Ethics is important for operating the business successfully in the market. Business ethics is also the form of ethics which is applied in any particular business. But it is also understood that companies has to face many ethical problems during the business operations. This report is focused on the various parts of the business ethics which are crucial in gaining growth and success in the operating market. The report describes about the company Superdrug and its ethical activities in the business operations. This company is famous for its beauty and health care products among the customers. From the research, it can be seen that the company was established in 1964 by Ronald and Peter Goldstein. The company has now more than 787 outlets in all over UK and Ireland. For operating in the various markets, it is important to analyze the ethical behavior and code of ethics of the company which are helpful for the company in getting success ((Superdrug, 2017). For the health care company, it is crucial to identify the important of social responsibility, and sustainability by the company. The company is seeking for the support from the UK government in terms of taxes and other rules and regulations as it is working in the country. Due to the increased taxes on the beauty products, the company has to bear more research and development cost and then company sells the products without testing them. This activity of the company is harmful fir its customers as well as the society ((Dimitriades, 2007).
Task 1 Understanding different ethical perspective
1.1 Background and development of theoretical ethical approaches
Ethics can be described as the branch of philosophy which includes the sustainability, values and morality of the business. In the companies such as Superdrug, the theories of the ethics are helpful in identifying the right and wrong activities in the business ((Bunge, 2012). There are various types if business ethics and those are as follows:
Moral objectivism- This type of business ethics basically describes that what is right or wrong in terms of the organizational behavior. This is based on the facts of the morally facts of the individual. The moral objectivism is very easy to express. Along with this, it can be said ti be non-consequentially.
Consequentially- This theory of business ethics is focused on the results into consequences of the specific actions which have moral judgment of the actions. The moral judgments must have the valid evidences. The consequentially can be described as the act which identifies that the consequences of the behavior is morally and ethically right or wrong. The judgments related to the consequentialism must be significant.
Moral relativism- This theory is based on the individual beliefs of morally wrong or right actions and it varies from person to person and from one culture to another. The basic belief of this theory is that moral of one culture or individual is not superior to another culture.
Deontology- The meaning of this word is duty and responsibility. This theory basically focuses on the moral duties and rules in the organization. To take the moral decisions, it is important know about moral duties in the job role. If the organization is fulfilling its duties, it is doing morally things in its business (Munter, 2013).
Principilism- This theory of business ethics focuses on medical healthcare. This theory basically deals with the ethical issues during the business operations. This focuses on the moral principles i.e. beneficence, autonomy and justice.
In case of the Superdrug, the company is using consequentialism theory for reducing the level of ethical issues in the business in terms of ethical approaches, it is crucial to understand various approaches i.e. virtue approach, rights approach, duty-based approach, common good approach and justice approach. So, it is suggested that the company should adopt duty-based approach for the business (Brenkert & Beauchamp, 2012).
According to this approach, the activity of the organization does not always shows the aim of the business but all the activities have the intention in performing the actions. Further, the justice or fairness approach may also be appropriate for the organization. According to this approach, the organization must use this approach for the welfare of the human resource and employees.
1.2 Compare and contrast ethics
Ethical absolutism is one of the most important parts in the ethical theory. There are eternal, moral and universally applied principles. Ethical absolutism includes the qualities of the correct and incorrect objectives. The established companies such as Samsung and HCL have implemented the absolute ethics to treat all the employees in the same way. According to the absolute ethics, the managers of the company should not change the moral when the rules and ethics related to moral are right for the company. So, there is no need to develop various rules for the different employees in the company because absolute rules are worldwide (Bjerregaard & Lauring, 2013).
On the other hand, ethical relativism includes the morality to the various parts of the company. The relative ethics makes sure that there are no worldwide accepted rights and wrongs that can be reasonably determined. It is also observed that the relative morality states that no single rules are applicable in any situation. There are some organizations such as Greenergy, Tesco, and general electric that have made moral decision rationally. It is observed that the manager of the General electric terminated two employees based on their poor performance. The employee termination is against the ethics of the company but low performance of the employees is also not acceptable by the manager. So, it is more difficult for the company to decide that which rule is appropriate in the different situations (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015).
1.3 Ethics issues
In present time, there are many ethical issues which are faced by the managers in the business. It is observed that in the multinational companies, more than 30% employees face workplace harassment to use the social networking sites. Employees have to pay cost in their job role when the colleagues post the comments on the social networking site. So, it affects the workplace because the employees are setting the policies to use the social networking sites during their work timings. Apart from this, the employees have decided to use social networking sites when they are on off (Beverungen & Case, 2011).
It is noticed that the company Cisco systems Inc developed the software program to monitor the activities of the employees on the social media. The company has claimed that this advanced monitors the forum posts, blog posts and status update in the real times. There are some organizations which are facing the issues related to the equal payment for the employees. If the organization adopts the state and federal laws, then the organization has to pay the equal salary to the employees who have the same job role. Further, the organization is accountable to improve the salary of the old employees. So, the ethical dilemmas arise in the companies. There are maximum private organizations that faced ethical issues such as producing unsecured products for the consumers, terminating the employees in the unsafe working environment, improper monitoring and technology process, producing the bad products impacting the health of the people, and recycling the waste product (Hill & Jones, 2013).
Task 2 Understanding business objectives from ethical perspective
2.1 Impact of ethical consideration
It is observed that the managers of Superdrug have applied consequentiality approach in the organization. The managers of the Superdrug are focused on such kind of decision which has measurable consequences. Sometimes, the managers have to follow the virtual ethics to evaluate the decision in terms of the character of individual. So, because of some ethical problems the managers have to follow the concept of ethics systematically.
It can be seen that the company Superdrug is operating its business on the international level and interacting with the various cultures and the systems. It can be said that the Ireland market and quiet different from the UK market. So, the managers are following the ethical concepts to operate in the foreign market so that it can achieve the business objectives with the social responsible principles. So, the business objectives of the Superdrug Company are affected by the ethical consideration (McGee, 2012).
Sustainable manufacturing process- It is observed that the company is implementing the business strategies with the UK government to reduce the impact of Value Added Tax on the special drugs. Along with this, the company has sold the skin care products and many other products without testing on the animals.
Strategy of Unfair employee treatment- The managers of Superdrug Company is following the ethical approach for promoting the security and safety of the employees. Based on the terms and conditions of the company, the company has to provide the wages with the benefits. Further, the company stopped the proposed benefits to the employees for the uncertain period for those employees whose performances were not good (Weiss, 2014).
2.2 Implications for business and stakeholders
The management of the company has to follow the ethical concepts which will be accepted by the community. But after some days, the issues related to the ethics will arise. The management system of the company Superdrug is operating by the honesty and laws to get competitive advantage to the competitors. For the company Superdrug, the government is one of the most important stakeholders. The UK government has reduced the tax such as VAT on the lifesaving medicines. The company has maintained good image in the country UK. First of all, the company sells the lifesaving medicines at the lowest prices. Along with this, the company is selling the untested products under the logo of ‘British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection’. So, it can be said that the company is not maintaining the ethics in the business operations.
Customers- Along with the government, the customers are also the important stakeholders which affect the business strategy of the company. The business strategy adopted by the company has mixed impact in the market. Although Superdrug maintained the prices on the lifesaving medicines but it has sold the untested drugs which was completely unethical (Craft, 2013).
Task 3 Ethics in workplace relationships
3.1 Role of the company acting as a moral agent
It is clear that the Superdrug has implemented the business strategies with the UK government to get competitive advantage in the market. For this manner, the government of has provided relaxation in the Value Added Tax of the health and beauty care products. Further, it is observed that the company is also acting as the moral agent by its organizational strategies. There are some strategies which are implemented by the company Superdrug to maintain the ethics. Some of those are as follows:
Equal opportunity- It can be clearly seen that company is focusing on the good practices to maintain the opportunity ethics in the workplace.
Working conditions- It is well known that the working conditions of the employees are affected by unethical decision making process of the company so, Superdrug is trying to focus on the ethical decisions for the welfare of the employees.
Organization integrity- The Company Superdrug is maintaining proper organizational integrity in its business operations. The company has adopted proper code of ethics, accountability, and coalition with the various consumers and its employees (Audi, 2012).
3.2 Mechanism for achieving employee involvement
To improve the employee engagement in the organization, the company should focus on developing the strategy to convey the values to the employees. The strategy must be focused on achieving the organizational goals and objectives. There is the need of effective training methods to implement the change in the organization. Along with this, for achieving the objective of employee involvement in the company, the company should provide proper and effective training to the employees for motivating them and uplifting their skills which are required in the job role. It is not only sufficient to motivate the employees for developing new skills but also it is important to ensure that they take active participation from the end. By the effective training to the employees, the company should make sure that the employees are connected and loyal for their job. The training will also be helpful in improving the employee retention in the company (Myers, 2013).
Task 4 Current ethical issues in the business
4.1 Ethical issues
There are many companies working globally and they face many ethical issues in the business operations. There are diverse issues such as harassments and pay rates of employees etc which can be seen in a workplace. There is the need to reduce all these ethical issues by the companies. Companies should adopt the policies and strategies to overcome from the ethical issues. There are some common ethical issues which can be founded in the workplace.
Customers and suppliers relationships-
There can be the ethical issue between the business owners and the customers in terms of their relationship with each other. There is the need to consider the relationship with the suppliers. The relationship must be ethical to get success in the business.
There are many other issues which affect the business and its operations. There is the need of positive working environment for the employees so that they can work in the positive manner. The employees need to be aware about the safety and security policies in the workplace (Singer, 2013).
There are many small and large companies and many people come up with the ethical issues which rises from the behavior of an employee. For example, some employees are doing the personal work during the office time, how the managers are handling the employees and hoe the managers are giving importance to the harassment etc. These can be the ethical issues related to the ethical behavior of the employees.
There are some other ethical issues and those are as follows:
- Recycling the waste products and its use,
- Elimination of unsafe working conditions,
- Manufacturing the safe products which are unsafe,
- Taking profit from the products which are bad for human health such as drugs, cigarettes etc and
- Using the technology which is unsafe for employees and public (Acevedo, 2012).
4.2 improvement process of business
To bring the improvement in the business operations, there are some steps. Those steps are as follows:
Processing of the map- As soon as the company understands the process which it wants to improve, there is the need to adopt the steps by use of the flowcharts or diagrams. Both these tools will be helpful in showing all the use procedures in the business operations.
Analyzing the complete process- By using the diagrams of flowchart it is important to analyze the complete process to identify some problems. It is important to check those conditions on which the customers got frustrated, where the cost is raising and quality of the products is falling. So, these need extra care and attention.
Redesigning the process- There is the requirement of elimination of identified problems in the process of redesigning. The best part of this process is involving the people who have interest in the process.
Achieving required resources- The employees of the organization needs safety and security of the resources which are required for the strategy implementation. Managers should make list of all those things which are required for the business operations.
Communication and implementation the change- The managers of the company should remember that modification in the business strategy is not easy. So, there is the need of proper management and planning which is to be done with all the care.
Reviewing the process- The process review is important to analyze the project planning and management. It is important to adopt the strategies which are required. There is the need to monitor each and every small improvement to ensure that the entire process will be effective and relevant (Zikmund et al, 2013).
4.3 Suitable ethical codes
The code of ethics can be described as the formal document which maintains the company behavior including with the formal paper shown by the employees who are working with the company. The cause of having code of ethics in the company is as follows:
- To define the acceptable behavior,
- To provide the benchmark for the self evaluation of the employees,
- To promote the practices for setting the higher standards, and
- To establish the framework of professional behavior and responsibility (Painter-Morland, 2010).
Further, a suitable ethical code includes:
Problem resolution- it includes how the professionals overcome from the problems. It is the main aim of the code of ethics. Being a company, it is important to eliminate the unethical operations and it is the responsibility to inform the higher authority about the unethical practices.
Company values- in this part, the vision of the company is discussed in which the it will mention the objectives, aims and goals of the business operations.
Standard principles – The manager in the company needs to be professional so that he or she can remain dutiful for the job role and the performance. Along with this, the company should also adopt some strategies and policies for the business operations and the codes (Bondy, Moon & Matten, 2012).
This report is discussed on the business ethics of Superdrug. From the above discussion, it is observed that the company is committed to adopt the good environmental practices, maintain economic prosperity and social responsibility. Further, it can be seen that the company is implementing the business strategies with the government of the UK. On the other hand, the company has implemented the ethical theories to maintain the ethical consequences of each operation. The business consultants has observed the various approaches such as rights approaches, duty-based approaches, virtue approaches, utilitarian approaches, justice approach, virtue approach and common good approach. Further, it is observed that there is absolute ethics in the big companies such as Samsung and HCL so that the employees can be treated equally. Along with this, the cultural relativism is socially applicable. So, MNC companies sometimes create the boundaries for maintaining the ethics but it impacts on the personal life of the employees. The ethics of the Superdrug proved faulty as the company did not provide equal and fair treatment to the employees and sustainable manufacturing process. So, the consultants have suggested the suitable ethical concepts for the company.
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