Ethics in business operations is fast taking precedence among emerging trends in the corporate world. Over time, due to increased literacy levels, reduction in information asymmetry, and increased awareness levels, people have shown an increased desire to take responsibility for the commodities they use. According to Greenwood and Freeman (2018), the increasing diversity of dimensions in the business world and changing attitudes of individuals towards business operations have increased the issue of ethical concerns among businesses. While stakeholders in the past were keener on the production of commodities, contemporary stakeholders have shifted focus to a more holistic approach, amalgamating production and ethical principles. Ferrell et al. (2019) define business ethics as the business standards generally acceptable by relevant stakeholders as right or wrong in business operation. In their view, Ferrell et al. (2019) explain that contemporary stakeholders are interested in production and ethical behavior, and social responsibility. This paper explores contemporary ethical issues in business using Starbucks company as the point of focus.
While Starbucks has been credited widely as one of the most ethically sensitive companies globally, there are various allegations of unethical practice that continue to face it. Remarkably, the company has faced lawsuits over alleged use of cocoa produced by unethical means, using labor from underage children. According to Doward (2020), Starbucks used various unethical practices and disguised them under the proper advertisement. In his findings, despite underage children being involved in cocoa production, Starbucks Corporation fraudulently advertised its hot chocolate as “ethically sourced” (Doward, 2020). The advertisement phrase used by Starbucks Corporation, “Ethically Sourced,” meant by implication that the company portrayed itself as using cocoa that did not involve any aspect of child labor (Doward, 2020). This was deceptive as, in a genuine sense, underage children worked on various cocoa farms, from which the company got raw materials. Doward (2020) explains that it is unethical for the company to continue sourcing cocoa produced under such unlawful circumstances as child labor besides false misrepresentation.
From Starbucks’ perspective, the company got its cocoa lawfully in bulk from the intermediaries which pooled cocoa from various small-scale farmers. This implied that tracing all the cocoa to the farm would be somewhat untenable (Doward, 2020). In Starbucks ’ view, in line with its mission statement, the company aims at having a holistically ethical supply chain. The dilemma that arises is that the issue of child labor in cocoa production is endemic and that it is difficult if not impossible to use cocoa without incurring child labor. In its defense, Starbucks has explained that it is non-tolerant to such unethical practices as child labor and has since deployed various teams to conduct investigations into such claims (Doward, 2020). Moreover, Starbucks claims to have suspended the purchase of coffee from the farms suspected to be indulging in child labor (Doward, 2020). Essentially, given that child labor is both unethical and morally incorrect, products that involve child labor at any point can be considered as unethically produced.
There are various stakeholders whose collective action may help resolve the unethical issue of child labor in Starbucks’ supply chain. Key stakeholders are customers, the government, employees, suppliers, and the general society served by Starbucks. These stakeholders could help curb the issue of child labor in different ways. For example, the International Labor Organization (ILO) places the government at the center of curbing child labor (Thévenon & Edmonds, 2019). Among the most instrumental roles of the government would be reviewing the national laws on hiring children and putting stringent measures on those indulging in child labor.
Moreover, it could sponsor child education to minimize school dropout and reduce child labor (Thévenon & Edmonds, 2019). On the other hand, customers and the Starbucks society can join hands in reducing child labor through taking civil responsibility (Silva & de Campos, 2020). This implies that consumers increase their sensitivity towards the value chain of various products to ensure that no unethical practices are involved (Silva & de Campos, 2020). On the other hand, the general society could report any cases of such unethical practices as child labor and environmental irresponsibility to relevant authorities whenever they identify any (Thévenon & Edmonds, 2019). Other stakeholders like the suppliers, the company, and employees could also contribute to solving this menace by strictly adhering to ethical practices. Suppliers can do this by ensuring that they source their supplies from farmers whose production processes are ethical and engaging only legally accepted personnel in their operations. Conversely, employees can achieve this by being ethically sensitive throughout the delivery of their services.
In conjunction with its stakeholders, Starbucks can resolve the issue of child labor using various approaches. An instrumental approach is taking responsibility for all the relevant stakeholders (Boersma, 2018). According to Boersma (2018), children do not work out of will but are compelled by situations. If all stakeholders took responsibility, then no farm would hire an underage. Another viable approach is investing ethically. Starbucks could enhance investigation rigor and ensure that it sources all its inputs through ethical procedures (Boersma, 2018). In the process, the company could issue such threats as boycotting the purchase of cocoa beans from those farms that engage in unethical practices such as child labor. Other approaches include NGO sensitization and initiatives against child labor, enhancing access to education, and creating awareness on the need to avoid child labor. Such sensitization would increase child uptake in schools and enhance the reluctance of farmers and parents to allow their children to be involved in child labor.
Over time, scholars and philosophers have come up with alternative theories that could help resolve ethical issues in business. Ethical theories are generally concerned with identifying and encouraging suitable activities to engage in and avoid the wrong ones. The most instrumental theories are utilitarianism, norm theory, and deontological theory (Singh & Mishra, 2018). Norm theory concerns itself with distinguishing right from wrong and using the identification to form the morally upright values and codes of conduct (Singh & Mishra, 2018). On the other hand, Deontological theory explores the procedures and frameworks for judging morality given the predetermined set of rules (Singh & Mishra, 2018). While the two theories have received significant ethical credit, they may not be sufficient to help Starbucks combat the child labor dilemma.
A more holistic theory that Starbucks can apply is the utilitarian theory. According to utilitarianism, businesses need to consider the repercussions of their decisions (Goyal, 2019). Utilitarianism suggests that the most ethical decision for a business maximizes the welfare of the majority of stakeholders to the organization (Goyal, 2019). For Starbucks, its decision on whom to purchase cocoa from should be led by this theory. Child labor worsens its victims’ well-being and therefore needs to be eliminated. The utilitarian approach is therefore instrumental for the company in combating child labor. The major disadvantage of this theory is that it only considers the happiness of the majority in decision making ignoring such vital aspects of the business as profits (Goyal, 2019). However, this can be overcome by setting operating business standards that prevent unnecessary losses.
Boersma, M. (2018). Between norms and practice: Civil society perspectives on the legitimacy of multistakeholder initiatives to eliminate child labor. Business Strategy and the Environment, 27(5), 612-620. ttps://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2066
Doward, J. (2020). Children as young as eight picked coffee beans on farms supplying Starbucks. The Guardian. https://www.sunoutreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Child-Labour-and-the-Coffee-Industry.
Ferrell, O. C., Harrison, D. E., Ferrell, L., & Hair, J. F. (2019). Business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and brand attitudes: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Research, 95, 491-501. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.07.039
Goyal, S. (2019). Module 2 Session 5 Theories of Business Ethics-Utilitarianism, Utilitarianism-Its criticism, Kantian Ethics. http://184.108.40.206/bitstream/handle/1/6562/1280.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
Greenwood, M., & Freeman, R. E. (2018). Deepening ethical analysis in business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 147(1), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3766-1
Silva, M. E., & de Campos, S. A. P. (2020). Stakeholders’ Dialogue and Engagement. Responsible Consumption and Production, 691-699. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95726-5_14.
Singh, A. K., & Mishra, N. K. (2018). ETHICAL THEORY & BUSINESS. International Journal of Humanities and Social Development Research, 2(1), 97-113. https://doi.org/10.30546/2523-4331.2018.2.1.107.
Thévenon, O., & Edmonds, E. (2019). Child labor: Causes, consequences, and policies to tackle it. https://doi.org/10.1787/1815199X
Ethics, Responsibility And Sustainability Sample College Essay
Working from home is a concept where employees can do their job from home using organizational approved policies, assets, and tools. Working from home is a modern way of working that opens up with travel and the internet, no matter where each employee’s location is. Working from home provides employees with flexible working hours, and the work of the employer is quickly done. Working from home helps deliver work-life balance to employees and allows the company to get the job done.
In recent days, employers have offered to work from home to employees, especially after the coronavirus pandemic change in working prospects. The essay will discuss the responsibilities of employers and employees who are working from home, any ethical sustainability issues, responsibilities that employers and employees have towards one another in the working relationship, ethical implications of the duties, and if this type of working structure and process sustainable for the business and employees moving into the future.
The Coronavirus pandemic changed every aspect of home and work life for most individuals. Organizations, institutions, and companies encouraged their employees to work from home to stay safe because of the local and national containment policies. Working from home began in the early 2000s when communication technologies grew. Employees can work from home to avoid working, get a better balance of working life, and provide flexibility in their plans. During coronavirus violence, most workers were advised to work from home full-time. This redefined the common sense of homework that was common to certain types of work only occasionally or because of unusual working conditions.
Most companies believe working from home will become more common after the corona epidemic because many employers have already paid the set costs for setting up homework for their employees. Currently, organizations are determining if operational expenses would be decreased if the required office spaces were reduced. The shift to working from home and other various factors associated with the Coronavirus pandemic provides a unique context for exploring the relationship of working from home on mental and physical welfare. The most apparent one is the effects on health because of behavioural and social factors.
The concept of working from home is essential in the current period. Working from home helps keep the employee’s productivity the same or even better. It also supports the employee in handling personal work or being with their family. The working relationship has developed and changed because of working from home. The shift to working from home has altered the nature of social capital in organizations. The connection between the employer and employees and among the employees has been reported to be less. This might be due to less physical contact while in an office-based setting.
While working from home has had some positive benefits to the working relationship, younger workers and the new employees have reported experiencing social isolation more. Not sharing training, networking and onboarding have made it difficult for them. The employees have reported that their relationship with their direct teams and accessing leadership has not been easy. However, they did report a thrive in innovation like strategical thinking, proposing innovative ideas, and collaboration with others. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, discussions on the future of work-life were often questioned and unclear. The Coronavirus pandemic forced individuals’ decisions, and the world adapted to working from home. It has become more popular and more practised.
Working from home requires a change in the relationship between employer and employee. The association is, however, still based on mutual responsibilities. They stay the same even if the employee works from home. The employer is responsible for the work health, safety, and industrial relations to ensure that the employee can work at home safely and cover the appropriate resources. The employer has the legal responsibility of caring for the safety and health of employees as long as it is a reasonable practice (Holden, 2021, p.1). The responsibility of care extends to any place where the work is performed, even at home. If the employee is working from home, the employer is responsible for ensuring that working from home does not threaten the employee’s health and safety. Critical risk assessments must be carried out based on the activities of the employees.
The employer should provide the employee with a safe working space free from tripping hazards like cables and rugs. This widely safe environment includes smoke alarms, an exit, a first aid kit, and appropriate ventilation and lighting. The employer should provide requirements like a big enough desk for tasks, a mouse and phone within reach, a chair that adjusts, and a computer screen. The employer also has the responsibility to pay for the work done under contracts and organization agreements. The employer should also be responsible for providing the employee with the needed resources to work. It might include a computer with systems to access and protect work files a webcam. It may consist of a laptop with strategies that access and protect work files, a webcam, headset, visual effects software, and virtual meeting software.
The employer also has the implied obligation to refund the employee for their expenses while working at home, like internet access or electricity. The responsibility for refunding can be noted in a company contract or working from home policy. However, not all organizations have contract written entitlements to these obligations. The employer might need to establish with the employee what costs to be refunded, the approvals required, and the limits apply. If the employer does not refund the running expenses, the employee can claim work-related costs that include the expenses of a dedicated work region like tax deductions.
The employer is responsible for ensuring that the employment contracts are referred to when discussing an alteration in work circumstances. All the changes made should be done in writing and agreed upon by both parties, and all the policies should be accessible by employees (Holden, 2021, p.1). If the employment contract notes down the place of work as the office and does not mention working from home, it is the employer’s responsibility to update it. If it is not open in the contract to allow working from home, then a variation should be made enough for the working home policy to cover the employer and employee. If an employer wishes to reduce the employee’s salary if they are working from home, the employer can do it if it is in the contract. But if it is not in the employee contract, both the employer and employee must agree on the matter.
The employer is responsible for all the confidential and personal data that might be processed or kept at the employee’s home, including their phone or computer or devices. This is essential if the employees are handling other people’s data at the job. Employees should have strict data practices and policies in place and should do everything they can to ensure they are trained and are abiding by this.
The employer demonstrates a degree of trust by allowing the employee to work from home because there will be no supervision. It is the employee’s responsibility to do the right thing without any direct supervision, following the same practices as the employer expects. All employee obligations from the workplace continue to operate, such as complying with legal guidelines and working to the best of their ability. The employees also have the responsibility of taking care of their safety and health at work. The employee should keep in constant contact with the employer. They should also tell the employer about any mental or physical health and safety risks and any working arrangement that needs alteration because of the caring responsibilities. There should be contact communication between the employer and employee and working together to find solutions.
Suppose the employee needs to go back to work at the office but prefers to still work from home. In that case, they can request an appointment from home after 26 weeks of being employed, but the employer is the one to decide whether to agree to it or not, depending on the needs of the business (Holden, 2021, p.1). However, it is the employee’s responsibility to put a business case forward suggesting the sensible options that working from home could have. The employer is under a legal duty to meet with the employee to consider their request within 28 days. Then the employer must believe it and decide within 14 days of the meeting (Holden, 2021, p.1).
The permanent change to work habits in the home has some specific concerns. It involves working from home to lead to more productivity, or less productivity, leaving a more or less critical carbon footprint. This depends on the specific methods used in the new employer and employee practices that they become accustomed to over time as new policies, guidelines, and rules are established, tested, and changed. The most critical behavioural effects may be significant social changes that work to cause domestic domination over the long term. Switching from office to work at home can dramatically change society the way working from the office brought about urbanization.
There are a lot of ethical concerns that arise when the matter of working from home comes up. On the one hand, having more employees working from home rather than every day might reduce spreading diseases in the workplace, especially if it is a short travelling distance. Reducing physical interconnection in the office-based workplace, according to studies, minimizes conditions and thus improves productivity. In addition, fewer employees going to work means less travel, saving workers thousands of dollars a year. Also, slower movement means minor damage to infrastructures such as highways and roads and reduced traffic congestion in urban areas. It helps because the new infrastructure plans have a problem increasing traffic congestion. Also, these types of changes can help with climate change because much of the greenhouse emissions come from transport materials.
On the other hand, working from home can be extremely dangerous in the weather. A study in the United Kingdom suggested that working from home might be helpful in the summer. Research has found that environmental factors may be higher during the winter due to the need to heat a single functional office building (Silk, 2020, p.1). Also, working from home may not be healthy. For example, the idea of a sick day is closely related to going to the office. There is a temptation to get rid of the concept of a sick day because the whole point of a sick day is to stay home and avoid getting sick colleagues. However, even if the employee is working from home, he still needs to rest. Studies have shown that people who work from home often work during illness, which increases their recovery time, leading to fatigue and less productivity. Also, there is the possibility that merging working from home and mixing the resting place with the workplace leads to burnout of the employees. It could affect and lead to increased mental health issues in work areas while making the employees more physically secluded from their fellow employees.
Another potential negative influence is the employer-employee relationship. For example, working from home allows employees to live in areas where the cost of living is cheaper. It could mean a reduction in wages as the business will have more employees to choose from, thus providing lower competitive wages in areas where living costs are cheaper. It means that job search will be more competitive and lower wages. The shift also means that the employer will be able to violate the employee’s privacy. Working from home means that employers track home-based employees to ensure productivity with software that can track all typed names, GPS location, and sometimes a computer camera (Silk, 2020, p.1). In some cases, these features are enabled without the employee’s knowledge. This only raises the long-standing concern of privacy principles in the operation of domestic relationships.
In addition, it is essential to note that switching to home-based work on a large scale can have a negative impact on different communities and different sectors of employment (Silk, 2020, p.1). Less congested areas may burden the service sector with work. Electricians and plumbers cannot work from home, indicating that some industries are not able to make that change. The service industries are often segregated by gender and race, thus ensuring that any opportunities for home-based employment are not shared equally. Also, it means that disruption in the industry due to changes in the work habits of others can be felt on a large scale.
When employees work from home, it might be more challenging to set up adequate controls to prevent fraud. The employer has to think through documentation of how to show multiple employees are involved in making decisions to control the funds. The approval of funds must be maintained through email, software, or chat messages. Moreover, some of the employees might commit compensation fraud. As more employees work from home, it can be more challenging to determine if an illness or injury falls under their compensation. The employer can mitigate the risk of disease or damage that is work-related by asking the employee to describe or take a picture of their work environment, encouraging them to practice healthy habits like taking breaks, and having them agree in writing that the environment they work in meets the company’s security and safety requirements.
Furthermore, technology has advanced to the extent that communication and collaboration can support working from home. However, technology cannot effectively deal with the main limitations of working from home, including professional and social isolation. There is a belief by management and, in some instances, the coworkers that working from home is a privilege rather than a business arrangement that can benefit the company, its employees, and its clients. This might lead to low productivity or pay cuts by employers.
Most organizations look to continue working from the home structure and process, even post-pandemic. It is because of the productivity increase during the pandemic because most employees were working from home. However, while productivity has gone up, most employees have reported feeling burnt out and anxious. Unless the employers address the causes of the employee’s anxiety, the achieved productivity might be unsustainable in the future. Stress and burnout reduce job satisfaction, negatively affect interpersonal relationships with fellow employees and reduce work performance. A survey conducted showed that the anxiety might be employees feeling that the employers have not made enough plans for post-pandemic working from home arrangements (Silk, 2020, p.1). For the working from home arrangement to be sustainable into the future, employers need to communicate with their employees frequently about their policies, procedures, and plans moving forward to reduce the employees’ anxiety.
While working from home over time can improve productivity and a range of other social and economic indicators such as gender equality, employee well-being, housing, inequality, and emissions, the overall effect carries risks, especially for the satisfaction of labour and renaming (OECD, 2020, p.2). To reduce the chances of working from home, harming long-term innovation, and reducing employee welfare, the policymakers should make sure that working from homestays is a choice and is not overdone by the organization. Employers can promote advanced management practices, ICT skills, self-regulation, reliable and fast internet, and home-based investments (OECD, 2020, p.2).
Working from home can profoundly affect businesses of all kinds, whether they have accepted homework in the past or not. Also, while working from home to other organizations working better in the epidemic, especially those who have tried the strategy before, the ability to work from home during violence is open to everyone, and different access to homework may exacerbate the situation of inequality among employees. While working at home has been critical in stabilizing productivity during a disaster, its effects on production are not noticeable. In the short term, compared to the pre-disaster period, situations in which working from home was established may reduce the productivity of those working in the house. In addition, research has shown that managers are more likely to receive temporary production benefits than losses due to homework (OECD, 2020, p.3). The diversity in all industries, countries, firms, and operations in pre-disaster telecommunications may contain information about the location to be used more from home after the epidemic and the features that need to be used for effective telework or to prevent its use.
To sum it up, working from home was a massive shift during the Coronavirus pandemic. While it was a temporary solution to a situation, it will probably turn into a permanent strategy for businesses. Employers and employees should work together to fulfil their responsibilities to each other in the working from the home strategy to work efficiently even post covid. The isolation of the employees working from home, burnout, and other ethical issues should be addressed to better the working from home relationship.
Silk M.S.W., 2020, The short and long-term ethical issues of working from home. Ethics in the News from the Prindle Institute. https://www.prindlepost.org/2020/08/the-short-and-long-term-ethical-issues-of-working-from-home/
OECD, 2020, Productivity gains from teleworking in the post-COVID-19 era: How can public policies make it happen? https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=135_135250-u15liwp4jd&title=Productivity-gains-from-teleworking-in-the-post-COVID-19-era
Holden K., 2021, When working from home, what are the employer’s remote working responsibilities? https://wearethecity.com/when-working-from-home-what-are-employers-remote-working-responsibilities/
Essay On Ethnocentrism Free Essay
Ethnocentrism is the conviction that certain things are true, that one’s culture is superior to others, that one’s culture is more deserving of respect, or that one’s culture is at the heart of everything. It evaluates one’s culture in the light of the others’ own culture. Ethnocentrism is a natural protective response, but it has the potential to cause great harm (Keith 2019). Because it is a sort of bias rather than a set of beliefs, it calls into question long-held beliefs about the scope, danger, and avoidance of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism covers different aspects such as food preferences, education systems, dress code, colors and language, segregation of blacks and whites. It arises due to growing up in different environments, which results in different lifestyles.
I interviewed people from different cultures and noted considerable differences in their cultural beliefs and how each thinks theirs is correct and superior. We spoke about eating utensils, for instance. Chopsticks are used for eating in many Asian countries. In the west, meals are mostly eaten with knives, spoons, and forks. Both methods are effective since they accomplish the intended mission; hence, neither is superior to the other. Many Asians are suspicious of individuals who eat with miniature pitchforks, while many Westerners regard chopsticks as a relic of the past. In Zambia, Africa, red is a typical funeral color, while it is a wedding color in traditional China. Some African communities feel that female circumcision is right. Some cultures have no issue with a woman exposing her breasts in public, while for others, it is unacceptable.
In my culture, homosexuality is not acceptable. We discourage same-sex relationships because it is believed to be evil. After marriage, in my culture, the woman is expected to go and reside with the man’s family and not the other way round. In terms of religion, we worship God, unlike other communities who believe in honoring animals. In addition, we strongly believe in gender equality, and both men and women are considered to be breadwinners. Foods to be eaten should be organic, for instance, vegetables and herbs. We also take meat from domesticated animals and fish. Snails, crabs, rats are delicacies unacceptable in my community.
It is unfair to judge others by what I have been taught as correct in mine. We should avoid upsetting people from other cultures since they, like their friends and family, believe in a set of values and principles. It is unkind to tell them they are wrong, and it undermines their entire community. It’s exciting and fun to learn about diverse cultures. It’s fascinating to learn what another person thinks about something you believe. You may also learn new and valuable ideas, new languages or new ways to cook food or make clothes.
Diversity is necessary for a thriving society and country. When making decisions, I will always consider the different cultural beliefs to avoid being ethnocentric. My cultural views should not dominate the opinions of others. I will always seek to understand what others feel about a given issue thus incorporate it in decision making. I will be sensitive to the cultural tendencies of others while remaining true to my own cultural identity.
In conclusion, varied perspectives of life can spark debate and result in a wide range of art, beliefs, and people. Disregarding other people’s views and regarding your ideas as what stands is very selfish and disrespectful. We ought to consider other people’s feelings and stop thinking that our culture is the superior one. Cultural misinterpretations and generalizations are destructive to human relationships. We ought to embrace different environments and lifestyles because everything is relative.
Keith, K. D. (2019). Ethnocentrism: Seeing the world from where we stand. Cross‐Cultural Psychology: Contemporary Themes and Perspectives, 23-38.