Stakeholder Ethics Essay

Pages: 11 (3745 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Economics

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
A good example would be petroleum. Many world leaders, past and present, have tried to push the idea that petroleum is evil and that it needs to be done away with. However, any idea that petroleum is going anywhere in the next century, let alone the next decade or two, is a joke on its face as the product is used all over the place including in gas, tires, plastics and others. Add this to the fact that businesses are being taxed and regulated based on the fact that pollution is supposedly causing global warming to accelerate and potentially doom the planet despite the fact that many hold that the science is far from definitive or final is exasperating to say the least to anyone who might step back and wonder what the real agenda is and whether the argument is about ethics or if it's about control and money from the government's perspective. Another common fallacy that is trumpeted all of the time is that businesses are evil and unions are the "good guys." However, unions have done some rather odd to immoral things as of late like tell heroin-using teachers to not submit to drug tests, to resist the idea that sex offenders should not be employed in schools as enforced by a background check and telling a business to go spit when it was made clear to them that the business would fold if wage/benefit concessions were not given up. The author of this report by no means suggests that businesses are always on the right side of an argument nor is the author saying that organized labor is the problem. However, to put all of the onus and/or blame on business is wrong-headed and short-sighted.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Stakeholder Ethics Assignment

As for what this all is coming to, the author of this report has several suggestions and guidelines that businesses should follow. First, the bare minimum framework that a business should always operate in is to remain within the laws of the relevant cities, states and nations in which they operate. This alone will preclude many businesses from working in certain areas such as Iran, North Korea and Cuba just to name a few. Second, it has to be understood that no matter what is done (or not done) by a business as far as its stakeholder ethics or anything else, not everyone is going to be happy. Any restaurant that sells meat is going to get heat from PETA, any pawn shop is going to get heat about taking advantage of the poor/desperate and so forth.

As far as defining stakeholders, any list of stakeholders would obviously need to include employees, owners/investors and customers. However, each organization has to honestly yet reasonably look at who else might be involved. For example, a college's stakeholders would include students and even the community that is impacted by the presence and contributions of those students. The community has a vested interest in the students and the college at doing well and thus painting a good picture, reputation and outcome for the city as well as the state at large as the students graduate and enter the workforce. Another example of where the scope and reach of stakeholders will stretch a lot is energy-makers/harvesters such as electric companies, coal miners and cable companies. Basic utilities, whether they be public or private, have a ton of stakeholders as customers and non-customers will be affected greatly if the electricity, water or media services in an area hit the fritz. Lives can be endangered and business productivity can tank in an instance and this can have wide-ranging effects for a lot of people both inside of and outside of the community or section of a city in question.

The point is that using a predefined or "cookie-cutter" way to define and cater to stakeholders is not wise and it needs to be tailored and customized to the specific situation involved including what the organization does, where it does its tasks/job, who all can/will be impacted by the organization's daily operations and so forth. The list of stakeholders could be fairly narrow and easy to list or it can be rather hard and/or expansive in nature. Regardless, it is important to be fair, honest and diligent when crafting and filtering that list because that will dictate how complicated and multi-dimensional that choices will be as they are decided and actually made. Any business operation that will clearly hurt people and can be avoided should generally not be done. However, there are cases where it is simply the lesser of two evils. For example, choosing not to harvest diamonds in Sierra Leone because of the "conflict" nature of the stones is a good thing. However, not closing a factory so as to avoid loss of jobs is less than wise if the ongoing operations of the factory cannot possibly be justified from a monetary standpoint. Perhaps it can be temporary and finite in nature, but the dollars and cents of a choice have to come into play at some point even if it is not the only concern in question.

Another recommendation is to make meaningful steps to be a good social or corporate citizen. Platitudes and high-reaching language may look and sound good, but people will want tangible results and outcomes from anything that clearly takes away from the bottom line. For example, using renewable energy may sound good but it can also be expensive, often MUCH more expensive, than traditional means. For example, having a fleet of Chevrolet Volts may sounds good, but their limited range and $50k+ a piece price tag would be a buzzkill quite quickly. However, there are sustainability and environmental concerns are also good for business. Using paperless exhanges of documents such as PDF's and emails over printed statements and other communications is a great way to save money and time as is the use of refilled toner and ink cartridges over new ones that are often very expensive and there is no re-use involved in buying new.

Now comes a focus on the harder outcomes and events to pull off, and that is appeasing the ideologues and blowhards that like to get into the minutia of things that just divide and waste time more often than it does not. One thing that businesses can look to that has an obvious and wide-ranging effect on stakeholders is the handling of pension and retirement benefits. The days of defined-benefit pensions are on their way into the sunset due to the fact that many businesses and a ton of government agencies are finding out that guaranteeing a certain amount of income per month, which is how defined-benefit plans work, can be quite tricky if the money runs out. It takes the argument of whether it is wise to pay someone for years while they do not work to whether they CAN be paid at all while still allowing for the business or government agency to operate within solvency. In such a situation, at least one of the stakeholders involved is going to be left holding the bag and it will almost always be the pension recipient and not the business as the pension fund is a moot point if a business goes bankrupt.

Another key recommendation is to be very careful what is said to the public vs. what is said internally, as they should not be the same thing even in an ethical and moral environment. There is indeed situations that are "need-to-know" and there is much to be said for the idea of "appearance of impropriety." There is also much to be said for giving people something to needle a business about. For example, when McDonald's was thinking about expanding into India, they probably played things very close to the vest because they wanted to have their proverbial ducks in a row before going public. The idea of selling meat products in a country that often frowns on such consumption is but one reason and there is also the concern of the United States and their cultural transmission into the cultures and societies of peoples that are quite different as there has been blowback about that at one level or another for decades.

A tangential but different point of analysis and thought that all businesses should bear in mind when speaking of stakeholders is that there will always be resistance from at least one group of stakeholders when a major change is undertaken. This resistance can come from within and can necessitate change management strategies such as getting buy-in and so forth or it can come from customers who do not like a change being made to what they became accustomed do. An example of the former would be a sales department resisting the restructuring the department and the latter would be a restaurant change getting negative feedback about a menu or ingredient change.

However, some negative reactions… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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