Business ethics is a kind of ‘applied ethics’ that seeks to assess the ethical principles as well as the ethical or moral issues which have a potential of arising within a business environment (Hartman, 2004). The dawning of the 21st century has resulted in marketplaces that are increasingly becoming ‘conscience-focused’, with the result that there has been a rise in the number of ethical business actions and processes being demanded for such marketplaces (Richard, 1999).
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The issue of corporate social responsibility is a key aspect of the general business ethics that governs institutions. Under it, the ethical duties and rights of business entities as well as those of the society are debated. In other words, the corporate social responsibility, within the context of business ethical issues, sees to it that the businesses are mindful and considerate of the societies that are within the environment in which they operate. As such, there is a need for the coexistence of the two groups; if at all harmony is to be attained.
In the case of the company Q, the management appears to favor the plight and position of the business entities, while those of the society takes a back seat. While it is quite understandable that business entities are first out to make a profit and this without doubly is always given that first priority, nevertheless there is a need also to give back to the same society that has ensured that you succeed.
For the company is question here, it has had to close down some of their stores owing to an escalation in crime levels, and which appears to have targeted them specificity. The fact that the society prevails on the chain stores to resume operation is an indication that they recognize this particular company (Q) as part of their community.
On the other hand, the company now starts selling food items that though they may be organic and hence health-conscious, ends up being too limited in supply. Additionally, they are of a higher margin, and this is a testament to the fact that they company is still prioritizing of maximizing profits, perhaps to recoup what was stolen from their stores prior to their closing the stores.
Even when the members of a charitable organization approaches the company to donate a day old food that is in the process of being thrown away, the company cites the ensuing loss, and throws it away. Even if they are to go at a loss, would it not be unethical to let a people go hungry, while you throw away food that would have come in handy? In any case, a loss was bound to come anyway, seeing that the food was not fresh enough to be sold.
While it is understandable that some of their employees, as the company management puts it, could use the chance to engage in fraud and stealing episodes, all in the name of donating food, still this does not justify denying needy people a chance to get food.
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One area in which company Q needs to enhance its corporate social responsibility and a consequent attitude towards the same is by ensuring that they have participatory activities that engage the local community. For example, they could initiate a communal environmental cleaning up program that incorporates both their employees and the members of the community. This way, they shall seek to solidify their trust in the eyes of the society, who in return shall have faith in the company.
Secondly, the company could also create some kind of part-time casual jobs for the unemployed members of the community. Such a gesture would thus ensure that they unemployed, and especially the youth, have a source of income, thereby curtailing theft episodes. Another recommendation to the organization would be to engage their employees and management in team building up programs that shall assist the two groups to bond.
This way, they shall solidify their trust and association, and the management shall no longer have to worry about stealing and fraud episodes by their employees. It could also be recommended to the organization to engage the services of an ethical officer, who will be charged with the responsibility of handling corruption and fraud cases.
Being directly answerable to the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, an ethical officer is often in-charge of evaluating the ethical impacts of an organization’s activities, offering recommendations with regard to the ethical policies of an organization, and a dissemination of related information of the organization’s employees (Milton, 1970).
Moreover, in the event that ethical issues crops up in an organization, such ethical officers will be responsible for uncovering these, as well as a prevention whenever possible, of the same.
Hartman, L. (2004). Perspectives in business ethics. Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw-Hill.
Milton, F. “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits” The New York Times Magazine, 1970. Web.
Richard, G. (1999). Business Ethics. Web.