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Ethical Issues in Management. MGT 5250-Discussion Forum Week 2

Steven F. Goldstone, Chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco (one of the four biggest U.S cigarette manufacturers said in a magazine interview, “I have no moral view of the business … I view it as a legal business. You shouldn’t be drawing moral judgement about a business our country says is perfectly legal and is taxed crazy by it. 

Think about Goldstone’s statement in terms of moral awareness. What might happen if he begin thinking about his business in moral not just legal terms? 

            Warren Buffet, who happens to be one of RJR’s largest shareholders once said, “I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business: It cost a penny to make. You sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there is fantastic brand loyalty.” (Wathen, 2013) While Warren Buffet is a large shareholder he does not want to own the business. He told an interviewer that he is rich enough that he does not have to take the public risk of owning a tobacco company. This would indicate that he felt that there would be a moral consequence to owning a tobacco company.  Warren Buffet admits to drinking five cherry cokes a day.  While we know this is not good for your health should it be considered the same as smoking cigarettes? Some critics would argue yes, adults are aware of the health consequences of smoking a cigarette and anyone who is choosing to smoke is responsible for that choice.  Others argue that there are moral theories in business to hold those accountable that knowingly do harm.  If Steven Goldstone thought about the moral awareness of running a very large tobacco company he decide to no longer be CEO.  It is definitely not a secret the devastating effects a cigarette can have on your health.  However, in the hospital based healthcare system I work in Diabetes is the main culprit for deaths and declining health.  Does that make the cherry coke statement seem a little more unethical?  We are constantly doing diabetic education and community outreach in order to treat and prevent Diabetes and its devastating effects.  How far is too far when it comes to regulation verses freedom of choice?


Wathen, Jordan, Why Warren Buffett Doesn’t mix morals with money, (November 24, 2013) Retrieved from https//www.fool.com/investing on January 18th, 2017.

Second Reply

     Goldstone’s statement of moral awareness shows that he is ethically aware. His stance is in fact an act of Machiavellianism. “Machiavellianism is used to describe individuals who act in self-interested, opportunistic, deceptive, and manipulative ways to win no matter what the cost is or how it affects other people” (Trevino & Nelson, 2014, p.84.) The risks of smoking are dismissed because the business obeys the law and pays taxes.

      Goldstone’s language has euphemistic undertones. If one focuses on the term “legal business,” one does not focus on the risks of cigarettes. If Goldstone began thinking about his business ethically, ideally, he would think post conventionally, considering the “ethical principles of justice and rights” (Trevino & Nelson, 2014, p. 79.)

          My self cognitive moral development is post conventional. My internal locus of control is very high. In surveys scoring control and development, a highly judgmental personality is demonstrated. Myers and Briggs provides personality testing, which shows a judgmental personality metric (Myers and Briggs Foundation, 2017). My ethical decision making is based on data analysis and a structured thought process.


Myers and Briggs Foundation. (2017). My MBTI Personality Type. Retrieved 

          from: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

Trevino, L., & Nelson., K. (2014). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk About How To Do It 

          Right. John Wiley and Sons. United States

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