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Philosophy

 

 

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Philosophy

Question 1

The Fuller case can be corrected through a change in social organization. Firstly, the Honduran society is steeped in poverty. According to Bowie and Lenway, more than 40% of all Honduran households live below poverty (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). However, the economy’s reliance on agricultural commodities has limited its growth ability. Variations in weather patterns have left the people poor as they have no alternative means of production. Secondly, the government has been wasteful. In 1973, the government invested donor spending in public sector projects that were aimed at improving the nation’s industrial capacity. However, the state-owned projects were failures. This resulted in an exacerbation of the nation’s debt, which extended to the people through taxation.

Thirdly, the Honduran society is badly affected by unemployment. Similarly, the country has more than 40% of its workers underemployed as they participate in agriculture. These effects have resulted in social support structures. Families are left apart as each member strives to boost their collective income. According to Bowie and Lenway, children are forced to shine shoes and sell newspapers to supplement family incomes (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). This sense of poverty is what has driven Honduran children into substances such as Resistol.

Question 2

The solution to the Fuller case can only be solved through a partnership between the company and the state. The company stands to lose face if it fails. Similarly, the government faces a declining social structure if it does not correct the situation, and society at large. Firstly, the organization should create efforts at educating the public on the use of Resistol. The message should highlight the need for the abusers to care for their health. For instance, it should outline the health and social effects of consumption of the drug. Secondly, Fuller should partner with the government in creating social programs. Their activities should center on providing Honduran communities with education on social issues. Similarly, they should be used to uplift the living standards of these communities through investment in their production. The company may be useful in providing funding through its CSR projects. This approach will reinforce the company’s commitment to the development of the Honduran communities.

Question 3

According to Friedman (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008), the primary responsibility of the corporate manager is that to his/her employers. The manager is tasked with ensuring that he/she carries out business ‘in accordance with their desires’ (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). Friedman posits that they have a duty to make as much profit as possible, within the confines of what is socially acceptable within their communities. However, Friedman also explains the role of the manager in eleemosynary institutions. In this case, the economist simply states that the responsibility of the manager is to the owners of such an institution. His/her performance in that role will not be necessarily dictated by profits, but through other terms set out in the contract between the manager and proprietor of the institution. As a result, the manager has no business carrying out social responsibilities. If that were the case, he would be a public employee. His activities are not generating returns for his employers, while increasing their tax exposure.

 

 

Question 4

Freedman defends his view of the manager by bringing up the question of social responsibilities. In that respect, he explains that the manager may have other responsibilities such as family towards which he receives the appeal to act. However, these responsibilities are his own and not towards the business. This is characterized spending of his/her own capital (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). In the effort of carrying out social responsibilities, the manager becomes a public employee. Friedman, therefore, argues that they should be selected through a political process (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). Taxes should then be assessed before the implementation of these social objectives is carried out.

Question 5

The stakeholder theory, as posited by Freeman, seeks to identify another understanding of the corporation’s objectives. This view goes against the view that the company’s objective is to accumulate profit for its shareholders as proposed by Milton Friedman and his contemporaries. According to Freeman, profit is not the cause for the company’s existence (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). It is simply a consequence of activity by the organization. To Freeman, the view supported by Freedman is based on only benefiting the company’s shareholders. This ignores the existence of other stakeholders such as employees and clients, and their relating welfare. In essence, Freeman argues that the company’s objective is to provide stakeholders with the means to achieve their needs.

Question 6

Through Freeman, we are able to gain a different understanding of companies and how they work. He provides explanations for his view on managing the organization for stakeholders. To Freeman, the organization exists to service the needs of its shareholders. For example, staffs need employment and benefits. Similarly, they would need a path for a satisfactory career. On the other hand, clients would need their desires fulfilled appropriately. In the process of satisfying all these stakeholder needs, the company is able to acquire profit as a consequence and not the end result.

Question 7

I support the Freeman view on business practices. Carrying out this approach makes more sense in various ways. Firstly, a management approach centered on stakeholders allows them to enjoy the organization’s success in appropriate levels. As a result, the organization is able to improve its productivity. Secondly, CSR minded approach enables innovation within organizations. The stakeholders work hand in hand to address issues such as conflicts of interest. This allows the company to produce efficient goods and services for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Question 8

River Blindness is an ailment that mainly affects people in the developing world. The people that typically suffer from the disease live below the poverty line and are unable to afford necessary treatment.  Merck may have a way to treat them. However, the company will need to invest precious capital in an investment that may never break even. It takes more than 12 years and $200 million to bring a drug to market (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). Merck’s corporate philosophy posits that the medicine is for the people. The investment of such amounts of capital on a non-returning investment poses a challenge for the company. The product will create a large hole in the company’s bottom-line. Furthermore, there are no international programs that create incentives for the development of affordable drugs for the poor.

 

Question 9

The Merck case can be resolved through a CSR approach. The organization should treat the people afflicted by river blindness as part of its stakeholders (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). The organization has a duty to provide them with necessary medication. The company should therefore treat the research funding as an investment in this CSR. Furthermore, the company should partner with global health institutions such as the WHO. This will allow the company to offset its financial costs through reception of research grants from this body. This partnership will allow both organizations to share costs. Merck may be tasked with development and production, while the WHO is tasked with distribution to the needy people.

Question 10

McCoy’s the Lesson of the Sadhu presents an ethical dilemma. In the course of the trip, they met an Indian Sadhu suffering from hypothermia. However, each did his own bit. No one took complete responsibility for the man. The travelers brought up various excuses to support their limited concern in the endangered man. For instance, they argued that concern for the man would limit their once in a lifetime experience. In essence, the participants in the trip had walked by an ethical dilemma without an appropriate response. This brings up the issue of individual ethics and group ethics. Following the abdication of complete responsibility by the travelers, it is questioned where the ethical responsibility of an individual ends (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008).

Question 11

This question may be extended to the workplace. Managers face a challenge in ensuring collaboration between their staffs; such that the end goal is achieved. This may be achieved through the adoption of virtue theory. This principle argues that moral habits are developed through repetitions and training. It emerges that virtues are not black and white rules that should be followed. Instead, they are habits that require the right conditions for cultivation. Staffs should be provided with support structures that encourage them to work together. The organization should set up frameworks that enable individual values to thrive alongside the ethical corporate goals. Each staff should be allowed their freedom in determining what is right, albeit alongside the shared corporate goals (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008).

Question 12

The Motorola factory had strict safety guidelines. However, Tommy consistently broke the rules. This created a challenge for the team’s supervisor. He was tasked with ensuring the team’s safety. However, Tommy was not complying. This resulted in the emergence of another ethical concern, once the supervisor assaulted Tommy. This resulted in Tommy’s partial loss of hearing (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). The question emerges on whether corporate rules should be enforced to such a degree that they result in harm for team players. However, the organization has a strict policy on employee conduct and assault. It, therefore, emerges that there is a rift between the organization’s values and local values on work ethic.

Question 13

The company has a duty in resolving the issue at hand. Its values do not match those of the locals. This is a result of the management’s lack of understanding the locals, as they do not speak the local language (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). Firstly, the organization needs to define procedures for dealing with unresponsive employees. This will mitigate the risk of cases of physical assault between staffs. Secondly, the organization’s management needs to understand the local culture. The management should then align organizational policies in a manner that is easily understood to the locals.

 

Question 14

Western and Asian cultures have different perspectives on society and work ethic. In the case study, a moral issue emerges, as a result, of a divergence between professional perspectives. These perspectives have been forged through work in these cultures. On one hand, Frank’s profoundly Western background makes him demand that integrity is integrity. In that respect, he demands that non-performing local employees should be let go with the true reasons for their dismissal. He does not give consideration to the Asian ideal of saving face. However, Ingrid and Chuck argue that employees should be allowed to save face, despite their dismissal (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008). This raises the ethical question of whether employees should be truthfully told why they were let go by the organization.

Question 15

This ethical issue can be solved through an alignment of corporate policies with Asian values and perspectives. The organization should adopt a strategy for allowing employees to save face as they are let go. This will require HR managers to develop a framework for letting go of employees. They may commend these individuals for their service to the company. However, they need to make it clear that they have not been able to fulfill the organization’s objectives in their work. Their dismissal from employment should reiterate that the employees were still good workers, and that the corporate standards were very high. This will be truthful to both the staffs and organizational policies (Donaldson, Werhane & Van Zandt, 2008).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Donaldson, T., Werhane, P., & Van Zandt, J. (2008). Ethical issues in business (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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