Ethics in Business and Protecting Whistleblowers

Assignment Purposes/Learning Outcomes:

After completion of Assignment-1 students will able to understand the

LO 1.1: State the concept of management functions, roles, skills of a manager and the different theories of management.

LO 3.2: Demonstrate organization’s role in ethics, diversity, and social responsibility.

Assignment-1 Please go through the Caselet and answer the questions that follows. (Length of each answer should not be less then 200 words)

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility rests at the top of a pyramid of a corporation’s obligations, right up there with economic, legal, and ethical obligations. Corporate social Responsibility and environmental awareness has become an essential requirement for organizations. Organizations have realised that they must listen to all stakeholders if they are to achieve their goals, short term as well as long term.

With the rising awareness about Sustainable Development, Corporations around the world are under enormous pressure & struggling with a new role regarding the Sustainable Development which is to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Organizations are being called upon to take responsibility for the ways their operations impact societies and the natural environment. They are also being asked to apply sustainability principles to the ways in which they conduct their business.

In considering the triple bottom line(3Ps), an organization has a responsibility to its employees and to the wider community (people); is committed to sustainable development (planet); and includes the costs of pollution, worker displacement; has a responsibility to other factors in its financial calculations (profit), matters high in the minds of many of today’s consumers.

The combination of environmental responsibility, ethics and profits is one that is attracting increasing attention. Many chief executive officers of leading companies now disagree with the idea that the interests of shareholders and those of other stakeholders (employees, community, customers and so on) must always conflict. Increasingly, corporations seek to weld these two seemingly opposite forces so that ‘doing good’ and ‘doing good business’ become the same thing.

Social and environmental responsibility has moved from a ‘nice to do’ to a ‘need to do’. The importance of the employee has been highlighted by the so-called ‘war for talent’. Recruiting the brightest and best has become a key concern, says a human resources manager at Price Water House Coopers: ‘There is such a limited number of the right type of graduates, and they are choosy about the type of company they will work for. The cost of recruiting and retaining staff is likely to be higher if you are not seen to be an ethical employer and organisation.’ A company’s reputation also has significant implications for its financial performance. Analysts believe it is one of the key factors in the valuation of companies. One company could have a higher stock market valuation than another one solely due to its good social and environmental reputation.

Multinational Corporation Shell, is having the worst reputations among environmental and social pressure groups, has made enormous efforts to reinvent itself as a socially responsible business. It has stated its aims as nothing less than to become ‘the leading multinational in economic, environmental and social responsibility’. Shell’s chairman has said that the reason for Shell’s conversion to environmental protection is: ‘We won’t achieve our business goals unless we are listening to and learning from the full range of our stakeholders in society.’

Questions

Part A

1. Define Ethics. Explain how an organization can protect Whistle-Blowers.(2)

2. Explain Socially Responsible Business. Critically examine the opposing and supporting viewpoints of Corporate Social Responsibility.(2)

3. Discuss the likely cost and benefits for Shell’s working towards being seen as ‘the leading multinational corporation in economic, environmental and social responsibility’. (2)

4.Critically evaluate whether businesses should change their strategies of corporate responsibility over time. (2)

Part B

5. How do you feel about having a manager’s responsibility in today’s world characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity, and sudden changes or threats from the environment? Describe some skills and qualities that are important to managers under these conditions. (2)

Sources:

Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainable Business: A Guide to Leadership, Tasks & Functions by Alessia D’Amato, S. Henderson & S. Florence

Management: A Practical Introduction (10th edition), by Angelo Kinicki & Denise Breaux Soignet.

www.BusinessManagementIB.com (adapted and modified)

Ethics in Business and Protecting Whistleblowers
Ethics refers to moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. In business, ethics are especially important as they help establish standards of conduct and ensure fair treatment of employees, customers, and the communities in which businesses operate. Upholding strong ethical standards is vital for maintaining trust and legitimacy. However, unethical practices still occur in some organizations. To address this issue, many companies have implemented whistleblower policies to protect individuals who report misconduct.
Whistleblowers play an important role in upholding ethics and accountability within an organization. They bring unethical, dangerous, or illegal activities to light, which allows a company to remedy problems and avoid potential legal or financial risks. However, whistleblowers also face risks to their employment and reputation by reporting wrongdoing. To encourage ethical reporting, companies should establish formal policies and processes to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
Some key elements of an effective whistleblower policy include anonymous reporting options, clearly defined procedures for handling complaints, oversight by independent parties, and strict non-retaliation protections. Reports should be investigated promptly and whistleblowers informed of the outcome. Any acts of retaliation, such as harassment, job termination, or legal threats, must result in serious consequences like termination of responsible managers. The policy should be well-publicized so all employees understand their rights and responsibilities. Overall, protecting whistleblowers demonstrates a company’s commitment to integrity and accountability (Business Management IB, 2023).
Socially Responsible Business and Corporate Social Responsibility
Socially responsible business refers to operating a company in a manner that accounts for the social and environmental impact of
Socially responsible business refers to operating a company in a manner that accounts for the social and environmental impact of decisions. It involves considering stakeholders beyond just shareholders and prioritizing sustainability. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) describes how a business integrates social, environmental, and economic concerns into its values, culture, decision making, strategy and operations.
There are both benefits and criticisms of the CSR approach. Supporters argue it leads to long-term business success by building trust with stakeholders, attracting ethical consumers and employees, managing risks, and innovating sustainable solutions. However, critics contend that focusing on social issues detracts from the core function of profit generation. They argue CSR activities are merely public relations efforts rather than meaningful change.
In reality, both viewpoints have merit. CSR programs require substantial resources that cut into profits if not implemented strategically. However, irresponsible business practices can also incur high costs to reputation and brand value over time. The most effective CSR policies integrate social considerations into core business functions and metrics of success in an authentic, not superficial, manner (D’Amato, Henderson & Florence, 2022). Overall, as stakeholder expectations evolve, responsibly addressing environmental and social impacts has become necessary for sustainable long-term business success.
Costs and Benefits of Shell’s CSR Approach
Shell faced immense pressure and reputational damage from environmental and social groups due to its past practices like oil spills. As such, undertaking a strategic shift toward CSR leadership presented both costs and opportunities. Costs included short-term expenses for initiatives like carbon offset programs, clean energy investments, and supply chain sustainability efforts. It also required cultural changes and accountability measures that reduced flexibility.
However, Shell’s proactive stance on CSR yielded significant financial and non-financial benefits. It helped rebuild trust with stakeholders and society and recruit top talent seeking purpose-driven employers. Shell gained a competitive advantage in emerging sustainable markets and technologies. By addressing environmental and social risks early, it avoided greater expenses from fines or liability lawsuits down the road. Most importantly, Shell’s renewed focus on all stakeholders aligned it for long-term viability and growth in an increasingly sustainable global economy (Kinicki & Soignet, 2022). Overall, Shell’s experience demonstrates how CSR, though initially costly, can position companies for resilience through change.
Managers’ Responsibilities in Uncertain Times
Today’s business environment faces continuous disruption and uncertainty due to forces like globalization, technological innovation, and climate change impacts. Under these conditions, managers play a vital role in navigating complexity while maintaining organizational stability and progress. Key skills needed include adaptability, critical thinking, collaboration, and resilience. Managers must cultivate learning agility to lead change effectively. They also need emotional intelligence to motivate diverse teams and build cohesion.
Above all, today’s managers require strong communication skills and the ability to facilitate strategic conversations around ambiguity and risk. They must make high-quality decisions with incomplete information and unknown variables. Distributed, participative leadership styles that leverage the knowledge of all stakeholders become increasingly important. Managers also have heightened responsibilities to develop others, promote diversity and inclusion, and ensure fair treatment of all groups during times of turbulence or restructuring. Overall, today’s business reality demands managers who can guide their organizations toward shared goals amid uncertainty through vision, empathy and partnership (Kinicki & Soignet, 2022).
In conclusion, this assignment highlighted the growing responsibilities organizations have regarding ethics, social impacts and sustainability. Upholding strong values helps businesses build trust and thrive over the long run, even during unpredictable times. Protecting whistleblowers and implementing strategic CSR are two important ways companies can demonstrate integrity and accountability to diverse stakeholders. Managers also play a critical role in navigating uncertainty through collaborative, values-based leadership focused on people and shared progress. Overall, responsibly addressing environmental and social considerations enhances organizational resilience and viability in our interconnected world.
Works Cited
Business Management IB. (2023). Corporate social responsibility. https://www.businessmanagementib.com/corporate-social-responsibility.html
D’Amato, A., Henderson, S., & Florence, S. (2022). Corporate social responsibility & sustainable business: A guide to leadership, tasks & functions. Routledge.
Kinicki, A., & Soignet, D. B. (2022). Management: A practical introduction (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

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