Ethics and Corporate Responsibility in the Workplace and in the World
During the latest several decades, a significant number of companies have developed the policy of ethics and corporate responsibility in the workplace and in the world. They focus on the ethical, environmental, and workplace safety protection, contributing to the boosting living standards of the community.
The principles of suggesting the proper and fair ethical policy can be discussed on the example of the hypothetical PharmaCARE Company, one of the leading businesses worldwide. The foundation has developed the ethical strategy supporting low-income consumers and initiating charity programs such as health care educational projects and scholarships. Being highly appreciated by the community, PharmaCARE enjoys the reputation of a caring and well-run organization. The correspondence of PharmaCAREs ideas to its real activities is the subject to discussion in this paper.
The Stakeholders within the PharmaCAREs Scenario
The critical evaluation of PharmaCAREs ethics and corporate responsibility includes several categories such as distinguishing the stakeholders, discussing the degree of human rights protection, and the influence of the enterprise on the environment. The legislative base dealing with the issue is under consideration as well.
Being the party with interest in a business, several stakeholders, consisting of the owners of the company, managers, workers, customers, and the community, are involved into the PharmaCAREs activity in Colberia. All the participants have different goals that may contradict each other and even violate the rights of other side.
The Human Rights Issues Presented by PharmaCARE
Analyzing the relationships between PharmaCARE and the indigenous inhabitants, one can see that the company violates the basic principle of equality regardless nationality, religion, or gender. On the one hand, PharmaCARE argues that it supports the human rights to work and social security. However, the real state of affairs reveals faults. In fact, the gap in the living standards of the local employees and PharmaCARE executives is tremendous. The indigenous inhabitants exist in awful conditions, without electricity and running water, while the companys managers impress ones imagination by the luxurious apartments with swimming pools and tennis courts. This peculiarity may have affect the reputation of the enterprise in a negative way. To improve the situation, FarmaCAREs management may be recommended to revise the system of payment, initiate the social and financial support of its employees, and provide charity projects that deal with improving living conditions of the local population. For instance, social initiatives suggesting access to electricity and running water would be effective under the circumstances.
PharmaCAREs Environmental Initiatives
Assessing PharmaCARE environmental initiatives against its real activities, one can see that the companys environmental policy leaves much to be desired. On the one hand, the PharmaCARE declares the policy of supporting the friendly environment, launching recycling programs and changes in packaging. However, the enterprise management lobbies its interests and violates the environmental legislation, such as extension of the Superfund tax, originated by CERCLA.
Ethical Analysis of PharmaCAREs Actions
PharmaCAREs actions with respect to the indigenous population of Colberia may be evaluated in accordance with the four main ethical theories, such as Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue ethics, and Ethics of care.
Utilitarianism is a philosophical approach that focuses on the result of the initiated actions, ignoring any rules. This result consists of the sum of all advantages obtained by the major part of the involved stakeholders. In fact, the key idea of Utilitarianism is supporting the solutions that are profitable for the majority of the parties, while the lowest number of the participants is to experience negative consequences of provided activities. The key idea of Utilitarianism is the greatest happiness principle that signifies joy, social security, and the absence of hardships (Sadler, 2011, p. 8). When evaluating PharmaCAREs actions towards indigenous people, one can see that the principles of Utilitarianism approve of the companys policy. In fact, all the stakeholders are satisfied with the current state of affairs. Colberias inhabitants suffer from the unemployment making their families barely survive. Providing the payment of $1 a day and 50 pounds for the jungle carrying baskets, PharmaCARE does not force the local population to participate in its activities. Individuals make their decision that meets their interests. If Colberias employees do not agree with PharmaCAREs salary policy, they may search for job opportunities in other places. On the other hand, the owners of the company have the chance to enhance their financial position through hiring the cheap workforce. The high salaries of top managers should not trouble observers. In fact, the company is interested in the professionals who are attracted by the high level of their material benefits. Overcoming the high rate of unemployment, the local community obtains numerous advantages as well. Assessing this picture, one can see that the current policy of PharmaCARE is suitable for all the stakeholders, providing them with the greatest happiness overall. Therefore, PharmaCARE activity is effective and fair in accordance with the principles of Utilitarianism.
The key element of Deontology is duty. According to this philosophy, all human beings are equal in their rights and responsibilities, having the same universal duties regardless of their nation, gender, or religion. Common sense regulates all the duties (Sadler, 2011, p. 9). Assessing the above-mentioned case from the deontological viewpoint, certain details can be observed. On the one hand, Colberias employees perform their duties, carrying out their working obligations, while the PharmaCAREs management fulfils its financial duty, paying the salary to the workers. On the other hand, the stakeholders are not equal in their benefits because Colberias workers get extremely small wages for their work, which is not fair. Being a hazardous enterprise, PharmaCARE badly damages the environment without due compensation. Moreover, the management escapes high taxes imposed by CERCLA. Therefore, according to the deontological principles, the companys activities are not ethical.
Virtue ethics is the philosophical approach that highlights the moral aspect of the activities, taking into account numerous virtues such as fairness, responsibility, caring, respect, and others (Sadler, 2011, p. 11). According to this ethical theory, PharmaCARE behaves extremely unfairly because it allows the great gap in the payment for the same type of work for the local and native employees. Ethics of care suggests paying immediate attention to the most vulnerable categories of people who need an external help (Sadler, 2011, p.10). In the case study, the local population belongs to this category, suffering from material troubles. Nevertheless, PharmaCARE develops the policy ignoring its personnels hardships. Therefore, one cannot approve the current state of affairs from the viewpoint of the care ethics.
Having discussed the four main ethical theories, I would develop the position from the point of view of Ethics of care and Utilitarianism. Personally, I appreciate the position of Ethics of care and consider that the payment of $1 per day is cruel and unfair regardless of the rate of wages in the developing country of Colberia. PharmaCARE declared its charity program ignoring the basic human rights and the moral principles in the reality. Therefore, the top-management of the company should revise its policy and increase the salary for the local workers. This additional spending would not be significant for the successful global company, while the living standards of Colberias employees would be up to the level. Therefore, all the stakeholders interests would be satisfied to the greatest degree that meets the key principle of Utilitarianism.
The Comparison between PharmaCare and Roche Company
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PharmaCARE can be compared with Roche Company. According to the official ethical program, Roches principal contribution to society is to continue committing substantial resources to long-term research and development aimed at creating diagnosis and treatment options to address the many unmet health needs facing mankind (Dubbink, Liedekerke, & Luijk, 2011, p. 43). The range of Roches declared social initiatives is broad, targeting its researches and services towards the decrease of human suffering and the support of low-income consumers worldwide. In fact, this pharmaceutical company creates three antiretroviral medicines for the individuals with AIDS, such as Invirase, Viracept, and Fuzeon. Following its ethical policy, Roche has decreased the prices for these drugs to the minimum, making them even cheaper than the typical generics. Moreover, the foundation launches numerous chaity projects, dramatically contributing to the health welfare of the poorest people in the world. For example, Roche initiates the launch of a health care train in South Africa during 36 weeks a year, giving easy access to medical services (Dubbink, Liedekerke, & Luijk, 2011, p. 43). Despite the absence of sharing free anti-HIV cures, the company provides basic medical, dental, ophthalmic, and psychiatric care (Dubbink, Liedekerke, & Luijk, 2011, p. 43). However, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) argues that Roches real charity activity has not reached the declared goals, failing in the 3 by 5 campaign (Dubbink, Liedekerke, & Luijk, 2011, p. 44). According to the agenda, Roche took the ethical obligations to provide approximately 3 millions of people with drugs from AIDs, but that intention was not introduced into life (Dubbink, Liedekerke, & Luijk, 2011, p. 44). As for workplace, the company claims the policy of supporting its personnel, providing attractive conditions for long-term and natural growth (Roche, n.d.). According to Roches ethical program, the company implements the policy of the permanent evolving and development, creating a dramatic number of job and careere oppoertunities on the global scale (Roche, n.d.). The company pays due attention to the professional level of its staff that enhances Roches position in the charts of the world top companies (Roche, n.d.). Therefore, Roche has acquired the reputation as a considerate, ethical , and well-run foundation. The company effectively follows its proclaimed goal concerning the support of its personnel both professionally and personally and initiating healthcare activities that improve the health care standards worldwide. The ethical reputation of Roche is much higher than that of PharmaCARE.
The Legislation Protecting against Discrimination in the Workplace
The European Convention on Human Rights and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) are the key legislative documents declaring employees rights to health and safety working environment and protecting employees against the discrimination in the workplace. CERCLA is the legislative tool supporting the nations defense against the releases of dangerous mixtures into the air, water, and soil. According to CERCLA, the authorities have the legal right to demand financial compensation for the damage to individuals health, community welfare, and the state of environment caused by hazardous enterprises (EPA, 2016).
To sum up, ethics and corporate responsibility in the workplace and in the world are the popular business and social initiatives worldwide. However, many enterprises declare attractive ethical policies that do not correspond to their real activities. To evaluate the essence of the companys corporate responsibility, one can implement ethical theories. However, they assess the state of affairs in different ways. Special legislative base has been introduced supporting social and ethical corporate initiatives.
Evaluating the ethical activity of PharmaCARE, one can see that the corporate responsibility of the company is not perfect. The management is recommended to revise the payment standards of the enterprise and launch effective social initiatives improving the living standards of Colberia population that experience the negative environmental consequence of the enterprise.
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