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Case Study 1:
1 - Answer: The main factors in encouraging business ethics education are that in many of the cases of fraud and corruption involved those students who got education from the top business schools. The students were taught of how everyone should be show self-interest, how the managers cannot be trusted from the management theories (Goshal, 2005). Therefore, that’s why the business schools are now focusing more in adding the ethics course in their syllabus despite of the faculty and students view, so that in future they can have defend themselves and their business school name if any of the alumni commits fraud or corruption.
Also it would give a person a sense of ‘good factor’ and the others would also not feel that they are being used for some selfish reasons. This would also help the company retain its reputation too in the market if the management students have some moral sense (Boston, 2003).
The barriers the management of the business school might face for further development are that the business schools might face some problem in getting this course into the curriculum but also ethics is such a vast subject that it would grow and expand with time.
The students would be then studying conceptual concepts of ethics by then (Jones, Parker and Bos, 2005). The students and the teachers also do not look forward ethics teaching, since they find it very boring (Alsop, 2005).
2- Answer: Arguments against: The business studies would teach the student to recognize the ethical issues they would face in real world scenario, and would also stimulate their moral thoughts, their diagnostic skills and would definitely change their standards.
Students who know that their actions’ and words’ make’s up company names and reputation, would use all their business education not only to bring benefit to the company but to the surroundings too. It would also help avoid ‘criminal acts’ and to very strong public image and public relations.
Arguments for: Business education violates ethics in a way that at times a business student loses his morals as their moral values are molded into fixed shapes by the education they receive and thus cannot be improved further. (The Economist, 2005) Just to stay ahead in competition, the business education lets a student be more competitive than he should be and thus this puts a lot of stake on the company’s name and reputation, which eventually results in loss of public trust in the company.
3. - Answer: Limitations posed by the business ethics course on individual students are that at times they are not able to take decisions which might sound beneficial for the company they are working for or they face dilemma when they have to make a decision which is ethically wrong in both ways. The individual faces hurdle while making decision without using any tactics or strategies that would harm other person or company during work. The employee or an individual cannot even indulge themselves in the politics; rather they should work in a very transparent mode (Lacy, 2005). The individual should be focusing on the public and company needs rather his/her own needs. The course of business ethics should be designed in such a way that an individual doesn’t face any problem taking any decisions and is sure of whatever he decides. The solutions should be very clear and appropriate according to the situation (McDonald and Donleavy, 1995).
4 - Answer: The aim of ethic course is to teach the business student about the right and wrong and then opting for the right decision. In many situations, an individual faces an ethical dilemma where he is working and the issue cannot be simply solved by a simple yes or no.
The approaches in business ethics are known as corporate social responsibility, and having a preferred behavior of employees in an organization. The organization should also make an ethical committee which would be charged to look over the development and the operations of the ethic management team programs. These approaches can be very effective if the employees and management cooperate with each other. This would not only help the organization maintain an ethical approach in its work but will also build a good image of the company in the market (Matten and Moon, 2004).
Case Study 2:
1 - Answer: The main ethical criticism of Nestlé’s marketing of infant formula are that they started giving out free samples to the mothers and free supplies to the hospitals encouraging them to use it instead of following the old traditional way of breast feeding. They promoted their product more and cast aside the benefits of the breastfeeding. The industry saw a rise in infant mortality and decline in the breastfeeding practices, which initiated the boycott (Skapinker, 2004).
The company is failing to respect few customer rights. These are that the product does not come with instructions which can be read by the mothers of developing companies, and since the formula contain all the nutrition, mothers tried to save money and later use small amount of it with contaminated water in unsterilized utensils. The company also promoted that women should leave breast feeding and use the infant formula, ignoring the fact that that breastfeeding is considered to be important for the infants in their first six months after their birth (Newton, 1999).
2 - Answer: This argument is pretty valid, since many women in the developing countries are vulnerable as they do not have as much exposure as compared to the women in the developed countries. On the second hand, women in the developing countries are not even that literate who can read the instructions and use the product the way company wants them to. To utilize the infant powder they can, consumers in the developing countries used it or substituted it with rice powders, corn starch etc.
So therefore, due to the high literacy rate the consumers of developing countries were influenced more by the products and its marketing campaigns.
3 – Answer: Arguments for: Nestle should avoid selling its infant formula in the developing countries, keeping its marketing promotions limited to the developed countries only. The Nestle should also follow transparency in their rules and marketing practices which they do not show at times and the reports they might have shown could have been altered. The boycott should be continued because of the nestle product an increase in the infant mortality rate was seen and this would continue since illiterate women might continue using the product.
Arguments against: The boycott should be stopped since the company has been ranked one of the top twenty companies who are found to be reliable. The boycott did not even bring that much harm to the company and its profit. The company also done a lot to respond to the critics and satisfy them in every manner they could. They have also shown their commitment to the WHO code and also to their policy. Its shares price also increased which tells that nestle still happens to be a leading company with some respectable image even though it has been number target of the protesters.
Answer – 4: Nestle apparent failure in pacifying the critics is mainly because the company hasn’t come up with solid backup to support its products and the marketing campaign they did before to sell their market share.
Also, Nestle employees have been facing few disciplinary actions too for violating the company policies against the infant formula. Therefore, this is the main reason nestle protesters are not appeased yet.
The company should publish their report on how sustainable they had been in their efforts following the WHO policies and the company policies, as this would catch attention of the shareholders (Clark, 2002).
Case Study 3:
Answer - 1: The main ethical conflicts and issues in this case are that the working hours of the young professionals are too much that it might be harmful to their health. The young professionals also didn’t want to start their family because they were more inclined towards their professions and careers rather than starting a family. This also showed a decline in the birth rate too. Those who had families were not able to give time to their families and not having a proper sleep might put their profession in danger (Anon, 1999).
Answer-2: Arguments for: By working excess ours, the doctors and other young professionals would gain more and more experience and they might start their own consultations and start their own practices. They would also be able to give their full commitment since the hospitals are under government and they do not want to lose patients in any cost.
Arguments against: The excess working hours of doctors and for other young professionals should be limited to certain hours since it has been mentioned that working a lot and not having proper sleep for 24 hours has the same effect when there is 1.3pro mille of alcohol in the blood system. This could be very dangerous since doctors have to do surgeries and other professions have to make important decisions regarding their field, and in this state they won’t be able to do anything. Also, birth rate started to decline since the professionals were more into working and pursuing their careers rather than start a family (Gillian, 2006).
Answer – 3: The problem of excessive working hours might arouse problem in the medical profession because the young doctors think that the more they spent their time in the hospitals, they more they would be working hard for their careers, and the sooner they would become consultants or start their own practices. This might also make them more over confident and may arouse conflict with the senior doctors. Secondly, young professionals did not want to start families since they won’t be having time cause of their careers. With all this, the young professionals of medical would face lack of sleep which can be very dangerous as they will not be able to perform their duties correctly and might end up making a mistake. Same thing with other young professionals is that, they would not be in the right state of mind to make right decisions and might end up making wrong ones for themselves and the company (Anon, 2003).
Answer-4: Pros: Flexible working hours are considered solutions to the issues raised since it has been found that flexibility has been a win-win situation to both the workers and their employers. The employees who are parents would be able to look after their children more easily rather than leaving them alone. They can also pursue their hobbies or further education. The employees’ productivity also increases from home since they can work any time they want to. Consumers would also be satisfied since they would be getting full attention and services.
Cons: Many employees who do not have families might raise issue about not having flexible work hours since only those employees could get them who have children. This would raise an issue that they won’t be able to opt any hobby they would like to do and cannot even pursue further studies. Also those workers who are already having flexible working hours might complain about the difficulty they face in coordinating with other employees regarding their work. They might also feel that their social circle has been shrunk since they spend most of the time at home.
Overall judgment would be that flexible workers should be provided to every employee regarding their needs and situation, and should be made optional rather than making it compulsory.
Answer – 5: The role of legislation in protecting the employee rights in context of working hours and flexible work patterns is such that for those who do not get time for their families and other important chores to do, can ask their company for their right to get flexible working hours. For those who are following the traditional working hours, their hours had been limited to maximum of forty-eight hour week of work, in which they would be getting time to take proper rest during day or night. This in fact has solved the problem for the employees, especially who have families and others too as they would be able to perform their duties in right state of mind (DTI, 2006).
The role of legislation in this situation compared with the other employee eights are totally different since, other employee rights like the right to take part in participation and no discrimination at work place. The legislation deals with the health condition of the workers which they face due to the lack of sleep and long excess working hours while participation of employees’ and discrimination deals with the attitude of employees’ towards each other (Mc Mahon, 2001).
Case Study 4:
Answer -1: The main stakeholders in the MG Rover business at the time of its collapse were mainly its employees, and the one who invested the money in the company. The government was also the stakeholders since they also invested a lot of money in saving the company from going to crisis, which was just another way to get the votes from public. The importance of their stake can be determined by the effort of reviving the industry and giving the jobs to the employees (BBC, 2006).
Answer- 2: The MG Rover was upholding responsibilities like the job of thousands of employee who were hired to work on the project. The company did try it’s very best to handle the situations while they were facing the crisis and they did, as compared to 800 million to 77 million due to their new image build up. But nevertheless, the company was not able to reach the profit. (Morley, 2003) To let go off the company when they were not able to maintain it, even after getting the loan from Chinese and the government to cover up the salaries and wages of the employees. Later, they had to shut the company down irrespective of the employees’ job loss. The company showed their insensitivity towards the employees and was very ethically wrong of them (BBC, 2005).
Answer 3: The relative power of the main actors in the MG Rover case, actors such as the UK government, and the company owner itself, showed that the government did not make that much effort to save the company from shutting down and saving the employees from losing their jobs. They financially supported them enough so that the employees could get one week salaries and wages but not enough to sustain the company and help it survive the loss. Therefore, this shows the growing power of the multinationals, and how they work hard to sustain and retain the employees and the declining power of the government (Cellan-Jones, 2005).
Answer -4: The government and the directors should take responsibility for not putting efforts in sustaining the company and not preserving the jobs of the employees working there. The company owners had been watching their profit and loss and not coming up with good strategy which could enhance their productivity. It is true, that unemployment is a bitter pill for the workers, when the heavy industry are not working fine and earning good profits, therefore to restructure them, employees loses their jobs in all developed countries (Stevens, 1998).
Case Study 5:
Answer – 1: The elements of business ethics management shell introduced were that it revised and had to update its general business principles, so that the company could take account of the ethical issues. They build up a committee to look after such matters and the employees so that they could follow the new policies. They transformed their decision process from decide, announce and deliver to a new one which is dialogue, decide and deliver. They started to get themselves engaged with the local communities in the Nigeria and even paid 1.5 billion dollar as compensation to the locals for polluting their delta area (Carroll, 2006). The company also introduced ‘social accounting’ and the annual social report of the company was also publically published to show the sustainable development. They also started a Tell Shell program where everyone was welcomed to drop their comments either good or bad about the company’s doing. Lastly, they started to involve stakeholders while making decisions and gave importance to their opinions (Arnold, 2001).
Answer – 2: The overall strategy was good, since they wanted to make everything transparent for the public and the stakeholders about their actions. They wanted to gain trust of the public again, and they did achieve what they wanted. They tried hard by making mutual agreements with the Nigerian communities, and recycling the worn out oil platform the right way even if it cost them twice as much. They welcomed the comments of the customers, who happen to be one of the stakeholders of the company and their views let them know what image they perceive. The elements of the business ethics management had been successful to a certain limit until the top management itself took wrong decision in investing huge in certain oil reservoirs right after they were able to rebuild their corporate image again.
Answer – 3: The stakeholder relationships revealed in this case had been very different. It has been mentioned that before the crisis they faced, the company never bothered to listen to the stakeholders and their opinions. After the crisis, the company committed itself to the stakeholder’s consultation and their engagement in the decisions, which they had never done before. They listen to their opinions, and hear their views along their critics. With the customers, they started Tell Shell, an uncensored web forum where they could drop their views either positive or negative, encouraging them that the company cares what their customer think of them. The instrumental perspective here tells us that with stakeholders on board both consumers and others, the company made sure that they are happy with the goals the company wants to achieve and through the right way, which is ethical in every manner. It differs in such a way that the stakeholders were never encouraged that much to participate a lot in the decision making process than they were asked to after the crisis (Wheeler, Fabig, and Boele, 2002).
Answer- 4: The Shell’s culture to the business ethics is very important since the company had to simplify their twin board of structure and later they came up with substantial remedial action, and later retraining their engineers and technicians to help them get along with the new structure. Shell should definitely change its culture and give more power to the stakeholders through which not only they will gain trust of them, but also would increase their profitability.
Answer-5: Shell has not gone far with their attempts to please the critics, they only wanted to improve their corporate image so that they could get back to earn more profits, which was the main reason they lost their good image again (Macaslister, 2006). The company should build their image again by achieving their goals in such a way that they are right, ethically and morally. They should try to give more to the environment and set example rather than thinking of ways to earn more and more profit by buying more oil reservoirs (Cummins and Latour, 2004).
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