Conformity & Obedience In Personal Ethics And Professional Decisions

In Lesson 3 we introduced the controversy surrounding Ford’s decision to produce the Pinto, a vehicle they knew to be unsafe. This week we’ll look more closely at the case by reading an essay from Dennis Gioia, Pinto Fires and Personal Ethics. Gioia was Ford’s Field Recall Coordinator during the Pinto controversy, responsible for issuing recalls on defective products. In his article, Gioia explains his decision-making process during the Pinto crisis in terms of the corporate scripts driving his decisions. Gioia writes, “I remained convinced that I had made the “right” decision in not recommending recall of the cars. In light of the times and the evidence available, I thought I had pursued a reasonable course of action. More recently, however, I have come to think that I really should have done everything I could to get those cars off the road.“

Question: Was Gioia wrong to follow the corporate script? Does he bear responsibility for “just following orders”? Next week we’ll talk about whistle-blowing and the ethics of breakingscripts. But this week, let’s focus on the ethics of following scripts. In preparing your post, please consider the following sources:

Required readings

Optional Readings: