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Product Safety and (Preemptive) Recalls Susan has recently been made product manager of PediaBoost, a nutritional...

Product Safety and (Preemptive) Recalls

Susan has recently been made product manager of PediaBoost, a nutritional supplement in her company’s infant product line. PediaBoost has been on the market for more than two decades, is FDA approved, and is considered so reliable by the parents of newborns that the PediaBoost brand name is considered as synonymous with nutritional supplements for infants. Market research has discovered that adults are now using PediaBoost as a supplement during detoxification diets/flushes that are considered part of a healthy lifestyle.

Market research presents their findings to the executive committee and proposes a marketing blitz to effectively capture PediaBoost’s use in this alternative market. The marketing strategy will involve a sticker on the product touting the health benefits of the activity and PediaBoost’s relation to it. The marketing department gives a conservative projection of a 50% increase in sales of PediaBoost over the next five years. Everyone at the meeting appears to be impressed, especially since the PediaBoost production line has plenty of spare capacity. Indeed, most of the `products the firm produces are in the “mature” phase of their life cycle and the firm is in increasing need of new sources of growth.

At a dinner party Susan brings up discussion of detoxifications to kick start a diet. Several guests remark that they have used PediaBoost for this activity and that several books by diet gurus mention it by name as part of a detoxification cycle that is part of a healthy lifestyle.


In browsing the web, Susan finds several yet unpublished university studies linking detoxification diets/flushes with reducing the effectiveness of flu shots for adults. Further, PediaBoost was used in many of these trials. Susan now has doubts about positioning her product for this market. She realizes that if she has access to these studies, then so does the relevant government regulating authority. She also realizes that if she suggests pulling the plug on the marketing blitz, it may derail her from the fast track to promotion. At the same time, being placed in charge of PediaBoost in the first place is already a good signal that she is moving up the corporate ladder. She considers how to make her position most effectively within the firm.

  1. Which of Reddin’s Personal Values Inventory can be applied to Susan in this situation? (List all that apply and explain how they apply).

  2. Devise 3 different decision statements about whether to position this product for the market that Susan can reason to herself that illustrate each of the different 3 levels of Moral Development according to Kohlberg?

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Answer #1

The following from Reddin’s Personal Values Inventory can be applied to Susan in this situation.

1. Theoretical – Since Susan knows about the current situation and is well aware that the outside world and common people do have the knowledge of the product, declaring the same as a new one with a label about its benefits could create problem in future. As, the team is planning to give two different tags to one single product, namely, one for adults and one for infants, it could put company’s reputation and morals on line. If this is to be found and also turns out to be a failure the company shall suffer a considerable customer loss. Customer expect the companies to be service minded and not money milking straight forward business men.

2. Achievement oriented – Susan knows about the situation yet she want to hold back for one reason, her promotions. Had she been the team lead or HR lead or marketing lead, she might have voiced her opinion already. Since she is in the lower position of the management she has doubts on whether to react or not.

3. Industry Oriented – Susan must allow the company marketing team and the managerial team to go ahead with their progress. The marketing teams could have so much inputs and they shall not be revealing everything. A company that makes infant food products cannot make much mistakes and hence they will have backups to support their claims. Since Susan is not on the technical part of the team she must not interfere in the present situation. She must allow the process the progress and observe how it is unfolding with the health departments and received by the consumers. If there is a downfall there Susan could voice her opinion. She need not voice her opinion anytime prior to this because, the production line is one and the same and there shall not be any major loss except for the new product cover and label. This loss is excusable and is required in taking new risks.

Decision statements

1. Marketing blitz are strategies every companies do to promote the products. Companies promoting one product under two different label and different claims aren’t new.

2. The top level research team and product development team shall be holding back key information that shall be holding back to make the product unique and successful and the same shall not be question unless, Susan is part of the research team or top level management.

3. The company knows what is best for the business and it has all the rights to take a risk and adopt changes. Susan shall stay within her power and shall function as usual.

According to Kohlberg moral development

Preconventional

Stage 1 – Susan shall maintain her reputation standards and need not voice her opinions as of now. I she does it now she could receive a punishment of spoiling her chances up the professional ladder.

Stage 2 – Susan shall ask what is in for her ? A promotion in near future! Based on this she could decide her opinions.

Conventional

Stage 3 – Susan voicing her opinion shall put her in a shaky position in terms of relationship with everybody on the board. She simply has to wait for any other senior management person to share their thoughts with Susan. Until then she shall not react.

Stage 4 – Since every other member of the company accepts, Susan must also accept. Company knows what is right and wrong!

Postconventional

Stage 5 – The Company make decision based on the majority decision. Susan must look for an inevitable compromise that can benefit her instead of going against a system all by herself.

Stage 6 – If Susan have to climb up in her profession and then stop unnecessary marketing, change the moral and stick to ethics, she should gain reputation and power. For this to happen, she has to be patient and must cooperate.

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