Fololio Mulagia sample essay
In May of 2011 a Samoan schoolteacher by the name of Folole Muliaga was sent home from a New Zealand hospital suffering from a terminal illness called cardiomyopathy. Because, doctors believed she did not have much longer to live she was sent home with two oxygen tanks to help aid her with her illness. McNaughton (2006) states that on May 29 a contractor for Vircom EMS was sent by Mercury Energy to the Muliaga’s home to disconnect the electricity supply. Mrs. Muliaga pleaded with the contractor to keep the electricity because of her health condition but he disagreed.
A few short hours later Mrs. Muliaga would perish. Prior to the Muliaga’s electricity being disconnected, the family had an outstanding balance of $168. 00, and could not afford to pay the bill. The case of Folole Muliaga would later be broadcast around the world capturing the attention of many government officials. This paper will cover many aspects including but not limited to: the consequences and outcomes of the scenario, the illegal and unethical aspects of the Mercury Company, was the role of the coroner and police department justifiable, and lastly, what reforms and guidelines were put in place as a result of the devastating tragedy?
Evaluate Ethical Behavior: The Historical Case of Folole Muliaga Folole Muliaga, a 44 year old terminally ill mother of four suffering from cardiomyopathy perished after not being able to pay a $168. 00 electricity bill. As a result of Mrs. Muliaga sickness she was unable to continue her teaching career which brought in the majority of the household income. Johnston (2007) states that Mercury Energy was unaware that disconnecting power to a South Auckland home could have potentially life-threatening consequences. The resulted consequence was too harsh; to disconnect the electricity given that Mrs.
Muliaga was just released from the hospital days earlier. The major price Mrs. Muliaga paid was dying 3 hours after the electricity was disconnected from her home. The family of Mrs. Muliaga would later dispute that the bill was not overdue, and that it was actually due days later. Bennett (2007) states that Folole’s husband actually made a partial payment on May 17 and would make another payment a few days later. The Mercury Energy contractor who disconnected the power says he was unaware that Mrs. Muliaga depended on oxygen tanks to live.
What’s disturbing is that the Muliaga family states that when the ontractor arrived, Mrs. Muliaga invites him in and thourgly explains to him her health circumstances. She begins to plead with him not to disconnect the electricity, but he is not being attentive to her needs. He states he is simply doing his job, and that she must contact Mercury Energy to have the electricity restored. Although health professionals who treated the victim said her health problems had tremendously worsened over the past few months, does not make it morally nor ethically factual for the company to not hear the concerns of its customers.
After the incident went ational the general manager for Mercury Energy stated that he was sure the company was not at fault for Mrs. Muliaga’s death. Cleve (2007) He contended: I’m confident that the processes we have put, the communications we had with the customer, were very clear about the circumstances that would happen. The general manager’s arrogance toward Muliaga’s death clearly shows his lack of concern and unethical behavior. His thoughts are that the company done nothing immorally or illegally wrong. In the case of Folole Muliaga there was almost a trial by media, pressuring Mercury to change how they conduct business with customers who ave severe medical conditions.
A company’s culture is the biggest element of how it handles difficult situations. Companies no matter how large or small should have a value statement that aids them on what is considered ethical behavior. The actions of Mercury Energy were illegal in the eyes of many consumers and shareholders around the world. It’s very bothersome and also reality that individuals who occupy senior level managenet roles does not uphold the standards and intergrity when it comes to satisfying the needs of customers.
Meredith (2007) says the behavior of Mercury Energy top xecutives serves to do no more than confirm just about every negative stereotype there is about impersonal, arrogant, and greedy corporates. What makes Folole’s story so alarming is that Mercury Energy is a state owned enterprise, which means the taxpayers solely, owns the company. Research states that Jones (1991) a moral issue is present when a person’s actions, when freely performed, may harm or benefit others. It’s imperative to know that many judgments are moral decisions because they have a moral component, such as the case of Folole Muliaga. The actions that took place in Mrs.
Muliaga’s home was horribly illegal and unethical, because the situation was not investigated thourghly. If the contractor would have taken five minutes to contact someone about Mrs. Muliaga’s severe health condition her life probably could have been prolonged. The contractor’s irrational behavior to further assist the family is what makes this situation so demoralizing. A few weeks after Folole’s Muliaga’s death, Police announced that there was no evidence that did not point to Mercury Energy nor the contractor’s that they were at fault for Mrs. Muliaga’s death.
After Folole’s death the family expressed that the Police department showed lack of “Cultural Awareness” and had “institutionalized racism”. Bridgeman (2010) Coroner Gordon Matenga concluded that Mrs. Muliaga died of natural causes but, an arrhythmia caused by morbid obesity and that the cessation of oxygen therapy and stress arising from the fact of the disconnection (as opposed to the way in which the power was disconnected) have contributed to her death. To agree with the coroner’s report individuals would really have to reexamine Folole’s case. Certainly, the victim had health issues that contributed to her death.
But, the question we must ask ourselves is that if Mrs. Muliaga’s electricity was never turned off would she have still perished a few hours later. Many of us would answer the question by saying no, she would still be alive. In many of our thoughts and private belief’s we would say that Mercury Energy is responsible for her death. Summary: The Folole’s Muliaga’s story should have been an eye opener for all major corporations. Many companies today do not follow Corporate Social Responsibility. Many top managers and executives are simply in the business to make a large profit off of its shareholders and onsumers.
Organizations have to reexamine the culture, morals, and values of why they are in business. Meredith (2007) In the case of Mercury Energy, those needs should have been understood to include the cultural and economic issues of a Samoan family struggling to make a go of their lives in New Zealand and to have been deserving of care and respect in addressing what turned out to be the life threatening issue of the discontinuation of their electricity supply. A variety of theoretical perspectives have been established to support researchers and most mportantly managers on social issues.
These concepts would help organizations to understand the importance of having values and morals when it comes to dealing with the public. The social life cycle theory was used to analyze the Mercury Energy case. Ackerman (1975) found that, in general, the responsiveness of business organizations to social issues progresses through a three-phase trajectory; policy, learning, and commitment. Most of us who are familiar with the Muliaga case would say that the company was in refutation about the Muliaga issue.
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