Critical Thinking: Responsibility for Accident Case Study

Published: 2019-06-25 07:30:00
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Conflict can be defined as any situation where incompatible attitudes, goals, behaviors or emotions lead to dissatisfaction or opposition between two or more groups. In organizations, there are several types of conflicts that occur depending on the situation and people who have committed them. Some conflicts are between employers and employees and management and employees. Despite types of conflicts and their effects, it is of great importance for the organization to solve them in a manner that maintains a decent reputation of the organization (Kerzner, 2013). Particularly, in terms of conflicts that are created due to the injury caused by the company, the management should take full responsibility when they are in the wrong. Therefore, solving a conflict in a decent manner does not only maintain the proper reputation of the organization but also boost the morale and performance of employees when they realize that their affairs are at the heart of the company.

In this case, the conflict is developing between the organization and John Schmidt, an employee of the same company. On June 7, John severely injured his hand when pushing a heavy log through the table show while working in the production shop. In this regard, John says that he followed the companys safety procedure while working and it is the fault of the corporation for his injury. Therefore, he claims the company should pay him since it is legible. According to John, the machine was not safe for use, however, David Donald, the companys manager, says that the machine was in a good condition since he had not been informed by the foreman, Harry Hiller, of any problem with the machine. Harry says that the machine was indeed in need of some fixings but it was in a good condition, and he could give out the records. On the hand, Harry says that he saw the employee laughing that could result in the injury since he was not attentive and did not follow the safety procedures. Conversely, the colleague to the injured employee asserts that the machine was not designed properly. He claims that he had forwarded his concerns about the security of the machine, but no serious steps were taken in resolving the matter. However, when the health and safety test were performed on the machine, the result clearly showed that the safeguard was poorly made to protect the users on such instances hence it was faulty.

In order to analyze the condition, it is of great importance to ascertain the source of the conflict or the way it came into the picture. John says that the company should be blamed for the injuries while David says that they are not legible to the damage caused by the machine. Considering the case, John says that the cause of his injury is due to the poorly designed machine that does protect the employees. On the hand, the manager says that the machine has been in good condition, and he has not been informed of any defect by the foreman. Further, John was also seen laughing with coworkers that might contribute to the injury since he was not careful while performing his duties. Therefore, conflict is created due to the blame game between the foreman, employee, and the manager. In this regard, there are some important questions to ask in order to analyze the situation. Should John insist the company is legible for the injury yet he was seen laughing and joking with other employees while working? If that is the case, what appropriate action should he take? On the other hand, is the company liable for the injury? If so, what should they do? What should be done if it is concluded that the corporation is not responsible for the injury? Who should be blamed for the defect that was found in the machine?

In this case, the three individuals have to be blamed at a certain point. First, John, the employee, was seen laughing and joking while working. This reveals that, at one point, he was not serious about his duties and must not have followed the safety procedures. According to the study carried by Moon (2012), there are problems and issues that can be avoided when the employees take into account their duties on a serious note. Therefore, despite the defects of the machine that were realized later, John would have escaped the injury if he was keen to his duties. At this point of the issue, both the manager and the foreman are right by claiming that John is responsible for his injury. Secondly, the foreman is liable for Johns injury. First, he had been told by other employees that the machine was not in appropriate condition, and he did not inform the manager. This is the highest mistake that was committed on this issue since the problem had been identified and the action was not taken leaving employees to work with a defective machine that puts their lives in jeopardy. If the action to address the faulty machine were taken appropriately, John would have escaped this injury. Therefore, the foreman is liable to this conflict. Lastly, the manager has failed in his responsibilities by recording and keeping wrong information about the machine.

Following this scenario, there are ethical and communication issues that were ignored. First, the co-worker would have informed everybody about the flawed machine after he realized that the management was not taking any meaningful action. Huber (2013) says that creating awareness by telling colleagues about an issue at work is among the first lines to create peace at workplace environment. This would have saved the situation even if the management were reluctant in solving the problem.

Ethically, the foreman failed to handle his responsibilities as accorded to him. First, he would have informed all employees about the defective characteristics of the machine. This would have made workers to handle the machine with a lot of care when in use. Notably, in any business set up, the lives of the workers is imperative than any aspect hence it has to be protected at all costs. In this manner, the foreman would have stopped the use of this particular machine with immediate effect and report the matter to the manager for repair.

Following the analysis, in this case, it can be concluded that the company is to be blamed for Johns injury. Notably, the assertion that John might be have not followed the safety procedure cannot be ascertained since it does not mean that when one laughs he/she does not follow the set procedures at work. The main point is that the machine has been defective and the management, through the foreman and the manager, has done nothing to mitigate and solve the problem. Accordingly, the conflict is between the employee and management and not between the employee and manager or the foreman. Remarkably, the manager and the foreman representing the management should be blamed for the injury. According to Kerzner (2013), it is the responsibility of the company to compensate the employee whenever the firm is responsible for the injury and harm caused to the employee. Therefore, it would serve the company ethically right to take the responsibility and compensate John.

In conclusion, conflicts can affect the company in positive or negative ways depending on how the management has solved the issue. Mainly, the organization should handle conflicts in a manner that maintains a good reputation and assure the employees that the management considers their concerns. Specifically, a perfect resolution will upsurge the morale of the employees which at the end increases performance and productivity. For example, in this case, the management should accept the responsibility due to the fact the machine had been identified to be defective by the employees. In that regard, when the injured worker is compensated, others will consider the organization as one that considers the lives of employees. Lastly, it is ethically right for the firm to compensate.


Huber, D. (2013). Leadership and nursing care management. Elsevier Health Sciences.Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.Moon, J. D. (2012). Constructing community: moral pluralism and tragic conflicts. Princeton University Press.


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