jump to navigation

Tylenol January 31, 2007

Posted by collage9 in pharmaceutical.

I think an interesting case that deals with business ethics, and one that we recently discussed in my MGMT 312 class, is the Tylenol scare in 1982.  It is interesting to see how major companies, in this case Johnson & Johnson, handle crisises such as this one.  After learning that several deaths had occurred as a result of taking their Extra Strength Tylenol capsules, with five occurring in Chicago and one in Texas and California each, Johnson & Johnson made the decision to pull all Tylenol capsules off the shelves.  They recalled 32 million bottles of Tylenol that were worth over $100 million in sales.  This is obviously not an easy thing for a company to do, especially given the amount of sales that this product generated for the company.  But, for Johnson & Johnson, there really was no other choice.  They are a company that has always taken pride in the fact they put their customers above all else, and in this case the possibilty of more deaths resulting from taking Tylenol greatly outweighed the fact that they could lose so much profit.

I think that Johnson & Johnson without a doubt did the right thing in taking all Tylenol capsules off the shelf.  Even though it could have ended up as a public relations disaster and a large decrease in sales overall, they still had the courage to make the right decision, something that i think a lot of other companies might not have been able to do.  I think its good to see that the decision paid off for the company in the end and was rewarded for doing the right thing.  Some might say that the decision probably was made because they didn’t want to lose sales as a result of not taking the Tylenol off the shelves, but I really think that Johnson & Johnson had their customers best interests in mind.



1. sswift - January 31, 2007

I agree. Their ethical decision was based on their credo their founder created. I think it is admirable the company has made a committment to honor the ethical beliefs the company was founded on. While Johnson & Johnson may have lost profits by performing the recall, they gained the respect of many customers, which is priceless. A life long customer is extremely valuable and I believe Johnson & Johnson may have solidified them through their respectable, ethical decision.

2. kepstein - January 31, 2007

By following their Credo, J&J was able to make the decision to recall Tylenol in about 20 minutes. This truly reflects the culture of the company- their values and beliefs are manifested in their decision making and interactions. Granted the decision to recall may have been easier to make since J&J was not responsible for the tamperings, most other corporations would have put themselves first which hurts their reputation more than if they just took responsibility for the crisis. Just as the saying goes, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” J&J did what was right for their customers before worrying about profits and financial concerns. By doing the right thing the company knew that their profits would follow. If J&J uses ethical decision making and they are still extremely profitable even today, why can’t other companies like Ford and the Pinto follow suit and use more ethical decision making?

3. Lady - February 5, 2007

I agree with the previous comments that J&J made the right decision to follow their Credo and go with the recall. And as previously stated, they were able to do this simply based on their Credo–there was nothing really to think about and the decision was simple for them. I think this way of thinking stems from the culture that their Credo has created for J&J and the employees have definitely bought into it. Therefore, I believe that one of the reasons it is hard for other companies to “follow suit” and use more ethical decision making is because their employees haven’t “bought into” making decisions based primarily on “doing what’s right” and being primarily concerned with their customers. Some employees may be narrow-minded and concerned more with their profits and stockholders. In order to alleviate this problem, the culture of the organization and what the employees value may need to be evaluated and reshaped.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: