Sample Management Essays on Social Ethics and Responsibility

Part A

Question 1

Organizational operations are in most cases subject to the objective of economical growth. However, economical growth cannot be considered as the only overriding operational objective for an organization, since there are many other factors that affect profitability. One of these factors is the corporate social impacts of the organization. According to a case report presented by Lawrence and Weber (2016), The Coca Cola Company (TCCC) had been running its operations over more than 200 countries in the world without recognizing the exact impacts of their operations on the communities and the environment within which it operated. From a corporate social responsibility perspective, communities and environmental policy makers have their expectations of companies, and it is based upon these expectations that TCCC was realized to have developed certain performance expectations gaps. The differences between the company’s performance and the community and policy makers’ expectations were noted to be in aspects of product quality and management or natural resources.

India’s Center for Science and the Environment did the first study that found out that contrary to public expectations, the drinks and bottled water products marketed by TCCC had surprisingly high compositions of pesticide residues. Other concerns regarding performance expectations were around the company’s use of water resources. With over 1.8 billion servings of more than 500 different drinks sold every day, the company considered water to be a major raw material for its operations (Lawrence & Weber, 2016). However, there were no strategies for reducing water wastage, preventing depletion of natural water resources or replenishing the consumed amounts of water. Accordingly, the company has had to work on plans to close this gap between stakeholder expectations and the actual operations. The first step was to identify manufacturing practices that would reduce the pesticide residues in the products to acceptable limits while the second was to reduce the impacts of the company’s operations on the natural water utilization and availability.

Question 2

Each corporate entity is affected by 8 different operational environments at different times in its operation. Albrecht (2019) describes these environments as the radar screens within which any business entity can be assessed. Considering the status of TCCC at the time of the performance expectations gaps, it can be deduced that the company was affected most by its Geophysical environment, which typically describes the natural environment within which an organization operates, environmental conservation practices, and the sustainability of the company’s raw material resources. At TCCC at the time of the water neutrality initiative, the geophysical environment was the most impactful as the company affected not only sustainable availability of raw materials but also the sustainability of the environment and natural resources.

Question 3

Considering the actions taken by TCCC after the identification of the performance expectations gap, it can be said that the company acted appropriately. The first action by the company was to conduct an internal study to establish the accuracy of information presented not only within India but also across its operations worldwide. This showed that the company was committed to making long term changes, not in a bid to gain re-entry in India’s Kerala operations but to ensure sustainability across its operations in the whole world. Following the results of the internally conducted study, the company went further to establish the Water Neutrality Initiative, whose main objective was to pursue water conservation through minimizing wastage, recycling the used water and replenishing treated water within the communities from which the company harvests ground water.

Additionally, further actions by TCCC have continued to drive progress in the water neutrality initiative, including through annual public reports, which indicate the annual targets and the growth achieved; partnership with other organizations in a bid to conserve water and the environment; and providing clean water to poor local communities as part of the company’s corporate CSR. Each of these activities is an indication of the company’s commitment to doing good and avoiding water wastage.

Part B

Section 1

Smoking is one of the major causes of preventable diseases in the contemporary society. In the discourse of smoking as an issue of public concern, the transfer and effects of secondhand smoke has been one of the major causes of debate. The impacts of secondhand smoke on the health of the affected are reported to be more severe than those of the first hand smoke, which is usually filtered prior to inhalation. Secondhand smoke therefore results in worse and more severe outcomes. With regards to secondhand smoke, smoking in public areas has extensively been mentioned as one of the causes of distribution of secondhand smoke, and also a major motivation behind smoking initiation (Luo, Wan, Liang, & Li, 2015). Public smoking is also associated with increased smoking prevalence, as non-smokers meet and may be influenced by smokers in the public. Government entities, particularly public health departments, have made significant efforts to reduce smoking prevalence and the effects of smoking on the public through various measures including banning public smoking.

The ban on public smoking is one of the tobacco rule regulations that have increasingly gained popularity across the world. The U.K. leads in having a comprehensive regulation on smoking in enclosed public spaces, and the U.S is also performing strongly in ensuring there is compliance with the ban. Additionally, other countries have also followed suit to ensure that the public is protected against the impacts of secondary smoke as a result of exposure to smokers in public places (Levy, Romano, & Mumford, 2004). The ban poses a subject for discourse in the sense that it may be argued that banning public smoking itself is an unethical act. At the same time, it is clearly understood that exposing the public to secondhand cigarette smoke should be a worse ethical concern as it subjects non-smokers to health issues that they should not be experiencing.

Tobacco use results in an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and other respiratory diseases. Lung cancer for instance, is a common health issues associated with tobacco use. As such, the decision to implement the ban on public smoking is founded on the need to improve the quality of life of citizens in their entirety, with a positive observable outcome even within households. In particular, reducing public smoking was aimed at reducing the level of public exposure to secondhand smoke, creating awareness of the dangers of tobacco smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, and ensuring there is reduced smoking prevalence among all age groups (Levy et al., 2004). The impacts of the ban have been profound, not only at the individual level but also within the general context of the community and the nation as a whole.

Various stakeholders have been involved in realizing this ban and utilizing it as a strategy for smoking reduction across the country. For instance, the government has played a crucial role towards ensuring that there are systems in place across the three government levels to institute policies, to monitor adherence to the policy requirements and to punish violation (Robinson, Sweeting, & Hunt, 2018). The media has also been an important stakeholder in the ban on public smoking by disseminating information not only about the band but also about the role of other stakeholders in it. The public, on the other hand, has made sure this information spreads to families and influences behavior change. Compliance monitoring has also been promoted through community policing.

Section 2

The implications of the ban on public smoking in families originate from its implications on individual smoking behavior, and on public awareness about the dangers of public smoking. First, the ban has resulted in reduced smoking rates particularly among youths who can no longer smoke in public places. Secondly, it has resulted in changing smoking habits even in homes. According to Levy, Boyle, and Abrams (2012), the public smoking ban has had 2 different implications on families. For the first category of families, there has been increased awareness of the impacts of smoking on health and subsequent home smoking bans. In this way, there has been a reduction in the prevalence of home smoking and thus a reduction in smoking-related illnesses such as respiratory diseases. In the long term, this can result in reduced healthcare costs by eliminating smoking-related healthcare costs.

In another category of families, the public smoking ban has resulted in a shift from public to home smoking, resulting in increased exposure of non-smokers to secondhand smoke within the conventional family set-up (Naiman, Glazier & Moineddin, 2011). In such families, the outcome has been increased smoking initiation prevalence, reduced quality of life of both smokers and non-smokers, and increased risk of smoking-related diseases. I the long run, such changes result in increased smoking-related healthcare conditions, and increased healthcare costs.

Section 3

In spite of the many efforts that have been made across the world to create awareness of and initiate smoking cessation interventions, tobacco manufacturing companies still make efforts to be as profitable as they can be. In the public smoking ban for instance, manufacturers may view the government as hindering profitability and thereby affecting their business operations negatively. However, there is also need for manufacturers to consider not only the public smoking ban, but also the impacts of tobacco smoking from a public ethical issue perspective (Naiman et al., 2011). The ban on public smoking comes as a countermeasure towards the prevention of the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on non-smokers, hence can be classified as an ethical decision on the basis of both utilitarian and deontological ethical theories (Mandal, Ponnambath, & Parija, 2016). These ethical theories emphasize the importance of causing no harm by either focusing on obtaining optimum good for the optimum number of people, or engaging in acts that are themselves good. The benefits gained through smoking are quite superficial and should not be used by manufacturers as the foundation of their actions. On the other hand, the public smoking ban promises a lot more benefits ranging from reduced economic burdens to lower health-related costs for the optimum number of people namely, smokers and non-smokers. This should be the perspective of manufacturers as well, even though they have been mostly focused on gaining optimum good for themselves.

Accordingly, the ban on public smoking comes as a negative outcome to manufacturers by virtue of its probable effect on smoking behaviors and subsequently the purchase behaviors of consumers. According to Levy et al. (2012) public smoking bans result in an overall reduction of smoking rates, which result in lower purchase probabilities, and thus lower profitability for manufacturers. As a manufacturer, the expectation is that with reduced demand for cigarettes, there will be need to either increase the profit margins per unit or reduce the production capacities. Additionally, there could be need for significant improvement in business innovation, in a bid to provide alternatives that can be acceptable in a public environment and to continue attracting customers in spite of the ban. For instance, the same companies can focus on producing smoking cessation intervention tools alongside their tobacco products. In this way, they get to serve smokers as well as those who have desire to cease smoking.

Various changes have to occur in the operations and marketing practices if organizations have to remain profitable in the long run. Other complexities in the industry make it even more difficult for the manufacturers to change their operations effectively. For instance, marketing restrictions imply that following the public smoking ban, manufacturers cannot engage in more stringent marketing to reach more clients and be more profitable.

Section 4

The government was the initiator of the ban on public smoking. As such, it has played an important role towards not only ensuring that the objectives of the ban are met but also ensuring that this is sustained. The role of the government is this issue of significant public concern extends from the formulation and approval of policies to the actual enforcement and monitoring of progress in the issue. The law enforcement agencies work together with the public to identify instances of violation and thus bring to book perpetrators of the prohibited act. Furthermore, the government funds all activities related to publicization of the ban and general anti-smoking campaigns. The roles of the government as such, are driven by the effects of public smoking on the public, and do not necessarily take into consideration the effects of the ban on government revenue.

Nearly 16 million people survive from the proceeds of tobacco related business. According to Naiman et al. (2011), half of this number is employed in manufacturing businesses. The sector generates significant income to the government, and the ban on public smoking only reduces this revenue through the reduction of demand for the products. The ban further reduces tobacco manufacturers’ business, and the profitability of the sector, which affects the income that can be obtained by tobacco farmers. Also, some of the places in which public smoking is common is in restaurants and pubs. Smokers are attracted to some of these places because of the freedom to smoke therein. With the ban on public smoking, they no longer get this freedom and may not be attracted to those places, leading to reduced profits in those places (Mayne et al., 2018). This is particularly more applicable in places where specific bans have not been issued. This also further reduces the national revenue streams that come in through the hospitality industry. On the other hand, the government can also gain in terms of reduced health-related expenditures. A reduction in the healthcare expenses also reduces the percentage of the national GDP that would be assigned to healthcare.

Section 5

Besides the government, the media is another stakeholder that has played a significant role in the public smoking ban. Thrasher, Kim, Rose, and Craft (2015) purport that the ban is never implemented without a parallel awareness creation program, through which the public is informed of the dangers of public smoking and secondhand smoke, and the health impacts of smoking in general. In this context, the media has played a significant role in ensuring that there is awareness creation. Both mainstream and the more abstract media forms have been used extensively by the government and activism organizations to create awareness about smoking cessation initiatives and to push for behavior change, especially among youths. Additionally, the social media has particularly been important in recent times in bringing together communities that advocate for smoking cessation.

There are also various forms of industry sponsored media communications such as those by the department of health and human services, which are aimed at increasing awareness about the dangers of smoking. Such media are mostly print media and outdoor bill-boards, which depict pictures of smokers’ bodies, specifically lungs, with the aim of opening the public eye to the impacts of smoking on health. Similarly, televised media has been used extensively to reach as many people as possible, with advertisements dine during prime time targeting the middle aged and those who are older in the community. The impacts of the media have been an increased smoking cessation rate over the period of the ban and a matching reduction in the costs incurred in treating smoking-related health issues.

 

References

Albrecht, K. (2019). The strategic radar model: Scanning the business environment. Retrieved from karlalbrecht.com/articles/pages/strategicradarmodel.htm

Lawrence, A., & Weber, J. (2016). Business and society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy, 15th Ed. Irwin Education.

Levy, D.T., Boyle, R.G., & Abrams, D.B. (2012). The role of public policies in reducing smoking: The Minnesota simsmoke tobacco policy model. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 43(503), S179-S183. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4487773/

Levy, D.T., Romano, E., & Mumford, E.A. (2004). Recent trends in home and work smoking bans. Tobacco Control, 13(3), 258-263. Retrieved from tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/13/3/258

Luo, B., Wan, L., Liang, L., & Li, T. (2015). The effects of educational campaigns and smoking bans in public places on smokers’ intention to quit smoking: Findings from 17 cities in China. BioMed Research International. Retrieved from www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/853418/

Mandal, J., Ponnambath, D.K., & Parija, S.C. (2016). Utilitarian and deontological ethics in medicine. Tropical Parasitology, 6(1), 5-7. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778182/

Mayne, S.L., Auchincloss, A.H., Tabb, L.P., Stehr, M., Shikany, J.M., Schreiner, P.J., Widome, R., et al. (2018). Associations of bar and restaurant smoking bans with smoking behavior in the CARDIA study: A 25-year study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(6), 1250-1258. Retrieved from academic.oup.com/aje/article/187/6/1250/4797003

Naiman, A.B., Glazier, R.H., & Moinnedin, R. (2011). Is there an impact of public smoking bans on self-reported smoking status and exposure to secondhand smoke. BMC Public Health, 11(146). Retrieved from bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-11-146

Robinson, A., Sweeting, H., & Hunt, K. (2018). UK news media representations of smoking, smoking policies and tobacco bans in prisons. Tobacco Control, 27(6). Retrieved from tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/27/6/622.citation-tools

Thrasher, J.F., Kim, S.H., Rose, I., & Craft, M.K. (2015). Media coverage of smoke-free policies after their innovation. Journal of Health Communication, 20(3), 297-305. Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10810730.2014.925017?journalCode=uhcm20