Ethics could be defined as moral principles that underpin decision-making. Ethics is what is deemed to be morally acceptable. Business ethics: are a set of principles or a code of behaviour that influences business behaviour. Business ethics is therefore the application of ethical values to business behaviour. Ethical activities: refers to a broad agenda and focuses on making a positive contribution to the community. For some businesses ethics become a main priority as profitability and survival. But it depends on how ethical a business wants to operate.
Ethical values of business: this refers to the standards that are set by a business or individual that controls their behaviour. Professional ethics: This relates to how people behave to their selected careers e.g. bankers, doctors and teachers. Individual ethical behaviour: This gives the individual within the organisation corporate image. Identify Business activity (its basic operations) Describe the general ethical issues or concerns of the business.
McDonalds is the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants, serving nearly 47 million customers daily.
McDonalds primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, French fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes and desserts. More recently, it has begun to offer salads, wraps and fruit. It is a large global company which operates all around the world. Its revenues grew 27% over the three years ending in 2007 to $22.8 billion, and 9% growth in operating income to $3.9 billion. McDonald’s corporate governance states that McDonald’s success is built on a foundation of personal and professional integrity.
They earn people’s trust everyday by serving safe food, respecting our customers and employees and delivering outstanding Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value. They build on this trust by being ethical, truthful and dependable.
As the world’s largest fast food company, McDonalds proudly serve more than 46 million customers in 59 different countries and have more than 30,000 different locations internationally. McDonald’s has always maintained an extensive advertising campaign. In addition to the usual media (television, radio, and newspaper), the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, sponsors sporting events ranging from Little League to the Olympic Games, spending millions of pounds a year.
Animal rights and trading fairly McDonalds claim that it is the best company in meeting the animal rights. The company declared that every farm that supplies its eggs must raise the hens more humanely and kindly. They gave farmers less than 18 months to comply which according to McDonalds they did. McDonalds also claims that the company is communicating effectively with farmers from around the world to treat the animals more kindly.
McDonalds offer its consumers products that are trustworthy and of satisfactory quality. They trade fairly and allow competition to take place in the market. Competitors such as Burger King and Sam’s equally compete with McDonalds. Being environmentally responsible and carrying out duties towards the wider environment: McDonalds has always claimed that they are very environmental friendly, however critics say otherwise. Participating Human Rights such as legal and regulatory compliance with consumer laws
Compliance with protecting employees and employee working conditions Poor nutrition: Many nutritionists argue that the type of high fat, low fibre diet promoted by McDonald’s is linked to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The sort of diseases that are now responsible for nearly three-quarters of premature deaths in the western world. McDonald’s promote its food as nutritious while in fact it is classified as junk food. It is claimed by anti-McDonald websites that McDonald’s food also contains many chemical additives, some of which may cause ill-health and hyperactivity in children.
Poor nutrition has always been linked with McDonald’s products. Such a bad publicity has actually damaged the company’s reputation as well as their overall profitability and customer base. People are currently moving towards healthy-eating and they would pay higher prices for healthier foods, therefore, poor nutrition is one serious ethical issue that McDonald’s needs to address and provide solution for; if they want to survive and remain profitable for a long time in the future.
Corporate governance: Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way a corporation (or company) is directed, administered or controlled. Critics claim that McDonald’s senior management are far away from considering what is ethically right. They use marketing tactics such as the promise of toys and other gimmicks which causes children to lure in and drag their parents behind them.
The management is using such selling tactics to increase its customer base and makes more profit; they do not think about those children’s health and whether their food harms their future health. The management also does not have an appropriate recycling process in place. Every year McDonald’s use thousands of tons of unnecessary packaging, most of which ends up littering the streets or polluting the land buried in landfill sites.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): McDonald’s has long been claiming that the company is a socially responsible organisation who takes into account and monitors its adherence to law, ethical standards and international norms. Critics say otherwise, McDonald’s junk food has been always linked to causing obesity and making an individual put on 2 stone (12.7 kilos) in a matter of a few months. Customers has suffered stomach pains, mood swings, vomiting, a reduced sex drive, headaches, palpitations and liver problems after consuming McDonald’s food.