McDonald and the Stella Liebeck Scalding - Case Study Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Case Study: Stella Liebeck vs. McDonald’s Restaurant. Facts: McDonald’s acknowledges that at, 140 degrees Fahrenheit, coffee in Styrofoam cups posed a risk of burning the consumers’ throat and mouth. This risk established the restaurant avails burn hazards for foods served above 140 degrees Fahrenheit…
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McDonald and the Stella Liebeck Scalding Case Study
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"McDonald and the Stella Liebeck Scalding"

Download file to see previous pages McDonalds further maintained that this temperature was essential in maintaining optimum taste in the coffee, a feature most customers “prefer” to their safety. The court, while holding that McDonalds was largely responsible for the burns Stella Liebeck received from the scalding coffee moved to acknowledge that the plaintiff was partly responsible for her injuries. They based this decision on comparative negligence and the fact that the warning on the coffee was not sufficient. A company should be responsible for most but not all of the consequences of consumers using its products. The first reason why any company should be ware of consumers’ affairs is the fact that consumers are also stakeholders. In the realm of business, in most cases, consumers are secondary stakeholders. However, consumer’s intermittent ability to affect the running of a company (Gibson 245) should not be underestimated, case in point, the Stella Liebeck law suit. As such, accepting the consequences of its goods and services, a company builds a foundation on which it can make profits while satisfying its customers. Secondly, accepting liability in regard to consumers ensures that the company gains the trust of its consumers. Gaining trust is instrumental when a business seeks a market niche and also to apply strategies such as cost leadership. From the actions of McDonald’s one can see that there is a clear need to fulfill customer needs for profit maximization. An excellent example is keeping the coffee extremely hot to maintain its taste. However, an intriguing concept is the aspect of duty and fiduciary relationship. Scholars hold that the interactions between a consumer and company should not reflect “a means to an end” character. Therefore, a company should pursue a fiduciary relationship rather than a duty oriented strategy. Fear of lawsuits and a dwindling market position should not be the only reason why a company strives to accept liability for its actions. Scholars such as Goodpaster argue that strategic thinking favors prudence rather than moral obligation. Society today is ablaze with ethical debates ranging from euthanasia to the rights of terrorists. The business world is not dormant on issues of ethics. A company by law and social stratification should consider the welfare of all its consumers regardless of the monetary ramifications. Philosophical ethics will argue against the actions of businesses with the claim that the self interest that causes them to pursue moral acts renders the act immoral. Gibson postulates that a company should treat its consumers as more than profit maximization tools thus the deontological approach. At this point, it is imperative to examine a moral act by the company Johnson & Johnson. In 1982, cyanide contaminated batch of its capsules killing more than half a dozen individuals. This led them to acknowledge fault, pull out 32 million bottles of the presumed contaminated product from the market and face crippling loses. However, after a while the company built its name again and regained its market position. This is what Gibson christens the bottom line. Despite the motive behind an action, the result is that both stakeholders were happy. McDonald fails in that it fails to accept rightful responsibility especially when the plaintiff requested medical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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