Kantian approach to business ethics to business approach seeks to emphasize the importance of honesty in carrying out business operations. The case of Delectables, a giant food manufacturing company is that of poor management, lack of business ethics and morals and lastly poor quality control system. The company needs a complete change of management strategies and business operations. The companies at all the level do not need to be necessarily laid off but rather appraised in order to be effective. As a newly hired low-level manager at one of the Delectables plants, it is a great opportunity to start especially being a new graduate and gains hand on experience. However, considering the current situation of the firm so many questions will need to be answered.
Some of the questions that need to be asked revolve around the issues that have resulted into the poor business performance of the Delectable brand of food items manufacturer. The company’s market share has dropped by 6% margin against the 5% rise of their fiercest competitor, Prince’s Fare’s. It is apparent that the company’s employee’s lack ethics in business operations and as such they need appraisal in order to effectively perform their responsibilities. How does the company improve the performance of their workforce? How does the company gain competitive advantage against Prince’s Fare’s and other competitors in the market place? Food safety issues are another major challenge that Delectables is facing in its manufacture of peanut butter products. The cases of alleged salmonella poisoning is an issue of poor process control mechanisms. Clearly the quality control system at the company has failed due to several loop holes in the quality control system that has not been appropriately addressed. Therefore the major issue for the company is how they would improve or rather implement an effective quality control system in the manufacture of their food products.
Mandated with the responsibility of improving the operations, increasing efficiency and saving costs of the Delectables, the most important thing to do is to blow the whistle. Based on the decision to blow the whistle, the normative theories and principles would be the perfect justification on doing so. This is because unlike descriptive theories which explain how things are; the normative theories are prescriptive in nature and explain how things ought to be done. Morality and ethics in business and management is not about what is, but rather what ought to be. Through the applications of various ethical principles, normative theories such as the Kantian, Utilitarian and contract ethical theories facilitate the assessment and justification of actions and behaviors of individuals.
As a mater of ethical consideration, blowing the whistle on the rotten state of affairs at the Delectable plant will initiate ethical and morally acceptable discourse at the plant with regard to rationality. Thus, making of the decision to blow the whistle is grounded on ethical principles. By blowing the whistle, it would mean applying the principle of utility advocated for by the utilitarian ethics theory which is one of the most important normative theories of ethics. The utility principle proposed by the utilitarian system seeks to either disapprove or approve individual’s actions depending on whether they promote people’s interests. This principle has been there for a long time and it has been applied in many scenarios. Most of the proponents of this principle (The utilitarian principle) are those who support the utilitarian system. The action of the management of Delectables to sell contaminated food products does not promote the happiness of potential buyers of the contaminated food products from the Delectables. On the same ground, it would be unethical to sign the quality control form as this would mean declaring as fit the contaminated food items without exposing them to appropriate quality control system.
Contaminated food products are harmful to the health of the clients of Delectables. Such products may cause adverse effects to the health of the firm’s customers, which may lead to loss of business by the firm and reduction of customer loyalty. Therefore, the firm should ensure that all its products and good and safe for human consumption. With regard to the ethics of doing business, the welfare of customers is of crucial importance to the business performance of the food products manufacturing company. According to the world food programme, food quality control and safety should deal with the aspects of food products production from production, purchase, transportation, storage, processing, as well as distribution. Delectables’ management needs to implement quality control system which is sensitive to practical information on food products manufacture and handling. The system should thus, be sensitive to food safety control procedure. This would enable them prevent any potential salmonella infection on their food products.
Therefore, Delectables management should ensure that the company’s food safety and quality control system that food product supplies are of the right quality, safe and of the relevant nutritional values that can positively contribute to the health status of the company’s clients. It is important that regulatory quality control mechanism be enhanced to help in alleviating the root causes of food safety and quality control challenges facing the company. Despite the quality control director being realistically effective in his attempts to ensure only safe products, unethical company managers, foremen and the casual workers failed to follow his directives. The quality control director of Delectables invented a tags system of trying to ensure that contaminated food products were separated from the safe food products.
The management of Delectable is not committed to ensuring quality control of their product since they are not concerned with following up on the company’s safety and quality control processes despite complaints of contamination from the products clients and some managers. Instead the management should have investigated the allegations of contamination to help them with the improvement of the quality control system. Normative ethical theories stipulates what ought to be done. In the case of Delectables, the production plant needs to be refurbished and cleanliness and hygiene practices observed to prevent further contamination of the company’s food products. Before the products are dispatched for distribution, their chemical and physical characteristics must be ascertained. Lastly, they must ensure correct labeling of their products.
Governments have the responsibility of ensuring that food items produced, processed and distributed to the country’s masses are safe for consumption. However, this role of the government is noticed when masses have already been poisoned. In the US for instance, food safety and quality control is the mandate of various government agencies. The US government has in place over thirty federal regulations and laws that food safety and quality. These federal regulations and laws are administered by a total of fifteen federal agencies. It is as such the role of the government to formulate laws and regulations to be followed by food manufacturing companies such as Delectables in ensuring food product that they manufacture are of the highest quality and safe for consumption by the intended customers.
Other than formulation of laws and regulation that are intended to ensure safety and quality of food, the government also has the role of enforcing these regulations and laws to ensure they are followed by all the actors in food manufacturing industries to ensure safety and quality of food products. The US federal government through its agencies and in collaboration with authorities in Georgia should carry out regular inspections to ensure companies such as Delectable adhere to hygiene standards to prevent any chances of food item contamination during the process of the manufacture Ensuring food safety and quality is usually a complex issue facing most government, as well as regional authorities. Some of the factors that contribute to the challenge include lack of public awareness on issues, regulations and laws on food safety and regulation. Lack of updated food products safety and quality laws is another challenge to the governments and its agencies. Inefficient and weak government inspection and supervision on food product manufacturing companies such as Delectables, contributes to the problem of poor quality food products which are not safe for the consumption of the general public. Delectables was able to distribute its contaminated food products due to lack of inspection and supervision from both the federal government and the authorities in Georgia.
Georgia needs to adopt effective approaches towards dealing with issues affecting food safety and quality especially those that relate to the manufacturing companies such as Delectables. The authorities must demonstrate a greater understanding of the issues that they face and formulate strategies to help them in addressing the challenges. The federal government on its part must build the capacity of its various agencies mandated to ensure the safety and quality of manufactured food products. This would enable the agencies deal effectively with the challenges that hinder their effective operation in dealing with issue that violate the requirements of regulations and laws on food safety and quality.
Government can make food manufacturing industries more socially responsible by enforcing more stringent regulations and penalties on companies that violet the requirements of the regulations. Governments could also offer incentives to food manufacturing companies that demonstrate high standard of ensuring their food products meet safety and quality requirements. However, governments should not let food companies to regulate themselves. This is because some of the food companies may want to save their costs operation and this might jeopardize the quality and safety of their food products.
The supervisor in part C was of the opinion that the company dumps its contaminated food products in San Lopez at subsidized prices. According to the normative theories of ethics, product dumping due to their low quality is unethical and is not ought to be done. What the supervisor should have done in line with the normative theory of ethics is to propose the destruction of the contaminated food products with the red sticker. Selling of these food products to customers is unethical since they are harmful to consumers. The food products with the yellow stickers also ought not to be damped but taken back for further examination.
By dumping the contaminated food products, Delectables would be causing harm to the intended consumers. As per the arguments of the utilitarian harm principle, such a behavior is immoral and the justification of the society would come from coercing such individuals’ behavior. It is important that the supervisor puts into consideration the interests intended of the customers in San Lopez. According to the Kantian principle of ends, businesses and individuals are supposed to behave in a manner that their operations do not rely on others as a tool to an end but rather should act in a manner that others are also themselves an end.
Delectables offered to sell their contaminated or rather their low quality food product to a supermarket in San Lopez. An official from the store asked for a bribe or rather a favor in order to find space for the Delectables products in the store. That was the same case with the government officer who offered to provide a safe passage of the food products. In both situations it is wrong and unethical to take advantage of an already worse situation in order to gain at the expense of others. Delectables ought to be advised not to deliver any money to both the supermarket official and the government official. This is likely to further damage the image and the brand Delectable that has been made for a long period of time. Both the situations are illegal and unethical. On the same note it is not possible for a situation to be legal but not ethical.