Business Ethics in McDonald’s Company


The largest fast food chain in the world, McDonald`s, was born in America in 1948 from a small restaurant opened by the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald's San Bernardino, California. In early March 1955, Kroc founded McDonald’s Systems Inc., which was renamed McDonald’s Corporation 5 years later. On April 15, 1955, he opened McDonald’s first restaurant in Des Plains. McDonald’s global expansion began in 1968, when the first Canadian restaurant was opened. After 12 years, the company crossed the ocean and moved to Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and then to Africa.

Now in the world there are more than 31 thousand McDonald’s restaurants, which employ 1.5 million people. The number is constantly growing: 8 more fast-food restaurants open every day. On average, the annual turnover of each establishment is $ 1.5 million. And the total net profit of the company exceeds $ 3 billion.

McDonald’s has the strongest positions abroad in the “big six” countries, including Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, France and the United Kingdom. It sometimes has features that match the gastronomic traditions of a particular country.

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For example, in the Muslim countries of the world there are no pork sandwiches, and in India - with beef. In Italy, pizza is served. At the same time, in accordance with the strategy of supporting local producers of agricultural products, McDonald’s overseas branches purchase products in countries where their regional networks are deployed. The exceptions are sauces: they are brought from the United States. All the latest social trends are monitored at the headquarters located in the suburbs of Chicago, and an adjustment plan is periodically outlined, which is being rigorously executed in all the restaurants of the global network.

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For example, when America sounded the alarm about overweight in the nation, McDonald’s introduced a low-calorie product line. The corporation has launched a global marketing campaign calling on Americans to diet and play sports.

The history of McDonald's is full of such controversial points: the quality of the original products is subjected to detailed examination, the very idea of “fast food” is subjected to severe criticism, in many countries there are opponents of the spread of the American way of life, which symbolizes McDonald's. Despite all the attacks, the chain of snack bars is developing at a fast pace and for many has become a symbol of quality, cleanliness and excellent service. MacDonald’s doesn’t have standardized ethics across the globe and choses its strategies in response to criticism as supposed to acting proactively to support sustainability.

Why business ethics important in this company/case?

The business ethics and business relations is an arrangement of principles that depend on conventional human qualities and which individuals from one association and accomplices of the organization hold fast to. Generally, business morals of business depends on regard for the interests of the organization's representatives, its clients and accomplices. It likewise stretches out to contenders and suggests the non-utilization of precluded or exploitative techniques in the battle for a specialty in business. Moral conduct and corporate social duty can convey huge advantages to the business.

Untrustworthy conduct or absence of corporate social obligation, by correlation, can harm an organization's notoriety and make it less alluring to invested individuals. Benefit may fall thus.

Business has huge power and influence within society. It means that McDonald’s has very strong effect on people. People willing to overpay for efficiency and fast food can serve as a good example. Even just warmed up in the microwave, it costs more than food cooked at home from scratch. But saving time and the effect of a full meal is worth it. The Americans understood this a long time ago, since they like rationalization in everything. As a result, it was McDonald's that built a whole system of values, and in 1950, the company invested heavily in advertising its system. Today, McDonald’s has become part of not only American, but the whole of world culture, firmly “rooted” in it. This company has a huge number of fans, which continues to grow. Many from childhood accustomed to quick tasty snacks in the cozy "eatery". Others have pleasant memories with similar places. Thus, the reason for the company's success depends not only on rationalization, but also on the emotions of customers. That is why many people turn a blind eye to the possible shortcomings of the company. After all, for example, children are not interested in all these subtleties. Their interest in “McDonalds” is caused by competent colorful advertising, their emotions are built on this. Such an attitude to the company makes it possible to develop further McDonaldization. Great importance in the distribution of fast food around the world belongs to the media and advertising. With the development of information technology, Internet resources, McDonaldization has advanced to the most distant corners of the Earth. Now, perhaps, there is no person who would not have heard the word "McDonalds" and did not know what a "burger" or "fast food" is. A huge role was played, of course, by the Internet. The development of browsers, "smart" search engines made it possible to order "fast food" right at home, even to people who are not well versed in computers.

Business has the potential to inflict enormous harm on individuals, communities, and the environment. However, in recent years, McDonald’s has been suspected of serving junk food to customers. There are various reports on junk food and unsanitary practices in food preparation. People who think about their health have long been boycotted by McDonald’s for serving food full of fat, calories and sodium.

Difference between leaders and workers a too great

Over the past ten years, the difference between the salaries of managers and employees has increased significantly. Ordinary employees of the fast food network receive a minimum salary, while directors are satisfied with six-figure earnings. McDonald’s workers repeatedly staged protests and strikes to demand an increase in wages. Of course, this is very bad for McDonalds. If ardent fans of the network find out about this, they are unlikely to like it.

McDonald’s accused of operating workers

The franchise owner McDonald’s decided to leave the post after receiving allegations of the exploitation of working students. They were allegedly paid much less than intended to save more money for the company. McDonald’s has been repeatedly accused of unfair pay. Such claims have a bad effect on the company's reputation, and since McDonalds is world-famous, the news has the potential to break the fast-food chain. Employees face significant pressure to compromise ethical standards. The moral responsibility of the employees of the McDonald’s restaurant is very great, since their activities are connected with people. At the same time, the well-being, mood, and health of the visitors interacting with them depend on their work. The work of the McDonald’s restaurant workers cannot be strictly formalized. They are required not only high qualifications, but also a deep awareness of their moral duty to the guests. Here duty turns into a moral need. In other words, in professions of the type “person, person” in addition to the general requirements of morality, there are specific requirements and norms of morality. Professional responsibility and ethics of the employees of the McDonald’s restaurant are expressed by practically established morality of serving in the restaurant. Responsibility and ethics of McDonald’s restaurant employees is a set of specific requirements and moral norms of a specific nature, which are implemented in the performance of their professional functions and responsibilities for serving restaurant visitors. It is based on the psychology of the restaurant business and service. Responsibility and ethics have as their goal the formation of professional honor and duty at McDonald’s employees, the development of communication culture skills both with visitors and with their colleagues, etc. McDonald’s employee must be able to own and control his mood, not to succumb to minute irritation and negative impulse. Negative mood should not affect the attitude towards visitors and colleagues at work. As experienced workers say, you should “leave” your bad mood at the entrance to the restaurant.

Fall into a state of anger and irritation because of stupid things and trifles, angry at visitors and insult them, only a rude and licentious person can tear their anger on them. This person does not respect himself or others and is professionally unfit for service activities. The McDonald’s restaurant employee must be able to correctly evaluate his own behavior and be self-critical. Only such an employee of the McDonalds restaurant can maintain the prestige of his profession at a high level. Violations of the norms of professional ethics, such as counting, hanging and others, are immoral. Such actions are condemned by people, and their perpetrators are subject to certain punishment. However, unfortunately, in the restaurant service industry, there are sometimes employees who determine only this kind of profit in their professional activities. These people with low reputation, they are represented by lovers of easy money and a long ruble. Of course, these people are casual in the restaurant service, unfit for work in the restaurant.

Interested parties are people who are involved in a business. The first stakeholder is buyers. Buyers are among the stakeholders since they are still buying products and can participate in corporate events. Moreover, if McDonald's is not for the buyer daily use in their lives, they are. McDonald's can also offer products to customers. For example: food that meets their needs. Clients are what McDonald's supports, as they provide them with money to help the business run and expand.

The second stakeholder is suppliers. These are internal stakeholders, as they will work with McDonald’s. They also supply various ingredients and staples to McDonald's stores. Thus, if McDonald’s didn’t have a supplier, customers didn’t have what to eat in their restaurant chain. The more products and supplies McDonalds asks, the more money suppliers earn.

The third stakeholder is the government. Moreover, the government is interested and influenced by McDonald's. One of the best qualities is that McDonalds provides jobs for people who can't find a job. Thus, the unemployed are more likely to get a job. Since McDonald’s has a huge number of global franchises. McDonald’s is also influenced by the government as it passes new laws. Also, McDonald’s is tactful with the law. If McDonald’s decides to create another franchise, the government can take part in solving any issues related to McDonald.

Works cited

  1. Carroll, A. B., & Buchholtz, A. K. (2019). Business & society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Cengage Learning.
  2. Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2018). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Cengage Learning.
  3. Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E., & Schwartz, M. S. (2017). Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality. John Wiley & Sons.
  4. McDonald's Corporation. (2021). Our Values. Retrieved from
  5. McDonald's Corporation. (2021). Sustainability. Retrieved from
  6. McDonald's Corporation. (2021). Our Approach to Responsibility. Retrieved from
  7. Mullins, L. J. (2019). Management & organizational behavior. Pearson Education.
  8. Organ, D. W. (2018). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature, antecedents, and consequences. Routledge.
  9. Treviño, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2016). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. John Wiley & Sons.
  10. Wartick, S. L., & Cochran, P. L. (2016). The evolution of the corporate social performance model. Business & Society, 55(5), 671-707.
Updated: Feb 20, 2024
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Business Ethics in McDonald’s Company. (2024, Feb 20). Retrieved from

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