The theme of the article McDonald’s wins backing of labor board: settlement stands to lessen burger giant’s responsibility as an employer to restaurant workers by Heather Haddon concerns the problem of the company’s ethics strategy. Business or corporate ethics being a form of professional ethics addresses moral principles or ethical issues arising in a business environment. It applies to all domains of business related to the behavior of individuals and entire organizations. The company principles help to maintain close communication with their stakeholders. The example presented in the article illustrates the situation when there used to be employment violations. McDonald’s was demanded to improve working conditions at its 14,000 domestic restaurants. The article brings up a concern of ignoring the workers’ claims to improve the conditions at its restaurants.
In the practice of doing business, the emerging contradictions between ethical standards and company policy lead to the fact that representatives of some business circles deny ethical standards as long as they interfere with immediate profit. As a result, they use methods that can be considered immoral. For example, companies may deliberately ignore environmental issues but gain an advantage. In any case, unlike legal norms, compliance with business ethics is a matter of conscience of the decision-maker. However, another approach, whose adherents consider the observance and implementation of ethical standards in business, is cost-effective, focusing on long-term activity results (Rodríguez-López & Souto, 2020). Based on this, it can be concluded that ethics guarantees integrity and professionalism in a highly professional business environment.
Business ethics controls the ethical behavior of company members and other partners: it is a set of rules and business laws based on generally accepted values. The concept of moral principles implies social values that include specific qualities such as conscience, correctness, respect, and justice (Werhane et al., 2017). Concerning trade, this corresponds to the quality of the product, customer satisfaction, compliance with the rules in advertising the product, health, and safety.
This article relates to business ethics, as the latter consists of specific social categories. They traditionally contain moral standards formed in society. It helps to understand the specifics of the relations that have developed between representatives of one team or organization. An important role is played by the principles of service relations, which regulate the relationship between all parties involved in the business process. The rights of employees granted to them by applicable labor laws must also be taken into account properly. The management style chosen by the management is closely interfaced with officially adopted and informal relations with competitors, partners, customers, and subordinates. One of the areas of business ethics is the resolution of various conflict situations, which are integral satellites of any business process.
Rights and Duties
Aristotle introduced the concept of ethics. He defined the virtues and science by this term, which answers the questions of what morality is and what a person must do to be righteous. The most important categories of ethics are good – evil, justice, responsibility, duty, conscience, and honor (Werhane et al., 2017). Aristotle used the concept of ethics for practical philosophy. Ethics is a system of morality, requirements, standards, and norms of behavior implemented in the process of public life.
Business ethics not only supplements legal mechanisms but also serves as an effective means of many economic and socio-psychological problems. Under business ethics, an entrepreneur becomes professionally recognizable and predictable in business communication, determining safety and sustainability. Inappropriate moral behavior of a business person calls into question his decency and causes a desire to interrupt or not to establish business relations with him at all. Calculating options for business cooperation, entrepreneurs prefer long-term, reliable, and competent partners, going to provide them with several advantages (Rodríguez-López & Souto, 2020). Unethical behavior most often causes losses if not immediately, at the time of short-term profit from their actions, then with the modern development of the information environment after some time with the acquisition of an unworthy partner’s reputation. That is why it is so essential for each entrepreneur to be responsible for the results of their actions and to assess the risks and consequences of all their efforts.
Regarding the theory of business ethics, which can be found within the article, it might be the ethics of rights and duties or so-called deontology. Deontological ethics is the ethical-philosophical approach that has a decisive influence on the formation of business ethics. Deontological ethics is an ethics of rights and duties. Central to this approach is the concept of right. Rights are a powerful tool of social regulation; their purpose is to provide an individual with the opportunity to choose a goal or occupation freely and to guarantee this choice by protecting the rights of employees (Werhane et al., 2017). Among the various kinds of reasons, moral rights or human rights are most important. Therefore, one of its central categories is a duty that affects the content of moral requirements for a person, the moral motivation of activity. Ethical consciousness includes the value component and the incentives to feel, reflect, and act in a particular direction given by the highest moral values and standards. Professional duty is determined by the value characteristics, based on the totality of the obligations presented by society to the individual (Werhane et al., 2017). The mission includes in its content the concept of responsibility to other people and culture. Thus, the duty focuses on a person’s attitude to others and society in terms of integrity.
Personal Reaction to the Article
McDonald’s positions itself as a successful company in which effective management is carried out. This organization managed to create a philosophy that every employee of any restaurant follows anywhere in the world. The following elements are the cornerstone of corporate culture – the team’s socio-psychological climate, philosophy, company values, attitude towards employees and customers, and management style. The whole service philosophy is set out in the corporate code, which all employees get acquainted with when hiring. It is also a tool to familiarize staff with the company’s values. The attitude towards employees and customers lies in the principles of service: quality, culture, cleanliness, and accessibility. According to McDonald’s laws, employees are an essential resource for ensuring company performance.
On the other hand, in the article, the illustration clearly shows the contradiction between the company’s image and the real facts. Although McDonald’s agreed to pay $250,000, groups that brought the cases on behalf of the workers said it is not valid (Haddon, 2019). If an entrepreneur considers employees only as a means to profit or as a mechanism to achieve the benefit, they are treated immorally. For instance, it is shown through the situations with the campaigning for a $15 hourly wage, when the participants were punished or fired (Haddon, 2019). Besides, new kitchen designs make employees more vulnerable to assault from customers and criminals, which does not help a safe work environment (Haddon, 2019). Moreover, the company’s administration ignores the allegations of sexual harassment that occurred at one Michigan restaurant (Haddon, 2019). In my opinion, McDonald’s corporate culture does not create a favorable work environment. Without a well-thought-out and competently implemented value system in a company, it is impossible to accomplish effective personnel management.
If I were in a management or leadership position, I would develop employees’ engagement in the work process and provide excellent working conditions. A high-quality workplace reduces the risk of employees being absent from work for up to four days a year. The goal of involvement is not to achieve employee satisfaction; instead, the purpose of an employee’s commitment is to successfully implement a business strategy that ultimately allows companies to make a profit and increase the value of the company’s shares. People, who do their best every day, work better and more successfully than those who are not involved in their work.
It is also essential to take on social responsibility. The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) is generally understood as the ethical behavior of organizations concerning human society. Mainly, CSR involves observance of workers’ right to a safe work environment with certain social guarantees, promoting staff development and skills, and compliance with generally accepted legislative and ethical standards of doing business. Thus, the idea of corporate social responsibility is based on the 3P concept, which consists in the fact that the head of the organization should pay equal attention to working for the benefit, caring for staff, clients and partners (people), and activities aimed at protecting the environment (planet).
Haddon, H. (2019). McDonald’s Wins Backing of Labor Board: Settlement stands to lessen burger giant’s responsibility as an employer to restaurant workers. The Wall Street Journal. Web.
Rodríguez-López, Á., & Souto, J. E. (2020). Empowering entrepreneurial capacity: training, innovation and business ethics. Eurasian Business Review, 10(1), 23-43.
Werhane, P. H., Freeman, R. E., & Dmytriyev, S. (Eds.). (2017). Cambridge handbook of research approaches to business ethics and corporate responsibility. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.