Sample Ethics Paper on Ethics in the Workplace and Corporate Social Responsibility

Ethical Standards and Responsibilities

Question 1

In my comprehensive view, it is impossible to progressively develop universal set of ethical standards for businesses. As much as ethics is meant to guide a business to follow, enforce, promote good behavior, ensure fairness and promote kindness, it may be impossible to promote all these values. This is because of existing cultural differences may act as hindrances and dictate operations. For instance, what is considered illegal in one country may be legal in another and vice versa. While gay marriages is accepted and considered normal in the United States, it is illegal in Uganda. For that matter, there are no consistent ethical standards that all companies can adhere to. Nevertheless, Donaldson (1996) contends that a company has the right and mandate to develop its own set of ethical guidelines that acquires meaning. In addition, ethical standards may not be easily enforced across the world due to unique cultural differences in interpretations. In one instance, companies can promote the gender equality by treating men and women equally, while in another case it may only specify that all customers should be treated equally.

Fundamentally, it is difficult to sufficiently develop universally binding ethical standards due to personal perception enforced by culture. According to Donaldson (1996), culture precisely defines who a person is and directly impacts on global business. Thus, there are differences in the way people notice business operations and nature of their behaviors. For instance, bribery is unethical in some cultures while it is an ordinary act in some societies. As a consequence, a business can struggle to operate if it decides to enforce universal standards, since one aspect may not apply in all situations. Culture equally affects professional life of workers because their motivation and behavior are influenced by nurtured values, social orientations and experienced encountered since birth. These long-standing beliefs establish how a person perceives a particular behavior to be wrong or right. Donaldson (1996) reveals that differences exist within a culture because people conceive diverse ideas that shape ethical and unethical behavior. Otherwise, personal judgments may not concur with group decisions making it difficult to implement binding decisions. The apparent inconsistency in belief and ideas brought about by cultural differences typically makes it impossible to enforce universal ethical standards.

Question 2

Having referred to the case of Chiquita, I believe that countries should accept the responsibilities to influence ethics in countries in which they operate. Influencing ethics in countries will ensure a company follows guiding principles aimed at achieving a universal good. As follows, companies will help people in making balanced and informed decision on what they want. For instance, Chiquita ought to have asked its employees if they were still willing to continue proactively working in Colombia instead of paying a militia to protect them (Lawrence and Weber, 2016). In my view, majority of the employees may have requested to be transferred to the United States. All the same, business would have gone down, Chiquita would have prevented the death of innocent Colombians. For this reason, a company should not be driven by profits in a foreign land. In fact, Donaldson (1996) declare that companies that engage in unethical practices abroad may experience problems of dealing with its tarnished image at home countries. As a result, paying the militia to defend its employees and their families was inappropriate and unethical (Lawrence and Weber, 2016).  I tend to heartily concur with arguments of the defense attorney that represented the victims’ families. It is comprehensible that if you arm terrorists, you automatically become a terrorist. For all that, Chiquita claimed that its payment for a good purpose and not to kill innocent civilians. This shifts the discussion about responsibilities when operating away from home.

Consequently, companies need ensuring pitches that include consequences of doing business and potential benefits. As much as Chiquita sought to protect the life of its employees and their families, it was critical the company over looked the greater picture (Lawrence and Weber, 2016). Simple research on the activities of the militia would have revealed fundamental information about histories of the group. Therefore, it was unsatisfactory for Chiquita to claim they had not foreseen the consequences of their actions. Based on Donaldson (1996), a company can comfortably operate offices around the world following ethical principles designed in house. Therefore, satisfactorily establishing such standards can promote compliance throughout its local and international operations. This will prevent management and workers from engaging in unethical behaviors if they are not allowed in host countries. Additionally, through well-designed ethical standards a company can customize operations to align with international requirements. This is achieved by being clear on interests and scaling operations on countries that implement similar practices. Consequently, the tendency to desist from misleading people to perform what may potentially harm. In my view, and as supported above, Chiquita had no moral authority to arm terrorists to continue operating in Colombia. The most rational decision would be to close down operations in Colombia if the business environment was harsh and unsustainable due to threats.

Corporations Manufacturing and Distributing Genetically Modified Foods

Section1: Introduction

The production of genetically modified foods (GMOs) has opened up new horizons aimed at improving nutrition. In addition, genetically modified seeds can yield more food compared to the natural ones. Unfortunately, the development of GMOs has been hijacked and abused by selfish corporations like Monsanto to generate more profits and please shareholders at the expense of human health and welfare across the world. As a result, there has been sustained debate over the potential of GMOs in ensuring food security and improving agricultural practices across the globe. Majority believe that the original idea of developing GMOs was noble but corporate greed took over along the way. These companies are expected to support the society including farmers. However, reveal that corporations developing GMOs have failed in the responsibilities to families, community, countries, and the world.

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) readily availing vital information to farmers has been undermined by the organizations. This is because most of the research are carried out with personal interests, and always supported by the same companies producing GMOs. Ghiselle (2013) asserts that companies like Monsanto do not wish to alarm the public with their findings. In addition, these companies have gone ahead to patent a resulting genes from these processes. For this reason, they have denied the public opportunity to question certain unclear aspect. Going forward, ethical issues arise in the development of GMOs. It is justly estimated that about 75 percent of plant genetics has been lost since farmers started planting GMO crops (Ghiselle, 2013). This has led to the neglect of indigenous species. In addition, a farmer aspiring to continue planting non-genetic crops must invest heavily in securing their crops from contamination. Besides, the over reliance on GMOs has increased the risks to pests and diseases which affect the quality and quantity of yield in the long run. Therefore, the parties involved in the CSR and ethics are the companies like Monsanto, farmers, independent researchers, local communities, and the entire world population.

Section 2: Rationale using methods of ethical reasoning

Utility method of ethical reasoning looks at the behavior and actions. Under this principle an action is considered right if it enthusiastically promotes pleasure and happiness, and wrong if it causes unhappiness or pain. According to Dedeke (2015), this principle is founded on the need to promote good life within communities as people consistently engage in experiences of pleasure or happiness. Ordinarily, people derive pleasure when they perform activities like eating and engaging in sex. Conversely, people experience pain when such activities remain unfulfilled. The principle of utility secures its foundation on utilitarianism dictating that pleasure is derived when obtaining the greatest happiness for the most considerable number of people (Dedeke, 2015). In view of the aforesaid cases, majority of famers around the world do not derive pleasure with the introduction of GMOs. This is because it is difficult to continue planting original genetic plants they are accustomed to.

Ethical reasoning based on rights refers to those aspects that society deems to be appropriate. For example right of life, speech and freedom. The rights as prescribed are universally considered right because they enjoy endorsement of societies. In addition, an individual bestowed these interests are those with the necessary resources to implement such rights. Based on this reasoning, an individual must completely recognize characteristics of myriad rights in society (Elm and Radin, 2012).  In point of fact, each country across the world has its own prescribed rights accorded to its citizens. In Canada, employees have the claims to work in safe and healthy environments. In modifying the interest within a community, it is imperative to design it strategic goals and priorities. These priorities will then be used to decide on the appropriate rights critically in support progress of people and community. In the case of developing GMOs, as much as it assists in the production of crops that withstand harsh environmental conditions, it does not support certain prerogatives. From the case, ordinary farmers have to invest in cushioning their plants to avoid contamination. For a long time, people have practiced sustainable agriculture in rural villages managing original genetic seeds. This right has been undermined with the introduction of GMOs in society.

Principle of justice prescribes that decision-making should focus on fair and just actions. According to Elm and Radin (2012), ethical decisions should be consistent with ethical theories if there is some evidence of justice within a case. Furthermore, cases with justifying circumstances should envisage significant and vital differences from same cases that justify inconsistent decisions. In the case of developing GMOs, the companies are driven by greed and perform great injustice to the farmers. There is substantial loss of genetic plants. Farmers need protection to prevent contamination from GMOs and the over reliance on these new crops has increased the risks of pests and diseases.

In my splendid view, utility method of reason best evaluates the ethical issues raise in the case. Several ethical issues are identified in the case of developing GMOs. According to utility philosophy of reasoning, the consistent development of GMOs is an immoral act as it does not constitute happiness to the most considerable number of people. For this reason, only the companies derive please as they are driven by greed and pursuit of profits. In the case of the farmers, there is a tendency to neglect the original species of crops leading to potential loss of genetic plants. Further, those that decide to continue planting original seeds must protect their crops from cross-pollination. This adds more burdens to the farmers who are already struggling to keep up with the pace of technological development. Finally, the overreliance on GMOs increase has increased risks of pests and diseases which detrimentally affect farming. Therefore, utility principle best describes that anything that yields maximum pleasure to the people be considered ethically correct. A person should typically perform an action that benefits most people in society (Elm and Radin, 2012). This is not the case because companies like Monsanto are controlled by the urge to generate more profits to their shareholders.

Section 3: Impacts to family

The impacts of corporations manufacturing GMOS are directly affecting family units. Since these companies are driven by profits, they have designed grains called terminator or suicide that are only planted once. Therefore, reusing seed that has been our tradition is no longer sustainable when using GMO seeds. These seeds cannot germinate a second time. Accordingly, my family has to endure more costs in purchasing new seeds for the new planting season.

Section 4: Impacts to community

The action of these corporations is pushing my community to abject poverty. The seeds and chemicals developed don not come cheaply for community. The community must adjust and pay so much for the grain. Considering suicide seeds can only be used once, the community is finding it hard to survive yet members were accustomed to agricultural practices with minimal costs (Gertsberg, 2011). Sections of my community have completely been pushed away from agricultural jobs as operations are unsustainable. As well, the innovation has allowed corporations to obtain patents which restrict the sharing of grains or further research to investigate side effects of their seeds.

The companies are the only parties allowed to conduct research and will only engage a non-independent researcher that they can manipulate. Consequently, any researcher willing to research about GMOs is denied funding or completely prevented from undertaking such an investigation. These acts fall under corporate gluttony. On top of that, these entities have the power to sue my community framers even if the non-GMO farms are cross-pollinated. We all know that phenomenon like cross-pollination occur naturally and at times farmers can do nothing to discontinue it. As a result, manufacturing and distributions of GMOs has negatively impacts on supreme power and independence of my community farmers (Bartolotto, 2013).  The fact of the matter is GMO development has led to global famine and concentrated poverty since the seeds are developed, controlled and protected under law by companies like Monsanto. The organizations continue benefiting through expansions, increased profits and continue to manipulate farmers into submission.

Section 5: Impacts to the country

The activities of corporations manufacturing GMOs have a serious ramification to the country. According to Carpenter (2011), in Canada, farmers are undoubtedly suffering from fierce competition from entities like Monsanto, Dow, AgraEvo, and Zeneca. These organizations are secretly rolling out products that failed trials, continue to manipulate the systems and refusing to make known funding to clinics and universities within the United States. They have gone to the extreme of adamantly denying researchers the funding for ambitious projects touching on their products, and indeed threatened some scientists in Canada for withholding approval. The private corporations are turning out to be exploiters and conspiring with powerful institutions to take control over agricultural activities and food production. They know that if they can control food, then it is possible to dominate not only a country but the whole world.

The claims that GMOs are improving on food security is false. As indicated by The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization many people die because of hunger annually (Ghiselle, 2013).  In fact, according to this same report, hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Therefore, corporations manufacturing GMOs ate driven with private interests to generate more revenue and not concern with improving food security. The country is struggling to improve the welfare of farmers, yet companies like Monsanto continue draining their coffer through their apparent innovative products. Aside from food security, evidence shows the country is struggling to address health risks resulting from consumption of GMO products (Wozniak and McHughen, 2012). Today, if you go to an organic food store there are extraordinary chances you will find correctly labeled “with GMO” and “without GMO” foods. This is due to the public outcry on the negative impacts of GMO product to the human body (Cornish, 2018). Within the country, GMO technology has been pushed on unsuspicious farmers and consumers. In this way, the country is struggling to address the negative impacts of GMO products on the economy and health of its people.

 

References

Bartolotto, C. (2013). Why genetically modified foods should be labeled. HuffPost: Food for

Thought. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/why-genetically-modified-food_b_4039114.html

Carpenter, J. (2011). Impact of GE crops on biodiversity. GM Crops, 2, no. 1, 7–23,

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Cornish, L. (2018). How do corporations perceive their role in the GMO debate? Devex,

Retrieved from https://www.devex.com/news/how-do-corporations-perceive-their-role-in-the-gmo-debate-92507.

Dedeke, A. (2015). A cognitive-intuitionist model of moral judgment. Journal of Business

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Donaldson, T. (1996). Values in tension: Ethics away from home. Harvard Business Review,

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Elm, D. and Radin, T. (2012). Ethical decision making: Special or no different? Journal of

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Gertsberg, D. (2011). Loss of biodiversity and genetically modified crops. GMO Journal: Food

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Ghiselle, K. (2013). Genetically-modified food: For human need or corporate greed? Marxist,

            Retrieved from https://www.marxist.com/gmo-human-need-corporate-greed.htm.

Lawrence, A. and Weber, J. (2016). Business and Society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy

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Wozniak, C. and McHughen, A. (2012). Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: The United

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