Sample Management Essays on Business and Society

Part A

Question 1

The primary stakeholders’ concerns and the major challenge that the Coca-Cola Company faced was the quality and availability of freshwater. The impact of water use on the local communities in areas where the company operated was immense. The huge amount of water that Coca-Cola was using in its production process without replenishing was putting pressure on the groundwater and other water supplies. For example, activists complained that the company’s bottling plants in Kerala, India were consuming too much water, thus depriving the local communities of water supply for drinking and irrigation purposes. Another group, organized in the United States, attempted to convince the consumers to boycott Coca-Cola products for failing to address the water use concerns (Lawrence & Weber, 2014).  Another issue that the enterprise faced was the health hazard that its products posed. Indeed, the Center for Science and Environment claimed that Coca-Cola’s products were not safe for human consumption since they contained high levels of pesticide residues.  The general public expected that being one of the world’s largest companies, Coca-Cola was obliged to provide customers with safe products free from any contamination (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). Additionally, company’s water needs and production activities should not jeopardize the community’s ability to meet its water needs. Evidently, the corporation did not live up to these expectations, as demonstrated in the case. These complaints in various parts of the world where Coca-Cola operated indicate the existence of a performance-expectation gaps between the company and local communities.

Question 2

If the strategic radar screen model was to be applied in the case of the Coca-Cola Company, only four out of the eight potential environments would be applicable. These include the geophysical, social, legal, and customer environments. Given that the main concerns, in this case, are depletion of water supplies and contaminated products, the geophysical environment is the most relevant environment.

The Coca-Cola Company was tainted for depleting water, which is an essential commodity and a natural resource. The inefficiency in water usage resulting in limited access to safe drinking water for the local communities led to the shutting down of some bottling plants in India. The push by local officials, coupled with complaints by activists and other lobby groups, for the enterprise to embrace environmental sustainability in its production activities forced Coca-Cola to undertake an extensive survey to assess its water management practices and impacts (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). Consequently, the firm developed a water neutrality plan whose aim is to replenish to the community the amount of water equal to what it consumes in production by 2020.

Question 3

Coca-Cola responded appropriately because it took the concerns of the general public seriously. One of the company’s water neutrality goals is to only discharge water used in production if it is safe enough to support aquatic life. Additionally, the company reaffirmed its commitment to participate in conservation programs across the world, including rainwater collection, sustainable irrigation, and conservation of rivers (McWilliams, Siegel & Wright, 2006). Finally, the company announced during the release of the 2011 financial year results that it had reduced the water ratio by 13 percent. It further estimated that at least 39 percent of the bottling plants were using recycled water to produce. By committing to using water efficiently in its production operations and not disposing waste carelessly, the company demonstrated willingness to ensure the wellness of the community. Thus, I believe that Coca-Cola responded positively to the concern raised by the communities in the areas where it operated.

Part B: Tobacco Industry Case

Section 1

The issue of banning smoking in public places and secondary smoke health problems affects both the primary and secondary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders are directly influenced by an issue and they conduct economic transactions with the tobacco industry. on the other hand, the secondary stakeholders are the individuals or groups who are not directly involved in the economic exchange with the industry but they are affected or can be by the actions of the industry (Kim, 2009). Each othese stakeholders would be affected differently.

The primary stakeholders include Tobacco companies, Cigarette selling stores, Tobacco processing firms, tobacco farmers, advertising companies, and the buyers. These parties benefit directly from economic transactions involving tobacco. The manufacturing companies seek to increase the shareholders’ equity while the customers gain from satisfaction from consuming tobacco. The media house owners generate millions of dollars from advertising cigarettes through mainstream media. These stakeholders would negatively be affected by a ban on smoking in public places. For instance, Per Kim, any policy that limits smoking to certain areas affects the companies selling tobacco-related products through reduced sales (Kim, 2009). The secondary stakeholders are likely to face resistance from the primary stakeholders due to the ban. More court cases and litigations are more likely to be initiated in the fight against the ban.

In the event of a ban on smoking tobacco in the public areas, the secondary stakeholders who will be affected are the nonsmokers, the government, and anti-smoking groups and institutions. The government is responsible for making policies for the citizens thus will be affected by the positive and negative outcomes of the ban. For example, the government must decide whether the ban applies to the indoor or outdoor public places or both. Similarly, the government must develop the implementation plan and make it public through advertising in a manner that attracts support from the general public. The government must also be ready to face resistance since the citizens and tobacco corporations may not support the policy (Kim, 2009). The non-smokers would benefit from such a ban because it would protect them from the dangers associated with secondhand smoke, including asthma and lung conditions. Additionally, these individuals are likely be in support of the ban because of its chances of helping them. The anti-smoking agencies and groups are also likely to support the ban since their very motive is to reduce the impacts of smoking. That goal would certainly be achieved through banning smoking in public places.

Section 2

Tobacco industry is a big threat for the society, and as a member of society and being an indirect stakeholder, my family likely to be affected by the policies and marketing strategies of the tobacco industry. Cigarette smoking claims over 480,000 lives every year in the United States alone. Furthermore, over 41,000 passive smokers die every year from secondhand smoke in the United States (Sasco, Secretan & Straif, 2004). smokers die ten years earlier than non-smokers, which shows the health impacts of smoking. Out of these deaths, 70% of them are caused by lung cancer and other lung illnesses, while 10% of are from heart diseases. Indeed, a ban on smoking in public places through aggressive advertising on the mainstream media and radio, tobacco companies influence non-smokers and the youth to start smoking. It is a well-known fact that cigarettes and other tobacco products are among the most marketed consumer products both in the US and outside. These adverts have contributed to the growth of the tobacco industry and the expansion of the market. Although tobacco companies argue that their marketing strategies are not meant to lure the youth and non-smokers to use tobacco rather to compete with the rival companies on market share, their argument is far from the truth. As a result, banning smoking in public places and restricting advertisement of the product is likely to discourage smoking thus reduce the chances of members of my family suffering the consequences of tobacco.

I am a strong supporter of personal freedom of choice, but one’s right should not infringe on that of another. Secondhand smoke, which is a result of smoking, is associated with many health problems, including asthma, respiratory attacks, and death of infants. it comprises of a combination of smoke released by the smokers and the smoke emitted from the burning of the end of a cigarette. Additionally, it is harmful because it contains numerous chemicals that are toxic (Wilson, Duncan & Nicholson, 2004). Inhaling secondhand smoke puts the non-smokers already suffering from acute illnesses, such as respiratory diseases, heart diseases, or lung problems, at a higher risk of dying quickly from these illnesses. Secondhand smoke has been reported to cause lung cancer among adults who have never smoked. The longer a passive smoker is exposed to secondhand smoke, the higher the risk of contracting lung cancer and other diseases. As a result, banning smoking in public is likely to save my family members from the mentioned dangers. Nevertheless, it is unlikely to save those exposed to second hand smoke in their homes.

Section 3

If I held an executive position is a tobacco industry company, I would remain steady to my occupation. I would be committed to my work of ensuring that the organization stays profitable. However, I would develop a plan that ensures that the company fulfills its social responsibilities. Various measures can be put in place to ensure that a company remains true to its goal of maximizing the shareholders’ equity while being socially responsible at the same time (Palazzo, G., & Richter, 2005). One of the areas where the company will focus is education in the form of scholarships and grants. Thousands of needy but bright students will benefit from the multi-million dollars education program across the world. Where there is acute shortage of schools, the company will start from scratch and build new schools to promote access to education for all.

Another initiative that the company would take is the rolling out community-level development projects. For example, in line with the goal of providing healthcare for all, the company will provide financial and technical support for non-governmental organizations working in global health research. Further, since tobacco companies are not by law allowed to advertise their products, the company will partner with various TV shows to reach out to various audiences. For example, the company will partner with popular comedy shows to educate the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke (Palazzo, G., & Richter, 2005). Using popular comedians who attract a huge fan base, the company will make it clear that smoking in the public puts others at a higher risk of developing acute disorders.

Having effective warning labels on our products will increase the knowledge of the consumers and potential smokers about the risks associated with smoking. Besides influencing the future decisions of potential smokers, these labels can encourage serial smokers to quit, and discourage ex-smokers from turning back. As Palazzo & Richter (2005) observed, customers find warning labels more attractive when they include certain features such symbols or colors. As such, the company will include conspicuous warning labels in our products to increase the noticeability of the smokers and potential smokers.

Section 4

It is the responsibility of the government to provide a healthy and safe environment for the general public while allowing the smokers room to smoke if its aim is to impose a partial ban. While implementing a ban on smoking in public, the government must provide controlled areas for smokers away from the general public. Additionally, the government should ensure that the policy is specific enough, to avoid loopholes that could render the policy ineffective. For example, the legislation should state to what extent ventilated smoking rooms are allowed, whether and how far away from a building is smoking allowed, and whether smoking is banned in workplaces and in private vehicles occupied by children.

Public health officials consider smoking bans as strategies to reduce the rate of smoking and promoting better health outcomes. A ban on smoking in public is considered part of the government’s effort to reduce the demand for tobacco products by creating an environment that makes it difficult for people to start smoking and discouraging the smokers from the habit. Given that the government is obliged to influence the social norms of its citizens, a ban on smoking in public places would help in shifting the norms to more useful habits. Indeed, if executed well, smoke bans support behavior changes and contribute to healthy lifestyles (Farquharson, 2003). For example, the implementation of a comprehensive smoke-free law that prohibited smoking in indoor areas, including restaurants, workplaces, and bars in the States of Arizona in 201 was associated with reduced hospital admissions for illnesses such as heart attacks, asthma, and stroke compared to States without a smoking ban.

Section 5

The media plays a big role in shaping public opinion. It includes all channels of communication like newspapers, TV shows and movies, radio adverts, social media platforms, and blog posts. Whenever there is a controversial issue touching the public, various stakeholders attempt to shift the public opinion using these media platforms. For instance, a cigarette selling company may put up an advert with a popular Hollywood actor smoking in a public place to promote the habit (Happer & Philo, 2013). Such an advertisement is likely to boost the sales of that particular cigarette due to celebrity endorsement. The same effect was witnessed in the 1960s when Audrey Hepburn made a popular style statement when he was featured with an oversized cigarette holder during the breakfast show in Tiffany’s. However, the government might use the same appeal to turn around things by using an actor or a basketball player to promote the cause of no smoking in public places. In liberal democracies, the general public, through the media, holds accountable the executive, judiciary, and legislative arm of the government.

Through the media, the government reports a new policy, and citizens learn how it will influence their lives. The government then collects the feedback on its policy through the same media. The manner in which a new policy is featured in the press determines how the general public perceives it. A private TV channel owned by the stakeholders of the cigarette industry is likely to show the negative effects of a smoking ban policy to influence the viewers to reject it. On the other hand, chances are that a government-owned TV channel will reveal only the positive aspects of the policy to persuade the public to support it. In essence, the media acts as the outlet through which the stakeholders and the policymakers control the flow of information to the general public. The fundamental role of the media is to critically examine the government in terms of policies to ensure that the public can hold it accountable (Happer & Philo, 2013). However, the increased deregulation of the media houses across the world has reduced the ability of the public to take part in the policy-making processes meaningfully as opposed to traditionally, when the influence of the media on the policymaking process occurred in a straightforward manner. Journalists were clearly separated from the political class and the governing bodies, which meant that media investigations arising from public outcry prompted huge changes in public opinion.

References

Farquharson, K. (2003). Influencing policy transnationally: pro‐and anti‐tobacco global advocacy networks. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 62(4), 80-92.

Happer, C., & Philo, G. (2013). The role of the media in the construction of public belief and social change. Journal of social and political psychology, 1(1), 321-336.

Kim, B. (2009). Workplace smoking ban policy and smoking behavior. J Prev Med Public Health, 42(5), 293-7.

Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2014). Business and society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

McWilliams, A., Siegel, D. S., & Wright, P. M. (2006). Corporate social responsibility: Strategic implications. Journal of management studies, 43(1), 1-18.

Palazzo, G., & Richter, U. (2005). CSR business as usual? The case of the tobacco industry. Journal of Business Ethics61(4), 387-401.

Sasco, A. J., Secretan, M. B., & Straif, K. (2004). Tobacco smoking and cancer: a brief review of recent epidemiological evidence. Lung cancer, 45, S3-S9.

Wilson, R., Duncan, D. F., & Nicholson, T. (2004). Public attitudes toward smoking bans in a tobacco-producing county. Southern Medical Journal, 97(7), 645-651