Business-ethics in action

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Guidelines and Principles of Business

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Introduction

Business ethics means the moral responsibility of business entity to follow various guidelines and principles to ensure growth and stability of the organisation in the long run. Business ethics guides the business entity about the principles to be laid down to implement various strategies to achieve basic objective of the organisation i.e. maximising the profits without hurting any section within and outside the corporate which includes employees working in the organisation, public or consumers and environment (Aleassa, Pearson and McClurg, 2011). Organisation need to set various standards, norms and values which governs the action and behaviour of  individuals of the organisation to ensure honesty, dignity, integrity of the company towards the consumers and others connected to the firm such as employees, suppliers, customers and other neighbours affected by the operations of business entity  thus, it is the social responsibility of every entity to safeguard interest of every section of public. It leads to build customer loyalty, retain good employees, develop positive environment and avoid legal problems. Now days, media has close eye on the working of the organisation and their obligation towards business ethics so various theories are developed to understand the business ethics and implement the same in the organisation such as Utilitarianism, Egoism, Ethics of Duty, Ethics of Rights and Justice and Virtue ethics. Waitrose is UK based company founded by Wallace Wyndham Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor in 1904 dealing with selling wide range of grocery products. Their high standards and highly developed ethics boost the company's business rapidly  which is the best example to implement the business ethics   and their theories in the organisation to maximise the returns in the long run (Bowie 2017). Thus, it leads to increase the social goodwill of the company.

TASK 1

Stakeholders are the people who affects policies and strategies decision making process. Thus, stakeholders are people within or outside the organisation which effectively participate in the company's decision making process where resources are limited and stakeholder needs to be appropriately balanced as they are beneficiaries in the organisation either directly or indirectly.  goals. Thus, Stakeholders could be segregated  in two groups i.e. primary group which includes the individuals or groups which are directly affected by decisions made by the organisation and secondary group includes  people who are indirectly impacted by the affects of company's profits and goodwill in the long run (Crane and Matten 2016). Stakeholders also includes key persons like government officials which keep close eye on the company to ensure the fair trade practices to be followed by the firm and safeguard the interests of whole community by seeking various policies implemented by the organisation related to wages of labour, pricing policy, taxation policy, environmental policies etc are in accordance with the policies declared by the government for welfare of the whole community. The various stakeholders in the Waitrose are as follows:

1.Financiers: Financiers are the persons who invest their money in the organisation to achieve high returns. They have keen interest in the operating policies and the related business ethics of the organisation  because  these financiers have their own reputation in the market and any unethical or illegal action of the organisation directly affects their reputation in the market too(Trevino and Nelson 2010).

2.Government: Government ensures that the Waitrose is required to follow ethical standards related to various issues such as corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility and fiduciary responsibilities. Government had declared various strict policies regarding above issues which are required to be kept in  mind while operating the activities. Thus, government is also one of the stakeholders which is influenced and affected by identified ethical issues.

3.Local Community or consumers: Local community is also the one of the stakeholder affected by  identified ethical issues as Waitrose is the company which deals with grocery products which is one of the basic needs of the whole community. Thus, it is the social responsibility of the firm to deliver best quality product at right time, place and price and ensures that it do not harm the health of the community.  so that it could reach every section of the community (De George 2011 ).

TASK 2

Ethical theories provides the base to the ethical issues need to be consider while implementing the policies by the individuals of the organisation. Each theory emphasize on the duties of the individuals  required to take ethically correct decisions. The common ethics that every organisation should follow is “ respect the consumers” and deliver best quality services and goods at right price so that consumers need not feel cheated after spending their hard earning money in that product. The organisation need to follow all the legal obligations and social responsibilities related to environment , employees welfare, community welfare etc. Thus, the organisation need to adopt best effective policy which least affect the community as a whole negatively. Ethical theories strive the individuals of the organisation to choose the best from all the  alternatives to achieve the desired goal (Fassin, Van Rossem and Buelens 2011). Each individual deserves respect, thus every organisation should follow business ethics taking into account the life experiences and understands every one's emotions, motivations, and physical capabilities. The various theories related to business ethics are as follows:

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1.Deontology: This theory states that every person engaged in decision making is obliged to take into account all the ethical issues during decisions. He owes to take all the effective steps to incorporate all the business ethics in the decision making process. Thus, heads of the business completely rely and have faith on his performance. This person confirms the quality decisions for the organisation.

2.Utilitarianism: This theory states the ability of the person to predicts consequences of the decisions taken by the organisation. Here, the person has the capability to analyse and examine the decisions in the light of the various legal obligations and governmental rules, regulations and laws need to be incorporated in the decision making process to overcome various challenges which a  business entity need to face by avoiding ethical issues. There are two types of Utilitarianism: act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism considers the  benefit of the people, regardless of personal feelings or the societal constraints such as laws. Rule utilitarianism takes into account the law and is concerned with fairness. Here, person has capability to predict the require changes in the policies as per the required ethical issues need to be incorporated in the business operations (Freeman and et.al., 2012).

3.Ethics of the rights: Rights are mainly considered ethically correct and valid as these rights are endorses by the large public. It means that every organisation is obliged to incorporate these  ethics in each and every strategy as implication of these ethics are the rights of the general public and the avoidance of these rights could lead to disaster as these ethics act as basic need for large number of population and their avoidance could emerge various legal problems and affects the goodwill of the company in the market.

4.Virtue: This theory takes into account the person’s morals, reputation, and motivation i.e. it takes into account the action that could differ from his normal behaviour. The  virtues would demand the company to be honest, fair, generous as well as courageous and highlight the regular habits of company that makes its characteristic image in the society. This develops the social image of the company and ensures that all the activities in the company makes use of moral principles (Heath, Moriarty and Norman 2010.).

Ethical issues considers both absolute and relative ethics. Absolute ethics states the  moral values accepted and followed universally whereas relative ethics are the ethics applied to the particular segment of the consumers according to their life styles, likes and dislikes. Waitrose company follows the absolute and relative ethics in different departments as follows:

1.Supplier's Level: At this level company need to assure that supplier with whom company is dealing with is following fair trade practices and no unethical practice is going on his the organisation.

2.Production Level: It ensures that the company has taken effective steps to control hazardous effect on environment and keeping in view the health of the society as company is dealing with grocery products which is one of the basic need of the community as a whole and directly affects the health of the community. The company need to keep in mind their freshness and their production process such as least use of fertilizers which is harmful for the health of the community.It also takes into account the timely supply of these products until they loose their quality.

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3.At employees Level: At this level the company  can ensure that none of the employee is discriminated and they are not pressurised to work under conditions which might harm their health (Pies, Beckmann and Hielscher 2010).

Thus,The operational activities of business are carried out for not only maximizing its profits but also for standing as one of the leading company in the society ensuring that it does not harm the health and moral values of its customers. Somehow, the following issues could affect the operational activities of the organisation which finally affects the overall objectives of the company:

  • Since, waitrose is dealing with the grocery products thus if company follows the pricing strategy which exploits its customers by providing underweight products charging higher price then the company would loose the trust of its customers and this would affect adversely the operational activities of the company.
  • If the company makes use of ingredients that are injurious to the health of public, then the expense done after production and distribution activities would result nothing. Consumers are highly aware of the market conditions so they cannot be cheated or fooled.
  • If the company follows the various policies that exploits the employees like overtime without pay, less wages than wages prescribed by the government wages act, lack of basic facilities required by the employees in the work place, lack of positive environment and lack of motivation required to motivate the employees, etc. This effects the social image of the organisation in the market and thus adversely affect the goodwill of the company as a whole because lower level employees are the part of the public in large and thus their views about the company spreads very quickly (Southey 2011)

CONCLUSION

In Waitrose, ethical issues are the set of morals values which addresses the business objectives to survive the business in competitive market. It is responsibility of the corporation to protect interest of the community by regarding socialism such as the norms, values, belief and customs of the society. It is essential for an organisation to make a appropriate strategy for protecting the climate which assist to build a positive image of the corporation in the global market. To follow the basic ethics company need to provide undiscriminating environment at workplace to improve the relationships between subordinates and top management. It is crucial to corporation to meet their objectives by provide the equally growth  opportunity to all employees. This steps  directly affect that the social attitude towards the company. The business can improve their objectives by making the strong relationships with the employees in the organisation. In organisation it is very important to maintain the strong relations. Strong relation with the employees enhance the objectives of the company which can be achieve with in the time period. The company wants to include their employees in their work and are succeeding in the same .Employees are also taking this in a positive manner and showing a full positive attitude. Company is using the different types of ethical theories  which leads  to the development of the company's trust in the employees and customers. Waitrose is taking effective steps to incorporate the ethical standards in the strategies developed by them. There are various methods which can be applied in the organisation to improve ethics of operations and improve the employee relations within the  organisation and  waitrose is following all those methods to maintain its social image in the organisation.

References

  • Aleassa, H., Pearson, J.M. and McClurg, S., 2011. Investigating software piracy in Jordan: An extension of the theory of reasoned action.Journal of Business Ethics. 98(4). pp.663-676.
  • Bowie, N.E., 2017.Business ethics: A Kantian perspective. Cambridge University Press.
  • Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016.Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
  • De George, R.T., 2011.Business ethics. Pearson Education India.
  • Fassin, Y., Van Rossem, A. and Buelens, M., 2011. Small-business owner-managers’ perceptions of business ethics and CSR-related concepts. Journal of Business ethics. 98(3). pp.425-453.
  • Freeman, R.E and et.al., 2012. Stakeholder theory (ies): Ethical ideas and managerial action. Journal of business ethics. 109(1). pp.1-2.
  • Heath, J., Moriarty, J. and Norman, W., 2010. Business ethics and (or as) political philosophy. Business Ethics Quarterly. 20(03).  pp.427-452.
  • Pies, I., Beckmann, M. and Hielscher, S., 2010. Value creation, management competencies, and global corporate citizenship: An ordonomic approach to business ethics in the age of globalization. Journal of Business Ethics. 94(2). pp.265-278.
  • Schlegelmilch, B.B. and Öberseder, M., 2010. Half a century of marketing ethics: Shifting perspectives and emerging trends. Journal of Business Ethics. 93(1). pp.1-19.
  • Southey, G., 2011. The theories of reasoned action and planned behaviour applied to business decisions: a selective annotated bibliography. Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends. 9(1).  pp.43-50.
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