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Business Ethics: Stakeholders, Environment and Discrimination Essay Sample

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Business Ethics: Stakeholders, Environment and Discrimination Essay Sample

            In this paper, it is expected that a discussion about stakeholders, the environment and topic of discrimination will be made. There will be discussion also about related topics of each subject being mentioned.

            North Tyneside Council mentioned that stakeholders are people or associations that have a direct interest in a service being provided (“What Is a Stakeholder?”). It means everyone who has a “stake” in a decision, like anyone who will be significantly affected by a decision. The term is derived from the term stockholder or shareholder).

In the first place, business establishments have obligations to stakeholders and even to other people in general. In every issue in the community, different individuals are involved with it for different reasons. Besides, successful community education projects recognize and engage the groups or individuals who have a stake in the issue.

In addition to that, stakeholders can also be defined as those who are interested in, concerned about, affected by, have a vested interest in, or are involved in some way with, the issue. This has something to do with projects that are done in the community. Because of the stakeholder’s involvement and ownership of the issue many of them will have knowledge, networks and resources which can add significant value to your project.

This time, we value each and every obligation of every stakeholder that exists in our community. We may ask, what are these obligations, and how do they arise? Obligations are owed to shareholders because they put in their money. The contributions in the form of money that they had given are the driving factor of the said obligation. Aside from that we may ask, the “local” or “global” communities have not put anything in – so why is something owed to them?

We remember the reasons presented by Milton Friedman who is an economist who denied that businesses have obligations to the wider community. He thought they had obligations only to their shareholders. In effect, he would surely reject “stakeholder analysis” as the product of confused thinking. Aside from that, shareholders also do not own Chief Executive Officers or other employees so they cannot prevent the staff of company who is acting in ways appropriate to their positions of responsibility.

We also know that being a bad corporate citizen can affect the flow of profits. It is the role of the shareholders to make sure that their share in the company is being protected. Any sign of inappropriate leadership in the company that leads to mismanagement must be investigated and solved by them.

The central question is just how extensive those responsibilities are. Are they to shareholders only? Or also to others? Do the shareholders themselves have wider responsibilities that it is the Chief Executive Officers’ job to observe? Actually, this possibility does not occur to Milton Friedman. In line with that, Chief Executive Officers of an organization or company have also roles to perform. This is because Chief Executive Officers of corporations are employees of shareholders. The purpose of their employment is for them to maximize profits. Therefore, their job is simply to maximize profits. They should not do anything that is outside their functions.

Besides, Chief Executive Officers who pursue other goals may impose a tax on shareholders but this can be done only in democratically-elected governments since they can legitimately impose taxes. A warning is also given, such that these acts may cause social harm because they have no expertise in pursuing social goods like fighting inflation. Therefore, Chief Executive Officers must do it properly.

            Businesses also cannot worry about those who are affected in insignificant ways. That is why there must be limits. These limitations may include the ability to discuss only agenda that is vital to the operation of the company and to account only those matters that has a significant value to the business operations.

Business Ethics: Environment

            It is admitted that we have the duty to protect the environment in all aspects of our activities. It requires all people inside or outside the business world to hep each other in preserving the environment. The reason is obvious, if anything will happen to us because of inability to protect our environment, all of us will be affected and no one is exempted.

            Now, there are things that we should avoid in order not to destroy our environment. We must avoid pollution all the time. Most companies are charged with great responsibilities to see to it that their business operations do not cause pollution. Aside from that, it is not also denied that pollution is a cost borne not merely by shareholders, but by all. Indeed, it is usually borne disproportionately by non-shareholders and these are the poor.

            In order to support these arguments, we know that both sides have reasons to share. On one hand, it is said that it is also a cost borne by future generations who are not shareholders. They must bear costs for which they cannot have an input. Well, to be fair, they also enjoy benefits towards which they did not contribute. For example, the future generation could enjoy the development of various corporations that they can inherit. Thus, if there are obligations to future generations, then businesses do have obligations to non-shareholders. In connection with that, with respect to humanistic argument, the quality of human life depends on protecting the environment. That means that the obligation to prevent pollution is an obligation owed to other people especially future inhabitants of the earth. They can have a better place to live in the future resulting to comfortable life if the environment is protected even from previous years up to their time. On the other hand, naturalistic argument provided that nature is intrinsically valuable as it is simply wrong to damage it, quite apart from its impact on human beings. Remember that, there is a necessity of balance in the ecological system. Without that balance, all other things will fail including the capability of the people to produce food due to destruction in nature.

            There are also arguments against obligations of the future people. We refer to costs of pollution that may be outweighed by their benefits. We may ask how can there be obligations to future people. This question is posed to remind us that future people simply do not exist. Meaning, one can have obligations only to someone who is real or who exists now.

However, cost-benefit analysis is reasonable, but it also places limits. That is, sometimes costs are too high. The idea of obligations to the future is unusual – but nevertheless acceptable, because the alternative which may include paying no heed to it is something we all see to be selfish and irresponsible. In essence, humanistic argument provides insufficient protection for nature so we should reject it.

But if we will really think about it, we can say that this is not really naturalistic. It just says we should talk naturalist talk in order to safeguard the environment. So it is just saying we have to talk tough to protect the environment and the humanistic argument can accept this if necessary.

Now, a stronger claim is this, all animals are equal. Animals matter for just the same reasons we do, so regard for us has to extend to them, too. However, a strong objection to this claim provides that animals may matter the same with respect to suffering, but not with respect to fairness. The value of human beings is more important than animals. So, treating humans as if the same as animals means denying the value of human rationality. To treat human beings the other way around means to demote value of humans. The problem is whether such views really promote the value of nature, or just demote the value of humans to the same as living or merely physical nature. Thus, equality does not guarantee worth.

With respect to the obligation of companies to protect the environment, the implications is that, the companies involve must value more the existence of humans than anything. For example, values being proposed and developed by these companies must put first human happiness which is a positive result of profits reaped. The environment and the world we live must be protected by all means to ensure that we will attain happiness all the time.

Business Ethics: Discrimination

The World Opinion mentioned that, a World Public Opinion organization poll of 19 nations performed around the world finds that, in every nation polled, publics support the principles of democracy (“World Publics Say Governments Should Be More Responsive to the Will of the People”). The will of the people must be of paramount consideration in a democratic society then. That means, any discrimination against a substantial number of people is not proper. All must be fairly treated by the government.

Besides, Youth at Work mentioned that to categorize against someone means to care for that person differently, or less favorably, for some reason (“What Is Employment Discrimination?”). These reasons may be too impractical like discriminating a handicapped employee over a normal one in a business organization or discriminating a person in the academe on account of his race or color. Whatever it may be, as long as there is deprivation of fairness and equality in some places against certain individuals, it is a display of utter discrimination.

Discrimination can occur while at work, especially in business organizations. One can be discriminated against by co-workers, managers, or business owners. That means a business owner may choose not to promote an equally-qualified black employee for some reasons.

We must be aware that discrimination depends on the reason and not just on some fact. For example, a Hispanic employee in a certain company may not be given favour with respect to work-related claims compared to the majority of the race working in the said company. It is obvious that because of his being a Hispanic the person may be discriminated upon. It is clear that the projected reason why the said Hispanic was not treated fairly is the difference of his race or colour.

However, discrimination is not always wrong in some aspects. It may be said to be valid under legal circumstances. For example, if the said Hispanic or black employee had done something bad against the company and proven to be so, like misappropriation of company funds without valid reasons, any harsh but legal investigation against them is not discrimination. Anyone who had done so can be treated that way in any company. Thus, affirmative action is not always a form of discrimination.

Discrimination is not proper because it hinders any person to develop his or her capabilities. What makes discrimination wrong is that it violates the sense of equality in a workplace or any places. In the example given earlier, we can say that the non-selection was racial discrimination if racial membership was the reason. So then, to test for discrimination, one must test the reasons.

Now, what makes one case of treating people differently fair and another case unfair? The best short answer is that we treat someone fairly when we treat them as equals. In line with that, discrimination is treatment of people which fails to treat them all as equals.

Yet, how do we treat people if we are to treat them as equals? The answer is a big no, because the special treatment given is because of a handicap or disadvantage that applied to that person, such that the normal application of the rules would treat them badly. For example, if there is a handicapped employee in the workplace and a rule which provides that everyone is required to actively participate in an annual tree planting project, the said rule do nor necessarily apply to handicapped employees. The obvious reason is that, their inability to participate on account of physical disability occurs. Finally, if there is discrimination in a workplace, the overall performance of the workers will be affected. This should be prevented because if allowed to happen, the very purpose of accumulating profits will surely fail. Thus, ethics in the business organization must prevail.

References

North Tyneside Council. (2008). What Is A Stakeholder? Retrieved June 9, 2008, from

            http://www.northtyneside.gov.uk/supporting/stakeholders.htm.

World Public Opinion. (2008). World Publics Say Governments Should Be More Responsive to the Will of the People. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from

            http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/?gclid=CJH2xMLP55MCFQdIegodo1QlWg.

Youth At Work. (2008). What Is Employment Discrimination? Retrieved June 10, 2008,

            from http://youth.eeoc.gov/discrim.html.

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