Business Ethics and Law Research Paper

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" This is showing how globalization is giving executives greater amounts of flexibility when addressing these challenges. (Miller, 2002, pp. 91 -- 117)

Moreover, the firm has a collective bargaining agreement in place since 1948. This was in response to the animosity between labor and management throughout the company's history. After this occurred, is when the total number of work stoppages decreased. Part of the reason for this, is the collective bargaining agreement provided a basic standard for negotiating between the different parties. Once globalization became more of a dominant force, is when these legal provisions were no longer relevant. Instead, management wanted to impose dramatic changes to any kind of contracts that were signed with union officials. From a legal standpoint, this is using loop holes in the law to go against the traditional practices of the company. (Torres, 1996, pp. 377 -- 394)

As a result, Caterpillar executives are using this as a way to change how the firm is operating its different plants (by reducing costs and increasing productivity). This is designed to impose radically different terms and force employees to go back to work without a contract. After this happens, is when they can renegotiate with union officials to create an agreement that is in line with these objectives. This is illustrating how the firm is using different legal tactics by following the provisions of the contract. Once it is up for renewal is the point that executives will demand sweeping changes (which are in compliance with state and federal labor laws). (Miller, 2002, pp. 91 -- 117)

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To deal with these kinds of issues another approach must be taken that will respect the rights of workers. While at the same time, it is ensuring the company is able to remain competitive and adapt with the unique challenges it is facing. This means that managers must create a basic model that will address their underlying concerns. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

Research Paper on Business Ethics and Law Over Assignment

One possible approach is to introduce some kind of companywide tier system. Under this strategy, employees at unionized plants will be able to receive the same kind of benefits as they have under previous collective bargaining agreements. The difference is that the union will give managers greater amounts of flexibility in: conducting layoffs, hiring / firing and making adjustments to the workforce. This will help them to be able to deal with a host of challenges and it will ensure that the company can maintain a low cost structure. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

For employees, this will ensure that they are able to receive similar kinds of benefits. However, in exchange for these advantages, everyone must be willing to do more to increase productivity. Moreover, they must also be prepared for larger layoffs and furloughs during times when the company is facing severe financial challenges. This will ensure that all unionized plants are in line with previous collective bargaining agreements. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

At the same time, it is allowing executives to reduce the total number of employees in these locations and to effectively control costs (based upon changes in supply and demand). This will help to ensure that these facilities are able to control expenses and increase productivity. When this happens, the company will have a solution that will address these underlying legal and ethical challenges. Once this happens, is the point that there will be a positive transformation in this relationship. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

In the case of overseas locations, the company can impose a labor contract that is a hybrid of the one negotiated with unionized plants. The way that this will take place, is through imposing policies that has a tier system of compensation and rewards. As those employees will have a system of being rewarded based upon: their time with the company and total output. This could be augmented with improvements in technology to increase collaboration and coordination. If this were to occur, Caterpillar would create a policy that is taking into account ethical and legal considerations. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

This model has been used by select British and Australian companies with a certain degree of success. Evidence of this can be seen with observations from Windrum (2009). He found that this strategy is helping firms to achieve these objectives by focusing on a number of areas to include:

Organizational innovation that is identifying and capturing the externalities between a set of value-adding activities within organizational modules.

Maximizing externalities improves managerial control of the interfaces between stakeholders.

There is a connection between organizational innovation and potential productivity growth.

Strategic outsourcing transfers the control of modules to service providers (which can address select areas that are costing the firm more).

New IT alters the technological opportunities for internal / external sourcing and the relative cost of sourcing activities internally / externally. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)

The combination of these factors is showing how Caterpillar could address the needs of its unionized employees. At the same time, the compensation structure will provide a foundation of rewarding staff members in locations that are overseas. When this is combined with new technology, the firm will be able to stream line costs and increase productivity. Once this takes place, is the point that there will be changes in how the firm is interacting with staff members. Over the course of time, this will reduce the underlying amounts of contention and it will ensure that the company is able to quickly adapt to new changes. (Windrum, 2009, pp. 197 -- 229)


Clearly, the labor issues at Caterpillar's unionized facilities are showing how the firm is focusing on reducing the total costs of production. In the future, this approach could have an adverse impact with: labor costs increasing in many developing countries. If the company continues to take this approach, there will more than likely be some kind of fallout from legal and ethical issues surrounding the costs of labor.

To address these challenges, executives need to take an all-encompassing approach that is focused on providing a tier system of rewards and seniority. This will ensure that there is a standard labor agreement in place, which will help managers to control costs and increase productivity. While at the same time, this is allowing employees to continue to receive benefits that are addressing their basic needs. This will have a positive impact on the standard of living in many communities by: establishing procedures that will ensure everyone can continue to work (without the sudden changes in these policies). If this were to occur, the firm will be able to mitigate any kind of potential labor… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Business Ethics and Law" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Business Ethics and Law.  (2012, July 30).  Retrieved June 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Business Ethics and Law."  30 July 2012.  Web.  21 June 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Business Ethics and Law."  July 30, 2012.  Accessed June 21, 2021.