Ethical and Unethical Business

GoogleLogoSept12015

Ethical Business Behaviour

Good business ethics determine how consumers see a company. Business ethics are ethical or unethical behavior within the company. It differentiates between knowing what is right or wrong in term of products/service and company relationships. The World’s Most Ethical Companies recognizes companies that promote ethical business standard and practices internally, while exceeding legal compliance minimums and introducing best practices to increase industry standards. Google Inc. is recognized in the top ethical company in the computer service industry (Ethisphere, 2015). It is ethical in the business sense with consumer because it sells products aexactly as they are advertised. This establishes a solid reputation and increase the growth of consumer network.

Life at Google

Google workplace encourages innovation and experimentation by allowing free flow ideas that are not necessarily restricted to engineers. They create an office for work and play by providing games and activities to engage workers to thrive in their work environment. Furthermore, they provide more than the regular benefits such as travel insurance for personal vacation, extra spending money for maternity leave, reimburse of education, free legal advice (in US), etc. All of these are either limited or not available from other companies. This in turn, attracts a working force and provides beyond ethical standards typically set out for a company (Google Inc., 2015).

Social Responsibility

Google has been involved in numerous social events recently. According to their website, Google awarded RISE Awards/Grants that promote and support young girls to get involved in computer science education (Google Inc., 2015). Google engaged in this behavior not only to attract a general population, but also to showcase ethical leadership and the company taking action of its mission. Furthermore, as companies are becoming bigger, their environmental footprint became an issue. However, Google encourages its employees to drive electric cars, and provide free bus service to employees. Due to their investment in solar and wind power, it is becoming a carbon neutral company. Going green essentially attracts customer and increase profits (Hoffman et al., 2014).

‘Don’t be evil’

Google code of conduct is ‘don’t be evil’, which indicates that all work done at Google will be and should be measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct (Google Inc., 2015). It does this in order to build great products and attract loyal users. Since users are key to a company’s success, Google builds a trust and mutual respect with them.

The result of their social responsibility reduces the risk of negative press and assists in making a positive impact on the community.

Is Google perfect?

Despite, Google’s ability to connect with a diverse network, it is not able to handle every scenario ethically. Google was sued for ‘blatantly unethical behavior’ by celebrity lawyers regarding a hack that led to leaks of nude celebrity photos (Hern & Rushe, 2014). Google failed to act fast and remove images knowing that the act was unlawful. Although, Google eventually removed accounts and deleted as many images it could, it was not able to defend itself because the matter was out of company’s control.

Nonetheless, Google, has done and continues to stand behind its policies and codes. They monitor their work, and they try to prevent any conflict of interest with workers and other by building a loyal and trusting foundation.

Position or level within the Google where ethical behavior is committed and Potential Benefactors

Ethical behaviour at Google starts from the top of the company, and trickles down to all employees (Pateman, 2014). The CEO’s of Google have committed to providing their employees with amenities, which in my opinion, encourage hard work and dedication. Google offers many perks to staff members such as healthcare, travel insurance, childcare and scholarships. Google also offers employees the opportunity to spend a day a week working on projects of their choice for themselves.  Treating employees well and ethically encourages and sets the example for all employees to behave in the same manner.

Google has many projects that benefit the employees, the consumer, the general public and the environment (Benefits, 2015). By promoting employees to drive electric cars and providing free bus services to reduce the cars on the road Google reduces the carbon footprint and encourages employees to be more environmentally friendly and conscious. Google also invests in solar and wind power, and plans to become a carbon neutral company which benefits the environment and those living in it. Google covers the extra tax that employees in the same sex relationships pay in the United States, which straight couples do not pay (Lee, 2015) By doing this Google shows commitment to equality to all employees, and sets an example for other companies. Google donates money and time to many causes such as; anti-human trafficking, wildlife conservation and computer science education programs. By investing in these charities Google shows they are committed to making the world a better place for everyone, not just those who use their products.

Since Google is known to be ethical, it doesn’t have many victims. However, there are many benefactors, such as the company, employees and consumers. If a company of such stature is performing ethically then they are most likely receiving large amounts of income. In addition, the consumer, who help the company succeeds, are more likely to favour them as long as they continue to receive an honest product.


New_Walmart_Logo.svg

Unethical Business Behaviour

Wal-Mart has been infamously unethical in their business, with issues arising such as the mistreatment of their employees. But not only are Wal-Mart’s business practices unethical, their suppliers are also acting in unethical manners by working their employees too much with nowhere near the proper pay scale, among other issues. Whether or not Wal-Mart is deliberately acting unethically is in question. The answer to this is ‘yes’. Wal-Mart has knowingly violated numerous environmental acts, including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Wal-Mart has even violated federal pesticide safety rules and endangered not only habitats but both public and local heath in communities. In the end, the main reason Wal-Mart acts unethically as a business is to increase revenue and profits. Although Wal-Mart is viewed as an unethical company, they do have an excellent ethical behaviour that consumers have learned to love: ‘Lowest Prices Guaranteed’.

Despite being labeled unethical, it does have some good ethics. Examples of an ethical behaviour from Wal-Mart is “low prices guaranteed” , there helping hands program.

Regardless, CEO and board of directors are the root for unethical behaviour. The leaders of the company making the influential decisions and then start a brand or identity for the company and that filters its way down to the employees. The leaders are responsible for the poor health care benefits, limited full time employees to not have to pay benefits and also being accused of favouritism. These business unethical decisions filter down through the company and tarnish the reputation of Wal-Mart.

Furthermore, Wal-Mart performs unethical behaviour to maximize there revenue. Making unethical decisions is a very easy way to cut costs, which would increase revenue. Examples of this is buying lower quality shirts then advertised then selling them on sale which attracts consumers.

Position or level within Wal-Mart where unethical behavior is committed

Wal-Mart is well known for its dedication to low prices. But they are even better known as being an unethical organization that puts their profits above all their employees. Its CEO along with other high powers within the company makes and is responsible for Wal-Mart’s business decisions that are deemed to be unethical. Despite being worth over 261.2 billion dollars, Wal-Mart chooses to withhold heal care benefits from there employees in certain regions. Wal-Mart is constantly combating lawsuits against them from employees. Some of these lawsuits include claims of failure to have been paid overtime hours. Not only is Wal-Mart unethical towards those they employ, there misconduct also extends to there partnerships they have with product providers. In the market Wal-Mart is known for pressuring their suppliers to sell goods below costs. As well in other countries that Wal-Mart conducts business, they are known for using their market power to there advantage and committing environment damage and violating labor laws in foreign countries. Wal-Mart has committed a number of unethical actions, but none more devastating then the casualties that were caused in Bangladesh. Due to improper training, hiring and also failure to provide employees with proper safety procedures within the workplace. There were thousands of casualties that were caused as a result.

Potential Victims Or Benefactors

There are many groups of people affected by these business decisions. The main victims are there employees within the organization. Because of lack of leadership and training many employees had died at the work place in Bangladesh. Also employees suffer because they fail to be paid their full required salary for their overtime work (Pitt Business Review, 2014). In a sense the company becomes a victims as well. They become a victim of slander and bad publicity. Although Wal-Mart can be seen as potential victims, for the most part they are benefactors. They benefit because there unethical actions aid them with profit margins. Although them putting a lot of pressure on their suppliers is deemed to be unethical, it also means that their profit margins rise and they grow their company even larger. They also benefit a lot from neglecting to provide employees with health care benefits. Despite having sufficient income to provide such benefits to their employees, not doing so allows them to save more money and maintain more profits.

REFERENCES

Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved October 6, 2015, from   http://www.google.com/about/careers/lifeatgoogle/benefits/

Company – Google. (n.d). Retrieve October 8, 2015, from https://www.google.com/about/company

Ethisphere (2015, March) The 2015 worlds most ethical companies. Ethisphere. 2015(Q1), Retrieved from http://web.ethisphere.com/magazine-articles/2015-worlds-most-ethical-companies/

Hern, A., & Rushe, D. (2014, October 2). Google – lawsuit nude celebrity photos. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/02/google-lawsuit-nude-celebrity-photos

Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E., & Schwartz, M. S. (Eds.). (2014). Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality. John Wiley & Sons.

Lee, N. (2015, May 5). Doing more on Diversity. Retrieved October 6, 2015, from https://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2015/05/doing-more-on-diversity.html

Pateman, N. (2014, April 2). Google: The World’s Most Ethical Company? Retrieved October 6, 2015, from https://inbound.co.uk/blog/google-worlds-ethical-company/

Pitt Business Review (2014, November 19). Unethical acts in Walmart corporation. Reterieved October 6, 2015, from https://pittbusinessreview.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/unethical-acts-in-wal-mart-corporation/


Individual contributions 

  • Jasmeen Bhachoo – Google – Ethical business Behavior & Why?, blog design & layout.
  • Jessica Paterson – Position or level within the Google where ethical behavior is committed and Potential Benefactors
  • Jonathan Makemda – Position or level within Wal-Mart where unethical behavior is committed & Potential Victims Or Benefactors.
  • Myllari Kristopher – points for both Google and Wal-Mart.
  • Lisa Eligh – Wal-Mart unethical behavior & Why?
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