Essays on The Tobacco Companies and Product Safety Case Study

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The paper "The Tobacco Companies and Product Safety" is a perfect example of a Management Case Study. The idea of corporate social responsibility proposes that a company does not only have legal and economic considerations but it must also undertake certain responsibilities to the public that extend beyond the legal and economic responsibilities. The company takes action that is aimed at protecting and improving the wellbeing of society in addition to the company’ s interests. Different viewpoints have been developed over time on corporate social responsibility. This paper will discuss the case of the tobacco companies and product safety in relation to three viewpoints on corporate responsibility.

These are; Friedman’ s economic vie, the Kew Garden Principles socio-economic view and the broad social view within the Kew Garden Principles. Corporate social responsibility: tobacco companies and product safety The department of justice took tobacco giant company Philip Morris and eight other companies to court for failing to be forthcoming about the effects of smoking. The department accused the cigarette companies of running misleading advertising campaigns to try to ensnare more smokers including children. The department of justice provided evidence linking cigarette companies to suppression of research linking cigarettes to all manner of diseases including lung cancer.

They also posted adverts showing that nicotine was not addictive while they were fully aware of the addictive effects of nicotine and had even put production measures in practice to addict more users to cigarettes. This whole scheme by Philip Morris and other tobacco was solely aimed at maximizing profit as suggested by economist Milton Friedman (Velasquez, 2012). Milton Friedman was a renowned defender of capitalism who followed Adam Smith’ s views of capitalism.

Friedman argued that a business organization had only one social responsibility. He pointed out that this responsibility was to utilize its business resources to participate in activities that would enable it to increase its profit margins while within the legal boundaries. Friedman believed that the corporate executive’ s responsibility is to run the business organization in accordance with the desires and wishes of the owner. He believed that generally, these desires would encompass making the greatest amount of money while conforming to both legal laws and societal ethical customs.

Friedman also viewed actions and dealings that could be anti-competitive in nature as reprehensible (Schwartz and Saila, 2012; Cooney, 2012). From whichever angle Friedmans' argument is looked at and interpreted, three conclusions are drawn from his views. The first conclusion is that in as much as the company should work towards maximizing profits, they should also obey the law. In addition, the business organization should also conform or follow the set ethical customs which are inclusive of the business norms under which the organization operates. The third conclusion from Friedman’ s argument is that the company should work without employing deception or fraud for that matter.

Considering Friedman’ s arguments, the dealings and decisions made by Philip Morris and the eight other companies were significantly wrong. Even though the companies made their decisions to maximize the amount of profit they could get from the business, they went against three of the freedman’ s core principles.


Schwartz, M. S. & Saiia, D., 2012, Should Firms Go “Beyond Profits”? Milton Friedman versus Broad CSR, Business and Society Review journal, vol 117(1), Pg. 1–31

Cooney, S., 2012, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and the Social Responsibility of Business, Available at

Velasquez, M.G., 2012, The Tobacco Companies and Product Safety in

Business Ethics: Concepts & Cases (7th ed.), New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. (p316).

IISD, 2013, Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Available at < > responsibility (CSR)

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