What does it mean to you to be ethical?

  • What does it mean to you to be ethical?
  • Do you anticipate ethical challenges as you go forward in your career?
  • What resources and tools will you utilize to help you when you face these challenges?

Being ethical means doing the right thing. Under any circumstances taking the decision that is best for most number of people, the environment and is sustainable in long run. While we do what is right for most number of people, business and environment, we need to be aware of the laws and regulations too, we need to comply with them every time. Sometimes, being ethical means reporting financial numbers accurately, sometimes it means not polluting the environment and protect the environment and future generation. Sometimes, being ethical might mean as simple as telling the truth. Not over exaggerating in advertisements just to boost sales numbers. For profit businesses exist to make profit, it is only ethical to give some profits back to the society, as pay back, to support and empower people, take care of the environment to create a sustainable future, brand awareness and earn a good reputation, moreover, this is considered to be ethical too.

I have worked in my current industry for more than 10 years now. And being a supervisor / team lead I have faced ethical issues. So, of course I anticipate ethical issues in future too. For example – I worked In projects where management charged clients for experienced resources, but in project they actually deployed interns and trainees, mostly for to maximize profit. They expected the interns and trainees to deliver as much as and as good as experienced resources and as you can expect, that did not go per plan. I often see this as an ethical problem. But it is not just about overcharging clients, or delivering poor quality to them. We ( because of the management’s decision) actually do not provide good training to the interns or the trainees, since they are brought into project without proper training and given a deadline to meet, in the name of on job training. It actually hampers the future of these resources. They face extreme stress, they do not get much mentoring and feel pressured to deliver. And end of the day when the project gets over, these resources leave with bitter experience and bad memories. But, when we see the projects fail, usually the higher management steps in, to find out what went wrong. I believe the executives do not want to see projects fail, so they do not support such short sighted action as replacing experienced resources with interns.

My resource and tool is mainly knowledge that I gathered in this course and of course the experiences I have in my working life. My tool, is mainly actions and communication. Identifying what is unethical and doing the right thing to stop it. For example, if I see that project manager is trying replace experienced resources with interns, I need to share my past experience with him and remind him that we are taking money from client to deliver quality product in time, and we need experienced resource for that. In case that does not work out I can escalate to higher ups. There are other ethical issues too, such as breaking HR policies in organizations. Often organization provides code of conduct, I need to follow those and when I see someone not following, I need to warn them or report them. So, I believe communication is going to be my tool to fix the probems.

A Good Team Player

Kristin joined as supervisor of Steven’s department. Steven is assistant department manager and thinks that some of his co-workers got promoted and over time opportunities just because they were liked better and he told Kristin that changing that will make it the department better. Kristin called Steven next morning and asked for the names who are not team players and Steve was referring to.

The relevant facts of the case –

Steven joined the accounts payable section in a major industrial firm after graduating from college, and he is currently the Assistant department manager. Steven is comfortable in his job and thought he knew all the ins and outs of the organization.

Kristin is the newly appointed supervisor, with a proven talent to improve the efficiency of operations. Kristin was in a similar position in a different subsidiary. Kristin was meeting each employee and asking for their opinions to improve the working place.

When Kristin asked Steven about his opinion, Steven shared his thought people got promotion and overtime work opportunities based on who liked them and not based on their merit. Kristin assured Steven that she would look into that.

Kristin wanted to see Steven the next morning and asked him to tell her the people was referring to, otherwise, Kristin would consider Steven to be not a team player.

Ethical issues including the extent of Steven’s responsibility to take action

Steven thought that some people at work are getting promotion and over time just because they are liked better. When Kristin asked Steven for the names of who Steven was referring to, according to Kristin she would not tolerate the team members who are not team players, and if Steven could not provide the names then she would consider Steven is not a team player.

            Considering Steven was honest and truthful, Steven’s problem is to give the names of his co-workers who he has known for a long time to Kristin, who is his supervisor for just 1 day. Probably Steven was not very happy that he did not get overtimes or promotions, and he thought it was not a level playing field, so he wanted to have a better chance at those going forward. So essentially, it was Steve’s perception and now Steve was being asked for evidence. If Steve gives names to Kristin, then it is guaranteed that Steve will not have a good working relationship with coworkers, and if Steve does not give any name, Steve might lose job eventually.  

            Since I made an initial assumption that Steve is an honest person, I would think Steve should go ahead tell the names who he thinks were less deserving. Maybe he would turn out to be right or he will get an explanation what they did to deserve what they got and what Steve should do going forward.

Various stakeholders, and what is at stake for each one.

Of course, Steve is a stakeholder – he needs to show Kristin that he was true, or he might lose reputation and job.

            Kristin is the next stakeholder, she wants to make the workplace efficient.

            Other employees are also stakeholders, Steve might prove some of them are not team players and that will not be good for them.

Alternatives and ethics of each alternative.  

            The first alternative Steve has is to apologize and admit that he was wrong. But that will not work out so well, as he will be considered as not a team player and probably he might lose his job for lying.

            The other option is, to be honest, and provide Kristin the full information of what Steve noticed regarding not so deserving candidates getting promoted and getting overtime. That way, with all the details Kristin, will see the full picture and as she wishes to do, increase efficiency, she might be able to weed out undeserving employees and replace them with deserving ones. From a utilitarian perspective, the 2nd option is a better one. As the whole workplace will be efficient in the long run, in the short run Kristin will get what she wants from Steve. Steve will prove his point to Kristin. But those employees who actually benefitted from the bureaucracy will lose their perks. That is a good thing for the organization in the long run.

Practical constraints

The practical constraint is taking the name of coworkers in this situation while working with them, it will dampen the working relationship. According to Kathy Caprino, “When your emotions are spinning out of control about a colleague, and you feel anger, hurt, resentment and other highly-charged emotions, you need to settle down before you communicate to anyone about the situation.  Further, think hard about backstabbing at all.  If you do it, you’ll simply project an image of yourself that you’re untrustworthy, and someone who doesn’t have the courage and strength to handle things in a positive, direct way with the individuals involved.” And moreover, since Kristin does not have much background on anyone or people before that how would Steve prove that he is right and those employees got a promotion just because they were liked and they did not deserve the overtimes or promotions

How should Steven respond?

            Steve should provide the name of his coworkers who got promotions and overtimes because they were liked and not deserved. Once he gives the names, he will have to provide reasons why they did not deserve the promotion. Because there could be a reason that they were deserving and that is why they were liked. But as Dave Kerpen says “Always tell the truth to your boss, and never tell a lie.

Lies are too risky – not only to your relationship with your boss but to your relationship with yourself.” Steve has no way to back down, so he should say what he thinks and whoever is involved.

REFERENCES

Caprino, K ( July,2012). The Top 10 Work Situations Where Honesty Is Not the Best Policy. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/07/31/the-top-10-work-situations-where-honesty-is-not-the-best-policy/#5042c336123a

Kerpen, D ( Sept,2013). 17 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130923134035-15077789-17-things-you-should-never-say-to-your-boss/

How important is the reputation of a business?

  • How important is the reputation of a business?
  • How important is CEO’s reputation to the reputation of the business itself?
  • Is it better to have the reputation of being powerful or of being fair?  For example, do you want to be insured by a company that always wins, or by an insurance company that is willing to allow the benefit of any doubt?
  • Goodwill is the technical word for the asset of a company being worth more than the sum of its parts.  How would you measure the Goodwill of a company in dollar figures?
  • How important is the reputation of a business?

Any business builds reputation over time because of its service or product quality. Although reputation is intangible but it can very well act as moat or advantage for the business. Businesses earn reputation with ethics, service, how they treat their employees and customers, quality control etc. Essentially, when any business has competition, its reputation gives it an advantage over competition. And reputation is directly related with sales and profit of the business. In today’s world, one tweet or Facebook post by an employee or customer can damage reputation. And ass customers we often check Yelp or other reviews on Google before we decide whether or not we want to buy service / product from any particular business. So, a positive reputation helps the business gain more customers and the opposite is also true. According to Harris Poll’s Reputation Quotient – Amazon and Wegmans Food Market are most reputable companies in the USA and Goldman Sachs and AIG have worst reputation, mostly because of the 2008 financial crisis and the public bail out money they got (Sauter and Frohlich , 2015).

Amazon and Wegmans enjoy best reputation because of the service and products they provide to their customers. Amazons increasing popularity is evident with its growing sales and profit number.

  • How important is CEO’s reputation to the reputation of the business itself?

I believe the original founder and CEO of company has much more effect on a business brand than an already establish brand like GE or Fiat. While Steve Jobs and Elon Musk directly impact their business reputation with their own reputation. One reason is these found CEOs are so visible to us all the time on media and everywhere, that they have a fan following. For example, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk are always on news. So, when they say something or do something that people like or do not like, people react, and the business gets impacted.

Recently in Tesla investors call, Elon Musk called analyst’s question dry and stupid and the Tesla stock price fell 6% (Cox, 2018). We can see how closely tied up these businesses are with the CEOs. There is another CEO, late Sergio Marchionne, he led the turnaround of Fiat Chrysler he recently passed away that caused more than 10% slum in Fiat stock price (Reid, 2018). Although, stock price might not show reputation loss, but it shows investor confidence loss. But, my point here is, how CEO becomes face of a business and how they move confidence of investors and customers. And we read this week, how Uber’s former CEO caused an customer outrage and finally Travis Kalanick was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi.

  • Is it better to have the reputation of being powerful or of being fair?  For example, do you want to be insured by a company that always wins, or by an insurance company that is willing to allow the benefit of any doubt?

An insurance company that is powerful, became powerful within regulations and government defined laws. But an insurance company that is willing to give benefit of doubt sounds to be better but one might argue, that in long run it’s financials might suffer. While the insurance company that always wins, might maintain a strong balance sheet.

 But on another hand, the fair insurance company will gain a better reputation for being customer friendly and most probably will gain more and more customers. I am making an assumption here, you pay same premium and get same coverages and the customer service is same. We know insurance is a business of risk sharing, and bigger the customer base is better for everyone. So, I will be glad to be a customer of the fair company. Moreover, if the fair company treats its employees well, in long run the business will attract the best resources too, and may be customers will get good service from them.

  • Goodwill is the technical word for the asset of a company being worth more than the sum of its parts.  How would you measure the Goodwill of a company in dollar figures?

Goodwill is an intangible asset for any brand or business. Goodwill is accrued over the years for staying the course and delivering consistent quality and value. To measure a company’s goodwill in dollar figure is not easy and always not possible. For example, Toyota or Honda can charge a premium for their reputation over Kia’s cars. So in that you can put a dollar figure for the goodwill. But then another example is NASA send astronauts to space. But tomorrow if just any company wants to send astronauts in space, people will have their doubts. But I do not know how to put a dollar figure for the goodwill NASA has.

References –

Sauter M and Frohlich T (May,2015). Companies with the Best (and Worst) Reputations. Retrieved from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/companies-best-worst-reputations-184332462.html

Cox, J(May,2018). Musk’s bizarre earnings call was ‘the most unusual’ in this Morgan Stanley analyst’s 20-year career. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/03/musk-earnings-call-most-unusual-in-morgan-stanley-analysts-career.html

Reid, D and Clinchm M(July,2018). Auto industry legend CEO Sergio Marchionne dies at age 66. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/25/fiat-chrysler-sergio-marchionne-dies.html

The Pizza Puzzle

Marigold Inn’ declining room service made Sharon the Food service manager step up. Sharon decided to make pizza as good as other authentic Italian restaurants. But guests had their doubts, whether a steak and seafood place can deliver the authentic Italian taste. So, Sharon decides to change direction and create Napoli Pizza, which would appear to be an authentic Italian Pizza restaurant with family recipe, to make guests feel that the pizza is not from Marigold’s steak and seafood restaurant. George, Sharon’s manager needs to decide if Sharon’s plan is a good one, and if Marigold should implement it.

The relevant facts of the case –

  • George Hansen was the General Manager of Augusta Marigold Inn
  • Sharon Coombs was food services Manager if Augusta Marigold Inn. George Hanse is Sharon’s manager
  • Marigold Inn witnesses decline in room service for past 2 years
  • The guests were actually ordering takeout food and pizza, the empty takeout boxes gave it away.
  • To gain back the room service Sharon installed pizza ovens in their existing steak and seafood restaurant.
  • The new pizza ovens did not solve the problem as Sharon found out from the survey that the guests thought the pizza did not have the same great quality the takeout pizzas had.
  • Sharon worked on improving the pizza quality and it came at par with takeout pizza, but still sales was not going up because guests did not think that pizzas would be good.
  • Sharon came up with as idea, of selling the pizzas under a brand name Napoli’s Pizza, and it would have a separate phone number and delivery guys would have different outfit, just to give the guests an impression that the pizza is not from Marigold Inn.

Ethical issues including the extent of George’s responsibility to take action

Creating a separate “Napoli Pizza” just to dissociate from “Marigold Inn” to give the guests the impression that it is an authentic Italian restaurant that uses family recipe, is just wrong and unethical, because none of it is true. Marigold Inn will make the pizzas and they are neither authentic Italian, nor do they have a family recipe.

Guest room would have a brochure for Napoli Pizza, with a phone number that would be different prefix than Marigold’s, just to make the guests feel like they are calling an Italian Pizza restaurant. And this would be false and deceptive, because the call will go to Marigold’s room service.

Marigold Inn’s service personnel will put on Napoli Pizza jacket and hat and deliver to guest room in Napoli Pizza boxes, so from service point of view, it will be great, as the guest will feel special and they will be convinced that Napoli Pizza provides great service. But, it is simply unethical and cheating the customer at a level, because Marigold Inn will run the whole operation under the name “Napoli Pizza”. And, if for some reason “Napoli Pizza” does not do that well, Marigold Inn can simply replace “Napoli Pizza” with something else, and Marigold’s reputation won’t take a hit, because in guest’s eyes Napoli Pizza is the restaurant they are ordering and getting the delivery from, and there is no connection between Napoli Pizza and Marigold Inn.

Various stakeholders, and what is at stake for each one.

The stakeholders are George and Sharon, the Marigold Inn, because based on how “Napoli’s Pizza” works out their reputation can go up or down. George and Sharon might lose their job in case the idea does not work out that well. And the employees of Marigold Inn are stakeholders too for same reason.

The guests of Marigold Inn are stakeholders too, since they are the target customer

The takeout Pizza places and the employees, owners are stakeholders too, since Napoli’s Pizza potentially will reduce their number of customers.

Alternatives and ethics of each alternative.  

            George, can propose a different approach, although Sharon’s intentions are right and she is working hard to make it work, but her approach is not ethical. George can propose that Sharon serves free sampler platter to every guest so that if guests like the taste they can order.

            George can ask Sharon to go ahead with the plan, only with one exception, that Marigold Inn will be associated with Napoli, and guests would know that Napoli Pizza is Marigold’s Pizza business. And Napoli would not have a different phone number, or it will not claim to be authentic family restaurant with family recipes.

            George can change the traditional steak and seafood place into a pizza place and provide the room delivery service.

            George can give his consent to implement Sharon’s plan as is.

The utilitarian approach is the best possible alternative in this case. As Sharon already did all the hard work and Marigold Inn can actually make pizza as good as those take out pizzas and the blind test has already proven. The only problem is the image guests have in their mind about the steak and seafood house. So, George should first appreciate Sharon’s efforts. And then explain consequences of guests finding out that Napoli Pizza is actually Marigold Inn from an employee or from somewhere else. Then George should propose this alternative, that Marigold Inn should go ahead and sell the pizza. Marigold will provide a free pizza sampler to all guests to spread the awareness that they make good pizza. That way, Sharon’s effort to make pizza will be well utilized, Marigold Inn will make money from room service and guests will get pizza the way they like.

Practical constraints

Following are constraints to implement Sharon’s plan as is –

            Guests can actually encounter the Marigold Inn’s personals in a different attire, and they might get suspicious.

            Another Napoli Pizza might exist in the neighborhood or town, and if Marigold uses the name, they might get into a legal conflict.

            Marigold Inn might not get a phone number with different prefix for Napoli Pizza.

End of the day it is cheating, giving guests an impression which is not true, no Marigold’s reputation can tumble in case any guest finds out that the Napoli Pizza is actually Marigold Inn, and it is not just guest, the word can get out from the people who work there in the Inn. And for tax purposes Napoli Pizza will have to get tax number, they will have to provide address and other details on receipt and that receipt can give it away that the address for Marigold and Napoli are same.

How should George respond?

When a product is advertised and publicized to generate sales and create brand loyalty, we can harmlessly say that the marketer is promoting the product McCarthy, Jerome E. (1964). It is done with the aim of enhancing sales, by getting the product in the minds of customers as a way of stimulating demand for the product  Boone, L. & Kurtz, D. (1974). Although guests do not have a great perception about Marigold Inn’s Pizza, George should not allow Sharon to go ahead with her plan. Instead George should propose a new plan, where Marigold Inn will run ads about their pizza that tastes authentic Italian, and they can distribute free samples to guests or give discounts to guest to boost sales. It will not be cheating customers from any aspect.

REFERENCES

McCarthy, Jerome E. (1964).Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach. Homewood, IL: Irwin.p. 769.ISBN0256025339.

Boone, L. & Kurtz, D. (1974). Contemporary marketing. Hinsdale, Ill: Dryden Press. ISBN 978-0-03-088518-1.

If you were assigned to sell a product called “Sweet Treats” with the slogan, “so sweet, it will make you tweet,” but you thought the product tasted sour, and not at all sweet, what would you do?

  • Often, celebrities contract to endorse a product, but should they use the product regularly, or even like the product before they are allowed to claim that they “endorse” the product?
  • If you were assigned to sell a product called “Sweet Treats” with the slogan, “so sweet, it will make you tweet,” but you thought the product tasted sour, and not at all sweet, what would you do?
  • Explore where the line is between harmlessly implying that someone is promoting a product, and someone dishonestly claiming that they genuinely believe the product is the best.

If you were assigned to sell a product called “Sweet Treats” with the slogan, “so sweet, it will make you tweet,” but you thought the product tasted sour, and not at all sweet, what would you do?

Usually we refer TV stars, movie stars, sportsmen and women as celebrities. Actually, that was the list when I was growing up, now in the age of Social media anyone with millions of followers on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram are called social influencers and they are also known as celebrities because of the social following they have. Brands use celebs because celebs are basically known to us, popular and credible faces, and when they endorse something the audience tend to believe that.

I remember watching ads where cricketers were drinking “Boost” and saying “Boost is the secret of my energy”. And it made an impression that the product was something special and as a result my mother had to buy the health drink for me. So, celebrity endorsements definitely work.

In recent times smartphone took over our world and social media glued us to our screens. I do not remember when I watched live television last or read a newspaper, so social media ads and endorsements are targeted towards audiences who are usually on social media platforms. And the social influences with huge following usually do not charge as much as the movie star or sports guys would. So it makes sense for the companies to let the social media guys endorse their products. And I believe there is one more strong reason why brands are endorsing their products using social celebs. Most of us know that the celebrities on TV or newspaper either do not use the product that they are endorsing or the product is not as excellent as they are claiming it to be. Wherever, the social influencers actually use the product or give a live demo which makes them more credible.

 “Impact of celebrity endorsements…”study astutely points out, “It is the combination of several factors especially the price and other elements that work together for the success of a brand and its acceptance in the minds of consumers as well as for its market offering.(Olenski,2016)”. I believe Celebrities should be really careful about what they endorse, since they are popular and can make an impression, they should be really aware of the negative side effects of products they endorse. And may be before they endorse something they should be more responsible and use it themselves to decide if he or she should endorse it. So, I am not against celebrities endorsing products, I would like to be more responsible about what they endorse. I do not think they will have to like the product all the time, but as long as the product does not come with any health hazard ( for example sugary drinks, often promoted by celebrities) it should be good.

If you were assigned to sell a product called “Sweet Treats” with the slogan, “so sweet, it will make you tweet,” but you thought the product tasted sour, and not at all sweet, what would you do?

            If the product does not taste sweet at all I will talk to the management why manufactures the product and will let them know that the “Sweet Treats” actually taste sour. I will talk to them just to find out if there was any mistake, if they actually have a sour taste or it is not the product they want me to endorse. If there was a confusion hopefully this meeting will clear that. But, in case I find out that “Sweet Treats” actually does not taste sweet, then I would not endorse it. It will be unethical and as a person I will lose my reputation and credibility.

            But then, I want to give another disclosure: Whether or not I endorse the product might depend on my financial condition too, if I did not have any job or money, I might have taken the job just for the money, knowing that it is not ethical and I would be lying to people.

Explore where the line is between harmlessly implying that someone is promoting a product, and someone dishonestly claiming that they genuinely believe the product is the best.

            As a consumer we will not know until we try an endorsed product, whether or not the endorsement was dishonest. For celebrities it is just a work most of the time, they use their brand to promote a product and they receive compensation to do that. At times, celebrities try to promote their own product, and either way, we as  consumers have lot of ways to make sure that we do not get duped.

Amazon, yelp, Facebook, Google all these sites allow reviews for products, and if we are not happy with the product, we can write reviews and the sale of the product will automatically go down unless the quality improves. Or before buying anything we can check the reviews of the product, but this might not work for brand new products.

            A celebrity can end up endorsing a brand that is against his or her own values, and I would consider this to harmless (at least most of the times). For example, Nicole Kidman who was U.N Goodwill ambassador endorsed Etihad, that airline allegedly is not nice towards its female employees (Bukszpan, 2015). Nicole Kidman has to face public backlash, but this is possible she was not aware of Etihad’s behavior. 

            But some endorsements are just transactional, brands use celebrities or celebrities just promote their own brands. According to Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation management Consultants, when Celebrities endorses brands consumers gets a sense of familiarity, so when they go to store they feel they already have a relationship with the brand (Schlossberg, 2016). And celebrities take advantage of this fact, they can manipulate consumer into thinking something is great. But we as consumers have to more careful, we can use the review sites on internet, and most celebs are on twitter or Instagram. We can directly express our feelings to the celeb who endorses a brand that we did not like. This are the things we can do, and of course the celebrity should be responsible and ethical, and should test and like the product before he or she decides to endorse it. We can help that happen if we hold the celebrities responsible for what they say on those advertisements. But, celebrities should not endorse sin products or services such as tobacco, alcohol or gambling or anything that can be potentially harmful. They should be mindful of the fact that if they endorse something and that product or service turn out to be bad, it will be the celebrity who will lose reputation and respect along with the product and the company.

References –

Olenski, S (July,2016). How Brands Should Use Celebrities For Endorsements. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2016/07/20/how-brands-should-use-celebrities-for-endorsements/#33f837b75593

Bukszpan, D (April,2015). 6 celebrity endorsements that enraged consumers. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/04/19/celebrity-endorsements-gone-wrong/

Schlossberg, M (August,2016). Brands are playing a ‘deadly game of Russian roulette’ with celebrities that’s costing them millions. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/celebrity-endorsements-can-be-dangerous-2016-8

The GMO Debate

Abstract

In this paper I am going to discuss why GMO is good, and why we as humankind favor GMO. Then I will take a turn and present my arguments against GMO. Finally, I will present my views and try to establish why we should not go for GMO and should stick to organic.

Legitimate arguments in favor of the position

Global population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100 (UN, 2015). While resources like land, water, and air are limited on Earth, the amount of population it will be able to sustain is also limited. But, all the people need to be fed, and with the same limited land and water resources. The fact of the matter is, with growing population and urbanization, the size of farmland will be reduced. We will need to grow double amount of crop by the year 2050 (Foley, n.d.). Now, growing land or any other resources is not possible. So, we can either stop trying to grow more food and let the challenge take care of itself. But that will not really solve any problem. Hence I believe Agriculture – Biological – Technology is our future. Corporations need to invest in research and development now. But here is one option that corporations develop one gene that would transform the food we know now. The food will be more nutritious. And making our crops nutritious is the only viable way to feed everyone on this planet.

For-profit corporations can put their resources toward developing such a modified organism that will enable humanity to avoid malnutrition. Now, the corporation needs the motivation to put their resources in this direction, and this motivation could be a patent on such an organism that will protect their commercial rights. If we do not guarantee the patent and hence the commercial right then no corporation will come forward or invest anything in research and development. And given the fact that population growth is imminent if we do not go for this option, we will not be able to feed the world.

And in case anyone wonders if GMOs are safe, in a 2015 survey by Pew research 9 out of 10 scientists had confirmed that GMO is “generally safe” to eat (Siege, n.d.).

Just to summarize, the planet is getting more populated and we have limited land, water or limited farmland. So, we need to produce more food than ever before otherwise, people, especially people in less fortunate countries will suffer the worst. One solution to the problem is GMO, to produce the crop with more nutrition to feed everyone on the planet. 9 out of 10 scientists consider GMO to be generally safe to consume. If we do not adopt GMO, that might mean food insecurity for billions of people and men, women and kids dying from hunger and malnutrition. So, we can risk that or we can let a corporation put in resources towards Research, let them develop nutritious gene and patent it to reserve commercial rights. If we do not let the corporation secure a return on investment it will not invest anything in research. And as a matter of the fact is if people die from hunger or malnutrition, the corporate will not lose much, since there will be rich and middle-class people to buy the product it manufactures, but lives will be lost as we will stand helpless. And due to less amount of food available, there will be havoc inflation in food price, and that might cause social unrest and global unrest. Without the food security, we can put the whole population under a different type of threat. There is only one answer to all these problems, producing GMO and let the corporation have the patent. Which will expire in years and we will avoid global fallout in the future due to a scarcity of food. And history has shown us how food security changes the word. When humankind started producing and storing grains, they could focus on other creative things and that has helped humanity progress and as a result, we are where we are. So, it is important that we continue growing enough food for all of us in the future.

Legitimate counterarguments against the position

Letting a company have the patent on something as important as nutritious food means putting global food security at hand of a corporation, let them control the price we pay, let the corporation control the food we eat and the amount we eat. But that is not all according to Terry Carter “Genetically modified technologies have subtle but far-reaching and potentially harmful consequences to human and animal health. Alterations to genes penetrate the entire organism. Those genes then carry information foreign to the human or animal who ingests the organism. Even if there are no immediate health consequences, long-term side effects for human and animals could include allergies and altered digestion.” From my personal experience, I can say I am allergic to wheat and corn now, which I developed in recent years, and most probably these GMOs. These grains cause inflammation in my intestine.

There are studies performed those show that GMOs have less crop yield that non-GM (University of Nebraska, 2001). This means we will produce less food from the amount of land we use if we grow GMO instead of non- GMO. In other words, if we grow non-GMO in the land we have available, we could grow more crops to feed everyone.

If we let any corporation have the patent on GMO that is nutritious, that means, it will be like what Monsanto did with soybean. By the year 2008, 90% of soybean in the USA is Monsanto’s GM and half of the global soy in Monsanto’s (Activist Post, 2011). And, these corporations won’t let farmers save seeds for next season. So as a result family farmers lose the job (Rodale, 2017). If corporations start controlling seeds, globally the small farmers will face the problem, and they might actually lose their occupation.

Taking a position

Now that we found out that there will be a huge population to feed and we would need to produce way more food, we have 2 options, let one corporation invent a GMO and get nutritious food, and the corporation will get a patent to secure its commercial rights or the second option is to not to go for GMO and go for organic farming. I would say, as a humanity we should be aware of risk and what is coming and prepare for it. We should select traditional organic farming that made us live and prosper for thousands of years. GMO has unknown risks on health, although people might argue that there is probably no harm, but no one can guarantee that there is no long term negative impact on health. In research in lab animals it is found that GMO food actually damaged there kidneys, lever, adrenal glands, spleen and heart (Rodale, 2017). We would risk our health and give up independence partially if a corporation gets a patent on the food we eat. Let alone the fact that the corporation can increase the price without worrying about people going hungry for making little bit more profit. And, one last point, world is going towards organic, although organic food is not cheap and mostly people with lower income cannot afford it. But, that is mostly because. GMO is mass produced and cheap. If we mass produce organic food, the price will come down and everyone will be able to afford it.

References

Siegel, K , Verity, S (n.d.). What you need to know about GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-about-gmos#1

United Nations (July,2015). World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/2015-report.html

Foley, J ( n.d.) . The future of Food. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/

Carter, T (May,2015). Good reasons not to eat genetically modified foods. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/good-reasons-not-to-eat-genetically-modified-foods/2015/05/17/21c86198-fb26-11e4-a47c-e56f4db884ed_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.834cc43af7f7

Activist Post (June,2011). 5 Reasons NOT to eat genetically modified food. Retrieved from https://www.activistpost.com/2011/06/5-reasons-not-to-eat-gmo-foods.html

University of Nebraska (Feb,2001). Glyphosate-Resistant Soybean Cultivar Yields Compared with Sister Lines. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=agronomyfacpub&sei-redir=1#search=%22Glyphosate-resistant%20soyabean%20cultivar%20yields%20compared%20sister%20lines.%20Elmore%2C%20R.W.%20et%20al.%2C%20Agronomy%20Journal%2C%20Vol.%2093%2C%20No.%202%2C%202001%2C%20pp.%20408%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%93412%22

Rodale, M ( December,2017). 12 Reasons to Avoid GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/12-reasons-to-avoid-gmos_b_1243723.html

How important are laws to protect the prosperity of businesses?

Consider the following from your own informed and educated point of view:

  • How important are laws to protect the prosperity of businesses?
  • How important are laws to protect society from the (perhaps unintended) costs of business?
  • What balance should laws seek to maintain the rights of businesses and the rights of their customers?

Critically consider these questions, looking not only at what you believe but why you hold these beliefs and opinions. 

The laws are most important thing in a capitalist society for businesses to prosper. Every business runs by contracts, the customer pays and the seller sells what the payment is worth. But, our society is not free from elements who do not like such contracts, if it wasn’t for laws, then we might see those elements dominating and causing businesses shut their shops. And the statement applies to any kind of business not just retailers, but others too. Laws are there to protect the rights or business owners and customers. If someone invents something useful and he/ she can get a patent on his/ her invention, which is like exclusive commercial right to profit from. If anyone tries to challenge the patent or the commercial rights, then the law and justice system will decide who has the rights. And like I mentioned before if anyone does not honor the basic contracts in business, then the other party can always get help from law and justice system. Say the business owner did not give you what he promised or the customer did not pay you for what you sold his – in these cases law and justice system can work.

But, this does not guarantee prosperity. A business is like a machine, efficient businesses prosper. But, any business that is not good at utilizing its capital might die down eventually, even under protection of law. But the efficient businesses also need the protection from law to prosper.

Laws are very important to protect society too. In every nation and society we depend on governments to do the right thing, bring the right law to protect us. Protect us from businesses who often sees themselves as nothing other than a profit generating Machin. And in the process greed takes over. We saw what Wells Fargo did in the name of generating more revenue. They opened thousands of accounts without telling the customers. Allegedly they opened 2 million bank accounts or credit card accounts without customers knowledge between 2011 to 2015(Blake,2016). There are other dangers too that impacts not only current generation but future generations too. I am referring to businesses those pollute the environment for their profit. Here is one example – per North Carolina Regulators, Duke Energy, dumped 61 million gallons of contaminated water into Cape Fear River from a coal ash pit (CBS, 2014). And there are many more such examples around, even with the technology companies are creating new problems. Google was recently fined by EU. Facebook was being investigated for certain reasons. And I think these are when we need protection from law. Otherwise, very are businesses can do whatever they want to generate profit. I do not think making profit is a bad thing, but if the growth is not shared and inclusive and the business focuses on extorting then it becomes a problem for everyone. And I feel blessed that I have lived my life in democratic countries those are ruled by constitutions and laws, and nobody including the businesses are above law.

Businesses have a right to make a profit. Saying that, an entrepreneur who starts a business he often creates jobs, generate wealth for investors and make larger impact on societies. For example, Henry Ford transformed the way to travel, Google transformed the way to search, and Facebook transformed the way we communicate. I am not saying every impact is good or bad. But, to motivate an entrepreneur laws should protect his rights to do business. If any law say any company cannot make profit over a certain limit, that law will take the motivation away from the business owner. Or if laws make it difficult to do business, to start a business then we would see decline in economic activities. Businesses will not start and less people will find employment and eventually there will be less demand for everything.

In today’s world the laws are catching up to protect rights of customers. Laws should protect customers from corporate greed. And there should laws to promote what is better for future than what is easier now. For example, we have green energy sources, Germany is powered by renewables, and all wealthy country should bring in laws to move towards sustainable future and use renewables than using coal to generate power. So any society does not only deserve protection from corruption or greed but laws can pave ways to have a sustainable future too. And I am not saying corporate will like that, because they will have to invest in capital expenditure to change the way they do business, that might mean the profits will fall, investors will make less money, but we as a society have one planet and we cannot let it get ruined just because some people can’t let go their addiction to profits.

If you found a one-of-a-kind prototype of a revolutionary new mobile phone lying on a public bench, what would you do with it? 

  • If you found a one-of-a-kind prototype of a revolutionary new mobile phone lying on a public bench, what would you do with it?  What would be the consequences of your chosen action?
  • Does the value of a parcel of land come only from the profits it can generate? If not, what makes land valuable? Does it ever have any value that is not recognized by the law?
  • What is the role of governments in regulating the use of any form of property?  Why do laws work so well maintain standard uses, and what would be alternative ways to set boundaries on what businesses could do?

If you found a one-of-a-kind prototype of a revolutionary new mobile phone lying on a public bench, what would you do with it? 

To be absolutely honest, I would probably not even touch and leave the device where it was. But, I understand, not doing anything is not an option here. So, the next thing that I can do is find someone in “Lost and found office” or find an officer who is supposed to maintain the park, considering no one came back to look for the phone, I will hand over the device to them. In case you are wondering, why would I not keep it, then I think I should tell you, I am not a phone enthusiasts and not brave enough to keep an electronic device that is not mine, we have GPS in the device and there are CCTVs everywhere, I do not think it is hard to track someone down in Cities.

What would be the consequences of your chosen action?

      Considering the officer I found was honest, the phone should go to the “Lost and Found department”, but I think we need to explore other possibilities here. Since the phone is a prototype, that might have a never before used or newly invented technology, which is yet to be patented. As we know already in the USA the inventor gets a window of 12 months to file for Patent.

Meanwhile, someone who wants to make some quick money tries to contact the competitor company of the phone maker and tries to sell the prototype. And the competitor may actually buy the prototype and try to understand the new technology and incorporate it into their own devices. Now, hopefully, the original manufactures have already filed and gotten patent for the new technologies they have innovated and used, otherwise, this competitor that copies their tech and made their own product can file for the patent, as the US has changed it’s patent laws to first to file from first to innovate. Just to go one step forward, if something like this actually happens, and both these companies might sue each other to claim that they are the first to make it and based on who has the patent will win the right to use the new technology and most importantly hopefully I will stay out of the whole legal procedure.

Does the value of a parcel of land come only from the profits it can generate? If not, what makes land valuable? Does it ever have any value that is not recognized by the law?

            Value of a parcel of land mostly come from few facts such as its location, soil nutrition or if it has any trees or plants on it. So, mostly the value of the land will come from the profits it can generate. But the perceived value can be different based on an individual. The land can be expensive if the land has genetically modified crops on it those are patented based on U.S. Plant Patent Act of 1930, according to this law the new developer of the new variety of many asexually produced plants will have patent rights on the variety (Transgenic Crops, n.d.). The patent usually grant the patent holder 20 years to have exclusive rights to use the crop for commercial success (Zhou, 2015).

            The crops or trees growing some new type of fruit those are patented can make the land valuable.

            The first thing that came to mind is sentimental value, and that is restricted to a person or people. One might have memories on that land that he or she values greatly. That kind of value is not recognized by the law.

What is the role of governments in regulating the use of any form of property?  Why do laws work so well maintain standard uses, and what would be alternative ways to set boundaries on what businesses could do?

Any corporation can have both tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets might include real estate, machinery, furniture, cars etc. A company usually owns some intangible assets too, such as patents, trademarks, brand equity etc. Now, if we see, mostly government grants patents and trademarks. Brand equity is something any company develops over time. Real estate and other tangible assets are also protected by laws. If the company gets into any type of dispute with another individual or another company, government and courts play the role of arbitrators. So, the government grants certain rights to own properties and arbitrates if there is any confusion on property ownership.

 Laws are regulations are essentially guidelines and rules recognized by a certain community or country, and this help maintains order, encourage safety and promote discipline (Daniel, 2011). Laws set certain boundaries, that businesses and individuals know not to cross, and these give certain rights too. For example, a real estate owner has rights to live in his or her house, but anybody else cannot come and stay with him without his consent. Same goes for businesses, they are allowed to use what they own and what is out there for the public to use, but the corporates need consent if they want to use any property be it tangible or intangible, to use in case they want to. Otherwise, the government can punish the violator as per laws.

Without laws, it will be difficult to set boundaries on what business do. Now certain businesses are so big that they control media so they can control public perceptions. But I think, with the use of social media something can be done. If any company is not ethical and bends the rules for profit, their acts should be made public on social media by an organization with some authority, and the information should show the facts and not opinions. End of the day we the people are customers, and I believe nobody wants to associate himself or herself with a corporation that does not play by the rules. Or is not doing any good, so as long as the management or the company’s misdeeds are made public, and if the public finds out about it, I think their brand equity will be diminished and eventually their profit and sales will tumble. Something similar happened in case of Chipotle, where E. Coli outbreak happened over 2 years age and As a result, Chipotle’s food safety reputation is still far worse than any other fast-food chain (Taylor,2018). 

References :

Zhou W(Aug,2015). The Patent Landscape of Genetically Modified Organisms. Retrieved from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/the-patent-landscape-of-genetically-modified-organisms/

Retrieved on 7/21/2018. Retrieved from http://www.cls.casa.colostate.edu/TransgenicCrops/patent.html

Daniel H(April,2011). Benefits of Laws. Retrieved from http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-laws/

Taylor K(Mar,2018). People are still terrified to eat at Chipotle — and it’s the chain’s biggest problem. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/chipotle-hasnt-overcome-e-coli-fears-2018-3

The Good Credit Reference

Abstract

Kathy Ryan works for DCC and is a friend to Scott Bradley who works for North Manufacturing and Mike Walman who works for Basic Products. North is a common customer to DCC and Basic. Scott shared some important financial information with Kathy, which is not public. Mike wants to know from Kathy about North. We will explore what Kathy can and cannot tell Mike about North.

Relevant Facts –

Kathy Ryan was a Trade Credit Officer in Diversified Consolidated Corporation, she was responsible for credits to “North Manufacturing” of approximately $1 million. Kathy wanted to make sure DCC would be able to pay her company back.

Scott Bradley was a Treasurer in North Manufacturing and he had developed a good working relationship with Kathy Ryan. He shared the information of “North Manufacturing’s” financial difficulty with Kathy. He informed that financial statements of the company are not fraudulent but they do not paint the correct picture as they are thinking about going to bankruptcy attorneys. And Scott said that they intend to pay DCC if Basic Products supplies them on credit. And he says, this was one opportunity for “North Manufacturing” to make a comeback.

Mike Walman was a Credit Managers in Basic Products and the company wanted to do business with North Manufacturing. While North was a common customer to Basic and DCC, Mike and Kathy were friends. Basic Products wanted to check if North’s financials are a good shape to make payment.

Ethical Issues –

When Mike called Kathy and asked if North’s financials are ok and if they are making regular payments to DCC, Kathy had a dilemma. Although Kathy could honestly tell Mike that North was making regular payments to DCC but she had inside information that Scott shared with Kathy. According to Investopedia, “Insider information is a non-public fact regarding the plans or conditions of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage in a securities market.(Investopedia , n.d.). Kathy came to know from Scott that North’s financials are not as good as the financial statements show, and they are considering to go to the bankruptcy attorney. Moreover, North is going to Basic Products, so they can get products on credit and they can pay back DCC, and this is North’s only chance to turn things around. Kathy had this dilemma that she knew all these from Scott but since this is not public information it was not ethical for her to share these with Mike and warn him about the bad financial situation of North.

Stakeholders

Immediate stakeholders are DCC and Kathy, North and Scott and Mike and his employer Basic. These companies are stakeholders along with their other customers, leadership, employees, and shareholders are also stakeholders. If North goes out of business that means Scott loses his job along with other stakeholders of North, Kathy loses her bonus if not job and DCC loses a customer which would impact somewhat everyone associated with DCC. And Basic would lose a customer too and Mike and others in Basic will be impacted due to the loss.

Possible Alternatives –

While Mike waits on phone Kathy has to make a decision, whether or not to she would divulge the inside information she obtained from her work friend Scott who happened to work for a customer “North”. Mike is Kathy’s friend too and works for a peer company “Basic” Since Mike and his employer Basic is getting into business with North and Mike had heard about North’s financial trouble, it is important for Mike to find out if North has a good financial condition. We see the similar concerns over an iconic American brand Sears. The suppliers are really concerned over Sears financial health, and they are concerned that sears will go bankrupt and they would not get paid (Peterson, 2016). Given this situation –

Option 1 – Kathy can just provide whatever public information she has to Mike. Because the insider information she has about North is not publicly available and Scott has trusted Kathy with the secret, it is not ethical either way to tell what she knows about North. And moreover, Scott might not have given the correct information to Kathy, because he wanted her sympathy her help. Because Basic is DCC’s competitor, and when Basic is getting North’s business, DCC is losing it, so maybe Scott wanted help from Kathy, and this is how he tried to get help from Kathy.

Option 2 – Kathy can be a good friend to both Mike and Scott and tell Mike that she heard the rumors about North too. But then North always pays off DCC on time and she can tell Mike to verify North’s financials which is available publicly. This was Kathy won’t do anything unethical such as divulging insider information to Mike or she won’t totally keep Mike in dark and give him and his company to find out potential problems in North’s financial statements.

 Ethics of Alternatives –

Option 1 when Kathy just answers Mike’s questions and does not disclose any other information that she got from Scott works as the information Scott gave Kathy is not public, so this is insider information. And Scott and Kathy had a good working relationship, Scott shared the information with Kathy based on good faith. Moreover, since this information was not publicly available, this was not verified either. There was a possibility that Scott was just trying to get some sympathy from Kathy, so she helps him out, as Scott was moving North’s business from DCC to Basic. So, it is only wise for Kathy that she does not share with Mike what she learned from Scott, but answer Mike’s questions.

Option 2 is where we apply “rights” perspective and it makes a suggestion that Kathy provides a suggestion to Mike to go over North’s financial statements available in the public domain. Since Mike already expressed his concern over rumors about Norths financial condition. Kathy has some insider information that she got from Scott but sharing that is not professional or ethical. But as a friend, she can suggest to Mike that they can be extra cautious and verify North’s financial statements. This is ethical since Kathy does not want Mike to suffer a loss and if Mike takes Kathy’s suggestion and goes over the financials of North, and finds out any problem, then Basic will avoid some bad situation, which might not be a good thing for North. But this will be the right thing. Since Mike gave the call to Kathy, he being a stakeholder has the right to find out what Kathy can legally tell him.

If I were Kathy, I would do the right thing in this case, although if North goes bankrupt DCC loses the money and Kathy might lose her bonus or job but if Kathy does not give the information to Mike, the same thing can happen to Mike and Mike’s company.

If I were Mike, I would expect Kathy being my friend will tell me what she knows about North.

If I were Scott, I would expect Kathy to help me out, so she will just tell Basic that North pays DCC on time every time. And nothing about North’s financial trouble.

Constraints

The only practical constraint Kathy had was that the information Scott shared with Kathy was insider information, and Kathy could not act or share it with anyone. Hence when Mike Called Kathy and told her that why he was worried about North, Kathy could not tell him what she heard from Scott.

Otherwise, Kathy should not have a problem to tell Mike to check the financials of North, which are already available in public domain, as long as her words do not indicate any red flag to Mike. Even if it does it is not unethical, but she will be breaking Scott’s trust, and if North goes bankrupt because Basic does not go ahead with the deal, then Kathy might lose bonus or job or both. But, Kathy should not stop because of that.

Recommended Action –

My recommendation to Kathy would be after answering to Mike’s questions, telling him that she heard the rumors too and tell Mike that it is better to check the Financials of North, just to be on safe side. But, the wording should be soft enough not to raise any red flag. She does not need to break Scotts or Mikes trust. Moreover, if what she says raises a red flag to Mike, and if Basic decides not to do business with North, North can go out of business, assumed that Scott told Kathy the complete truth, and if that happens, no one wins, DCC loses a customer, Kathy loses bonus or job.

References –

Retrieved on 7/18/2018. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/insiderinformation.asp

Peterson, H(Nov,2016). Sears suppliers fear the company is going bankrupt. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-suppliers-fear-the-company-is-going-bankrupt-2016-11

If a loan officer working under you recommends a loan to a customer, describe (A) when you would authorize that loan, and (B) when you would deny the loan in each of the following cases and give your rationale.

Every manager has different skills and specialties of expertise.  It is quite possible that you could be in a situation where you see something that someone else does not see, especially if they are working under you with less education or experience than you.  If a loan officer working under you recommends a loan to a customer, describe (A) when you would authorize that loan, and (B) when you would deny the loan in each of the following cases and give your rationale.

  1. You disagree with your subordinate because you do not think restaurants are good investments in general, so you have a bad feeling about this customer’s ability to repay the loan based on your experience with the market rather than any financial facts.
  2. You disagree with your subordinate because you think medical operations are high risk for legal problems, so you have a bad feeling about this customer’s ability to repay the loan based on your experience with the law rather than any financial facts.
  3. You disagree with your subordinate because you think members of their family are business failures, so you have a bad feeling about this customer’s ability to repay the loan based on your experience with social history rather than any financial facts.
  4. You disagree with your subordinate because you just have a bad feeling about this customer’s ability to repay the loan based on your gut instinct rather than any financial facts.
  1. I do not think it is right to take any decision based on a bad feeling I might have. I should and would check the financial and perform other due diligence to make sure that the restaurant can actually run successfully. But since I do not think (in this instance) that restaurants are good investments in general, so I might not be able to give any benefit of a doubt to the business. And I will see if the restaurant company can get an insurance to make sure if they go out of business, still the debts will be repaid. If the financials are strong and other business conditions are strong and with the assurance that the debts will be repaid by the insurance company, only in that case I would authorize the loan.
  1. First of all, I need to check my organization’s policy. If the policy gives me any direction about what should we do when it comes to such opportunities? Considering that, the policy does not stop me from investing in such opportunities, I would still have an ethical responsibility to be careful with investments. I should definitely check the financial for the customer and consider everything is in great shape, I should seek a risk premium. Because the fact that medical operations are high risk for legal problems, it is my duty to safeguard my company from losses, so if my company policy permits me to get a risk premium, like getting an insurance in case any legal trouble happens to my customer and they go bankrupt my company still gets back the money owed, is necessary. When I get this insurance, I can authorize the loan, otherwise not.
  1. Denying a loan based on social history is absolutely wrong. So first thing I need to check and verify that financial statements, although I need to make sure that the numbers are correct. One way to look at the situation that the family has a lot of business experience, and this customer could learn from family members and can do well in business. But, if financials are okay, I will have another concern, if the other businesses the family started for valid reasons or did they do something unethical or illegal. Even if the other family members were crooks and hence lost the businesses, I should consider the current customers’ application. If the financials are okay and policy does not stop me from granting the loan I will grant the loan.
  1. I should ignore my gut instinct and check the financial statements if everything is fine in financials, then I should really revisit my thoughts, just to understand why did I have the gut feeling, did I observe anything subconsciously? I would ask my subordinate about the details, he found based on what he is suggesting the approval of loan, may be that will allow me to see what I think might go wrong. I can always try to seek an insurance for the loan I grant to make sure, if the person is unable to pay, the loan does not go bad. Then, if everything turns out fine and if policy allows me I will grant the loan. In case I find a problem in financials or anything else on paper, I will deny.