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Posted on April 22nd, 2014, by

  1. 1.     Introduction into the case study and its relation to business ethics

It is often said that transnational corporations should seek to be “good citizens” and to behave morally. But what is moral and what isn’t? The case presented in the present paper describes complex dilemma when common business ethics standards contradict the moral and human feelings, the compassion to other people.

Philosophy business ethics could be defined as a set of approaches which include social or ethical goals or constraints in addition to more conventional criteria in business decisions.  The study Business ethics’ by De George published in 2005 allows to get an idea about the various tools and techniques of ethical analysis that could be used in complex situations that involve ethics and it has to be noted that this wide range of tools may be applied in all areas of modern business.

The company’s ethical behavior is especially critical in the situation of the globalized society and international character of modern business. Companies have to deal with the following characteristics: ambiguity, change, uncertainty, recalcitrance, improvisation, conflict and mess rather than stability, order, consensus, clarity and certainty are the attributes

High technologies allow people getting maximum information about specific brand or company, about its social and environmental responsibility that may be further widely discussed by media.

Without a doubt, business ethics and also the perception of the society are the key issues for the pharmaceutical company that sells life-saving drugs. Health care and pharmaceutical industries have to deal with large number of legal cases, and officers that are responsible for legal issues and ethic policy should be careful in their judgments.

Present group project is based on the case study of bribery that happened in the large organization and operates on many international markets. According to presented case, there is a chief legal officer Alistair who faces an uneasy ethical dilemma of solving the situation with bribery in Bosnia that actually was used for benefits for the people and helped to save lives of the local population. The background details received from the case study told that the chief officer in the mentioned case study is being asked of checking the information about unethical behavior such as price fixing, and bribery that presumably takes place in the company’s European offices. He searched for the respective information thoroughly but have found the only one case that looked apparently unethical at first sight. It was the case of bribery in Bosnia.

Alistair realizes that the high ethical standards of his organization should be followed by the employees of the organization, and by its top management under any circumstances. We may presume, as far as this organization is a large business, it obviously has the general ethical principles of behavior that are fixed in the organizational code of ethics that describe moral aspects of companies’ organizational cultures and ethical values.  It has to be added that ethic may be corporate, the ethics of the whole company, and individual, the ethics of the individual employee, but it influences all processes in organization and also it has a great impact on its achievements.  But if such cases of illegal decisions happen it becomes clear that the current code can’t be effectively applied to the local offices of this company.

Taking these circumstances into account Alistair has to consider the situation once more and find the right options of this ethical dilemma solving but clearly cultural context of the situation should be analyzed as well.

Who is affected by the described situation? First of all, it is the company, because its employees were involved into the process of bribery, and of course it is the company’s top management who may have to bear the responsibility if such unethical actions will come to public’s attention.

It has to be noted that the problem is morally problematic because in accordance to the business ethics that is highly valued by this company, bribery is unacceptable. In addition, the image of the company may be negatively influenced by mentioned unethical behavior and consequently the brand equity of the company will be harmed as a result of it.

De George (4-5) notes that a key to resolving the uncertainty about the business situations that involves the ethical aspect in it is being aware of the different ethical approaches that are used. This way the person responsible for management decisions audit is able to understand the choices and the viewpoint much better. So being more informed means for the specialist who bears the responsibility for management decisions audit to be capable to resolve any situations following company’s ethical values and principles.

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