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Ethical Decision Making

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Ethical Decision Making

Management 334

March 22, 2007

Ethical Decision Making

Halliburton is a corporate giant in the world and in the oil industry. Halliburton is notorious for their poor legal, ethical, and social responsibilities. Because of these poor ethical practices, many organizations have tightly watched Halliburton’s business practices. The company has suffered because of their wrongdoing. Due to this scandalous behavior, criminal investigations that later led to indictments cloud the company’s history. The company was found guilty of breaking US trade laws. However, this did not discourage the company from poor ethical behavior.

Ethical Issue

Halliburton’s past defines it as a greedy company. This greed surfaced early last year when Halliburton announced that they would move their corporate office from Houston, Texas to Dubai United Arab Emirates (CBS News, 2007). Several members of Congress have disparaged this move, stating that the move is an insult to the United States and the brave men and women who defend the country. The reason for the feeling of hostility toward the company is that most of Halliburton’s revenue comes directly from the US government. Many speculate that this move is only a creative way to avoid paying taxes. Some members of Congress believe Halliburton is bypassing its social responsibility to the very country that helped build its success (CBS News, 2007).

Ethical Problem Solving

When one faces ethical dilemmas, it is helpful to apply the six ethical decision-making steps; issue clarification, stakeholder analysis, values identification, issue resolution, addressing objections, and resolution implementation. Many ethical resolution systems exist; most of the systems contain similar steps in solving ethical dilemmas. These systems are tried and true in their ability to aid in the resolution of difficult ethical dilemmas.

Issue Clarification

The first step to the ethical problem solving process is to define the problem. In the regards to the case mentioned above, the ethical issue is the fact that Halliburton chose to move its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai.

Stakeholder Analysis

The next logical step in solving an ethical problem is defining the parties involved. In many situations, the people involved are executives, cities, employees, vendors, stockholders, and customers. In relation to Halliburton, the stakeholders primarily are the people of Houston, the people of Texas, the United States government and it citizens, and stockholders. The root reason for Halliburton moving to Dubai according to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is the evasion of paying US taxes (CBS News, 2007). Although this change in corporate policy will positively benefit the stockholders of Halliburton, the other shareholders previously mentioned are negatively impacted. The lost tax base for the government will lower the ability of the area to perform municipal duties and many other tax dependant programs.

Values Identification

The third step in ethical resolution is value identification. Value identification is a gray area for many. Since individuals have different values, it is difficult to have common values among businesses, cultures, or countries. For example, in Middle Eastern countries, it is common for women to be second-class citizens. In contrast, here in the US, this type of treatment is valued as immoral or wrong.

When defining the value that is at the center of an ethical problem, Dr. Arthur Gross Schaefer (2008) suggests that the following values are important to consider honesty, integrity, promise keeping, fidelity, caring, respect, citizenship, excellence, and accountability (Schaefer). In the Halliburton dilemma, most of these values are at risk honesty, integrity, fidelity, caring, citizenship, respect, and accountability. Since the US government supplies Halliburton with its high revenue contracts, moving to Dubai allows them to bypass paying taxes on the revenue. This is clearly a poor example of citizenship.

Issue Resolution

The fourth step of the six-step process is to resolve the issue with a corrective action. While defining the action that will correct the ethical dilemma, one must take into consideration the previous three steps. The issue that needs corrected, the stakeholders involved, and the values involved all need consideration while defining the resolution. Concerning the relocation of Halliburton’s corporate office, one possible

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