This individual assignment requires students to analyze an ethics case based upon the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) framework.
Ethics in Management BUS 3110-001
Page | 10Individual Reflection Memo (GVV approach)
Table of Contents
Introduction page 2
Body page 3-4
Theories supporting the case page5-6
Stakeholder analysis page 7-8
Conclusion page 8
References page 9
The Reflection memo will demonstrate unethical action taken by specifically fast-food chain managers in running their stores and for meeting sales targets. Memo will focus on what unethical actions food chains take when they run out of certain product in the store. Managers do what they need, to achieve their target no matter if the actions taken by them is ethical or unethical. Then it puts employee in spotlight for raising their voice for right or wrong action. Most of the times managers actions put employees in dilemma of choosing between customers health vs companies profit and image. This memo will focus on two moral theories i.e. utilitarian and other one is Kantian theory. Both theories will have their own arguments and each theory will play part of counterargument for the other theory. This memo will have various stakeholders and each stakeholder is very crucial and might be affected badly if there is any unethical action taken by the management. Stakeholders in this case are the customers, employees, suppliers, Franchisees, NGO partners, government agencies. At the end after understanding and analysing whole scenario we will be able to figure which theories fits better with the situation. We would also be able to figure what is right and what is wrong after understanding both the arguments.
There is always one face in everyone life where a person is in dilemma to choose one side. Same happened with me couple of years ago at my workplace. This case is about unethical action taken by manager of one of the well known fast-food chain Subway. There have been few incidents that occurred which forced me to choose between my responsibility towards company vs my ethics and morals One of the incidents that is stuck in memory was a dilemma of choosing between my customers health vs companies profit and image. I came across unethical act of our manager when we ran out of inventory in our store. Because of shortage of few items like chicken strips and light mayo took a dreadful step. As we ran out of chicken strips and light mayo Our manager decided to replace chicken strips with roasted chicken by cutting roasted chicken into strips and asked staff to use that meets saying it chicken strips. It didn’t end here he also asked us to put regular mayo into light mayo bottles. Before proceeding to details I would like to clarify that both meats and sauces are made differently and have different calories. According to our manager this action was best because this way he could have served customers what they want and on the same hand we would have made sale
and achieved his target. When all this was happing, there were 3 other staff members present and were watching whole situation without raising their voice for that action. But being a business student and always been taught about ethics I couldn’t keep quiet. I had to speak because this time trust of our stakeholders was on risk. Whatever was happening at that point sounded completely unethical to me the whole time. What if someone was allergic to certain item? What if that items could have made them sick? What if they have certain dietary restriction? That whole time these questions were running inside me which made me question my ethics and my responsibility towards my customers, employees, suppliers, Franchisees, Owners, NGOs. At that point I had two options to choose, first by putting my job at risk I could either raise my voice for my customers or second way the easiest way of keeping quiet, saving my job and following my managers command. That movement reminded me of two moral theories I learned from my moral issues class, the Utilitarian theory and the Kantian’s theory that completely goes with the case and support it. Each theory works as counterargument for each other. These theories will explain why not raising is good for all and other theory will explain why raising voice is important.
The Utilitarian theory
First option that came to my mind was keeping quiet for companies’ sake. As my manager said by taking that action, we our giving customers what they want according to them and at the same time we are making sale so that’s a win and win situation. In this kind of situation Utilitarian theory is called. According to Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, utilitarian theory is considered one of the most important theory to approach normative ethics in the ethics of philosophy (Stansford Encyclopedia of philosphy , 2009). Utilitarian theory states that the ethically right action is the action that serves most benefit. (Stansford Encyclopedia of philosphy , 2009). In simple words utilitarian theories serves overall happiness and good. So according to the theory no doubt I was making everyone happy but by lying. By taking this step I was risking trust of my customers and risking image of other stakeholders. Which is not the right thing to do. It didn’t even take this option out of my list and move on to other option of doing right thing by following the Kantian’s theory of right or wrong. Disregarding the consequences for the moment to do something which is right for my customer and other community. No doubt was afraid of loosing my job but doing something which is right was more important.
The Kantians’ Theory of Judgement
This wasthe time to analyse other option by following Kantians’ theory which considers actions like robbery, lying, murder, unethical in nature. the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty towards the community. To follow the theory, I had to raise my voice against the act which I did but didn’t ended up so well. On raising my voice, he asked me to give his better option which I gave of telling the truth to customers. After listening to the advice, he smirked and said who will cover the loss of losing customers you? At that point I knew I need to reach to higher authorities. After finishing my shift went to the main office to meet my owner and described them the whole scenario. The owner didn’t want to take this issue to the headquarters, so they tried to solve the issue at the franchisee level. They had to do something as I mentioned them to move my complain to headquarters if they don’t act. So, after listening to the whole story they fired the manager. We also found at that when he left, he stole $1200 dollars and never picked calls after. This complete case was black and white. If I wouldn’t have raised my voice, I would be supporting his unethical doing.
customers, shareholders, suppliers, Franchisees, NGO partners, government.
- Customers: customers are one of the main stakeholders. They are the only reason because of which every business run. By doing such unethical activities we are risking their trust in our business not only that we will losing them with a bad impression.
- Shareholders: Shareholders have their name, image and money linked with the business. If anything happens with the companies’ image or if there is even a word spread about their doing shareholders have to bear the loss as the market value will decrease.
- Suppliers: Again, if they know get a word about what they with the products they send to the company. They might have to act because its just not going to hit their image but also, they might start getting less order because of declining customer number.
- Franchisees: Human psychology is complex. They might assume all subways work same way and might start cutting off with them. Others store will be affected with one branch’ wrong deeds.
- NGO partners: Some NGOs uses Subway name for their organization. Because of subway wrongful activities their image might get affected.
- Government agencies: people might start accusing the government for letting such much business exist in the market who plays with people’s health and trust.
After analysing, understanding and dealing with the whole situation I discovered and learned when very important thing in life that we should always lesson to our gut and hesitate to raise our voice.References
Stansford Encyclopedia of philosphy . (2009, 3 27). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/