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It is very seldom that well-established companies adopt and highlight, let alone implement a system of high ethical conduct and standards to guide its people in their day-to-day interaction in the organization. Add to this, the means by which ethics and good governance are manifested and exercised in “walk-your-talk” fashion in every organization is as rare as it is admirable once it is articulated and practiced. (Jaksa & Pritchard, 1994)
A profit-oriented organization tempered with the highest possible ethical practice is a dream sought by various stakeholders using this dimension as a strategic marketing measure to be more attractive in an ever-changing market.
Walt Disney aims to belong to this category with its mission of business in accordance with the highest standards of ethics and regulatory compliance. (WDC, 2008 annual Report) Ethics and Compliance System at Walt Disney Company
At Walt Disney Company, the statute of ethics commences at the top – the Board of Directors exhorts every component of the organization starting with members of the Board with the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Directors.
Here, every director is reminded of their agency relationship with the owners, of articulating high standards of integrity, commitment and independence, devotion in terms of time to the organization, and strict compliance with the Code.
In so doing, everyone is warned of conflicts of interests, any form of personal interest and influences using their positions or privilege of corporate confidential information, including those which affect third parties to a business transaction, disclosure of those deals if any in addition to the requirement of inhibiting the concerned director.
This provision equally applies to the immediate members of the family. At Disney, the process of creating entertainment content in its products and services is a long-term value driving all efforts in the company.
Considering that this focus makes use of the value-added Disney brands and franchises creates rate opportunities and strategies for good returns and long-term value to the company and its related investors. This set of strategies are composed of (1) investing in the strength and quality of the Disney brands; leveraging technology to provide entertainment when and where these are wanted; and globally reaching consumers all over.
Here, Walt Disney is demanded to exercise fiscal and financial discipline through the code of conduct and ethics. For Walt Disney, the current economic slowdown is a challenging environment for the highest standards of ethical conduct. This is becoming a strategic marketing measure coming to the advantage of the Disney group and has provided the financial strength and flexibility to grab available opportunities thereby enhancing its competitiveness and exceptional returns.
In its 2008 annual report, the company delivered value to its shareholders in terms of earnings per share, return on invested capital (ROIC) and free cash flow. With a double digit growth rate in earnings per share, the company can expect longer term good and positive financial metrics than short-term results. In fact, it has surpassed the S & P 500 standard yield on compounded annual return with its 12% record for the year. (WDC, 2008 Annual Report) Conclusion
The favorable results of Walt Disney Company are mainly through the great opportunities afforded by the media environment and best practices in terms of business standards, strong ethics training, hiring practices, its human resources and regulatory compliance with laws and statutes. These areas are provided with the industry responsive quality assurance in the Walt Disney group components such as the Studio Entertainment, Parts and Resorts, Consumer Products, Media Networks, Disney Interactive Media, Walt Disney International and its emerging thrust in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Jaksa, J. & Pritchard M. (1994). Communication ethics. Methods of analysis. 2nd edition. Belmont, CA, International Thomson Publishing. Walt Disney Company. 2008 Annual Report. Retrieved May 23, 2009 from website http://corporate. disney. go. com/investors/annual_reports/2008/introduction/financialReview. html Walt Disney Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009 from, website http://corporate. disney. go. com/corporate/cr_business_standards. html
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