1. What are the major and minor ethical issues in this case? The major ethical issue in this case is the ignoring an obvious crisis for so long, one in which people are being injured and in cases killed. The minor ethical issues include the organizations involved in this case pointing fingers at both the consumers and each other and covering up evidence proving there is a problem. 2. Who are the stakeholders and what are the stakes? How do legitimacy, power, and urgency factor in. Do these companies care about consumers?
The biggest and most obvious stakeholders in this case are the consumers of Firestone/Ford products, who were injured or killed, and their families and lawyers. Ford and Firestone are also stakeholders risking their reputations and business relationship with each other. These are two powerful and influential companies, especially Ford, and in this case it is my opinion the two failed to uphold their social responsibility and failed their consumers by ignoring/avoiding an urgent matter. 3. Conduct a CSR analysis of both Firestone and Ford. How do they measure up in fulfilling their various social responsibilities?
Firestone and Ford should have worked together in this case and been more proactive in solving the problem rather than making allegations toward each other and the consumers. After parting ways the companies did their best to make right but the damage had been done as they both failed each other and most importantly they failed the consumers. This issue was slow to develop and boil over but once it went public the efforts by the companies to maintain profitability by keeping these cases quiet for so long would in fact be a means to their downfall and cause permanent damage.
4. Who was at fault in the tire separation controversy? Regardless of whether the car or the tire was the cause of these tragedies both companies are at fault. Ford and Firestone were partners and had been for a long time. If the tires were the problem then Ford is still accountable because they made questionable Firestone tires standard on their new cars. If the vehicles and Ford’s psi recommendation for the Firestone tires were the cause then Firestone is still accountable because they still supplied Ford the tires knowing the application was wrong.
5. Do you think Firestone has an ethical responsibility to pay Ford $3 billion for the tires it replaced on its own because the company did not think they were safe? I do not think Firestone had an ethical responsibility to Ford as much as it did the consumers but in this case I think it was a responsible move by Firestone to attempt to settle the dispute with Ford as they are a powerful and influential company. Furthermore, the move may have helped to restore Firestone’s reputation with the public as a sign of accountability.
6. Research the current status of Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford. What has happened since the end of this case? In 2006 Bridgestone/Firestone’s finances had only recently recovered from the losses related to the tire recall scandal. They paid $240 million to Ford in 2005 to settle its dispute in lawsuits related to the recalls. The payment was intended to help cover the costs of Ford’s tire replacement program and is said to have ended the dispute between the two companies.