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Ethics in Business: Annotated Bibliography Essay

This article discusses how corporations should aim to be responsible for more than just profit maximization. The author goes into the discussion of how downsizing a company violates the psychological and social contracts in the employer-employee relationship. The author seems to support the idea that employees should have a since of security in their job as long as he or she is productively advancing the goals of the organization. Downsizing productive employees harms the moral of the company and violates the trust that hard work makes an employee valuable. The author states that he believes downsizing is immoral and does more damage than good. The author then shows he does not have a complete bias opinion on downsizing because he makes the point that if layoffs are the only way to save a company, downsizing is an ethically valid and morally responsible corporate behavior because the layoffs generate the greatest good for the greatest number.

Chafuen, Joseph T. “Sorrow and Guilt: An Ethical Analysis of Layoffs.” SAM Advanced Management Journal 65.2 (2000): 4–13. Print.

Joseph Gilbert who is also a Professor discusses how downsizing can be considered unethical by the use of three prominent ethical approaches: that is rights and duties, utilitarianism, and justice and fairness. Following his analysis, Professor Gilbert makes a deduction that, in cases where downsizing is being used by a corporation or an organization to help it remain in business, otherwise, it goes under, and then it can be considered morally right and consequently ethical corporate behavior. Subsequently, in his use of utilitarian approach which argues that the determination of whether an action is morally right or wrong is entirely dependent on its consequences, downsizing can be considered moral and thus ethical because they result in greatest utility for a large number of people.

Further, the rights and duties approach contents that it is moral to downsize since employees lack absolute rights to their jobs. Nevertheless, the counter argument to ethicality to this is that these same employees still command a right of fair and just treatment. In conclusion, the justice and fairness approach finds downsizing to be immoral. This is because of lack of proportionality an employee`s behavior and the action of termination their duty.

In an article “Strategic downsizing” by David Band and Charles Tustin published in 1995 discusses the fact that downsizing is morally wrong unless the company will not survive without the necessary layoffs. This agrees with the article that was published in 2000 by the Joseph Chafuen because both agree that downsizing a company for the reason of increasing profit is morally wrong. Chafuen also agrees with Band that downsizing in a company is morally correct if it is the best decision for the greatest amount of people. In contrast to the article from the Joseph Chafuen, David Band and Charles Tustin make the point that the unwritten contract between an employee and employer will be broken if downsizing in a company cannot be justified without profit goals in mind. Later in Joseph Chafuen’s article he agrees that it is ethically incorrect to terminate an employee that has been beneficial to the company.

Gross, Larry. “Downsizing: Are Employers Reneging on Their Social Promise.” Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters. CPCU Journal 54.2 (2001): 112–121. Print.

According to Larry Gross, the strategy of downsizing that is at times applied by corporations to their employees is unethical. He argues that this strategy violates the social and psychological contract that exists between the employers and employee. He posits that whenever one is employed, their exists some sense of security that is afforded to the employee by the employer so long as the employee remains committed, efficient, effective, and continues to adhere to the rules, regulations and continues to advance the goals of the organizations towards achieving its vision. Therefore, downsizing of employees who have proved to be productive and have shown commitment to the organization is immoral because it is a lucid violation of their employment contract. (119)

Herbert, Bob. “Laid Off and Left Out.” The New York Times 25 May 2006. NYTimes.com. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Whilst reviewing Louis Uchitelle’s book, “The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences,” columnist Bob Herbert claims that in as much as the better educated and those that are well or better trained do get better jobs, the reality is that there is inadequacy of available good jobs that is enough to meet the demand for these individuals. Many jobs cannot support the employees anymore. Many people that are laid off from a job is because the company cannot afford to have them; not because of their work quality. This article was useful because while some companies get back-lash for huge layoffs, a lot of the times it was the companies last resort.

In an article “Downsizing: Are Employers Reneging on Their Social Promise” by Larry Gross published in 2001 by CPCU Journal claims that terminating an employee that has been hardworking and valuable to a company breaks the contract between the employee and employer. This agrees with the article “Laid Off and Left Out” by Bob Herbert published by The New York Times in 2006 because both articles agree that breaking the employee-employer contract does damage to the company’s reputation and repels high-value employees. In contrast to the article from Larry Gross, Bob Herbert says in his article that there are many qualified people that would be hired by company if the company could afford to hire them. Bob Herbert’s article was less bias because he made the point in the company’s defense in some cases both employee and employer suffer from downsizing.

McKee, Andrea. “Costs of Low Wages Paid by the Fast-food Industry.” Journalists Resource RSS. Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, 05 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.

This article talks about the issue of fast-food leaders being accused of encouraging their workers to sign up for programs that are paid by the taxpayer’s dollar; in order to keep their wages low and profits up. This article focuses on how the cost of living continues to rise, and millions of low-wage workers having to get by on federal and state programs for basic necessities. The article explains that while many believe most employees of major fast-food are young adults living with their parents, that 68% of employees are single/married adults, with/without children. It discusses how if fast-food companies took a small portion out of the budget that almost all qualified employees could receive the benefits they need. The article stated that McDonalds have started to give employees Affordable Health Care and both employees and employer have benefited. This article was very useful because it taught me that providing employees with the benefits they deserve will improve business ethics.

Sam, Gillbert. “Business Ethics.” Business Ethics RSS. World Press- Business Ethics, 14 Nov. 13. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.

“Business Ethics” discusses how a company’s moral beliefs about reducing waste for the environment can be a benefit for the environment and reduce their cost. It also gives easy suggestions to reduce waste costs. This article focuses on the retail businesses. The article explains that waste is an issue for all retail operations because of the need to take in and unpack large numbers of individual items and then display and package them up on a regular basis. It discusses how small steps can make big changes in a company’s waste. The author shares the California’s Department of Resources and Recycling advice for retail companies: reduce reuse, and recycle. This article was very useful because it gives many small suggestions that any business can use; such as giving customers the choice of having their items bagged- or giving a discount to those who bring their own. They also suggest donated any clearance items that the business plans on throwing out.

In an article “Costs of Low Wages Paid by the Fast-food Industry.” by Andrea McKee published by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center in 2013 discusses the issue employees that work in the low-wage fast-food industry are deprived of basic benefits with long hours and are encouraged to use programs paid by the taxpayer. This agrees with the article “Business Ethics” published by Business Ethics RSS in 2014 because both articles touch on how small changes in a company that have beneficial improvements for employees and the environment can actually bring in long-term profits with a small cost. The article “Business Ethics” is about companies that make small changes to cut waste and help the environment. These changes boosted the moral of the company and raised profits. “Cost of Low Wages Paid by the Fast-food Industry” stated that restaurants that started offering benefits to employees were experiences a lower turnover rate and employees were working efficiently. In contrast to the article from Andrea Mckee, “Business Ethics RSS” gives suggestions that any company could use to cut costs and waste while “Cost of Low Wages Paid by the Fast-food Industry” focused on the negative factors that come with disregarding employees needs in order to save money.

Schwepps, Cadbury. “Ethical Business Practices”- Business-Case Study LLP.”Conclusion. The Times 100, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. This case-study discusses the different outcomes of an organizations moral judgments of right and wrong business practices. It also discusses the rationale for rejecting the route that would lead to the biggest short-term profit in order to remain a good ethical reputation. The article goes into the many benefits of being an ethical business. The author states that having an ethical business attracts customers to the firm’s products and therefore boosting profits. The article says that employees will want to stay with the business that practices honest moral which reduces labor turnover and increases productivity. The author taught me that ethically correct business will attract job-seekers to your business which will reduce recruitment costs and increase talented employees. Unethical behavior will damage a firm’s reputation and make it less appealing to stakeholders. A creative and well managed business and social responsibility program is in the best interests of everyone involved.

Street, Marc D., and Vera L. Street. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Management. McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series, 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

In the article introduction to “social responsibility,” Hay and Gray argue that organizations and corporations should extend their responsibility to more than just making or maximizing on profits. They base their argument on stakeholder theory, which they present in a historical manner of how management thinking has evolved on the limits of corporation responsibility. The stakeholder is a theory of organizational management and business ethics that addresses morals and values in managing an organization. There was a chart in the article that shows the groups that are stakeholders of a corporation, and both describes and recommends methods by which management can help increase the interests of those groups. This article addressed the “Principle of Who or What Really Counts.”

The article “Ethical Business Practices” by Cadbury Scheppes published by The Times 100 discusses the theory that business that practice morally correct business attracts the best employees. The article says that business that treat their employees ethically get the best work from those employees because the employees “like” the company they work for. This agrees with the article “Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Management” published by McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series in 2007 because both articles discus the many ebenfit companies receive when the employees trust in the company The both agree that the happier the employee the better quality work they will produce which leads to higher profits. In contrast to Cadbury Scheppes, “Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Management” brings the stakeholder theory into his argument to make his point stronger.

Thompson, Robert B. “Insider Trading, Investor Harm, and Executive Compensation.” Case W. Res. L. Rev. 50 (1999): 291. Print.

Robert B. Thompson who is a legal scholar brings to the fore the argument posited by Henry Manne on the inside regulation. Thompson breaks down the status and the significance of the position taken by Henry Manne three decades ago after he had published his seminal paper. Henry had used three central assumptions to defend his arguments on the insider trading in the year 1996. However, today, three decades later, Henry`s arguments still remain as relevant and as alive in the regulation debates. It is still clear that despite having been through several and conflicting approaches, there still lacks a coherent and crystallized approach to the question of legalizing insider trading.

Tushoski, Michael. “Walmart Accepted Clothing from Banned Bangladesh Factories.” Top Stories RSS. ProPublica, 12 June 13. Web. 12 Apr. 2014. This article discusses the issue of large retailors making morally corrupt decisions in order to save a buck. The world’s largest retail store, Walmart, said they cut all business with factories that have serious or repeated safety problems, labor violations or unauthorized subcontracting. This article focuses on a certain factory called Bangladeshi that collapsed and killed more than 1,100 and how Walmart tried to get away with accepting business from them without getting public backlash. This article focuses on how trying to practice unmoral ways hurts businesses in many ways; even giant corporations like Walmart.

The article explains that once it was out that Walmart was still doing business with factories that they themselves put on a banned list, it lost many customers and employees. It discusses that with the ongoing reputation of cutting corners and pinching pennies, suppliers also question Walmart’s ability to monitor its supply chain as well as its efforts to ensure decent working conditions in factories located in low-wage countries. This article was helpful because it showed that doing the wrong thing to make money eventually costs more money than it would if a company did the right thing from the start.

In an article “Insider Trading, Investor Harm, and Executive Compensation.” by Robert Thompson published in 1999 discusses the harm insider trading does to investors of a company. Thompson states that insider trading is morally corrupt because it is unfair and greedy to use information that is not available to the public in order to benefit and protect themselves. This agrees with the article “Walmart Accepted Clothing from Banned Bangladesh Factories” by Michael Tushowski published in 2013 because this article reviews how corporations such as Walmart makes unethical decisions that the public is unaware of and how companies try and hide information from the public that could hurt their business. In contrast, Tushowski’s article explains how Walmart sent out a public document that listed factories they would no longer work with because of unsafe working conditions, yet was caught doing business with them. Using a real-life example made his point very clear.


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