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Discussion

The success of a business depends on the ethical measures it incorporates in the business operations. It is important to maintain the integrity and follow the ethical practices to prevent any legal crisis from occurring. I have worked as an employee in Roli, which is a music software start-up based in United Kingdom. Ethical policies varies from company to company, which ensures that the company is legally viable in the market, which are also beneficial for the customers. The main purpose of this report is to highlight the ethical issues of the company that I have witnessed while working in the company. The main ethical dilemma that has been identified in the company is accounting issues. Unethical accounting is a criminal offence, in which the company take illegal measures to manage the finances (Afsar and Umrani 2020). I have also witnessed that the company faced financial crisis due to the unethical accounting measures, which ultimately led the company to bankruptcy at certain point. This report has been conducted in a theoretical point of view and relevant approach has been provided, which are beneficial in terms of mitigating the ethical dilemma.

Roli music Technology Company is a small-scale start-up based in London, which started providing high quality innovative music instruments. The main value proposition of the company is to develop technology induced that helped the company to gain a competitive advantage from the market. Aside from the unique value proposition, the company faced ethical problems from the financial operations (Sharma, Agrawal and Khandelwal 2019). The transactions or investments of the company were not managed properly, and even some of the employees who mainly handled the financial documents missed out several important information. In order to match the financial data at the end, the company incorporated the practices such as unethical accounting. In 2021, the company reported about their financial condition, which was deteriorating gradually. The company also faced pre-tax losses worth 34.1 million British pounds, and earned 11.4 million British pounds, indicating clear loss of the company (Seah, 2021). It can be said that the improper action of accounting has led the company to face severe financial losses and bankruptcy.

My job in the company was to monitor the number of transactions made by the customers; therefore, I was not directly involved with the financial operations of the business. However, I witnessed the unethical and financial methods taken by the company, which was harmful for the entire company’s productivity.  Therefore, it can be considered that, in order to ensure the revenue growth and company value enhancement in the market, incorporation of the ethical practices are extremely important.

One major unethical issue has been identified in this report, is the improper analysis of the financial transactions made by the customers. I have also witnessed that the company authorities were supporting practice of not monitoring the financial data on a frequent basis. The financial base of the company was not stable; as a result, the company had to face the bankruptcy problems, mainly due to financial loss after loss (Sroka and Szántó 2018). In this section, the Carroll theory of corporate social responsibility will be applied in order to understand the problematic aspects of the practices handled by the company.

Description of the Situation

According to the Carroll theory, it has been stated that it is responsibility of the company to maintain integrity in three levels of the company operations, which are legal, ethical and economic responsibilities (Talonen et al. 2021). In addition, the company also needs to be socially supportive, which also helps in increasing the company reputation in the market. In the context of economic responsibilities, I have observed that the company was not at all financially responsible. Economic responsibility of the company determines the profitability margin of the business, which means that if the company is financially viable it will automatically increase the profitability rate with a large margin (Klopotan, Aleksi? and Vinkovi? 2020). Maintaining appropriate financial measures, in accordance with the legal policies are also important for maintaining the integrity of the company. I have witnessed that the company did not have organised legal policies that are beneficial for guiding the company associates to follow the legal procedures. Henceforth, no one in the company concentrated on the unethical practices conducted by several employees within the company.

The identified situation also raised question against the company’s moral values. It can be said that the company was not responsible in terms of economy, neither it was legally viable. Appropriate legal measures would have prevented the company from practicing unethical accounting. The unethical practices conducted by some of the employees, degraded the overall value of the company as well as all the employees, which is unfair. In addition, I witnessed that none of the other employees had the chance to express their opinion regarding the unethical practices conducted in the financial departments of the company. Therefore, it can also be considered that, the employees has limited rights in the company, which is against the Human Relations theory.

The human relations theory suggests that the company is responsible for monitoring their employees, in order to understand their demands, and concerns. It helps in increasing the overall productivity rate of the company that prevents the company from facing any financial crisis, which has happened with Roli. One of my major ethical dilemma that I faced is that I was not able to share the unethical practices going on in the company with others, because it was against the company policy to share the confidential data. However, it was also unethical to support the ongoing unethical practices. However, the company authorities understood the need to stop the unethical practices, when the company went on a verge of bankruptcy for the huge amount of financial loss due to the unethical accounting practices led by the employees (Lu et al. 2020).

The stakeholder theory of Freeman can also be applied in this situation, which states that the management procedures and the business ethics of the company depends on the pre-established moral values of the company (Freeman, Phillips and Sisodia 2020). It also suggests that the company needs to value all the company associates in order to gain the primary success. I have observed that, in the company the employees has minimum values in terms of expressing their opinions, as well as the financial data of the stakeholders were also not managed properly. Therefore, it can be said that the company has avoided interests of the employees as well as the primary stakeholders, in terms of managing their financial transactions (Freudenreich, Lüdeke-Freund and Schaltegger 2020).

Evaluating the Ethically Problematic Situation

Roli has recognised the ongoing ethical problems, and has decided to take actions, in order to resolve the issues. The company faced severe financial problems in 2021, for which they had to re-structure their business operations. The company also planned to restructure their company as a beginner focused company, with new operations and innovative techniques. The company focused on developing thee economic and management structure, in order to prevent any further financial crisis from occurring. I have observed that, throughout this procedure, the company also planned to redevelop their moral values, which are also beneficial for maintaining the integrity of the overall business. The company also focused on re-introducing their product ranges, with high quality features in order to attract the customers. It is also beneficial in terms of generating more revenues that are important for revamping the financial condition of the company.

I have also witnessed that the company has established a Code of Conduct that is beneficial in terms of guiding the employees to take ethical methods in order to complete their job. One of the major step that the company has taken is to restructure the business policies and developed an administrative structure. The current purpose of the company is to develop provide high quality technical musical instruments within an affordable price range to the customers. The reason behind this purpose is that the company wants to create a transparent relationship with their customers, in order to increase the overall customer base of the company. However, only restructuring the business operations as well as the product ranges is not a completed solution for the company to resolve the ethical issues that they have faced. According to my idea, it is important to implement ethical measures such as several corporate social responsibility factor. The detailed proposed approaches to mitigate the ethical issues and dilemma of the company will be discussed in the next section.

As an employee in the concerned company, I have witnessed the ethical practices and the ultimate problems that the company has faced. Therefore, I believe that I can provide some recommendations that will be beneficial for handling the ethical crises of the company. Considering the Carroll Theory, the company should focus on all the four ethical responsibilities, which are also beneficial for developing a business (Kusyk 2021). The company can develop a CSR model, and generate the CSR practices that are also beneficial for the customers as well as the stakeholders. According to my opinion, the company can develop appropriate marketing techniques in order to attract the attention of the customers. In addition, it would be better, if the company hires financial advisors who can provide structural financial strategies that are important for managing the overall company finances (Hörisch, Schaltegger and Freeman 2020).

It is important for the company to implement financial monitoring measurements that are beneficial in terms of monitoring the financial performance of the company. Disregarding the information of the financial transactions and practicing unethical accounting was one of the major issues of the company. Therefore, monitoring the financial transactions can be beneficial for mitigating the financial issues. According to the CSR theory, economic responsibility is one of the main priority of the company; therefore, monitoring the financial information is necessary for Roli (Siltaloppi, Rajala and Hietala 2021).

Organisation’s take on Resolving the Situation

In addition, the company should also focus on developing core values that are developed in accordance with basic ethical practices. The company used to lack integrity in one of the major business operation, which is to manage the financial data. Therefore, restructuring the moral values are also important, which is beneficial for shaping the responsibilities of the company (Siltaloppi, Rajala and Hietala 2021). Another important, that I would have implemented if I was the manager of the company, which is the training and development programs. It has been observed in the previous discussion that the employees of the financial department was reluctantly working as they were not focusing on the managing the financial transaction information. Therefore, it is important to train the employees, in terms of increasing awareness regarding the importance of ethical practices in the company (Lundgren 2020). Apart from the company authorities, the employees also need to take responsibility of maintaining the integrity in the company operations; therefore, increasing their knowledge regarding the ethical measures are important.

Taking social and economic responsibilities within the business operations increases the value of the company in the market. I have observed previously that the companies, which take appropriate CSR measures, achieves a competitive advantage from the market. The proposed solutions are beneficial in terms of mitigating the issues that the company faced previously.

Conclusion

Throughout this reflective discussion, I have concluded that the maintaining Corporate Social Responsibilities, in accordance with the Carroll’s ethical Theory, is beneficial for mitigating the problems that Roli has been facing for a long time. Prioritising the economic responsibility needs to be the main purpose of the company, in terms of overcoming the ethical issues. The provided solutions based on the ethical theory perspectives are useful and efficient, because it meet the criteria for improving the financial condition of the company. These solutions are also useful for meeting the demands of the stakeholders as well as the customers, because these solutions helps in increasing transparency. Due to the implementation of the ethical measures, the integrity and reliability of the company increases, which will also help the company to achieve the trust of the customers, and achieve a valuable position in the market. Therefore, it can be stated that the ethical responsibilities has a capacity to improve the business operations as well as improve the brand image among the customers.

References

Afsar, B. and Umrani, W.A., 2020. Corporate social responsibility and pro?environmental behavior at workplace: The role of moral reflectiveness, coworker advocacy, and environmental commitment. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(1), pp.109-125.

Ferrell, O.C., Harrison, D.E., Ferrell, L. and Hair, J.F., 2019. Business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and brand attitudes: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Research, 95, pp.491-501.

Freeman, R.E., Phillips, R. and Sisodia, R., 2020. Tensions in stakeholder theory. Business & Society, 59(2), pp.213-231.

Freudenreich, B., Lüdeke-Freund, F. and Schaltegger, S., 2020. A stakeholder theory perspective on business models: Value creation for sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 166(1), pp.3-18.

Hörisch, J., Schaltegger, S. and Freeman, R.E., 2020. Integrating stakeholder theory and sustainability accounting: A conceptual synthesis. Journal of Cleaner Production, 275, p.124097.

Klopotan, I., Aleksi?, A. and Vinkovi?, N., 2020. Do business ethics and ethical decision making still matter: Perspective of different generational cohorts. Business Systems Research: International journal of the Society for Advancing Innovation and Research in Economy, 11(1), pp.31-43.

Kusyk, S., 2021. Carroll's CSR Pyramid: An Empirical Investigation of SME CSR Orientation. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 18(4), pp.100-115.

Lu, J., Ren, L., Zhang, C., Rong, D., Ahmed, R.R. and Streimikis, J., 2020. Modified Carroll’s pyramid of corporate social responsibility to enhance organizational performance of SMEs industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 271, p.122456.

Lundgren, A., 2020. Organizational culture and ethical practices while establishing businesses in the third world: How to manage it from a business perspective.

Saunders, C., Marcolin, B. and Cherneski, J., 2022. The Role of Students’ Personal Values and Ethical Ideologies in Increasing the Importance of Perceptions of Social Responsibility for Business Students: A PRME Directive. Journal of Management Education, p.10525629221077320.

Seah, D., 2021. ROLI files for bankruptcy and will reboot as beginner-focused company Luminary. [online] MusicTech. Available at: <https://musictech.com/news/industry/roli-bankruptcy-luminary-reboot-lumi/> [Accessed 14 April 2022].

Sharma, A., Agrawal, R. and Khandelwal, U., 2019. Developing ethical leadership for business organizations: A conceptual model of its antecedents and consequences. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

Siltaloppi, J., Rajala, R. and Hietala, H., 2021. Integrating CSR with business strategy: a tension management perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 174(3), pp.507-527.

Sroka, W. and Szántó, R., 2018. Corporate social responsibility and business ethics in controversial sectors: Analysis of research results. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 14(3), pp.111-126.

Sroka, W. and Szántó, R., 2018. Corporate social responsibility and business ethics in controversial sectors: Analysis of research results. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 14(3), pp.111-126.

Talonen, A., Jussila, I., Tuominen, P. and Ruuskanen, O.P., 2021. Refining the economic dimension of carroll's CSR pyramid by taking organization form into account. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 26(1).

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