It is impossible to establish ethical standards and practices that can be utilized to guide all forms of businesses in the global society. Developing universal standards would require individuals to have similar social, religious, and cultural beliefs, which is impossible. According to Donaldson (1996), all communities across the world have different definitions of various practices, making it impossible to guide them with a universal set of laws and practice. The variation may be based on various factors, such as what is right or wrong and what is moral or immoral. Considering that all communities across the world have different perceptions about various practices, it would be challenging to set a universal set of standards to guide them. However, it would be important if all communities are allowed to formulate their laws and practices to guide business operations and practices within given populations.
There is some level of unethicality in establishing a universal set of ethical standards for businesses by including a particular culture’s laws and practices and excluding other cultures’ laws and practices. However, it is easier to include some general practices, such as bribery, that may have negative implications on all global communities. This notion means that all companies ought to account for their practices that might have adverse impacts on various communities and local environments.
Companies do not have the right to impact the laws and practices of new countries they operate in by incorporating their home countries’ ethical standards, rather they have to follow the ethical standards of the new countries of operations. According to Donaldson, (1996), the practice of a corporation attempting to demonstrate that its home country ethical standards are superior than that of a new country it is operating in is called ethical imperialism. By a firm performing its responsibilities in a new country the same way it does in its home country, it demonstrates that the ethical standards and practices of the organization’s home country are superior to those of its new country of operation. It is unethical for a company to assume that ethical standards and practices of business are the same in all countries. Every company must ensure people, communities, and local environments in the new countries they undertake their business are not negatively affected by their operations and practices (Lawrence, & Weber, 2017). Therefore, before a company decides to operate in a new country, it should assess the ethical standards and practices that it needs to adhere to and come up with strategies of how to integrate such standards and practices into its operations. However, people from such a company’s home country may criticize it for integrating another country’s laws and practices into its operations, rather than maintaining the home country’s ethical standards in its operations and practices.
It is easier for individuals and communities to realize that a firm has not incorporated the required ethical standards and practices by closely monitoring the organization’s operations and practices. Not adhering to a new country’s ethical values may prove costly for a firm because it may end up having its license of operation withdrawn and asked to pay hefty fines for going against the country’s laws. Every corporation needs to ensure that they adhere to the ethical values of new countries they operate in. Furthermore, every corporation should castigate the beliefs that their home country’s ethical standards and practices are superior to others. Instead, they should treat them equally and abide by the laws of a new country as they do back in their home country.
Part B: Walmart’s Move to Set-Up Operations in Canadian Cities and Towns
Section 1. Introduction
Walmart started its operations in Canada in 1994 after it bought Woolco Canada. Woolco was an American-based discount retail chain, founded in 1962 by F.W. Woolworth Company (Cooke, 2018). After Walmart entered the Canadian market, it has since then expanded its operations to various cities and towns across the country. The retail giant plays an important role in the country’s economy as it operates several stores in Canadian towns and cities. Walmart is estimated to have operated 411 stores across the Canadian cities and towns as of 2019 (Shewmake, Siegel, & Hiatt, 2019). Since the company started its operations in Canada, it integrated one effective strategy of selling its products and services to customers under one roof. Customers have since enjoyed the convenience of purchasing products and services under-one-roof, all related to Walmart Canada’s efforts to ensure that consumers do not get exhausted by walking from one store to another to purchase various products. Walmart has come up with various strategies to improve the welfare of Canadian people and communities and protect the local environments.
Walmart has come up with initiatives to help solve various problems that Canadians experienced before, such as lack of market for the local produce and unemployment. For instance, the Canadian locals and communities once claimed that they could not get better markets to sell their products. Walmart purchases the local produce and sells them locally and internationally at lower prices compared to its competitors. By doing so, the company has increased job opportunities in Canada. For instance, the retail giant has created job opportunities for drivers who take the local-food products from the farms to the stores and others like sales representatives. Besides, the company has also focused on remitting taxes to federal, provincial, and local governments in Canada to help improve the country’s economy. The retail giant has helped to improve the Canadian economy and the welfare of local people and communities. Some of the stakeholders that have been positively influenced by Walmart’s initiatives include all levels of Canadian government such as federal and provincial, suppliers, consumers, and farmers. Despite the positive implications the retail giant has had on the mentioned stakeholders, Walmart has negatively impacted medium and small-sized businesses by driving them out of the Canadian market. The retailer is criticized for driving the medium and small-sized businesses from the market and causing environmental problems.
Local environments across Canada have been adversely affected by Walmart’s unsustainable practices, such as emission of untreated organic wastes. The company’s retail stores have engaged in such practices for many years since Walmart entered the Canadian market. To refrain from practices that have adverse impacts on the local environments, Walmart Company has come up with several initiatives to reduce the rate of organic waste emissions into the local environments, minimize the organic waste released from its groceries outlets, and reuse and recycle waste products for other practices, such as the production of energy. By adopting the mentioned initiatives, the retail giant has a positive impact on various stakeholders across Canada, including the locals, government agencies, firms that deal with waste management practices, and others.
Section 2. Rationale
Utility Ethics Method. This approach argues that a company’s practice is sustainable when it focuses on improving the welfare of various stakeholders and it is unsustainable when it contributes to negative implications amongst local communities and environments. In regard to the approach, companies across the world believe that a given practice is sustainable when it is associated with net benefits rather than net costs. The method is useful to a corporation in identifying various options that exist when attempting to address how stakeholders are affected by a particular decision (Coldwell, Williamson, & Talbot, 2019). When the company decided to buy local produce from the farmers, it improved Canada’s economy by selling low and affordable products to the consumers at the local level. However, the initiative posed a nation-wide argument that Walmart’s employees would receive low wages; with a perception that the low wages would not help to improve the company’s employees’ welfare compared to other employees from the firm’s competition who were given high wages. Walmart’s objective is to ensure that all of its stakeholders including consumers and shareholders equally benefit from its initiatives. While ensuring that all stakeholders enjoy a great benefit balance, the retail giant has set corporate social responsibility initiatives to help address the consequences of its actions and improve the wellbeing of local people and communities. The company aims at improving people’s wellbeing because the Canadian government finds it challenging to address societal concerns and demands of the locals all by itself. Preference satisfaction is usually the main focus of the utility ethics method. Preference satisfaction is whereby a corporation conducts its operations per a country’s ethical standards and practices while improving the welfare of the locals by creating job opportunities for them and benefitting the local people and communities by purchasing products from them. Although Walmart’s decision to sell its products at low prices has had a negative implication on the employees’, the company has come up with various initiatives to ensure that the workers enjoy in terms of great benefit balance. From a utilitarian point of view, a corporation that engages in operations and practices that abide by a country’s laws, and in the process improves the wellbeing of the local individuals and communities and engages in practices that protect the local environment, should be praised for its contribution towards improving a society’s economy.
Rights method. This approach critiques that all stakeholders should have equal rights and be treated fairly by various organizations. The approach also argues that all stakeholders of an organization should be allowed to participate in the establishment of policies and practices that might affect their lives and claim their rights where necessary. According to Kim & Park (2017), some of the rights that organizations should allow their employees to enjoy include right to life, right to safety, and right to due process. In the case of Walmart, it prioritizes profitability and competitiveness in its business operations and practices. Walmart’s major objectives have been to maintain a competitive advantage over other companies operating in Canada, increase the sales of its products, and gain high profits. To achieve such objectives, the company has come up with a strategy to see that it often hires well-educated and skilled managers to oversee its operations. The company requires its managers to abide by its ethical standards as outlined in employment contractual agreements to ensure Walmart increases sales of its products, gains high profits, and become a competitive leader within the Canadian market. The company’s management believes that it is unethical for managers to use the organization’s resources to benefit themselves or other stakeholders such as employees. The company also allows its stakeholders to enjoy the rights to safety and due process. The company allows its stakeholders to enjoy the right to safety by allowing them to form or join workers’ union. Through the unions, the company has allowed its workers to air out any complaints related to poor working conditions so that they can be improved. To ensure that everyone follows due process, the retail giant has set effective recruitment policies and career development opportunities. That is, for an individual to be hired or recruited to work for the company or promoted to a particular position, he or she has to follow the right procedure, and the process should be done with transparency. For Walmart’s owners, it is unethical for a manager to recruit or promote his/her friend or family.
Justice method. This approach argues that every individual should be treated equally in all situations. However, if not treated equally, they should be treated fairly based on a standard that can be defensible (Kim & Park, 2017). By utilizing the justice method, corporations should pay their workers fairly based on their contributions towards helping the company attain its objectives or how hard they work. That decision is fairly defensible. However, one of the concerns that are indefensible involves paying high wages to other employees, such as Chief Executive Officers and paying the normal staff low wages. The question that certainly arises about such a concern is whether corporations usually pay wages based on defensible standards or based on an individual’s position within an organization. In the case of Walmart, the company pay wages to its employees based on their efforts towards helping the firm achieve its objectives, including increasing sales of its products, gaining high profits, and maintaining a competitive advantage over other companies operating in the Canadian market.
In my perspective, the ethics utility method can be essential to Walmart in dealing with the evaluation of ethics matters. The company’s major interest is how to adapt to the different conditions in each town or city while operating in the best possible ways to ensure that it positively impact the stakeholders and preserve and conserve the environment. To achieve such objectives, the company ought to leverage the ethical utility method into its operations.
Section 3. How Walmart’s Initiatives have Impacted My Family?
I believe that Walmart has a direct impact on my family in relation to its selling the local goods at low and affordable prices. The company has enabled my family to access fresh and healthy farm products at a low price. Besides, the company has enabled my family to reduce instances of walking from store to store to purchase different products by selling most of its products under one roof. Walmart has also engaged in community development strategies, such as the building of roads and making donations. My family has greatly benefitted from such initiatives as they can drive on better roads. My family has also benefitted greatly from the company’s practice of reusing and recycling waste. The emission of organic wastes into the environment is usually associated with various health risks, and by integrating the reuse and recycle approach, the company has saved my family from being exposed to such risks.
Section 4. How Walmart’s Initiatives have Impacted My Community?
Walmart positively impacts my community by engaging in ethical practices and activities. The retail giant has also helped in the creation of more job opportunities, which have helped my community by reducing the rate of unemployed people in society. Furthermore, the company is committed to community development programs to help improve the wellbeing of those within my community. Walmart has benefitted my community by paying taxes, which all level governments in Canada use to deliver social services to the general public. The company also constantly educates members of the community on the importance of utilizing the available resources to improve their social wellbeing, rather than waiting for the government to satisfy all their needs. Walmart has been committed to engaging in environmentally friendly practices that have created the company a good image and reputation within my community.
Section 5. How Walmart’s Initiatives have Impacted the Country?
Walmart’s operations in Canada have impacted the country in many ways. The company has led to intense competition amongst the retail agents, thereby contributing to an improvement in the quality of products and services offered in the country. The company, through paying of taxes, has helped to improve the Canadian economy. Furthermore, by formulating various corporate social responsibility initiatives, government policies that target conservation of the environment have been positively influenced.
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