Ethicsand Corporate Responsibility in the Workplace and the World
Ethicsand Corporate Responsibility in the Workplace and the World
Inevery facet of life, there is always the question of ethics. In thebusiness world, ethics takes a center stage in deciding whether thefirm will be successful or not. Ethics is strongly anchored oncorporate responsibility. The two aspects work together for good ininfluencing decision-making in all spheres of life (Sims, 2003).Ethics addresses the question of a moral right or wrong. Corporateresponsibility, on the other hand, is concerned with the wellbeing ofothers. Speaking of ethics brings up ethical issues. An ethical issuecan be described as a situation or rather a problem that requires anindividual to decide among several options which are considered bymorality.
Inthe business world, ethics comprise moral standards and principlesthat guide the day to day operations of business. The success of anycorporation or individual relies heavily on relationships. In theworkplace, relationships need to be fostered at all levels of servicefrom the person at the lower rank to the one at the top level so thatcustomer requirements and a corporation`s social as well as corporateresponsibilities can be achieved. To understand these issues, thispaper examines PharmaCARE.
Beingone of the largest and most successful pharmaceutical companies inthe world, PharmaCARE enjoys the reputation of producing high-qualityproducts and enhancing the quality of life among many people in theworld. Even with its success, PharmaCARE grapples with myriadchallenges which relate to ethics and corporate responsibility.
Stakeholdersare individuals having a vested interest in the outcome of something.Categorically, stakeholders can be grouped into primary, secondaryand key stakeholders. The primary stakeholders stand in a positionwhere they are affected directly by the benefits and liabilities thatcome with particular decisions in the business (Sims, 2003).Secondary stakeholders can be indirectly affected by organizationaldecisions. Keys stakeholders, on the other hand, are the decisionmakers. It happens that the decision they make has a bearing on boththe primary and secondary stakeholders.
Havingidentified different types of stakeholders, their characteristicswill follow. First, any stakeholder irrespective of the category inwhich they fall will have an interest in the decisions of theorganization. Secondly, they are affected either directly orindirectly by all decisions the team makes. Lastly, a stakeholderconcerns the business. PharmaCARE stakeholders are taken to include:investors, Colberian government, its workers, executives, hospitals,medical practitioners and the American people.
Investorsare stakeholders in PharmaCARE because these investors inject theirmoney in the business. Any decisions PharmaCARE enters into eitherbinding or not will directly affect investors. If PharmaCARE getsentangled in lawsuits as a result of legal issues in its operationsand the business close shop, the investors will lose their money.Workers are stakeholders in that they contribute to the success ofthe firm (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012). They are also affected by thedecisions of the organization in that its dissolution will mean theyhave no jobs. Hospitals use drugs from PharmaCARE to treat theirpatients, and if the drugs pose any dangers to the patients, theywill get their share of blame from the society.
TheColberian government is a stakeholder because PharmaCARE has set up amanufacturing plant in their country. PharmaCARE decisions affecttheir economy either directly or indirectly. Directly, the activitiesof PharmaCARE could lead to environmental pollution while indirectly,it could lose taxes through illegal activities such as tax invasion(Vogel, 2005). The American people have a stake in PharmaCARE becauseall its major operations are based in the United States.
Thetreatment of Colberian natives versus executives by PharmaCARE bringsup some human rights issues. The first new problem is cheap labor.With a manufacturing plant in Colberia, PharmaCARE employs the localpeople to harvest for them plant materials which they use to as rawmaterials to manufacture their products (Halbert & Ingulli,2012). Of course, there is nothing wrong with hiring the localpeople. Residents stand to benefit from getting hired as they can usethe income to improve their livelihoods. However, the situation inColberia is one that can be described as undesirable. The locals arepaid a single dollar per day for their services. This is way belowthe minimum age and as a result of this, the locals are trapped inpoverty at times finding it difficult to put a meal on the table.PharmaCARE has created a scenario where the poor African iscontinually being milked with nothing to show for their labor.
Anotherhuman right issue is environmental degradation. It has been reportedthat the practice of extracting plant materials especially inColberia will be unsustainable in the long run. Some plants havebecome endangered as a result of overexploitation by PharmaCARE.Endemic species of plants will go extinct because they do not existanywhere else in the world. Animal habitats have also been destroyedby the activities of PharmaCARE in Colberia. This destroyslivelihoods upon which the community depends on for their survival(Vogel, 2005).
Discriminationin the way workers, as well as executives, is treated. The officialslocated in the United States are given preferential treatment byPharmaCARE. While the workers are overworked and underpaid, theexecutives are lavished with all manner of goodies from high-endvehicles to bonuses. The employee takes a dollar home as payment forthe services rendered while the executives are paid handsome salariesand generous allowances. Discrimination is also reflected in theworking conditions that both the workers and managers are exposed to.The managers work in offices that are furnished with airconditioning. This is the opposite of what workers in Colberia areexposed to. The workers have to walk for long distances to get to thefields where they are supposed to work.
Goingforward, PharmaCARE needs to take urgent and deliberate efforts toensure that payment of workers is commensurate with the amount ofwork and number of hours they are on duty. To do this, they shouldtake into consideration the minimum wages as defined by UNESCO. Theworking conditions need to be streamlined so that they do not oppressthe workers. To enhance the safety of employees in the workenvironment, PharmaCARE should provide workers with any equipment andprotective clothing they may require because they work inenvironments where they may be exposed to harmful animals.
Asmuch as it is naive to suggest that workers and executives be equaltreatment with the workers, PharmaCARE should make sure thatdiscrimination is not evident from the way it treats the employeesand their managers. Even if they cannot be paid similar salaries,workers can be made to feel appreciated and wanted by smallcourtesies such as bonuses and medical insurances. This is the leastthat can be done for them given that the work they do is what makesit possible for PharmaCARE to harvest the kinds of profit they do.
Again,PharmaCARE should take steps to ensure that the activities theyundertake in their operations at business do not jeopardize theenvironmental conservation efforts of bodies with a vested interestin sustainability. In this respect, PharmaCARE should enact laws thatare meant to protect the environment in which they operate in.Endemic species that are at risk of getting extinct should beexploited moderately. In addition to this, PharmaCARE should giveback to the community by constructing hospitals and schools which canbenefit the community directly. They should disembark from thespeeding vehicle that passes without realizing that there is aknocked down individual who needs help.
Theinitiative undertaken by PharmaCARE creates the impression that theyhave environmental interests at heart but do not be fooled. This isjust pretense. The laws exist only in writing but practically, thelaws do not exist. This is a moral wrong and impacts negatively onthe reputation of PharmaCARE (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012). Theoperational procedures of PharmaCARE promise that in the exploitationof resources, sustainability will be a key consideration. However,overexploitation reported in Colberia suggest otherwise. Wastes fromtheir used products also degrade the environment as most of them arenot biodegradable. In their operational procedures, recycling oftheir waste products is mentioned, but whatever happened to followthe rules to the later, only PharmaCARE can tell.
Utilitarianism:This described as the most influential moral theory by theorists. Innormative ethics, this theory stipulates that the best moral actionis the one that establishes an action as a moral right or wrongbefore being undertaken (Sims, 2003). Considering the effects ofPharmaCARE on the indigenous people of Colberia, PharmaCARE has notacted in an ethical manner. Overworking and underpaying localColberians is not in good books with the moral standards of thesociety.
Deontology:This ethical theory evaluates the morality of an action based onwhether it has fulfilled the laid down rules or laws that are binding(Sims, 2003). In this consideration, the actions of PharmaCARE areunethical. This is because their operational procedures indicate thatthey will take all necessary precautions to conserve the environmentthrough recycling and sustainable exploitation of resources. Theguiding principles they outline are breached because their wasteproducts are never recycled, and there is overexploitation ofresources to the point of endangering endemism.
VirtueEthics:In normative ethics, this theory, lays emphasis on the rolecharacter, and virtues play in moral decision making (Sims, 2003).The nature and attributes of PharmaCARE can be judged on the scale ofright and wrong. Their desire to improve the health and livingconditions of people by providing lifesaving medications can beassessed as a moral right while their compromises on the road toachieving that can be evaluated as a moral wrong.
Ethicsof Care:As a theory in normative ethics, it emphasizes the value ofrelationships in influencing decisions (Sims, 2003). This theoryimplies that caring is reciprocal between the one providing care andthe one receiving care. The one being treated will feel obligated toreciprocate by contributing to the welfare of the care provider. Inthis respect, the relationship of PharmaCARE with the workers inColberia questions their responsibility in providing care andbuilding mutual relationships with the indigenous people. Overworkingand underpayment make the locals non-committal to contribute to thewelfare of PharmaCARE.
PersonalStand:According to my understanding of ethics and moral responsibility tothe society, the actions of PharmaCARE are anything but ethical(Sims, 2003). Their activities from drug development can be viewed inthe mirror of the means to an end. The welfare of the society isnothing they care about. If they cared about the community like theymake it look in writing, they would not be involved in the lawsuitswith allegations of contravening laws here and there. The fact thatthey are not in good books with the social justice system points attheir inability to provide the care enshrined in their trade name.
TheCoca-Cola Company was in April 1991 sued by 4 of its African-Americanemployees for racial discrimination under the United States CivilRights Act. Representing the interests of 2,200 otherAfrican-American employees in Coca-Cola Company, the four allegedthat they had been discriminated by the company in pay, promotion andperformance evaluations. Fewer Africans were proved by the plaintiffsto have ever reached the top of Coca-Cola management. In 2000,Coca-Cola Company agreed to pay $192 million as a settlement (Winter,2000). In the corporate racial discrimination cases, this is one ofthe largest settlements to have ever been made by any aggrievedcompany.
LikeCoca-Cola, PharmaCARE has also been reported to have discriminatedits workers in Africa by paying them poorly while at the same timeoverworking them. Again, discrimination by the two companies targetstheir employees of color. The contrast is that Coca Cola has beensued, and the case determined while no such allegation has beenbrought in court against PharmaCARE.
Halbert,T., & Ingulli, E. (2012). Lawand Ethics in the Business Environment.Mason: Cengage Learning
Sims,R. (2003). Ethicsand corporate social responsibility.Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
Vogel,D. (2005). Themarket for virtue.Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
Winter,G. (2000). Coca-Cola Settles Racial Bias Case. NewYork Times.Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/17/business/coca-cola-settles-racial-bias-case.html