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Unit 45 Business Ethics Assignment
Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 45 Business Ethics
Business ethics is a form of ethics of any particular business. It also examines the moral ethical problems which arise in a business environment. Unit 45 Business ethics assignment is applied to all aspects of business conduct which is also related to the conduct of an individual. There are generally four elements in business ethics such as responsibility, commitment, quality and reliability. Superdrug is a popular health and beauty product retailer in UK. Superdrug was established by Ronald & Peter Goldstein in 1964 (Superdrug.com, 2016).This popular retail currently has more than 787 outlets across UK and Ireland. This popular health and beauty product retailer has appointed a consultancy guide the organization on its ethical behaviour and conduct. As stated by Bunge (2012), Superdrug has recognized the importance, value and benefit of managing the business sustainability. It has been noticed that Superdrug was committed to follow the environmental good practice, social responsibility and maintain economic prosperity (Rutherford et al.2012, p.176). The organization has been purposefully lobbying and the government has not just reduced the VAT rates out of the blue (Brenkert and Beauchamp, 2012). On the other hand, Superdrug has started selling of range of beauty products which have not being tested on animals. Those products carry the logo of “British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection”(Zikmund et al. 2013).
1.1 Background and development of theoretical ethical approaches
As stated by Ferrell and Fraedrich (2015), theoretical ethics is concerned with norms, values and beliefs embedded with the social process. Theoretical ethics defines the right and wrong for the organization like Superdrug. Every organization has a morality because this constitutes the basis for mutual beneficial interaction. Those fundamental rules are considered as rules and regulations for the employees. Rutherford et al.(2012, p.179) opined that ethics is the branch of philosophy which focuses on the morality of things. On the other hand moral principles are applied to everyday life. Theoretical ethics includes applying value which may range from religious principles to customs and traditions (Leroy et al.2012, p.258).
According to Bondy et al.(2012, p.284), ethics is a set of moral principles which distinguish between the rights and wrongs. It has been observed that different organizations have followed different ethical theories such as consequentialist theories, non-consequentialist theories and agent-cantered theories. The consequentialist theories are primarily concerned with the ethical consequences of particular action (Acevedo, 2012, p.199). On the other hand, the non-consequentialist theories are generally broadly concerned with the intentions of the person for making ethical decisions about the particular actions (a et al.2012, p.287). The agent-cantered theories are more concerned about the more ethical status of individuals or agents. The agent-cantered theories are less concerned to highlight the morality of the particular actions (Bunge, 2012).
It has been noticed that higher officials of Superdrug have implemented the consequentialist theories for maintain the ethical consequences of every operation of the organization (Brenkert and Beauchamp, 2012). The business consultant has critically observed different approaches such as duty-based approaches, rights approach, utilitarian approach, virtue approach, fairness or justice approach, common good approach and egoism. After observing different types of approaches, the business strategy consultant has advised to follow the duty-based approach. As stated by Bondy et al.(2012, p.286), duty-based approach is called deontological ethics which was implemented by the philosopher Immanuel Kant.
According to this approach, the activities of the higher officials is not always highlighted the consequences of the aim of the organization but those activities have proper intention in performing the action. As stated by Ma et al.(2012, p.287), the fairness or justice approach is appropriate for organization. Fairness or justice approach is a law code of Hammurabi in Ancient Mesopotamia. According to this approach, all free men should be tracked alike, just as all slaves should be treated alike. Organization can combine universality along with this approach for implementing the justice approach for all human resourses or employees (Zikmund et al. 2013).
1.2 Compare and contract absolute and relative ethics
Ethical absolutism is a one side of the spectrum in ethical theory. Ethical absolutism claims that there are eternal, universally applicable moral principles. According to Voegtlin et al. (2012, p.12), ethical absolutism determines the qualities of the right and wrong objectives. It has been noticed that absolutism allows the moral rules which can be evaluated critically. The management of Samsung and HCL have implemented absolute ethics so that every employee is treated the same way (Leroy et al.2012, p.261). According to absolute ethics, the managers of the organization need not change the moral only when the moral rule is right (Bunge, 2012). Therefore, the managers would not need to develop different rules for different employees because absolute rules are universal.
On the other hand the ethical relativism provides the morality in the different departments of the organization. The relative ethics ensures that there are no universal rights and wrong that can be rationally determined (Zikmund et al. 2013). It has been observed that the relative morality simply takes the stance that no single set of moral rules can possibly account for any situation. As opined by Rutherford et al.(2012, p.175), in some organizations like Tesco, General Electric and Greenergy, a moral decision is made rationally, taking into account the consequences to each potential choice. However, it has been noticed that cultural relativism reduces the meaning of good which is socially applicable. As per popular news report it has been observed that the manager of General Electric has terminated 2 employees for poor performance (Brenkert and Beauchamp, 2012). However, the employee termination is against the company ethics but poor performance is not acceptable to the managers. Therefore, it may be more difficult to decide when the rules need changing in different circumstances (Zikmund et al. 2013).
1.3 Explain the ethics issues which can affect the operational activities of business:
As opined by Myers (2013), the managers have faced ethical issues in business. It has been observed that more than 30% employees of a Multinational company face workplace harassment for using of social networking sites. It has been found that comments regarding employers or colleagues on social networking sites are costing employee jobs across UK (Hill and Jones, 2013). Therefore, its consequences in the workplace affect the business industry because the employers are setting policies regarding use of social networking sites during working hours (Ferrell and Fraedrich, 2015). On the other hand, the employers have devised a policy about the use of social networking sites when they are off duty.
It has been noticed that Cisco Systems Inc has developed a software program such as Cisco SocialMiner which monitors their employees in social media (Ma et al.2012, p.289). The organization has claimed that their advance software system monitors the status update, forum posts and blog posts in real time. As opined by Rutherford et al.(2012, p.177), some organization has faced issues regarding equally maintained payment for the employees. If the organization follows the federal and state laws, organization has to pay equal salary to the employees who perform same works. On the other hand, the organization is liable to increase the salary of the old staffs. Therefore ethical dilemma arises (Leroy et al.2012, p.264).
As argued by Bondy et al.(2012, p.282), maximum private organizations have faced some ethical issues such as :
- Terminating employees in unsafe working condition
- Producing unsafe products for the customers
- Avoiding proper monitoring process and technology help
- Recycling of waste product
- Profiling from products bad for health or people.
2.1 Explain how the business objectives are affected by ethical consideration:
It has been observed that Superdrug managers have applied the consequentialism ubiquitously in the organization. The manager wants that, all implemented decisions should have measurable consequences. As stated by Bunge (2012)),deontology requires a rule to governs a decision. It has been noticed that not all decisions have a rule or associated duty with them. Sometime managers have followed the virtue ethics to examine the decision in the context of one’s character (Brenkert and Beauchamp, 2012). However, due to some ethical issues the managers follow consequentialism ethics systematically.
It has been noticed that Superdrug has operated their business globally and interact with different cultures and commercial systems. There is no confusion that Ireland market is totally different from UK market (Weiss, 2014). Therefore the marketing planning experts have followed ethical frameworks to guide the administrative decision in foreign market so that the business aim remains firmly based and the organization maintains the social responsible principles (McGee, 2012). However the business ethics of Superdrug has been affected by ethical consideration such as:
- Unfair employee treatment strategy:The managers have followed an ethical approach to promote the safety and security of the employees. According to company terms and policies, the organization has to provide the living wage as a form of additional benefits (Zikmund et al. 2013). It has been noticed that organization has stopped the proposed benefits for uncertain period. Then organization has claimed that those employees performance were not good.
- Engagement in sustainable manufacturing process:It has been observed that the organization has implemented a business lobby with UK government to reduce the Value Added Tax on some lifesaving drugs (Hill and Jones, 2013). On the other hand the organization has sold their skin care products and other brand products without tested on animals.
2.2 Evaluate the implication for a business and its stakeholders to operate ethically:
As opined by Audi (2012, p.274), management of organization has to follow good ethics which will be accepted by the society. However, after some days the issues in the ethics will arise. It has been noticed that management system of Superdrug operated by the laws of honesty and consideration will be preferred over a competitor. As opined by Ma et al.(2012, p.292), government is one of the stakeholder of this organization. The UK Government has already reduced the VAT of some lifesaving drugs. However, it has been observed that the organization has maintained dual image in the UK. Primarily they sell lifesaving drugs in cheap price. On the other hand they have sold the untested cosmetic under the logo of “British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection” (Torugsa et al. 2012, p.485). Therefore, the organization has not maintained proper ethics in their business operation.
Customers: Apart from Government, customers are also affected by the business strategy of Superdrug. The business strategy has expressed the mix effect in the market. Superdrug maintains ethics by reducing the price of some health and skin care products. On the other hand the organization has sold untested products along with the government logo. This particular lobby with Government is unethical.
3.1 Assess the role of the organization acting as a moral agent:
As stated by Voegtlin et al. (2012, p.8), Superdrug has implemented the lobby with UK government. The government has reduced the Value Added Tax of some health and beauty care products. It has been observed that the organization has acted as moral agent through its organizational integrity. Superdrug has implemented the some strategy to maintain ethics.
- Organizational integrity:Superdrug has not maintained properly organizational integrity. According to ethical structure, the organization has not maintained the proper accountability, alignment and code of ethics with the customers as well as employees (Torugsa et al. 2012, p.487).
- Working condition: It has been observed that the working condition of the employees is affected by the unethical decision making of companies.
- Good practice in equal opportunity:It has been noticed that organization has not maintained the good opportunity ethics in the workplace.
3.2 Analyse the development of mechanism for achieving employee involvement:
The organization should consider developing a strategy for conveying organizational strategy and values to the employees along with the goals and the objectives. As a consequence the training methods need to be changed in order to incorporate the same. In addition to the above mentioned fact the organization should consider imparting training to the employees with the purpose of uplifting their skills. This would not just enable the employees to develop new skills but would also ensure active participation from their end. By imparting training to the employees the organization would also ensure that the employees of the organization are more connected and loyal to the organization. The imparting of training also enhances or improves the employee retention in the organization.
4.1 Research current ethical issues affecting a selected business:
Distinct industries situated all around United States, faces several ethical dilemmas. These cover diverse issues like the pay rates of an employee and harassments that are commonly found in a workplace (Torugsa et al. 2012, p.489). Organizations like to confront all these dilemmas since such can either ire or praise a consumer depending on the type of policies they will be adopting.
- Employee Behaviour:Varying from a small to large, company individuals of every business types comes up with the term of ethical issues which rises from the behaviour of an employee (Voegtlin et al. 2012, p.2). For instance, whether some individual is with personal work during their official working time, how the company manager is giving importance towards harassment and how a manager is handling some employees for promoting the topic of ethical issues regarding he behaviour of the employee.
- Working Conditions:Apart from the above mentioned, several other issues are also there among which this is the one. For instance, an employee is needed to be well aware about safety awareness of their workplace.
- Customer and Supplier Relationship: The business owner and the employees are required to consider the ethical issues related to their relationship with each other (Melé, 2012, p.92). Particularly the business owner is needed to consider their relationship with the suppliers and make out whether it stands ethical to continue business with the suppliers who are into unethical practices.
The other ethical issues
- Elimination of working conditions which are unsafe
- Avoiding technologies or processes which jeopardize the employees safety and public safety
- Manufacturing of products which are safe for the consumers
- Recycling of waste products and its utilization
- Profiting from all the kinds of products, which are threatening towards human health like cigarettes, drugs etc.
4.2 Improvement process of business
For bringing improvement in the business process, below discussed are certain steps that include:
- Processing of map: As soon as you have understood the procedure which you want to improve, document all the steps by making use of flowcharts or swim lane diagrams. Both these tools will be showing all steps visually within the process (Voegtlin et al. 2012, p.5).
- Analysing the entire procedure: While using the flowchart or diagram, try to investigate the process with certain problems (Thiel et al.2012, p.51). Check out the different places with which the customers get frustrated, the steps that are actually getting bottleneck, where cost is rising and quality is falling and make out the processes which are in need of extra caution.
- Redesigning the process: Process redesigning requires elimination of the identified problems (Nica, 2013, p.12). Best process in this is to involving the people who had direct involvement on the process.
- Acquiring all the resources: An employee is needed to safeguard all the resources which they want for implementation (Giacalone and Promislo, 2013, p.87). Listing of all the things would be attained which they want for undergoing this procedure.
- Implementation and communication changes: One should remember that alteration or modification is not that easy. Starting a new process according to an individual’s plan is considered as a complete project (Santos, 2012, p.337). Henceforth proper planning and management is needed to be done with all care.
- Reviewing the process: A process review is an absolute must as soon as the entire project planning and management have been done. Adopt strategies whenever needed (Thiel et al.2012, p.55). Small improvements that have been regularly done will be ensuring that the entire process will be staying efficient and relevant.
4.3 Suitable ethical codes
The code of ethics is defined as a formal document which establishes the company behaviour along with a formal paper mentioning the behaviour shown by the employees working in the company.
The reason for having ‘code of ethics’ is because of the following:
- For defining the acceptable behaviours
- For promotion of practices that are of higher standards
- Providing a benchmark to the employees for self-evaluation
- For establishment of framework for professional responsibilities and behaviour
A suitable ethical code will be including
- Company values: Here the company vision is been discussed where the organization will be mentioning the aims and goals with which they are functioning (Floyd et al.2013, p.752).
- Problem Resolution: How professionals are supposed to approach problems remains the main motto of the ethical code (Craft, 2013, p.225). Being in a company if they find any means of unethical operation getting attained, it is their duty to inform the higher authority about such act.
- Standards principle maintained by a professional: An individual is needed to be professional enough to remain dutiful towards their performance.
- The organization should also set the policies and procedures clear about the organizational and the codes.
This entire report is based on the business ethics of Superdrug. It has been observed that the organization was committed to follow the environmental good practice, social responsibility and maintain economic prosperity. The organization has been purposefully lobbying and the government has not just reduced the VAT rates out of the blue. On the other hand, Superdrug has started selling of range of beauty products which have not being tested on animals. Those products carry the logo of “British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection”. Superdrug have implemented the consequentialist theories for maintain the ethical consequences of every operation. The business consultant has critically observed different approaches such as duty-based approaches, rights approach, utilitarian approach, virtue approach, fairness or justice approach, common good approach and egoism. The consultant has provided different circumstances of Samsung and HCL regarding absolute ethics so that every employee is treated the same way. The consultant has observed that cultural relativism reduces the meaning of good which is socially applicable. It has been noticed that MNC companies are often created a boundary to maintain the company ethics but sometimes it interferes in the personal life of the employees. Superdrug ethics proves faulty because it does not provide fair employee treatment and sustainable manufacturing process. Finally the consultant has proposed a suitable ethical consideration for the organization.
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