Company Q is a small grocery store chain working on being profitable in a large city. Company Q had a couple of stores that were not profitable and were in an area rated for higher crime, so they chose to close these two stores. The social responsibility choice by Company Q was abatement, choosing to remove the stores from the negative environment (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2008). Company Q has by request, been offering high margin items, specifically organic products which are considered a health conscious choice for customers concerned with the environment. These items have to be fresh and being perishable after being displayed for the day result in discarding or wasting by throwing the food away, which is of concern to the community. The community has a food bank which asked for donations of this organic food hoping to help those in need, but Company Q turned them down and showed no real interest in helping the community with the excuse for concern over possible fraud or employees stealing the food that was claimed to be for donation.
The social responsibility for helping those in need is being avoided by Company Q simply because they claim concern over fraud by employees. This choice by Company Q may give them a negative reputation for the community (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2008). Job seekers may not want to work for Company Q if they see it as not being socially responsible and the possibility of being stereotyped as a possible thief just because you work for Company Q. The employees may have lower morale because of the negative reputation and disgust towards management for the lack of trust as an excuse for being socially irresponsible towards those in need. This choice may also cause a drop in current shoppers and a choice by possible new shoppers to choose to shop elsewhere.
1. Regarding the stores that were closed in the higher crime rate section of the city due to loss in revenue, the employees and customers or primary stakeholders would be negatively affected. These individuals might not be able to find employment elsewhere and the customers may not be able to travel to another store to remain satisfied customers. This likely being the case, Company Q has a social responsibility to improve this situation. They can reopen the stores, hire security employees, and install security cameras to discourage the theft problem. This will restore the positive attitude with the employees and customers. This will restore relations with the community and the suppliers.
2. Company Q by request has made a good choice to offer the health foods, though they are high margin products. However, the customers have been asking for years for healthy foods, so the responsibility of Company Q remains that they should sell much more in the health food line. They should choose to sell as much of the lower priced items in the health food line as possible. The community wants the healthy food and it is an important step for Company Q to care about the health of the community as well. Taking care of the community from a healthy standpoint is an important social responsibility that reaches out to the health and mental attitudes of all those who chose to take advantage of a healthy diet. The next step is to choose an ethical way to give back to the community as a social responsibility for the unsold perishable items. To relieve the concern of employee bad behavior, Company Q could draw up an agreement with the local food bank such that they would have to pick up the day-old products and sign a check sheet list of items that were accepted on the given day date.
This would create accountability by the food bank personnel and eliminate the possibility for employee theft. It also would yield a positive attitude in the community for Company Q and possibly increase their bottom line making it attractive to shareholders. 3. Company Q has a responsibility to their employees to restore relations with them, as well. Company Q might explore the possibility of donating their time through volunteerism with employees who are willing to sign up for a given number of hours per week at the food bank. Therefore, Company Q would be showing their concern for the community and persons who are less fortunate.
This will restore employee trust to know that they work for a company who is socially responsible by giving back to the community and employees would appreciate the opportunity to participate in a volunteer outreach to the food bank. These changes would improve the employee morale. This will get some recognition by the community and likely, some of the secondary stakeholders including media may want to air Company Q on TV relating the donation to the food bank of the day-old food and may film the employees donating their time to the food bank. This could help Company Q with their interest in the community and shareholders by possibly making their stock go up and increase their sales in all of their stores.
Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2008). An Overview of Business Ethics; Ethical Issues and The Institutionalization of Business Ethics. In O. Ferrell, J. Fraedrich, & L. Ferrell, Business Ethics Ethical Decision Making and Cases (pp. 4-85). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.