There are a number of ethical issues related to business. The first step in this task will be for you to choose an ethical issue on which to base the remainder of your Key Assignment. Following is a list of potential business-related ethical issues from which you may choose, or you may identify an ethical issue not listed below based on your own research, or based on your own personal and/or professional experiences. For Part 1 of this task, you are to identify and describe your chosen business-related ethical issue. For Part 1, identifying and describing your chosen business-related means that you are to do the following:
- State the ethical issue chosen from the list, or state the ethical issue you have chosen that is not from the list. For example, “I have chosen to use the following ethical issue for this assignment: deceptive advertising.”
- Provide a fact-based scenario that will illustrate to your audience the ethical issue involved. For example,
The company General Gadgets, Inc. has been in business for 30 years, but in the last 10 years, it has watched its sales continually plummet because of increased competition in the market. General Gadgets held a 50% market share through the year 2001, but it has watched that market share dwindle to 5% in 2010. In an effort to boost its lagging sales, Widgets, Inc. has hired a marketing firm, Sell It Like It Is Marketing, LLC, to come up with a new marketing campaign. You are the vice president are are in charge of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for General Gadgets, Inc. It has been brought to your attention that the marketing campaign being put together is going to do more than just bend the truth a little in terms of claims about the durability of General Gadgets, Inc.’s newest product.
- Discuss the impact that this ethical issue may have on all interested parties. For example “As the VP of CSR, your concern is that this marketing campaign may have a long-term negative impact on the business, despite the potential short-term revenue boost. It could damage the company’s reputation; it could increase the potential for product-related lawsuits; and internally, it could further erode the employee’s faith in leadership, which has taken a hit as a result in the downward direction of the business in general.”
The examples provided do not represent complete answers, but serve only as examples to provide a little direction for you in getting started. Your answers should go into more detail so that the reader does not have basic questions related to the issue involved or the facts of your scenario. Also, the more detail you use when developing your fact scenario, the easier it will be to complete Part 3 of this assignment.
Following is a list of potential business-related ethical issues from which to choose. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and you may choose an issue not from this list. Whether you are choosing from this list or from outside of this list, it is important that you focus your energies on the last two sections above, so that the reader has a clear picture of the issue and the facts going forward.
- Omitting the details of certain side effects of drugs by pharmaceutical manufacturers
- Manufacturing products that are designed to fail sooner to generate repeat business (built in obsolescence)
- Selling products that the company knows are harmful or addictive to consumers
- In a retail setting, profiling potential customers based on race, age, religion, etc. (for example, following a customer around while he shops because of his appearance)
- Bait and switch tactics
- Deceptive advertising
- Deceptive packaging or wasteful or unnecessary packaging
- The number of minorities or women in positions of senior leadership in an organization
- Bribing of government officials to obtain contracts
- Using insider information
- Ignoring health and safety concerns in the workplace