Management and Ethics Paper, 2 full page, total word count: 630. Paper Assignment Outcome: Complete and use a set of

Management and Ethics Paper, 2 full page, total word count: 630.

Paper Assignment

Outcome: Complete and use a set of guidelines for ethical decision making

1. As you gain more information about ethical decision making, you will be better able to develop your conception of the “ideal” ethical manager. The PRIMO article attached below, by Thompson (2008), will give you some practical guidance. Read this article and make a short, minimum 1-page, easy to use list of principles that will serve to guide ethical decision making for your “ideal” manager in the ideal workplace:

The assignment concept is to evaluate 1) how you are personally as an individual, 2) how you conduct yourself at work, and 3) what you’d expect from your company. Do you hold your personal standards at work, are you tougher at work and expect more from your employees, do you expect more from the company than you are willing to provide, etc…??

Guidelines for decisions in the workplace (bullets are fine):

Personal:

Professional (as an agent of the organization):

Organizational (values commonly held by decision makers):

Reference:

Thompson, R. (2008, September). Short-Term Profit vs. Long-Term Gain: Is Honesty Still the Best Policy? Physician Executive, 34(5), 80-82. Retrieved December 18, 2008, from Business Source Premier database. (Attached in file)

2. In addition to submitting your guidelines for personal, professional, and organizational decision making, write a 2-page minimum paper answering the question posed by the case study (listed below).

Case Study:

Procter & Gamble: A Problem for the CEO

Headquarters, Cincinnati, Ohio . “What’s that?” you wonder as you look out your window. A small group of people is gathered on the sidewalk at the end of the wisteria gardens in front of the main headquarters of Procter & Gamble. If you squint, you can see they’re holding signs, but the only text you can make out is the word “PETA” in big letters across the bottom. “Just great,” you think to yourself.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal-rights group more commonly known by the acronym PETA, raises more than $25 million a year from its 1.6 million members and supporters. PETA not only campaigns for animal rights, but also funds less known animal-rights groups to engage in activism. PETA is extremely adept at organizing public campaigns and mobilizing the public to boycott companies. Its public-relations tactics include celebrity endorsements, traveling displays of animal abuse, and creative on-site demonstrations. Even large international companies like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC have bowed to pressure from PETA. In response to aggressive campaigns, all three have issued strict humane animal handling guidelines to suppliers of beef, pork, and chicken and enforce those standards with unannounced audits of production farms and processing plants.

PETA has been known to use pretty crude tactics. In one instance, a viral ad featuring scantily clad women with cow udders instead of breasts was distributed in the UK as part of a campaign against milk drinking and production. PETA had hoped to air a television version of the ad on the ABC network in the United States during the Super Bowl, but was told the execution “falls outside boundaries of good taste.” Mimicking television shows like Girls Gone Wild, in which women are encouraged to disrobe for cameras, PETA’s “Milk Gone Wild” ad shows models dancing in a bar, surrounded by men drinking glasses of milk. When the women tear off their tops, they expose cows udders. In another instance, PETA successfully launched a six-year campaign of intimidation against the owners, staff, and suppliers of a farm that bred guinea pigs for scientific research. Their tactics, denounced as mob rule by some in the medical research community, included hate mail, malicious phone calls, death threats, fireworks, a pedophile smear campaign, car vandalism, arson attacks, and finally the theft of the remains of a relative of the farm owner from the churchyard cemetery. It is clear that PETA will do anything to achieve its goals.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) does not use animals to test the safety of its cosmetics, shampoos, detergents, cleansers, and paper goods; it does, however, use animals to test the safety of new drugs, health-care products, and products intended for use on babies and children. Nonetheless, P&G still draws protests from PETA in the form of PETA’s “Died” advertising campaign, based on P&G’s best-selling laundry detergent Tide. The “Died” ad shows a woman holding a box of “Died” detergent with the words “Thousands of Animals Died for Your Laundry” boldly written on the box. PETA is urging consumers to boycott all P&G products until the company ends all forms of animal testing.

From P&G’s perspective, eliminating animal testing altogether could compromise safety, as testing is critical to producing safe products for its customers. P&G has to know, for example, that a product will not cause injury if children accidentally swallow it or get it into their eyes. Furthermore, in the event that a product liability lawsuit is filed against the company, its best legal defense would be the scientific testing it performs on rats and rabbits.

As the CEO of P&G should you, as PETA demands, eliminate all animal testing? Or, by minimizing but not eliminating animal testing, has P&G achieved a reasonable balance that still allows it to make sure its products are safe? The last things you need are product liability lawsuits against P&G. PETA is at best a secondary stakeholder. Customers, on the other hand, are a primary stakeholder group, so customer safety is a critical concern. If PETA launches new campaigns and boycotts, it could rally primary stakeholders including potential customers against the company, which in turn could hurt revenue, and declining revenues could affect stockholders (another primary stakeholder), and may even lead to downsizing affecting employees, yet another primary stakeholder group. PETA’s aggressive tactics and history of misrepresentation of facts are cause for concern. The buck stops with the CEO! What is the most socially responsible thing to do?

Describe how P&G’s CEO would identify the problem presented by PETA to each stakeholder group, state what steps to take (using the ethical decision-making guidelines you developed), and explain how to approach each group.

Tip: Remember to draw from the material you have been reading in both texts.

NOTE: Please ensure assignment meets formatting and length requirements as dictated in the syllabus.

Proofreading is a must. Poor misspellings, punctuation, grammar, fragmented / incomplete / run-on sentences, or deviations from the instructions in this paragraph will be deducted from the overall grade of the paper.


Ethical Aspects
Short-Term Profit vs. Long-Term Gain:
Is Honesty Still the Best Policy?
on similarities, meaning that a short
In a recent article, Ethisphere
list of ordinarily accepted guidelines
magazine published its 2008
threads through almost every ethical
list of “The World’s Most Ethical
theory.
Companies.”1 Ethisphere bills
This list of time-tested guideitself as a research-based institute.
lines, or ethical principles, ordinarily
Its first-listed supporter is the
includes truth telling, integrity/honPractising (sic) Law Institute.
esty, fairness/justice, wisdom, courRichard
Thompson
is
former
vice
The 2008 list is a commendage, caring, moderation/temperance,
president
of
the
Illinois
Hospital
able effort and useful in some ways.
a sense of community, respect, courAssociation,
he
taught
ethics
at
St.
However, first and foremost, the
tesy, vision, and duty.
Petersburg College and Missouri
effort confirms the corporate world’s
Those guidelines (principles,
State University, and is author of
failure to grasp the essential essence
Think Before You Believe, Xlibris,
values) are consistent and objective,
of genuine ethical behavior. One rea2005. He can be reached at
yet their meaning changes over time
son for this failure is that understandtmaret@sbcglobal.net.
due to social and cultural shifts. For
ing requires thinking, thinking takes
example, when a man and a woman
time, and executives think that they
who are married but not to each
have no time to think, because “time
other have lunch together, is that “cheating?”
costs money.”
In the early 1900s, a man having lunch with a
Au contraire. In this instance, not taking time to think
woman not his wife was surely a scoundrel. A woman
costs money.
having lunch with a man not her husband certainly must
Ethics answers the question: How do men and
be a hussy. However, today men and women friends and
women decide what they will and will not do? The
co-workers have lunch together on a regular basis with
answer is: Each of us knowingly or unknowingly acts
no interest at all in an adulterous relationship. (I hasten to
according to a code of behavior established not by conadd that intra-marital behavior remains a prime example
scious thought but by cumulative actions.
of the need for ethical and moral guidelines.)2
Traditional theoretical ethics is tied closely to phiDisagreement about the exact nature of ethics will
losophy and therefore is largely ignored. Old-time ethical
be around until the end of time. However, few deny one
theorists catalogued actions according to various schools
practical fact. There is often a wide disconnect between
of thought.
one’s avowed behavioral principles and one’s observed
For example, a teenager who breaks a date to go to
activities. A person who strongly believes that common
the mall with imploring friends is said to exhibit a utilitarcourtesy and mutual respect are the glue that holds civiian ethic. She is willing to ignore a duty to one to maxilized society together might nevertheless drive like a
mize happiness by satisfying the group. Actually teenagcrazed road hog.
ers don’t think that way. Not many adults do, either. So
Everything about personal codes of behavior applies
much for traditional philosophical ethics.
also to corporate codes of behavior. Corporate ethics is
about how a company’s leaders decide what they will
More than a mind game
and will not do. Period.
Today’s most useful ethicists, in my view, are those
Traditional corporate ethics is tied closely to philosophy
who consider ethics more than a mind game focusing on
and therefore is largely ignored. Articles were written about
differences between ethical theories. They focus instead
80
september • october 2008
the PhysicianExecutive
which school of thought health care
organizations should adopt.
For example, should utilitarian business practices be applied
unchanged to the health care business? Cut a money-losing service
even if it is essential to caring for
the served community? Or should
the professional, caring ethic prevail?
Actually executives don’t think that
way except in public. So much for
traditional philosophical business
ethics.
Today’s principles-based practical ethics is a different matter
altogether. The idea is to focus on
a short list of ordinarily accepted
guidelines. That list of measuring
Corporate ethics is about how a
company’s leaders decide what they
will and will not do.
the PhysicianExecutive
september • october 2008 81
sticks, for companies as well as for
individuals, ordinarily includes truth
telling, integrity/honesty, fairness/
justice, wisdom, courage, caring,
moderation/temperance, a sense of
community, respect, vision and duty.
Those guidelines (principles,
values) are consistent and objective, yet their meaning changes over
time due to social and cultural shifts.
By the way, note that a company’s
behavioral code is a private matter,
but that does not mean it can be
kept secret. The company’s actions
loudly proclaim its leaders’ view of
the world and the people in it, their
values, their vision or lack of it.
Actions vs. Words
Finally, after all the theorizing
about organizational ethics is done,
one fact cannot be denied. There is
often a wide disconnect between the
prominently posted corporate code
of ethics and what actually happens
after the board room door closes.
With that ethical perspective in
mind, I found four things about the
Ethisphere effort interesting.
First and foremost, the article
makes the usual mistake of conflating genuine ethical behavior with
minimal legal and regulatory compliance. Ethisphere’s starting point for
declaring companies ethical is avoidance of “bribery, discrimination,
fraud, or any number of other illegal
activities.”
That isn’t positive, proactive
ethical behavior. That’s the way to
stay out of prison. The difference
between compliance behavior and
ethical behavior is the difference
between day and night.
Rules and regulations stimulate
brilliant thinking about ways to comply with one hand while continuing
business as usual with the other.
Genuine ethical behavior stimulates
change where change is needed.
If the list is 2008’s Most Compliant
Companies, then let’s call it that.
Secondly, several blogs respond82
ing to this article are on point.3
Certainly they highlight the controversial nature of attempts to be ethical and to evaluate ethical behavior.
Some bloggers were highly skeptical.
Here are some of the comments:
• “My company is listed. Either
someone was paid off or no one
visited the western branch.”
• “Funny, one listed has been outsourcing its works staff to India
and China, and letting go of it’s
(sic) American work force in
search of cheap labor.”
•“ (The list) suggests a very simplistic sense of what “ethics” is–
doing what you can legally get
away with?”
Some bloggers applauded the
list and their own companies for
considering ethical business practices a high priority subject. And
one blogger tweaked neo-capitalist
executives and managers by quoting
Leona Helmsley: ”Ethics are (sic) for
little people.”
Third, comments made by some
leaders of companies named most
ethical are quite useful because they
really do deal with ethical considerations.
• “Take care of employees and they
will take care of the company.”
• “We believe people should be
treated with respect.”
And finally, arguably the
most important contribution of
Ethisphere’s effort: More than once
the linchpin key to ethical behavior
at all levels of a company is emphasized. Genuine ethical corporate
behavior has to be stimulated from
the top. Period.
So what priority should be given
to ethics efforts in a profit-taking
business? Frankly, that depends on
your goal. Rewards of ethical behavior are primarily long-term net gains,
the price of which can be short-term
losses and expenses. Therefore, hon-
september • october 2008 the PhysicianExecutive
esty is only the best policy if you
want to sustain the business and its
customer base over time.
If your only interest is maximizing this quarter’s bottom line, then
the best policies for you to adopt are
lying, cheating and stealing.
References
1.
2008 World’s Most Ethical Companies.
http://ethisphere.com/wme2008/
2.
Thompson RE. Think Before You Believe.
Chapter 14 Sex. Philadelphia, XLibris,
2004.
3.
http://ethisphere.com/wme2008/
(Scroll down to view the blogs)

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