Module 5 (Simonds)

“What is the problem of “vanishing individual responsibility?’   How can a culture of individual responsibility be created or maintained in a corporate setting? What is your view of corporate responsibility? Check out Case 5.1 “Yahoo in China’ for additional thoughts.”

In a corporate setting, individual responsibility is a very difficult and inefficient idea when you look at a result of a finished team product. If an entry-level employee makes an error in their work, then the company is able, as a whole, to remove and replace that individual, without a very large loss. But, if the error was in an accumulated framework, including multiple individuals and their own works, then the problem shows itself. In a group contributed product, it is difficult to assign blame onto a single individual. For example, if a consumer buys a landline, and the landline is faulty, who do you assign the blame for it’s brokenness to? The electrician who installed it? Perhaps one of the assembly line workers? Or is it the foreman’s fault for not observing the faulty product and the error that made it faulty in the first place? It is easier for the entirety of the company to take the blame, and send a replacement product. The probability of the this problem arising increases when a hollow corporation uses foreign manufacturing methods and products. If a company is supplied different products from different sources, it enlarges the area of error, and the pool of individuals that would be at fault.

The only possibility, that comes to mind, of a company running efficiently off of individual responsibility successfully, would be a company that manufactures its own products, and that minimizes worker interaction within the corporation, in regards to the creation of products. This way, if there is a product-wide fault, then the company would be able to locate which part of the framework housed the fault, and who designed it that way. It is simply easier and better looking for a company to take the brunt of the blame as a whole and issue a product recall, then to find and pin the blame solely on a single individual. Examples of this happening can be seen throughout history by Car companies, such as the 9 million car recall by Toyota in 2009 and 2010.