Business as an Ethical Calling Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1383 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

One of the greatest sticking points for many companies is that of the ethics of employing workers in developing nations for low wages. Using lower-wage workers enables the company to sell products at a lower price point, making them more accessible to a wider range of American consumers. But critics contend that it is unfair for large, wealthy corporations to pay workers a pittance, while they make products for the first world which they could ill-afford to buy themselves. Large companies also do not necessarily invest in the infrastructure of the developing world nations out of which they operate. However, others believe that such labor can help workers. An example of a beneficial arrangement is the college sports apparel company Knights Apparel, which opened up an 'experimental' factory in the Dominican Republic which pays workers a living wage. "Paying the 120 workers the 'living wage' -- or $500 a month -- means the factory's cost will be $4.80 a T-shirt, 80 cents or 20% more than if it paid minimum wage. Knights will absorb a lower-than-usual profit margin, selling the shirts for $8 wholesale, with most retailers marking them up to $18" (Conor 2010). However, because Knights Apparel is a privately-held company, it does not have to answer to shareholders.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Business as an Ethical Calling: Assignment

Ethical conduct can have an important role in 'branding' a company in a manner that can be salutary for the company's long-term future. Competing on the low-price model alone is not the only way to build a brand name. A good example of this is Whole Foods, a company which sells organic produce with no artificial ingredients. Although Whole Foods is priced at a higher price point than general supermarkets, it has still proven to be extremely popular. Whole Foods advertises that it is an ethical business, as well as offers ethical food. According to Whole Foods: "Our Whole Planet Foundation fights poverty through micro-lending in communities around the world that supply Whole Foods Market stores with products. We underwrite the administrative costs so every dollar donated goes directly to those who need it most" ("Community giving," Whole Foods, 2012). Its 'branding' of ethics is essential to its success -- else why would people pay more to shop at Whole Foods? Of course, the problem is that when Whole Foods has been criticized for its moral behavior, it looses more brand credibility than Wal-Mart or another organization that advertises itself primarily upon its price point.

The mission statement of Whole Foods and companies with a similar vision underlines the idea that the 'ethical' behavior of a firm must take into consideration the need to be profitable, but also the fact that the firm operates out of a community context, on which it is dependent. It is also dependent upon the good will of the community and must earn the community's trust. As well as being legally compliant, firms must honor their existence within a community of diverse stakeholders. "Normative ethical stakeholder theory articulates the view that a business firm ought to be managed in a way that achieves a balance among the interests of all who bear a substantial relationship to the firm -- its stakeholders" (Marcoux 2008). These stakeholders are not the firm's technical owners alone, but also the people who live near the firm and depend up on its environment from a health perspective, who work for the firm and depend upon its long-term financial stability. If the firm ignores these stakeholder interests, it is ignoring its ethical responsibilities and also, from a practical standpoint, in the long-term it cannot sustain itself. A business that pollutes and acts in an unsafe and uncaring manner will fall afoul of both regulators and consumers.

Works Cited

"Community giving." Whole Foods. [20 Jul 2012]

Conor, Michael. "Trying to break the sweatshop business model." Business Ethics. 18 Jul 2010.

[20 Jul 2012] / "Energy." Interface sustainability. [20 Jul 2012]

Marcoux, Alexei. "Business Ethics." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008

Edition). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). [20 Jul 2012]

Stonington, Joel. "B-Schools' new mantra." Businessweek. 10 Nov… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Business as an Ethical Calling" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Business as an Ethical Calling.  (2012, July 20).  Retrieved April 3, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Business as an Ethical Calling."  20 July 2012.  Web.  3 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Business as an Ethical Calling."  July 20, 2012.  Accessed April 3, 2020.