Code of Business Principles
At various places the term leadership has been defined as taking responsibility for one’s actions and facilitating people (Vogel, 2004). Thus responsibility is an important trait of a leader. Since the leader has people following him so he shall take the responsibility of all his actions and deeds. A leader has to act very responsibly because the people following him tend to follow his footsteps.
Second most important trait of a leader is the power of influencing others. Influencing and acting as a role model is very important for a leader because a leader does not have to force people to do things but has to act in a manner that people automatically do what he wants them to do. And this could only be done once the leader has managed to become enough influential among his subordinates (Grenny, 2009).
The third trait is being very enthusiastic. A leader is supposed to be very energetic and enthusiastic about everything he does because he has to further motivate him people. The leader is the source of motivation for the whole team. In order to make the team work more passionately the leader himself has to be self driven and enthusiastic so that
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I feel that today the leaders are more aware of the ethical standards and the issues since the level of exposure today is very high. In the past people did not have access to the information and thus the level of knowledge was low as compared to today’s knowledge. The leaders today are surely better aware due to the enormous relevant and first hand data that is available to them in the form of case studies and discussions.
The company that has been selected is Unilever which is a giant operating in the fast moving consumer goods industry. The two components that I feel stand out in the code of conduct are the respect for the human rights and obeying the laws of the country where they are operating.
These two components play a vital role in the operations of the company and enable it to working a better way. The respect for the human rights has enabled a respectful and equality based corporate culture in all the countries where it is operating. The company respects the rights of all the individuals and makes sure that no discrimination or inequality prevails in the working condition. The company is an equal opportunist who believes in respecting the rights of all and giving everyone an opportunity to grow. This is one of the major reasons what has made Unilever as aspiring employer.
Another significant component is obeying the laws on the local level under which the company localize itself and obeys the laws of the country where it is operating. This enables smooth operations in the company and because of this there prevails a culture in the country where everyone is supposed to act lawfully and no action is done which may break any sorts of laws of the country (ANNEX B: UNILEVER Code of Business Principles, n.d.).
I agree to the verdict and I feel that such companies should be judged negligent for their irresponsible attitude towards their consumers. All the fast food chains and other companies should be very clear about the advantages and the disadvantages of their products and should warn public about the side affects as well. The companies should avoid any deceptive advertising as it itself is illegal and puts consumers life at stake.
The companies should be very vocal about all sorts of ingredients that are in the product as not mentioning them is not ethical. I feel that the verdict is justified because such huge companies in order to maintain their sales often mislead or in other words cheat the consumers by not mentioning properly about their products. Moreover, the deceptive advertising often conceals the disadvantages and presents the product as the best thing for the consumers. These all actions are unethical according to me because I feel that the companies do not have a right to misguide their consumers just to make their own sales (Is the food industry responsible for obesity, 2003).
I don’t think it is an ethical thing to advertise the medicines on radio or television directly for the customers. Advertising is a way of persuading people to use a certain product. By doing so for a medicine the companies are actually convincing people to use the medicine without a proper prescription from a doctor. The medicine advertisement would show certain symptoms and people who think that they are going through a similar problem would want to take that drug without the prescription of the doctor. This might be dangerous for them because only a doctor knows which medicine is well suited for which person and which disease.
Moreover in an advertisement the companies only show the brighter side of the product and do not talk about any negative impact that may be attached to the product. By doing this for a medicine the companies would not mention the side affects that might be attached to the medicine. Other than that since there would be one advertisement only so the companies would not be able to identify properly that what sort of people may use it and what sort of people may be allergic to it.
Thus all of this is very critical in case of a medicine because the use of it has a person’s life at stake. Doctor is the only person who shall have the authority to advertise or prescribe the medicines. The pharmaceuticals should not advertise any of their medicines on radios or television because they might be misguiding someone at putting their life at stake.
The mishap at the Gulf of Mexico by the British Petroleum has hampered the company’s image very badly. Recently it has been criticized a lot by various environmentalists for its careless attitude towards the oil spill. The company is suffering from a bad image and has not been able to manage the crisis properly. The three suggestions I would give it are:
- The company should have managed the crisis properly by communicating in the right manner with its strategic public and the media. The communication officer failed to show his seriousness towards the incident which infuriated the people and the media. The company did not have a proper communicating strategist for such crisis who should have communicated rather than the regular people who have failed to communicate in the right manner.
- The company should get the government’s support that is their last resort. Currently the Obama administration is acting as an anti party for the company which they should counter soon. The company should get the government on board by assuring them how concerned and serious they are regarding this issue, which would then help them in coming out of this crisis in a much better way.
- The company is going through a very bad phase now as it is surrounded by numerous litigations. The company should start working on the next phase which is when the whole incident has been managed. People would still remember it for years and the company cannot reverse its image. In such a situation what could be done to make things better is to associate itself with some really good things and indulge in a lot of CSR. This would tell people in the next phase that the company really cares and has very earnestly taken all the responsibility of the disaster and is now trying to make up for it. Thus the company should prepare a complete CSR strategy for the next phase which is when the incident is over (BP’s Crisis Management ‘Terrible,’ Expert Says, 2010).
Answer 4 (i)
Pharmaceutical companies provide with medicines to the people which are considered as life saving. This is a huge responsibility and they have an additional social responsibility as compared to the other companies. Pfizer states in its website that the pharmaceutical companies have an additional responsibility of facilitating the people or masses with their medical needs. The companies have a moral obligation towards the society where they are supposed to bring improvement to the medical situation by introducing new medications for the various new diseases and better improved formulas for the patients around the world.
The companies operating in this industry are different form the rest of the companies because they are obliged to serve for the medical needs of the patients and they are suppose to improve the medical conditions unlike the other companies who provide products that are a part of luxuries and aim to improve the living standards of the people globally (Sones, 2007).
The pharmaceutical companies have an obligation of creating awareness about the various diseases and their prevention, the diagnosis of the diseases and are suppose to indulge themselves in various health care alternatives which make them different from the other companies. The major difference though remains the fact that the pharmaceutical companies constantly work for the improvement in the medical scenario while the other companies are providing goods to enhance the living styles (The Social Responsibility of Pharmaceutical Companies, n.d.).
Answer 4 (ii)
The primary stake holders of pharmaceutical companies are:
The pharmaceutical companies follow the similar business model as any other company and thus they are also operating in order to maximize the shareholders wealth. Thus these companies also feel that their top most priority is their shareholders whose wealth they are suppose to maximize. Then the companies feel that they are liable to their employees who are the main asset in any organization and have a direct impact on the shareholders wealth.
Next in line are the suppliers and the government who also play a very vital role in the smooth flow of operations. Thus I personally feel that the last obligation is towards the community to which they are serving. The reason being that every company is working in order to maximize the shareholder’s wealth and to earn profit thus community with this respect becomes the last priority for any pharmaceutical company (Moseley, 2009).
I don’t think the high prices that these company charge are justifies. Most of the people who buy these drugs do not have enough resources to meet their ends thus it becomes very difficult for them to purchase such diseases which are at times the life saving drugs.
The pharmaceutical companies have a lot of cost involved in their research and development and have a lot of other overhead cost but at the same time these companies get a lot of reductions and exemptions from the government. Such companies do get a lot of subsidies and tax rebating which they can forward to the end consumers. Thus the companies if they want can pass these benefits to the end consumers by charging minimal profits.
I don’t think that charging too high prices for the life saving drugs are justified at any point. Even for those medicines whose costs can not be reduced the companies should work on getting some alternatives in order to reduce the cost. One can not justify really high prices for the life saving drugs. The companies should rather than increasing the prices come up with options of reducing the cost which may automatically reduce the final price of the product for the consumers (Moseley, 2009).
Interest in sustainable business is at an all-time high, driven by external pressures including regulation and legislation, but also by customer and stakeholder needs and interests (Moore and Wen, 2008:172). Corporate environmental and social scandals and a greater consumer concern for ecological issues have also heightened company and investor interest in the concept of corporate sustainability. These trends have made it more difficult for companies to overlook the necessity of achieving sustainable business operations.
There is an increasing realization today that organizational Leaders need to be more sensitive to their moral obligations to the larger society, which includes all their stakeholders such as consumers, employees, suppliers, government and local community (Mendonca, 2001). Today even the consumers have become very aware and are switching to environmental friendly products and want a more responsible attitude from the corporations as well.
Due to these reasons the companies have now become more conscious about their actions because it has been seen in the past that those companies that ignore such environmental issues have paid a lot. Some of the examples could be McDonalds, Exxon or the latest example which is British Petroleum.
The two approaches about the moral status being assigned to animals advocate two opposite theories one of which is in the support of this theory while the other is against it. The difference in the two approaches is that one approach says that animals can be compared to humans because they can feel pain and have emotions attached to them. Animals have the ability to understand situations and they also react in a way that humans does. The animals are happy, they cry and they even love or hate people. Thus looking from this approach animals since can feel everything should be given a moral status and should be treated with respect and in a way that humans are treated.
The other approach which negates the notion does not feels that animals in any way can be compared to humans and there is no point of giving moral status to the animals. These people believe that there are certain set rules of this world and according to them the nature has made humans in a way that they are suppose to kill animals for their survival. Thus they cannot be given an exact moral status as the humans, though an unnecessary torture or killing of the animals cannot be justified under any schools of thought (Ethics of Animal Use, n.d.).
ANNEX B: UNILEVER Code of Business Principles. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2010, from http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=554448
BP’s Crisis Management ‘Terrible,’ Expert Says. (2010, June 3). Retrieved August 25, 2010, from http://www.thestreet.com/story/10773867/bps-crisis-management-terrible-expert-says.html
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Moore, S and Wen, J (2008) Business Ethics: A global comparative study on corporate sustainability approaches, Vol.4, No.2, p.172.
Moseley, G. B. (2009). Managing Health Care Business Strategy . Jones & Barlett Learning.
Robert Vogel, B. P. (2004). Leadership and Responsibility in the Second World War, Mc Gill’s, Quebec City, Queen University Press.
Sones, M. , 2007-08-08 “Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility: How Effective are Pharmaceutical Companies Communicating These Business Initiatives?” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, The Renaissance, Washington, DC Online <PDF>. 2010-06-04 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p203442_index.html
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