Prior to beginning this assignment, you should locate the Four Corners report broadcast on Monday 31 August 2015. You can find it here
. And here is a supporting report in the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/7eleven-investigation-exposes-shocking-exploitation-of-convenience-store-workers-20150828-gja276.html
No doubt you will see similarities here to what you have been researching this term. For some of you on student visas, this may be a very real experience--either directly or through fellow students.
For me, this report brought home the horrendous impact personal greed and unethical decision-making can have on the lives of those who depend on us. If nothing else, I hope this serves to highlight the importance of ethics classes in Business faculties. I also hope that when each of you graduates, you use your professional skills to improve your communities and not to exploit them.
Given that the report on Four Corners has not been proven, we must give those at the centre of the scandal the benefit of the doubt (at least for now). However, just the possibility of this exploitation happening in our societies is reason enough to explore it a little in this assignment. Part A will be a set of short-answer tasks based around a hypothetical situation similar to the Four Corners report. Part B will allow you to use your research from earlier in the term to make recommendations on dealing with the issue of labour exploitation.
Please place your answer to each of the following questions in a single MS Word document. Use headings and sub-headings to clearly designate which part of this assignment you are answering.
The questions in Part A do not require any report format, but you are still required to reference your work wherever necessary. Provide a single reference list (Harvard format) at the end of your assignment.
Part B should be presented in a simple report format, referenced where appropriate.
A basic outline that you could use would look like this:
Introduction to the assignment
Review of reports on 7Eleven
Trends learned from previous literature review that are relevant to the 7Eleven case
How an effective code of ethics/code of conduct could be implemented by 7Eleven
Part A (20%)
Hypothetical case study
Frank Wilson was considering buying into a franchise of 4-Square convenience stores. He had been lured by promises of high profits for little capital outlay beyond the purchase of the franchise licence and the property from the previous owner. In the big cities, 4-Square stores were on almost every street corner within the CBD, and also featured prominently in the suburbs, especially close to commuter train stations.
Frank had been given assurances by Eric Ewell, the founder and Chairman of 4-Square Pty Ltd, that profitability was certain. Frank's calculations based on the customer flow through the store he wanted to buy certainly supported Ewell's assurances, so Frank was feeling very good about the deal.
There was one item in his analysis that was troubling Frank. He had expected to staff the 24-hour convenience store with casual staff, but once he allowed for the minimum wage, penalty rates and superannuation, there was no way that he could make his store profitable. Unless, that is, Frank and his family worked in the store for half the week. And this he did not want to do.
Frank decided to personally confront Eric Ewell about the assurances of profitability. Ewell was not concerned. "Look Frank, those figures are of no consequence in your decision. We have our own strategies for staffing our stores that get around these issues". Then Eric detailed how 4-Square did things.
The parent company of 4-Square encourages each franchisee to employee foreign students on a basis of $570 for three shifts. This equates to the minimum casual hourly rate for 24 hours (3 x 8 hours). In reality, the new worker will be required to work double those hours for half the hourly rate. The worker then receives the $570 (before tax), has worked three shifts, but has in fact worked twice the expected number of hours.
Frank asked why 4-Square targeted foreign students. "Because they will be in breach of their student visa and therefore won't complain", said Ewell.
"The staff member still gets the work," said Ewell, "and you get to run a successful business and make money. That's a win-win situation--what's good for you is good for the employee, your customers get cheaper services and you make a profit". Frank was not so sure. Now he had to decide whether to sign the contract and buy into 4-Square.
Question 1 (10 marks 700-1,000 words)
Refer to the moral philosophies discussed in Module 7. Identify and explain two possible moral philosophies that Eric Ewell could be following. Give reasons for why you identified these philosophies, and make sure that you explain what the philosophies mean.
Question 2 (10 marks 700-1,000 words)
Refer to the AAA model for ethical decision making (Module 8). Apply the AAA model to the case study and arrive at the most ethical decision. Should Frank buy the 4-Square store? Or not? For each step of the AAA model, explain how it is being applied by using facts from the case.
Part B (20% 1,400-2,000 words)
Watch the Four Corners report and find any other newspaper reporting on this scandal. Write a brief report that compares what has happened here with what your literature review from Assessment Item 2 has discovered. Highlight similarities and differences.
Conclude your report by recommending how 7Eleven management could implement an effective code of ethics or code of conduct for all of their franchisees. Which elements of such codes would be appropriate, given what you have discovered in your literature review.