Ethical Hero or Failed Business Man

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Ethical Hero or Failed Businessman Malden Mills is a textile company, popularly known for Polartec, in Massachusetts, owned by CEO Aaron Feuerstein. The manufacturing facility in Lawrence was destroyed by a fire in 1995. Aaron Feuerstein, however, paid salaries of workers in the facility after the terrible incident, until a new factory was built at the same location. The factory was rebuilt as a much newer, grand building. It cost Aaron considerable amount of money to rebuild the factory. He took on huge debts to rebuild the factory. Although the productivity of employees soared high immediately after Aaron rebuilt the factory, the subsequent three warm winters caused the company to go bankrupt, with Aaron struggling to pay the debts. The key question here is if Aaron blinded himself to the realities and practicalities in the business world then and went ahead with the huge decision to rebuild a factory and continue paying salaries to his workforce. Did his decision cause more harm to the communities in the long run? Did he endanger the future of Malden Mills by taking such a huge risk? These are all some valid questions that go through my mind as I read through the case. The stakeholders involved are Aaron Feuerstein, his company shareholders and board members, the factory workers from Lawrence and the customers of Malden Mills. Malden Mills is Aaron Feuerstein’s private company. He was not the company shareholders’ agent. I believe that he had the right to take any decision that he wanted. To him, his ethics and values were much more important than monetary benefits. Therefore, he continued paying benefits to his workers and rebuilt a new factory in the same location to serve the communities in Lawrence by offering them employment. He felt that his forefathers had left a great legacy behind by setting up Malden Mills in Lawrence and he had every
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