skies. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research, 1(1), p.2.

Blowfield, M. and Murray, A., 2014. Corporate responsibility. Oxford University Press.

Carroll, A.B., 2015. Corporate social responsibility. Organizational dynamics, 44(2), pp.87-96.

Herman, B., 2016. Morality as rationality: a study of Kant's ethics (Vol. 5). Routledge. 2018. United Airlines Forcibly Drags Bloodied Passenger Off Flight and Doesn't Apologize (No, He Wasn't Wearing Leggings). [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Mar. 2018].

Kang, C., Germann, F. and Grewal, R., 2016. Washing away your sins? Corporate social responsibility, corporate social irresponsibility, and firm performance. Journal of Marketing, 80(2), pp.59-79.

Keep, E., 2014. Corporate training strategies: the vital component?. New Perspectives, pp.109-125.

O'Neill, O., 2013. Acting on principle: An essay on Kantian ethics. Cambridge University Press.

Paquette, H., 2013. Social media as a marketing tool: A literature review.

Trevino, L.K. and Nelson, K.A., 2016. Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. John Wiley & Sons.

Widerker, D., 2017. Moral responsibility and alternative possibilities: Essays on the importance of alternative possibilities. Routledge.

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