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1) Individualism
Individualism states that business actions should maximize profits for the
owners of a business, but do so within the law. Honda vehicles were highly
recommended by Americans drivers due to their excellent reputation for
quality and reliability, the overall driving and owning experience before the
airbag recall. As a requirement of the law, it was Honda’s duty to inform the
public of the airbag issue and not to keep the issue secretly. The company
would have received several lawsuits and a lot of complaints for withholding
the information. So, Takata airbag company should not denied the fault in
producing the salvaged airbags but to do the same way as Honda do in
handling the issue because although it doesn’t exactly maximize profits, it’s
the best decision to make for the long run of the company’s profitability.
2) Utilitarianism
It is defined as maximize the happiness in the long run for all conscious
beings that are affected by the business action. A utilitarian would try to make
all the stakeholders happy and make the best decision for them. Takata do not
inform their stakeholders about the issue as there some failure during the
testing of airbags experiment. Unlike Honda, they did inform its stakeholders
about the airbag issue, everyone was fine because the company do not want to
involve in a serious controversy. If the customers found out about the issue
themselves, all the stakeholders would face a significant drop in sales because
the customers are losing their trust completely towards the company. In this
case, the customers are the most important factor to keep the company forward.
Therefore, Takata must have to apply this ethics during the manufacturing of
airbags in order to maximize the overall good and provide the greatest good
for the greatest number for their stakeholders.
3) Kantianism
The rule of Kantianism states: “Always act in ways that respect and honour
individuals and their choices. Don’t lie, cheat, manipulate or harm others to
get your way. Rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties”.
Takata ignored Mark Lillie’s expertise on the chemical subject matter of the
1999 decision to switch the chemical propellant in the detonator to a less
stable chemical form which he insisted has the potential to result in
uncontrolled detonation. This was the most irrational decision made by Takata
because they did not think about the effect of it to their customers. Fortunately,
this ethic is used by the Honda management, that is to recall its vehicles. The
company acted rationally in making this decision because it allowed for other
companies to follow in their footsteps. They respected their customers when
recalling their vehicles. Honda stuck to this motivation and was honest about
the danger of their airbags, attempting to keep the customers safe. Overall,
Takata should have to be Kantian in manufacturing the airbags in order to
respect their customers.
4) Responsible professionalism
It is the most comprehensive virtue ethics in the field of engineering. [2]Takata
engineers removed some of the test results to artificially reduce the variability
in airbag inflator performance. The data manipulation could be called selective
editing where the engineers have left out results not because they were bad
results, but because the results that remained were better. An engineer, named
Kevin Fitzgerald said he witnessed alteration of test reporting when working
on inflator for Nissan in 2005. He reported data misrepresentation by fellow
engineer Shinichi Tanaka to managers and the company’s lawyers. Hence, an
engineer should show the responsibility and professionalism in designing,
testing and manufacturing their product in order to keep their customers and
the community safe.
5) Consequentialism
It says that right or wrong depend on the consequences of an act, and that the
more good the consequences are produced, the better the act. [2]Takata and
Honda were aware about the defective airbags inflator in their product at first,
but they try to ignore and cover it up although later they admit that there were
some issue in their safety products. This act of dishonest and ignorant could
categorized as a violation to consequentialism. Their action is clearly wrong
by trying to cover their mistakes and still continue selling dangerous products
to the customer. As the consequences, the devices that actually intended to
keep people save, backfired to actually harm the customer safety. In a nutshell,
the employers and the employees, especially the engineers must make a
decision rationally to prevent the terrible incident occurred that might affects
their reputation.

1. Melanie Cordero. Business Ethics Case Analysis. 22 November 2014. Available at:
(Accessed on 10 December 2016)
2. Ciptahadi Nugraha. Ethical Issue In Automotive Business. no date. Available at:
(Accessed on 10 December 2016)
3. Craig Trudell and Margaret Cronin Fisk. Honda Audit Finds Takata Engineers
Manipulated Airbag Test Data. 18 July 2016. Available at:
(Accessed on 10 December 2016)