Marketing What Is the Relevance of Ethics Term Paper

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Ethics and social responsibility have always been critical issues in both marketing and operations activities. However, recent accounting scandals and bankruptcies involving high profile and well-respected companies such as Enron, Global Crossing, PG&E, WorldCom and numerous others have renewed interest in ethics and social responsibility. Social responsibility is the concept that business is part of the larger society in which it exists and must therefore act in a way that not only advances the firm, but also serves the society. More than ever firms are being challenged to integrate social responsibilities in to their operations. Numerous firms now believe that social responsibility to be a lot more than granting money to community groups or volunteering their time to organizations - although these are both important ways that firms support the community. Today, business leaders recognize that a commitment to corporate social responsibility can provide distinct advantage in attracting and retaining employees, dealing with suppliers and regulators, strengthening customer relationships and providing positive returns for investors.

When faced with an ethical and financial dilemma, corporations and individuals may choose several courses of action based upon various philosophical and practical principles of ethical conduct. First, there is the categorical imperative, i.e., one should not adopt principles of action unless they may, without inconsistency, be adopted by everyone. Under this theory, breaking promises, lying, and stealing are ruled out because society would disintegrate if they replaced property rights, truth telling, and vow keeping. Thus, a dealer or manager faced with an ethical dilemma such as whether to accept or make bribes or kickbacks must behave in a way that he or she believes is just and right for any individual in a similar situation.

The conventionalist ethic views business as being analogous to a game where special, lower ethics are permissible. Under this theory, individuals may act to further their self-interest so long as they do not violate the law. Following this notion, dealers and managers may choose to accept or make bribes or kickbacks by rationalizing that they are just following the historical, widely accepted practices. However, given that industrial activity defines the life chances of millions, ethical decisions should not be taken lightly.

Another tool used in weighing ethical dilemmas is the disclosure rule, i.e., an individual asks how it would feel to explain his or her decision to a wide audience, i.e., employees, employers, family, friends, loved ones, etc. This approach grounds the decision in the values of a surrounding culture. Base motivations such as greed and jealousy are ruled out in this theory as being unacceptable if disclosed. However, this theory does not always provide clear guidance for ethical dilemmas in which strong arguments may be made for several alternatives. Also, actions that sound acceptable if disclosed may not, upon reflection, always be the most ethical.

The doctrine of the mean is another theory used when contemplating ethical dilemmas. Under this theory, a decision maker first identifies the ethical virtue involved (such as truthfulness) and then seeks the mean or moderate course of action between an excess of that virtue (boastfulness) and a deficiency of it (understatement). For example, certain Honda dealers and managers who engaged in bribes and kickbacks in hopes of receiving favored treatment in terms of the distribution of cars often found their energy, loyalty, time, and will were bent to corporate purposes. The ends-means ethic is another theory used to justify certain behavior. Under this theory, when confronted with a decision involving an ethically questionable course of action, a decision maker should ask whether the overall good, i.e., the survival of a business, justifies corner cutting both ethically and financially.

Other theories used to make ethical decisions include: (1) golden rule; (2) intuition; (3) might equals right; (4) organization; (5) principles of equal freedom; (6) proportionality; (7) rights; (8) theory of justice; and (9) utilitarianism. While all of these theories set forth various principles used to justify a decision, the fact is that certain realities such as the need to be financially stable in order to provide the minimal needs such as clothing, food, shelter, water, etc. For yourself and your family may result in an individual compromising his or her ethics. In addition, these theories do not take into consideration the fact that outside of patently illegal conduct, there are no clear-cut, black and white lines regarding what constitutes "right" or "wrong" behavior. Thus, the simplest course of action for an individual facing an ethical dilemma may be whether or not he or she may be able to live their lives with a clear conscience.

Today, it appears as if there are more problems on a macro scale than ever before. Therefore, social responsibility by organizational entities is more important than ever. Governments are relied upon to allocate tax money to the well being of society. For example, lifestyles of the mentally ill and homeless could be improved.

Perhaps there is absolutely no way the government can do enough. Hence, organizations need to contribute. In doing this, the very important issue of public relations is improved. Likewise, the company gains enormous tax benefits. More incentives are needed for corporations to help improve the future holistic entity of the earth. The overall issues at stake are the environment and the human quality of life now, and in future generations. Perhaps the greatest incentive to participate in social good is social good itself.



A new type of structure is being used in many organizations today. That structure is labeled Total Quality Management (TQM). One of the cornerstones of TQM is that it involves guaranteeing that an organization functions with a commitment to quality and continuous improvement in meeting its consumer's needs. With any type of change there will always be a number of bumps in the road which slow down the process that can help a company increase the workers morale, production, profits and over all positive environment to conduct business. The pressures of the cutthroat market place have pushed companies' backs against a wall and to compete on a global scale new ideas have to be explored.

The purpose of a TQM program is to amplify the effectiveness of the organization. During an age of downsizing and restructuring, many American companies are determining that they must learn to manage more effectively. Management is running on an older system, which adds to workers that call out more sick days and abuse the companies' production procedure. Organizational problems decoding means that all members of an organization participate in cultivating a vision and improving the corporate cultures. In any change program you must comprehend where you are before you can chart a course of where you want to be.

Before executing TQM or another program, it is important to add the total value of the organization in terms of its current quality or performance class and to define the level of performance or quality you wish to achieve. Total output for any given input will never be achieved, but with simple steps that may add dollars to the bottom line with an increase of production one may get close. Organization diagnosis contributes information that allows a faster reacting organization to emerge, one that can deal proactively with changing emphases.

Corporate examination is often mentioned as the most critical element in the TQM process. Utilizing this technique, a company can measure all aspects of its output in relation to the mass input. These include external and internal inputs from the accountant to the delivery truck driver. All members and service providers must be looked at so as to acquire a complete overall view of the performance of the given organization.

The steps that a company takes towards TQM in the beginning only add the real value of having such a new system in place. Organizations are transforming and will continue to do so in order to survive in this complex environment. Because change is occurring so rapidly, there is necessity for new ways to manage focusing on product quality and individual involvement. TQM is a type of an approach to managing work focusing on the evaluation of industry processes. The development of a quality energized culture and the empowerment of employees, for this purpose of continuous improvement of products and philanthropies.

Since TQM is a powerful new management technique requiring absolute employee participation, the first step is a climatic change in corporate culture. Any successful adjustment in corporate culture will depend upon the active consultation and involvement of the management team. One important component in developing a high performance organization is the identification of areas for improvement or concerns. Total quality management has been defined as the guidance of activities involving improving the quality of the organization's product or service.

TQM involves moving toward collective excellence by integrating the…[continue]

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