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Words: 1154, Paragraphs: 18, Pages: 4

Paper type: Case study , Subject: Accounting


Ethics problem also can be known as the managerial problems. Because an organization represent a conflict between an organization’s performance and its social performance. It have a “right” or “proper” balance between economics and social performance. McDonald’s is one of the organization’s that have an ethics problem in nature ethics in modern business.

McDonald’s is an American fast food company, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California, United States. They rechristened their business as a hamburger stand, and later turned the company into a franchise, with the Golden Arches logo being introduced in 1953 at a location in Phoenix, Arizona. Although McDonald’s is best known for its hamburgers, cheeseburgers and french fries, they also feature chicken products, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes and a negative backlash because of the unhealthiness of their food, the company has added to its menu salads, fish, smoothies, and fruit.

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Working Condition

In chapter 4, working condition is one of the ethical problem as managerial problem. Not an ideal working condition to the employee. The employer failed to provide the appropriate working condition which includes safety and employee’s welfare. This will lead to low productivity. International labor organization (ILO): “working conditions cover a broad range of topics and issues, from working time (hours of work, rest periods, and work schedules) to remuneration, as well as the physical conditions and mental demands that exist in the workplace”.

In this case study, the Guardian published an article titled ‘You want fries with your poverty wages and exploited McDonald’s workers?’, which was based off of the fact of McDonalds treating their employees in illegal and criminal manner. In New York City, November 2012, approximately 200 fast woods workers belonging to the McDonalds industry, went on strike to demand hourly wages of 15 dollars and the right to form a union. This protest arose strikes, organizers and protests in 150 US cities, and at least 33 countries.

In Brazil, the Food and Hospitality Workers Union (Sinthoresp) has been battling McDonald’s over issues including wage theft, poverty-level pay and mistreatment of pregnant workers. Demonstrations were planned for Thursday at McDonald’s in five Brazilian states. Fast-food workers in Japan will protest at 30 McDonald’s locations in 30 prefectures, calling for an hourly wage of ?1,500 – about the equivalent of the US $15 per hour. In South Korea, a protest was planned in front of a major Seoul McDonald’s.

South Korean labor leader Cheong Ok-soon explained the action to the Local Press: “Everywhere you go in the world, fast-food workers are suffering with low wages, long hours and unstable employment. They can’t live a normal life under the working conditions they face now, so they have no option but to fight in solidarity.” This shows that McDonalds is underpaying and abusing their workers on an international basis.

Based off of these situations, it appears that McDonald’s lacks ethical aspects by abusing the rights of their employee’s and co-workers in various countries; particularly less-developed and third world or second world countries. They appear to give poor working hours; therefore decreasing their employees’ health rates significantly, as well as underpaying them; leaving the company wealthy, but leaving their employees on a low-wage.

Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics is also the problem that McDonald’s face. Environmental Pollution are improper disposal of toxic waste and chemicals. This will give harm to the environment, thus conflicts arise with the law. Environmental issues can create even more devastation in the future, such as the possible depletion of the world’s resources to future generations.

McDonald’s has been accused of having a negative impact on the environment in more than one way; revolving around the fact that they have built hundreds of factories around the world to produce their products; therefore leading to pollution. McDonald’s is distributed amongst 119 countries; therefore the amount of factories and work involved to make their products, will significantly impact the air and the environment around them.

McDonald’s also continue to use paper and plastic based cutlery and eating utensils, such as paper plates and plastic forks, which means they are continuing to abuse the environment by tearing down their trees to help make their eating utensils, as well as throwing out their plastic wastes, which is also very damaging, as plastic is difficult to break down.

Legal and Customer Service

McDonalds also face problem in Legal and Customer Service. McDonalds lying about business products and give bad quality services to its customer. This lead to negative relationship with customer. If people and organizations follow the rules, members of that society will be treated as justly as possible.

The McDonalds food industry has been criticized throughout their business career in terms of the ingredients within their products. In Mid-July, 2014, there was a scandal in Hong Kong, involving the McDonald’s industry, which resulted in Hong Kong having to remove their famous ‘Chicken Nuggets’ and ‘Chicken Burger’s’ from their food menu. This was done after a Chinese food supplier was found to be taking poultry that had expired, then re-processing the meat and serving it up for customer consumption. The operation ‘Shanghai Hsui’ is where McDonalds is known to have their ingredients flown in from, and it has now closed down due to health and safety violations. McDonald’s said: “We reiterate that until today, all the food sold at McDonald’s restaurants conform to the food safety standard under Hong Kong legal regulations.”

In 2009, an experiment was done on some of the McDonald’s products, in order to give viewers an idea of the chemicals and toxins that went into their food. Morgan Spurlock, who is an American entertainer, reporter and documentaries, recorded his experiment of McDonald’s french fries and burgers, alongside a regular burger and french fries, in order to gain an understanding of which food would expire the fastest. After a ten week period, the McDonald’s french fries appeared to still be edible; suggesting that the ingredients were not natural nor real potato. This caused questioning amongst viewers and customers, and caused McDonald’s an extremely unsanitary, unhealthy, and very unethical reputation.

In my personal judgment about the dilemma, it is very important to understand the origin of a conflict in order to solve it. The management has to take proper steps of action to solve the conflict, failing which the employees might feel repellant to the management and work. McDonalds should not oppress workers by not giving employees salary. Employee work to support their lives and families. If McDonald does not pay them, they cannot continue their lives.

People nowadays are moving towards healthy-eating and they willing to pay higher prices for healthy foods. Lying to customers about nutrition and food safety is one serious ethics issues that McDonald’s need to address and provide solution. McDonalds should acting ethically include answering all customer questions honestly. So that they will not be in trouble.

About the author

This sample is done by Scarlett with a major in Economics at Northwestern University. All the content of this paper reflects her knowledge and her perspective on CHAPTER 4 THE NATURE ETHICS IN MODERN BUSINESS CASE STUDY and should not be considered as the only possible point of view or way of presenting the arguments.

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