Personal Case Study Reflection

Personal Case Study Reflection


This is a personal case study relating my experiences as a manager in charge of the procurement department at a company specialized in producing and selling toys for elementary school children in the United States. This case study presents a morally problematic situation entailing an industrial dilemma where a department charged with checking the quality of finished toys identified faulty whistle toys in the batch that had been packaged ready for delivery. The toys are meant to be used by students in elementary schools in South America as schools are bound to reopen in two weeks’ time. The problem arises from a quality check report that identified few defective whistle toys. According to the manager from the department in charge of quality control, it was confirmed that some metal whistles meant to be used as toys failed to pass the quality check because they contained components of lead. Scientifically lead is a hazardous metal especially if used by small children below the age of seven years. Furthermore the amounts identified during the test implied that the lead traces exceeded the legal limits accepted for manufacture of toys meant to be used by children below seven years of age.

Apparently urgency is created by the realization that most of the orders are to be shipped and delivered to elementary schools in South America before the weekend. In addition, reproducing the defective toys could cost the company $ 100,000 which is costly for the organization because it had a relatively low revenue and income in the previous fiscal year. I assume first person narration as an elementary division manager so as to express the different point of views and the divergent thinking that crossed my mind in an attempt to critically solve the problematic situation. The case presents a perfect workplace scenario requiring great perception, conceptualization and negotiation skills. The criticality of the decision making process arises from the reality that the decision needs to be speedy and it involved round the table talks whereby as divisional managers we had to come up with an amicable solution to the problem for instance, the decisions made were to weighted against favoring the interests of the organization or considering the effects the defective products would have on the consumer who are children aged between three and seven years.


An amicable decision was decided upon by the management but according to my argument which I presented to the other board members, I made a consideration for the perpetuity of the toy company in relation to the lives of the young elementary school students between the age of three and seven years. Because of the rarity of production malfunctions especially the whistles, the situation was described as a non-programmed complex or a non-routine decision. This meant that the success resolution of this dilemma relied on critical and rational considerations to be made by divisional managers based on ethical theories. Personally, my considerations were guided by both moral and ethical viewpoints while simultaneously laying emphasis Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to back up my suggested solutions (Gerrig, Zimbardo, Campbell, Cumming & Wilkes, 2012). Deep within, I was thinking of three probable options. My mind was critical of the need to cancel the shipment arrangements so as to give the department in charge of production ample time to produce and repackage new toys.  The other option was assuming the defects and delivering the orders as it had been planned by the procurement department. These options were overridden by the thought of dismantling all the substandard packages and mark them as being assorted and suitable for a wide range of customers.


Zeisset, (2006) identified that Myers-Briggs Type Indicator commonly abbreviated as (MBTI) is a measure of psychometric abilities defining how people perceive the world and how these perceptions influence decision making. The MBTI presents a questionnaire which illustrates four principles functioning of the human psychology and their adaptability to performing four basic functions of sensation, feeling, intuition and critical thinking makes this self-analysis model applicable. The theory MBTI self-analysis theory was first developed by Carl Gustav Jung and later modified by Isabel Briggs Myers who identified that one function was always dominant over the others at any given time (Ferrell, 2010).  For instance, thinking and feeling interrelate towards critical decision making whereas intuition and sensing interact for proper perception. Basing on the MBTI, I possess an extraverted personality which means that my dominant traits include a high degree of sense, critical thinking and judgment skills.

The Crisis Point: Morality

Decision making requires a lot of the extraverted personality trait as identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Zeisset, 2006). The moral issues raised by the problem the toy company faces are related to children as being the future of the American economy because the country at large is dependent upon the healthy growth of school children. The moral implication of doing the right thing which involves revoking the already packaged toys from the stores and manufacturing good whistles devoid of defects could be too expensive for the company to bear. In spite of the loses which will be short term, the moral implications of the defective whistles on the children and the possible long term repercussions such as; revoking of the production license from the company could lead the business into liquidation. There is also the moral implication of urgency in delivering the goods because they are required in two weeks’ time. The organization further has the moral obligation of upholding the integrity of the multinational and highly reputed manufacturing organization by delivering quality despite the probable costs or risks. From the analysis of the moral, legal and financial implications on the company, young children aged between three and seven years and the general public, there was need for a rational decision.

Satisficing and bounded rationality

Reflecting upon the personal dilemma I had on the day we met in the board room, the thoughts that were crossing my mind were shaped by the need to apply the Eight-step decision making model (McKee, 2010) in order to convince other managers that we needed to think about the whole issue from extraverted personality trait point of view. I challenged the rest of the board members by listing alternatives citing theories, frameworks and models which gave credibility to my arguments. Among the theories I thought of was that of beneficence whereby an organization had the obligation of making decisions that will result into least harm for everyone. In addition to beneficence theory is the prima facie duties theory and common good approach theory (Shaw, 2010). The prima facie theory also known as rights theory demands for respect for human life since life is sacred.  The rights theory elucidates the reason why the toy company has to respect the rights and privileges of the final consumers. This is because the customers pay for goods and services thus they have the right to quality goods that are free from any hazards or defects. Arguably the company should not ship the toys even if the deadline for delivery is breached.

Johnson & Johnson, (2009) defines the theory of beneficence which some authors define as utilitarian theory as demanding companies to participate in ethical and morally acceptable practices that ascertain the customers of quality products that provide more satisfaction without harm. Looking at the criticality of the case, making an assumption that the few pieces of whistle toys identified to be having lead components will not affect the children will be wrong. Reproducing the toys will be costly for the company and it is likely to destabilize operations as it is an unplanned expenditure on the part of the company because the company is yet to recover from the low revenue earned in the previous fiscal year. This is an unplanned for cost which could destabilize the financial base of the toy company. Given that the factory employs many workers, it is prudent to maintain it for the sake of the wider community and just sale the defective whistle toys as they are. This suggestion also entails selling the products hoping that they will pass through the bureaus of standards unnoticed and that they won’t cause side effects to the final users. In the event something happens and raises the public attention then the organization will be forced to compensate the children or cater for their hospital bills. My support for this theory is pegged on the reality that the essence of a company is to take risks thus the procurement department could go ahead and ship the toys assuming that the packaged goods will pass through standards bureaus unnoticed. In the event that the elementary school children were harmed by the lead components, then the company should be obligated to settle the hospital bills and compensate the victims.

Hubbard & Beamish, (2010) identified the common good approach theory. The common good for the company is caring after the customers and not its own interest because public health is much more of a national priority than the profitability of a company. Based on the theory, Hubbard & Beamish support that life is sacred hence every economic action should be focused on contributing towards attainment of high standards of good life. Weighing the situation at hand, if the toy manufacturing company really means undertaking good business for its customers then the management needs to act, maybe, I suggest the company could consider labeling the packaged goods as being assorted so that teachers and parents purchasing the toys for their children could be aware of the risks of purchasing certain toys. This is because the toys can only affect children below the age of seven thus the toys are suitable for children in higher elementary schools. Such a decision would be binding in the event that the schools or the parents went to court to protest against purchasing toys with traces of lead components.


Among the points identified in support of my rational thinking was withholding the shipping and identifying defective toys from the rest so that only those toys whistles devoid of lead traces are packed and shipped to South America. A group of board members were against compromised quality of products stating that it is was essential to gain the loyalty of the customers and the general public for purposes of perpetuity of the company. In addition, another board member reiterated that the company needed to ensure quality and not compromise which gave me an edge and made my points credible in the eyes of all the other board members (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter 2012). It was decided that giving the best products, goods and services was the only way to ensure sustainability and good reputation which comes in handy. The outcome of the decision making process was filled with anxiety as the senior management could not come to terms with the realization that the company would lose $ 100,000 in the event that it prioritized their customers more than their urge for profits but all in all the senior managers agreed that the company was established for a moral and ethical cause.

Reflection on my decision

Having gotten basic theories, frameworks and models depicting ideals for decision making, there is need to appreciate that this course provides a pertinent manual for decision making. Assuming that I had not learnt these models and theories applied, I would definitely have valued the position of the toy manufacturing company rather than considering the bigger picture facing the risk of children being maimed. The most probable decision could have been driven by emotions and not critical thinking as illustrated by the MBTI which is a psychometric measure of how people perception the world and how these perceptions influence decision making (Wheeler & Hunger 2011). My decision comes in handy because I did not compromise on the position of the customers or the company. The company is better placed to gain profits in the coming years. It can as well acquire loans adding up to $100,000 to manufacture new elementary school toys for the children between four to seven years.


The process of decision making is a challenging process filled with many challenges. There are challenges of making the wrong decision and also there are challenges of failing to satisfy the required frameworks, models and theories that underlie decision making. This reflection paper congregates thoughts presented by different managers which in my opinion were binding to both the organization and the general public. In the long run, it is acknowledgeable that the bigger image of a company is much beneficial in the long run since negative publicity is bound to ruin the trust and loyalty that has been accorded to our company.


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