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1. Ethical Dilemma: "Producing Toys: Child’s Play" in Crane & Matten 4e 2016, Ch. 3, p. 94

Write summarising your own personal understanding of the issues in this Ethical Dilemma. Explain how and why you personally might have responded to the situation in the Dilemma. Keep this to include in your final reflection essay

2. Ethical Dilemma: "Who cares who shares?", in Crane & Matten 4e 2016, Ch. 6, pp. 248-249

Write summarising your own personal understanding of the issues in this Ethical Dilemma. Explain how and why you personally might have responded to the situation in the Dilemma. Keep this to include in your final reflection essay

3. Ethical Dilemma: "Off your face on Facebook", which is available in Crane & Matten 4e (2016), Ch. 7, p. 302.

Write summarising your own personal understanding of the issues in this Ethical Dilemma. Explain how and why you personally might have responded to the situations in the Dilemma. Keep this to include in your final reflection essay

4. Ethics in Action: "Organic Food - what's an 'organic' label worth?", in Crane & Matten 4e 2016, Ch. 8, pp. 374-375

Write summarising your own personal understanding of the issues in this Ethical Problem. Explain how and why you personally might respond to the situations described. Keep this to include in your final reflection essay

5. Ethics Case: "Uzbeck Cotton: a new spin on responsible sourcing", in Crane & Matten 4e 2016, Ch. 9, pp. 433-437

Write summarising your own personal understanding of the issues in this Ethics Case. Explain how and why you personally might have responded to the situations in the case. Keep this to include in your final reflection essay

Child Labor in the Toy Industry

To attract the children towards the confectioneries, many of the confectioners now a day offer free toys with the food items and this increase the sales of the confectioneries largely. Now, the case study presents the dilemma of a product manager of one such company where he is stuck between profit and unethical practice behind the source of profit (Cho, et al., 2016). Once, the product manager visits a European trade fair, where he meets a Thai manufacturer of toys, who promises him to supply products in a much cheaper price. To inspect the quality of the toys that will be supplied he visits to the workshop of the manufacturer in Thailand and he is shocked to find no proper workshops, where the toys should have manufactured. Rather he finds workmen to come and collect the components in their motor scooters and carts and to go home. Surprised at this, the manager initially does not approve of this until the Thai manufacturer takes him to the house of one of the workmen. There he sees the whole family of the workman including the six children, all below the age of 14 involved in the work. However, the manufacture trued to negate this extreme exploitation by stating that it is the work tradition of this region (Putnick and Bornstein, 2015). Now, the manager is able to understand the secret behind such low price that he has been offered but he faces a dilemma here when he thinks of the huge profit the company will make of this and the healthy bonus that he will received after the deal is signed (Keller, 2015). However, he continues to suffer from the ethical dilemma thinking of his own children and the children of these workmen, who are being robbed of a happy and healthy childhood.   

This case study portrays the story of a regional marketing director of PharchemCo (PCC), a pharmaceutical company where the person falls into a dilemma to decide between his professional liabilities and his moral obligation towards his friend. To party one Friday night his friend Freddie, the regional marketing director contemplates on a serious issue that he has come to know in an office meeting the previous week. The meeting was held to inform all the senior managers of the pharmaceutical company that a research conducted by SFW University has found the presence of some perilous ingredients with high side-effects in one of the herbicides of the company. If the news comes out by any means it may become fatal for the reputation of the company and therefore, as the regional marketing manager of PCC, it is his professional code of ethics to maintain the confidentiality of this news (Huang, 2015). At present, in the pub while waiting for his friend he is unable to enjoy the drink as he has to digest the news and has to hide it from his friend as well. However, he suffers from an extreme ethical dilemma when he thinks the huge amount of money Freddie has invested in PCC to buy its shares, the price of which is certain to observe a steady decline soon after the lawsuits are filed next week (Fawkes, 2014). Not only Freddie has invested his money but also he has convinced his friends to invest in PCC looking at the current market position of the company. Now, the manager, having known the fate of the shares, has decided to sell his portion on the very next day the market opens but he is unable to reveal this fact to his friend and warn him (Alqahtani and Altamimi, 2016). Thus, bound by the ethical responsibility of maintaining professional confidentiality, he falls victim to immense dilemma as due to his inability to inform his friend Freddie is likely to go through colossal financial loss in near future.

Maintaining Confidentiality in the Pharmaceutical Industry

In this case, the ethical dilemma of an HR manager has been presented where the HR manager of All Cure Girl, a pharmaceutical company has been given the responsibility to recruit an eligible team member for the clinical trial department. The member should be absolutely serious about the work and a sociable and reliable kind of person having good communication skills as well. Now, three applicants appear for this vacancy out of which two seem promising to the recruiting manager, both being women. However, it is a difficult task for the manager to select any one out of the two who are extremely close on resume in terms of qualifications (Van Iddekinge, et al., 2016). In this situation, abiding by one of the colleague’s advice, the manager decides to look into the online profiles of the candidates to obtain more information about them. Now, the first applicant is easily traceable on the social media and appears to be moderately social and a well-travelled kind of person. On the other hand, the second candidate is not that easily accessible so with the help of one of the candidate’s friends, the HR manager goes through her social profile page and discovers some shocking facts about her. Not only the second applicant is involved in hardcore partying and is an alcoholic by nature but also is found taking illegal drugs in the pictures. Moreover, some highly obscene pictures of her has also been found, exposure of which can cause injury to the reputation of the company. Now, although this second candidate is slightly more eligible on paper in terms of experience, the manager finds it difficult to recruit her after knowing the darker shade of her personal life (Roulin and Levashina, 2016). Therefore, an ethical dilemma is bound to occur when the recruitment has to be based on the personal information of candidates rather than their academic and professional qualifications (Reinsch, Ross and Hietapelto, 2016).  

Organic label in the present day food packets is not worthy to be believed as the case presents with many such instances where the consumers have been cheated buying the products with ‘100% organic label’ (Guthman, 2014). This proves that the ethical grounds of the makers of such products are extremely weak and that they hide many facts from the consumers, which the buyers have ethical rights to know. In many cases, the consumers are not aware that the products labeled as organic contain a harmful flavor enhancing natural ingredient monosodium glutamate as well as carrageenan, which is a seaweed stuff to make things thicker. The research done by USDA, where these things have been found mentions these substances to be an anathema for the organic food lovers (Niggli, 2015). However, the new testing procedure of organic label by EU is quite strict, as the majority of the organic food market is in Europe alongside North America.  The total worth of global organic industry is huge and this has tempted the industry to be involved in some fraudulent activities and engaged in a number of unethical practices. One such instance can be mentioned where the U.S retailer Target has allegedly been caught while unethically promoting its product, soymilk as organic and in this scam, the biggest dairy enterprise of America Aurora dairy has been involved. Similar instances of fraud have happened in Germany while falsely selling organic eggs, Italy while issuing false organic certificates and even China where the reliability of organic products has been a matter of questions. However, the ethical dilemma of growing organic food lies in other area concerning the environment. The organic farming is considered to be rather precarious requiring more land than the conventional farming (Vittersø and Tangeland, 2015). This leads to cutting of the forests destroying the ecological balance and hence, organic farming in large scale though is good for human health, has grim implications for the environment.

Selecting Candidates based on Personal Information

Among the suppliers of premium cotton for the renowned garment companies all over the world, Uzbekistan deserves special mention being one of the top cotton supplying nations (Grugel, 2016). However, the media inspection has brought the dark truth of cotton harvesting in the country that is entirely relied upon child and forced labor. The children below the age of 14 are being forcefully drawn from the schools and employed on the field to harvest cotton. During the three months of harvesting season, the schools are literally shut in Uzbekistan and children work under inhuman conditions in the fields. Although this news startled many of the western nations, they were initially unable to spot the source of Uzbek cotton among the complicated supply chain (Putnick and Bornstein, 2015). However, the increasing pathetic violation of human rights in Uzbekistan compelled the companies to put up a boycott against the country in 2007. From the very next year, several reputed western garment companies gathered to sign up an official boycott that continued until many years. However, since 2010 the situation in Uzbekistan has seemed to change where the country instead of employing young children, started employing adult children of universities and colleges. Moreover, the teachers, doctors and the employees of state organizations have also been forcefully employed in the fields (Bhat, 2015). However, this continued ban has compelled Uzbekistan to look for other countries, where there are no such restrictions. Presently, Uzbekistan is seeking to penetrate the market of Asian countries as well as Russia and good response from these markets has provided Uzbekistan to resist changes in the unethical labor practice.

To frame a global code of ethics for the employees and business persons is undoubtedly, a challenging task. At present, the process of writing code of ethics for a particular organization is based on the industry in which it operates, its size, the business strategy and the organizational culture of the company (Bishop, 2013). Hence, the ethical codes tend to vary from industry to industry, from one nation to another. However, this variation creates huge problems for the multinational organizations that have to operate in various countries with varied ethical codes for diverse and geographically scattered workforce. Besides, researches done in this concern show that multiple ethical codes for different business industries prevent easy exchange between the sectors (Grant, 2014). For this, a universal code of ethics is highly needed to integrate the corporate values all over the world.

The Ethics of Organic Labeling

The case study “Producing Toys: Child’s Play” the confectionery company’s product manager cannot avoid the temptation of huge bonus and company profit although it is highly immoral. According to the business ethics, practicing child labor knowingly is criminal offence and when the manager can see the truth before his eyes he should have cancelled the deal on that very moment (Cho, et al., 2016).

In the second case “Who cares whose shares?” the manager should observe his responsibility of maintaining professional confidentiality instead of thinking about his friend’s loss (Alqahtani and Altamimi, 2016). The damage his negligence can cause to the company’s reputation is beyond repair. On the other hand, the friend must accept his loss considering it to be a part of his investment in shares.

In the third case “Off your face on Facebook”, the HR manager suffers the dilemma when the applicants are to be judged based on their personal life and not on just the resume (Reinsch, Ross and Hietapelto, 2016). Although this manner of hiring is seemingly unethical but considering the situation and the facts revealed about the second applicant demand the social media profiles to be factored into the process of recruitment.

The fourth case “Organic Food- What’s an ‘organic’ label worth?”, clearly shows how unethical practices are going on in the name of ‘100% organic’ label. These should be strictly handled by the certificating boards of the nations (Guthman, 2014). Moreover, considering the harmful implications of organic farming on a large scale, it should therefore, be restricted in smaller areas, as preserving the ecological balance is the highest ethical responsibility.

In the final case, “Uzbek Cotton: A new spin on responsible sourcing” a universal decision is necessary where every country should be participating in bringing a change for Uzbek people. This matter, instead of handling by boycott would have been better dealt with a diplomatic approach (Putnick and Bornstein, 2015).

Having gone through all the cases, therefore, it can be said that a universal code of ethics must be formed to prevent the frequent cases of ethical dilemma. Although the cases are different and even the geographic locations of them, the ethical standards of humans all over the world tend to be more or less static. Considering this, one can say that a universal code of business and professional ethics should be etched that will prevent causing dilemma in future while taking decisions.

References:

Alqahtani, M.M. and Altamimi, N., 2016. Code of ethics and professionalism in light of cultural competency: A guideline for Saudi psychologists, supervisors, and trainees. Psychological Studies, 61(2), pp.103-112.

Bhat, B., 2015. Cotton Cultivation and Child Labor in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan. Lexington Books.

Bishop, W.H., 2013. The role of ethics in 21st century organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(3), pp.635-637.

Cho, S.H., Fang, X., Tayur, S.R. and Xu, Y., 2016. Combating child labor: Incentives and information transparency in global supply chains.

Fawkes, J., 2014. Public relations ethics and professionalism: The shadow of excellence. Routledge.

Grant, J.M., 2014. Calling the Question: The Need for an ASPA Code of Ethics. Public Administration Review, 74(5), pp.569-570.

Grugel, J., 2016. ‘Speaking Out’About Child Labor: Normative Entrenchment in an Uncertain Regime. In EU Policy Responses to a Shifting Multilateral System (pp. 179-199). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Guthman, J., 2014. Agrarian dreams: The paradox of organic farming in California. Univ of California Press.

Huang, P.H., 2015. How improving decision-making and mindfulness can improve legal ethics and professionalism. JL Bus. & Ethics, 21, p.35.

Keller, S., 2015. The puzzle of manual harvest in Uzbekistan: economics, status and labour in the Khrushchev era. Central Asian Survey, 34(3), pp.296-309.

Niggli, U., 2015. Sustainability of organic food production: challenges and innovations. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74(01), pp.83-88.

Putnick, D.L. and Bornstein, M.H., 2015. Is child labor a barrier to school enrollment in low-and middle-income countries?. International journal of educational development, 41, pp.112-120.

Reinsch, R.W., Ross, W.H. and Hietapelto, A.B., 2016. EMPLOYER'S USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN EMPLOYMENT DECISIONS: RISK OF DISCRIMINATION LAWSUITS. Current Topics in Management, 18.

Roulin, N. and Levashina, J., 2016. Impression management and social media profiles. In Social Media in Employee Selection and Recruitment (pp. 223-248). Springer International Publishing.

Van Iddekinge, C.H., Lanivich, S.E., Roth, P.L. and Junco, E., 2016. Social media for selection? Validity and adverse impact potential of a Facebook-based assessment. Journal of Management, 42(7), pp.1811-1835.

Vittersø, G. and Tangeland, T., 2015. The role of consumers in transitions towards sustainable food consumption. The case of organic food in Norway. Journal of Cleaner Production, 92, pp.91-99.

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