Many companies claim to have a corporate culture that is based on certain values while reports have shown that the same companies have a hard time acting ethically. One ethical situation involving a company in 2017 is the incident involving United Airlines whereby there was a video footage of a bloodied passenger being forcibly removed from a flight by tow security officers. In the video footage, a 69 year old man is seen having his head smacked on an arm rest and being dragged off the flight. In that situation, the flight was overbooked and any protest by passengers was treated in a violent manner (Zafft, 2018). The ethical issue in that incidence was how the company treated customers on the flight and why the airline’s management allowed such an incidence to happen.
The way the airline handled the matter was disagreeable as it demonstrated a company whose management and culture supported the ill treatment of passengers. While apologizing for the incident, United Airlines CEO said that, “this is an upsetting event to all of us here at United”, without addressing the disturbing nature of the video and how dissatisfied the passengers were with the actions of the airline. Further, there were media reports that the airline’s CEO referred the mistreated passenger as “disruptive and belligerent” in a letter sent to employees.
This shows that the airline not only lacks rules that govern employee conduct and how customers should be treated but also has a culture of treating passengers as they pleased. According to the utilitarianism theory, the actions of companies should maximize the happiness of all the involved stakeholders in the long run. In this case, it was the duty of the airline to ensure that the flight was not overbooked and not to kick anyone off the flight (Gustafson, 2013).