[BP# 1]Samsung’s Recall: The problem with Lithium-Ion Batteries

New York Times: Samsung Article (<- Click to go to the article, alternatively the full link will also be at the end of the blog post)


In the age of budding technology, there are a few companies that stand out in the crowd. Verizon and Samsung, to name a few. Samsung, creator of the revolutionary Galaxy smartphone, had to recently “recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after finding a flaw in the battery cell that resulted in fires” (Fowler and Mozur, 2016). The article explains exactly what a lithium-ion battery is, in common speech words. Per the article, a lithium-ion battery is defined as “a powerful light-weight battery that includes lithium-ion particles”. Basically, it is a rechargeable battery that is easy to recreate. The batteries are charged with “volatile and flammable chemical compounds”  to “ensure that lithium-ion particles can move easily between electrodes”. Lithium-ion batteries can commonly be found in daily use items such as 1) smartphones, 2)laptops, 3)airplanes, 4) e-cigarettes, and 5) electric cars.

Ethical Analysis

How does this fall into an ethical violation? First, let’s define ethics. Ethics are the moral principles that governs the behavior of a person or a group. Many people have different beliefs that make up a variety of different ethics; however, today’s ethical analysis will be viewed from an American Advertising and Public Relations perspective.

Samsung recalling the Note 7 ,due to a found flaw in the battery cell, is (in my opinion) a well planned and thought out recall, therefore making it a rather ethical choice that will have the greatest return for the end mission of Samsung as a whole. Companies and Organizations are designed to (essentially) benefit the general public (i.e consumers). Per Advertising and Public Relations ethical codes, organizations owe a moral responsibility to the public to be truthful and honest at all times. By informing the public of the crisis, Samsung has not only controlled a crisis, they have also maintained their responsibility to society, which will then allow for society to make an informed decision on whether to keep a Samsung phone or go with another company. Samsung offering to recall and replace the phones with safer ones provides the consumer a way to keep faith in Samsung.

By recalling the phones and replacing them, Samsung has shown that it cares about the consumers safety more than the profit it received from the phone going out on the market. It can be argued that the recall was in the self interest of the organization to save face and keep it’s central base of consumers, but ethics is not black and white. Ethical choices are “subtle, shades-of-gray choices, juicy enough for a philosophy major” (Moore, 2013)

According to McFall, there are several kinds of integrity. Samsung practiced simple consistency. McFall defines simple consistency as:

Consistency within one’s set of principles or commitments.

That is not to say that Samsung as an organization has principles because inanimate objects and brands do not have such things, but there is a commitment there to the consumer that Samsung upheld.

Sources (copy and paste into browser)

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/technology/samsungs-recall-the-problem-with-lithium-ion-batteries.html?ref=business&_r=0
  2. https://mybb.gvsu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3977254-dt-content-rid-36082673_1/courses/GVCAP325.01.201710/Ethics%20in%20Advertising.pdf
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EfU_mh-m8k

*Edited at 12:04pm


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