Discuss about the Business Society of powdered milk And The Planet.
United Creameries is a renowned company which is excellent in processing powdered milk Melika area. It has an outstanding reputation in this field. This has made the company to be trusted by most consumers and other local retailers who normally purchase in wholesale. The company has also employed many youths in different departments for both skilled and manual labor. United Creameries files its tax returns promptly and also sponsors a local school.
For the last two years, Melika area has been hit by drought which has never been witnessed in the area before. This led to death of livestock in the dairy farms due to hunger. Those that survived reduced the quantity of milk. This led to scarcity of milk hence the company is now facing a serious problem since it depends mainly on milk from local dairies.
The scarcity is making the company to make loses and it seems like they might even close very soon if drastic measures are not taken. The drought in the area does not seem to be ending soon making it harder for the company to survive under such conditions. Muk, the director of the company is stressed out and approaches Mash who is the sales supervisor in the company to at least find a short term solution. Cindy, the manager was not involved in this plan of company survival.
Mash suggested to Muk that they could maintain their sales volume if they add corn floor to the milk powder since they are of the same color and it would be hard to distinguish. This idea troubles Muk but finally gives in after critical analysis regarding the future of the company. This could save the company as well as the jobs and social benefits that the company is offering to the community like sponsoring a local primary school. This has been going on for a while and the company has been able to keep pace with its market as well as keeping a reasonable profit margin.
Due to the drought, most competing companies had been closed up leaving United Creameries to assume a monopolistic role at least until the drought ended. This meant that more customers had to storm in this company for the product. The idea that Mash and Muk had was becoming ideal in such a circumstance. The people could note a change in taste and also an increase in the amount of powder needed to make tea but could not make any guess at that moment. Some attributed the change to the drought which in deed became a fantastic escape goat. All this time, Cindy had no idea of what was happening. This is because she was mainly dealing with the paperwork in the company.
Drought Crisis and Drastic Measures
One afternoon as Cindy was walking around in the milk processing unit, she noticed that production involved blending of corn floor with milk powder and packed ready for sale. She decided to talk to one of the laborers to inquire about the issue. The worker told her that this was a new procedure introduced by the director and sales manager of the company. He also explained that that was not the correct formulae of making milk powder. He said that only milk cream is needed and not corn floor. The addition of corn floor lead to increased production but the milk powder was of low quality.
Cindy, the manager of the company is a very respected, honest and ethical person who values morals in her professional practice. She has been voted the employee of the year twice in a row. The highlight of her career as the manager in this company has been outstanding. She does not condone laziness, corruption and non-loyalty.
After she realized this practice in milk powder production, she was troubled as this was against her moral standards and ethics. She thought a lot about the issue and found herself in an ethical dilemma. If she decides to ignore the issue, then the sales in the company would rise, more people would be employed, the local primary school would still be sponsored and the customers would still be under a constant supply. Ignoring the issue could also lead to her career loss if the issue came to light in one way or the other. This means that the company could be scandalized, fined and closed many people would be rendered jobless including her. The school would lose its sponsorship and probably close up. If she decides to go against the addition of corn flower to milk powder, then she would lose her job, scandalize the company leading to many people being sacked, the school could lose its sponsorship and they could be fined a lot by the government for unethical behaviors and putting public health at risk.
Cindy has to decide what to do keeping in mind that both actions have serious repercussions either immediately or in the long run.
Muk: Director of United Creameries
Cindy: The manager
Mash: Sales supervisor
Faith: Cindy’s friend
(It is in the mid-morning, Mash is in his office finishing up his filing and stamping. Cindy knocks at the door, enters and sits down facing directly to Mash)
Adding Corn Floor to Milk Powder: An Ethical Dilemma
Mash: (Spinning in his chair) Good morning Cindy, what a surprise to see you in my office. You never visit at this hour.
Cindy: I am fine thank you. Yes it is rather unusual for me not to be at my office working at this hour.
Mash: To what do I owe the courtesy of your visit?
Cindy: I just admire your hard work and loyalty to this company. Making every step necessary to keep it alive.
Mash: I can see that someone has finally noticed my hard work. This company needs to be running because its benefits are admirable. Look at the job opportunities we have created in the past few years. Look at how we have been giving back to the community through our sponsorship programs. This company is indeed the best.
Cindy: yes, I can see all that. It has indeed achieved a lot in the last few years. However there is this issue that has been bothering me since yesterday.
Mash: Is it about pay rise? Don’t worry about that. The remuneration team is working on our new pay slips. We should all enjoy the fruits of our labor in this company. (Smiling)
Cindy: (Shaking her head) No it is not about the pay rise. That is the least of my concerns right now. I see that our financial capabilities have increased at the cost of our moral standards, ethics and honesty.
Mash: (surprised) What exactly do you mean by that? You give a compliment then you take it away.
Cindy: I know what is happening in the production plant.
Mash: (boasting) Yes, there is production, production and more production.
Cindy: What else do you know apart from production and more production? Aren’t you the ones that decided to change the milk powder production formulae? You have reduced the quality of the powder by adding corn floor yet you are still selling at the same prices as the pure one. What do you think would happen if such information leaked to the general public or the government agencies?
Mash: come on. You are asking too many questions here. Which do you want me to answer?
Cindy: All of them
Mash: Okay, first of all, I’m sorry that you found out that way. This is actually why we didn’t want to incorporate you in our decision because we thought you would oppose it.
Cindy: How could I condone such unethical behavior?
The Consequences of Ignoring or Addressing the Issue
Mash: We did what we did to save the company and the community as well as ourselves too. You know how the drought has hit us. The sales were declining day by day as the cattle could no longer withstand such conditions. Do you think we could just sit there and watch our beloved company fall?
Cindy: Of course you can’t just sit there and watch the company falling. As the manager of the company, I feel offended that I was not even included in making of such an executive decision. Besides that, I wonder why you could make the company successful by engaging in unethical activities.
Mash: You are riding in that success too. Don’t be a hindrance to change and success.
Cindy: I am pro change but the change which is ethical, honest and morally right. Not by cheating and putting others in health risks. Do you know what is at stake here?
Mash: This was a calculated risk Cindy. As soon as the drought ends, everything will be back to normal and everyone will be happy again.
Cindy: if such information leaks to the public, our careers are on the line for being the management team of a corrupt company. This would even affect our future jobs and not necessarily in this company. The government would fine us heavily for risking public health. This scandal could mean the end of this company. Besides all that, it is morally wrong and unethical to engage in activities that are against our oath of integrity. Why did we take the oath if in the long run we going to defy the same oath that we took? I think this should stop immediately.
Mash: All the repercussions that you have mentioned can be avoided by just keeping quiet for the time being until the drought is over and our normal production resumes.
Cindy: What do we morally gain by doing the wrong thing hoping that conditions would change in future to do the right thing? In your code of conduct, was doing the right thing an option?
Mash: I am only as sales supervisor here. It is my job to make sure that sales are made. That is what I was trained for. For results, not hoping.
Cindy: I see that we can never reach a common ground here. (Looking at her watch) I can see that time has really gone. Let me talk to the director, maybe I will make sense there. (Cindy leaves the office)
(In the afternoon, Cindy decides to visit Muk’s office. Muk was sealing some deals on the phone.)
Muk: (hanging up the phone) I will call you later. (Addressing Cindy) Good afternoon.
Cindy: Good afternoon to you too Sir, how are you doing?
Muk: I am doing fine, as you can see, I was sealing a deal on the phone with a new client oversees. We could expand our business.
Cindy: Sir, with all due respect, I think what is happening at the powder milk processing plant is wrong.
Muk: We are only producing powdered milk as we ever did before, or have you seen a different product down there?
Cindy: No Sir, just a moral and ethical concern of what is happening down there.
Muk: (shaking his head) I can see that you already know. That is precisely why we kept you in the dark. With your record, I knew you cannot get your hands dirty.
Cindy: Thank you Sir. (Shyly) I think it would be for the best if that activity stopped.
Cindy: This is because it is simply wrong, unethical and against our oath of office, not forgetting the code of conduct. My conscious cannot allow this to happen while I’m watching Sir.
Muk: You know that you are an important asset in this company right? It would kill me if you think of quitting.
Cindy: Thank you. I need the money as the rest of us. Without saying, I’m staying but only if this unethical activity stops. You are only looking at the small picture. Look at the big picture. This information might leak to the public in a way. We might lose our credibility as a management team even in future endeavors. The scandal will cost this company heavy fines, the public health is at risk and the company could even be closed for good as the customers will lose faith in us. Besides, I will never be at peace knowing what is happening here.
Muk: Now look at my bigger picture. The people are employed, the community has a school thanks to our funding, the customers are well satisfied despite the long drought and this is only for a short time. I am sure the drought will end soon. If you decide to take this to the public or the government, all that will be lost, including your job! Go home and think about it. (Cindy leaves)
(At home, Cindy has been troubled by the issue the whole night. She decides to call her friend, Faith to talk about it)
Cindy: Hello Faith, how are you doing? Sorry for calling you this late.
Faith: (calmly) It is okay, I was going to call you anyway. It has been long.
Cindy: Yes, we should hook up as soon as possible to catch up.
Faith: I was thinking of the same thing here. Now tell me, what’s up?
Cindy: I’m having an ethical problem at my work place. They have decided to degrade the powder milk by adding corn floor to increase quantity to meet the demand of the people. The dilemma is, if I choose to accept and move on, then I will be betraying my moral standards, ethics and oath of office. The jobs for the people will still exist, school will be funded and the customers will be constantly supplied. If I go against it, I will lose my job, the company will be scandalized, my career will be compromised and there are chances of heavy fines. Public health will also be at risk. I am confused here.
Faith: I know you very well, your moral standards, ethics and honesty have always been your priority since we were in campus. No matter how any unethical decision or act seemed right, you always stood firm against it due to your moral standards. Besides, there are many other avenues to solve such inadequacies and they are ethically correct too. The company could rather import milk, they could also dig wells and boreholes to provide water for dairy farming, and they could also diversify in their products. All this can be done in the right way without compromising anyone’s integrity.
Cindy: (Sighs with relief) Thank you very much, I knew I could count on you. Have a good night.
Faith: That is what friends are for. Remember to raise those issues to the director tomorrow. I’m sure he will understand. Good night.
(In the morning, Cindy raised the solutions to Muk and Mash. They all came to a common ground and decided to import milk, diversify their products as well as digging boreholes for dairy farming during a dry period. Cindy was again voted as the employee of the year)
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