paper topic :CASE STUDY
*Case study 1:*
*The CEO of Starbucks and the Practice of Ethical Leadership*
Starbucks may be a favorite spot for many, especially coffee lovers. However, not everyone knows beyond what they grab from Starbucks. A common mantra states everything, and everyone around has a story. This does not leave behind the Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson. Research shows that Kevin Johnson has faced several leadership tests, right after a year of serving. Accusations made included racism and discrimination, subsequently leading the public to refer to this as unethical. It becomes more daunting having coffee lovers on a global scale.
Drastic changes followed in different stores across the world. Customers expressed their opinions and negative reviews online. The case study will discuss a daunting test Sir Kevin Johnson faced along with his ethical leadership practices.
*The Philadelphia Starbucks*
The store usually operated just as a regular and casual day. Unfortunately, this was to change when two black men walked in. Sources state that the men were waiting to meet a business associate. However, the staff seems not to comply with the men’s agenda while at the store. The men had not ordered anything on their wait. This forced the manager to have them leave. However, the two black men declined and explained that they were waiting for their associate. Police were called to arrest the two men, and as this happened, a woman recorded the incidence on her mobile. It was not long until the video went viral, and the public shared their sentiments.
Additionally, the mobile video shows the two black men’s associates showing up during their arrest. He is even seen trying to find out what the men had done wrong, but no response was given to him. The events happened on a Thursday, and Johnson had the store manager no longer working at the store on the respective Monday. What followed was a protest and against the Philadelphia Starbucks and sit-ins at the store. The act explained the public’s love for Starbucks, but the arrest of the men was abhorrent and diminishing.
*Creating a community and ethical conduct*
It was not long until the arrest that CEO Kevin Johnson regretfully came out to apologize to the public, through a short follow up video and statement. On his defend, he stated that the acts on the video are not up to the company’s values and missions. Having a welcoming environment is paramount for every Starbuck store, but the incidence was shameful, and actions were taken against the manager. He also added that Starbuck’s training and practices might have undoubtedly led to an unfortunate outcome. Additionally, he opened up, stating that the call made to the Philadelphia police department was not right.
Sources state that initially, the company had no policy for customers to leave. Having each store manager solely decide on the next action. Starbucks later became a community hub, welcoming everyone to sit at any store worldwide and not having to spend any money. That flexible policy showed the company’s resilience and acceptance of the ‘mistake’ made. Additionally, it was a manifestation of Johnson’s apology statement of a Starbucks that is welcoming and friendly to everyone.
*Johnson’s ethical leadership practices*
Johnson may not have displayed all ethical leadership practices, but a few should be accredited. Through his action of closing all Starbucks stores for a ‘third space policy’ and training, expressed the CEO’s profound willingness to create a community. Also, it is evident that he openly encouraged ethical conduct through his statement. Lastly, he clarified culture when he mentioned the company’s mission and values.
Errors are made, but this does not limit as to whether it is individually or as a company. What matters most is how one reacts to a mistake. Retaining one’s name and dignity is vital and might be considered wise. From the Starbucks incidence, a lot can be learned if not emulated from Kevin Johnson’s actions. Generally, a few lessons can be depicted by how Starbucks got up from the trip.
Demirtas, O. (2015). Ethical leadership influence at organizations: Evidence from the field. Journal of Business Ethics, 126(2), 273-284.
Lee, J. J., Cho, J., Baek, Y., Pillai, R., & Oh, S. H. (2019). Does ethical leadership predict follower outcomes above and beyond the full-range leadership model and authentic leadership?: An organizational commitment perspective. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 1-27.
*Case Study 2:*
*Google’s Handling of the “Echo Chamber Manifesto”*
Google is known for its diversity and resourcefulness in different parts of the world. Google is also acknowledged by a wide range of races, ethnic groups, religions, and age groups across the globe. However, relapses have been occurring when it comes to the company’s business ethics. Over the last couple of years, Google has been under tight scrutiny for the discrimination of gender. The labor department has been investigating the company for potential pay gaps that are gender-oriented. Discrimination against women in tech jobs has been widespread and pervasive, but having an organization as Google proved to be wildly off.
What action has been taken by Google, and are they still working towards the manifestation of the echo chambers? This case study will discuss Google’s recent incidence that happened in the year 2017. Additionally, how they handled the case and the actions were taken after the incidence and what they portrayed.
*The firing of James Damore *
He was among the male staff who worked at Google as a software engineer. Unfortunately, things were to take a loose turn for him in August of 2017. This was after he posted an internal memo that had relied on inaccurate gender stereotypes. He purposefully wanted to criticize Google for its implementation of the inclusion and diversity initiative. Things took a stern change when the memo leaked. In just a short time, media houses across the globe had a copy of the memo.
Eventually, there was a public outcry, and many expressed their concerns not only online but also in violent protests. This did not happen because of the gender base leaked memo alone, but also the firing of James Damore. People around Charlottesville, Virginia, had heightened conversations on the complexities of freedom of speech in America. Google now had two tensed up conversations to address.
*Damore’s memo *
In his defense, Damore stated that he was pointing out how Google is not welcoming controversial viewpoints due to its ‘echo chamber’ policy. In his memo, he also states how Google has recently been discriminating employees and is partial in how they give the employees opportunities to develop themselves. Damore pointed out that these opportunities are offered to certain races and genders. Explaining how the problem had stretched to even the hiring of new employees is conducted and issuing of promotion.
*Workmates and Google’s response*
Damore’s workmates expressed their grievances and referred to Damore as an ‘anti-diversity.’ Female colleagues to Demore were uncomfortable and expressed how they disliked Damore. One day later, the Vice president of Google released a statement to the public discriminating against the memo and stating that it was not aligning to the efforts in having a diverse labor force. Google’s CEO also stated the firing of Damore. He stated that even though the memo was factual about Google’s cultural diversity, attempts-Damore went against Google’s codes of conduct.
Tech firms have diversity controversies on the rise. Unfortunately, Google being in the spotlight for this act, proved that it might happen to kind of firm. Be it large or small. Discrimination against women is unethical, and tech companies should acknowledge that women do play their parts accordingly and give out their very best. No mantra or policy states that it is a man’s job. (Harel, G, 2017) Even though the protest against Damore losing his job backfired, it called up to every other employer to standing up to their rights and freedom. Bringing Damore back would have resulted in discomfort in the workplace, not just for him but also for his workmates. However, there are valuable lessons that one could depict from the incidence and incorporate in their firms.
Bamberger, P., Admati-Dvir, M., & Harel, G. (2017). Gender-based wage and promotion discrimination in Israeli high-technology firms: do unions make a difference?. In Work and Organizations in Israel (pp. 315-332). Routledge.
Reddy, R. (2019). Liberal gender equality and social difference: an institutional ethnography. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.
*Case study 3: *
*Wells Fargo Banking Scandal*
It might have been one of the most talked-about scandals, but it attracted over a thousand critics across the globe. The organization was accused of creating millions of fraudulent savings accounts and going against the client’s rights. It is sad. However, that was not the bank’s first scandal. Scandals have been ongoing but were quickly buried under the sun from the public’s eyes. A few sprouted out and the American’s federations were on the company’s tail from there onwards.
However, this seemed to be stopping the rising cases of scandals from the organization’s banking sector. Diminishing it might be for loyal clients who devoted themselves to saving with the bank when the scandals keep happening. Despite the organization’s transparency and quality services to its customers, it never seemed to cease frauding. The case study will discuss how the company came to their realization of the fraud accusations and how exactly they were happening. Also, the amount of money incorporated in the scandal and how the scandal was settled and its effects.
*The money involved*
The mantra, no illegal activity, fades as a secret typically applies to Wells Fargo Scandal. Wells Fargo is a renowned bank on a global scale, having its value in billions of dollars. As the scandal became known at the end of 2018. It had received lawsuits and fines accounting to 2.7 billion. On the 8th of September 2016, CFPB fined the bank a total sum of 100 million dollars. For specifically having unauthorized access to clients’ accounts without their consent. It was a violation of the right and the company’s ethics and policies as well (Tayan, B 2019). Wells Fargo was also issued a court order the same year to pay an estimated amount of 2.5 million dollars to refund their clients. A total sum of 2.4 billion was to be paid in settlement for all the accusations and unauthorized access made by Fargo.
*What led to these fines?*
It might have sounded disturbing to some, but realizing that a large organization can be dishonest and fake, their client’s access pin to ‘0000’ remained daunting till today. Fargo employees ordered credit cards for customers that were pre-approved without their knowledge. Additionally, they were encouraged to use the customer’s contact details to the forms to reduce the chances of the customer’s suspicions of fraud happening. The employees also had access to the customers’ accounts and could check their activity without any of the customer’s consent. Also, some customers found out that they had been enrolled in online banking services without any prior acknowledgment. As the investigations happened, it was also found out that some of the employees issued out insurance policies that were unnecessary to the customers.
*Wells Fargo response*
After the scandal made headlines in different media houses, the bank took full responsibility for the accusations. The fines imposed on the organization were no secret to the world. Wells Fargo CEO, John Stump, released a statement stating that he was more willing to take in some of the blame personally. On the other hand, the company’s spokesperson referred to the accusations made as sales practice problems. He ultimately refused to acknowledge that it was among the company’s cultures.
The scandal was evident that the organization can fall victim to fraud accusations. Having a well-structured and policies to govern an organization will have the organization gradually rise from the bottom up without any suspicions of illegal trades. Customers value transparency and truth when it comes to places where they have their money kept, and so are banks expected to adhere. It is also crucial for organizations to maintain a close and friendly relationship with their customers for their services to grow and gain treat from the customers.
Tayan, B. (2019). The Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal. Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Closer Look Series: Topics, Issues, and Controversies in Corporate Governance No. CGRP-62 Version, 2, 17-1.
Teo, T. S., & Kimes, S. E. (2019). Wells Fargo bank: The fake accounts scandal. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.
*Case study 4:*
*Raiding Customer Assets at MF Global*
Business ethics seem to take turns when it comes to large firms yearly. It is a game of the superiors in powered and their ability to commit hidden crimes. After all, crimes cannot go without being noticed or realized later on. It gets more heated up when it involves the violation of a customer’s assets or liabilities entrusted to a firm or an individual. Respecting one’s property is a basic rule for any firm. Unfortunately, unethical firms go beyond their agreement with their customers and worse; it includes violations. In recent research made, an accusation was filed against a company’s CEO after he directed one of his managers to transfer millions of dollars of a customer’s asset to cover a bank overdraft.
This proved unethical and attracted thousands of negative reviews and critics. It can also be said to be selfish and not according to what is expected from an organization. This case study will go to deeper levels of the accusations and how they were confronted. The company in the spotlight is MF Global and its CEO, Jon Corzine.
*Who should be responsible?*
Recently, a lawsuit was made by Commodity Futures Trading Commission against the CEO of MF Global, Jon Corzine. Shaming as it may sound, Jon had one of his mid-levels assistants transfer a customer’s asset worth millions of dollars to cover the firm’s bank overdraft. Without doing so, sources state that MF global could have sunk and regarded bankrupt. Could it be improper planning, or was this just a selfish result from a selfish action from the CEO’s past actions? What could have Jon done if he did not have a customer that had assets worth that much?
Jon was faced with a dilemma that only he alone could have accounted for. To him having a customer’s asset was the most natural way out, and as a result, he was saving the firm from sinking. He broke not only the firm’s golden rule, but the customers trust to MF global and its reputation.
To his defense at the court, he responded by saying that it had not yet dawned on him that the firm was almost coming to an end. This seemed as and defends for being selfish and solely driven by his gluttons. It sounds not right and untrue, for it is only on rare occasions that one can overlook an overdraft of 175 million dollars. Far from that. Jon denied the accusation of ordering his assistant to transfer the money to the bank. He also stated that he was never informed that the customer’s assets were withdrawn to heal the firm’s overdrafts.
It seemed unclear as to who was to take responsibility after the CEO declined all accusations charged against him. To a customer, it might have been diminishing, and she might have discredited the firm for use even to her associates. Apart from losing customers, the firm shall be counting loses when the accusation goes viral. CEO Jon is seen making ill judgments and subsequently following them. He overlooked a customer’s feelings, privacy, and, worse, disrespected her.
MF global was on the verge of being bankrupt, but disrespecting a customer and breaking her trust was quite unethical. Dishonesty is not seen from the CEO alone but also his associate. She also denied having taken part in the transfer of the customer’s money. These is traits that contribute to an organization’s downfall and spoiling of reputation.
Dhaliwal, S. (2019). Respecting and Ensuring Rights. Feminist Dissent, (4), 16-54.
*Case study 5:*
*Aggressive Sales Quotas or Unfair Business Practice?*
In a sales person’s life, there never lacks moments where the pressure from the sales manager was higher than what you get to experience in the field. Other sales agents are sent to areas where they see no potential clients to whom they can sell their products or services. It might be a walk through the park for some, but when you meet a diverse cultural village where no one understands the internet, things take a turn. This project will highlight a salesman named Peter and his sales adventure in San Francisco.
Some of the dilemmas that he faced, what motivated him to preserve, and what qualities he had. Lastly, some of the risks he faced and what might lead to critical moral decisions.
*Dilemma peter faced*
One can imagine how stressful it might have been for Peter. Having being sent to a place where he was now to convince the startups on advertising. Peter received numerous calls from his urging to stop being dishonest. Indeed in a territory where people have little knowledge when it comes to advertising, it could have been hard for Peter. He was torn between an ethical dilemma of obeying what he had being told or doing things his way and not considering his bosses’ directions. If he followed his own, that would have been a way to make things easier for him. Additionally, when he followed the bosses’ guidelines, Peter could have carried some valuable lessons with him, and this would have affected his relationship with his boss and even may have been granted future advantages.
*Peters virtues and source of motivation*
What motivated Peter was him receiving potential customers after few months of review and understanding the markets of his territory. This punished to approach the smaller businesses which thought that the internet was the next big thing. Even though he had to reduce the packages he had hope in bringing up the small businesses. Also, Peter is viewed as a good listener and hard worker. A person who is ready to quit, therefore he tried all means he could to have the most sales in his territory with the help of his team. Peter also values the strength of having a team. He believes that two brains are better than one, and for this reason, he did not hesitate to ask for help when he needed it. One could say that he was humble, for only a humble person stands to be corrected. Proud people always believe they are right.
*Risks are taken*
One potential risk that Peter exposed to himself was running his career. This is through creating a tensed relationship between him and his manager. Worse could have happened when he had not taken the risk of evaluating the marketing right after concluding that he had to get honest with his clients to acquire more clients. Losing money could have been another risk. Before being released to their territory, a quota was offered and an agreement had to be settled and by Peter changing the company’s pricing this would have resulted to him losing money that he had not accounted for.
In times of difficulty and desperation, people are observed to make moral decisions. It only when one is under pressure that he or she is forced to remember life values that he learnt even years in the past. When one accept defeats and has no any other way out some opt to apply moral virtues. Although there might be people who are naturally morally upright, the few who remain waiting till the moral decisions are forced out of them. It can be seen that every has these virtues but are found inside and only come out when needed.
Skorin-Kapov, J. (2019). Career Pressures, Responsibility, Identity. In Professional and Business Ethics Through Film (pp. 295-336). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Lafferty, G. (2016). Opening the Learning Process: The Potential Role of Feature Film in Teaching Employment Relations. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 56(1), 8-28.
*Case study 6:*
*The Case of Plant Relocation*
Relocating a plant can be caused by different reasons, regardless of the initial position of the plant. But before this happens there are certain factors that must be considered and put to place. If one of the plants factors is ethical oriented then the firm must be on the right track into relocating. Considering code of ethics as an organization is crucial and often leads to a plants succession in the years to come.
Few complaints will be received and attracting customers will be their goal by the end of the day. The case study below will highlight the journey of an electronic company, Electrocorp. Due to decline in the company’s profits, it resulted to the deciding on relating to areas where the cost of production would be low. This included countries with fewer regulations and cheaper cost of labor.
*Factors leading to relocation*
The plant resulted to relocating after safety regulations were stringent. The safety regulations proved to be expensive in terms of money and time for the firm and it was beyond what they were willing to manage. Secondly, there was the union of workers. The union representing the workers planned a successful strike that led to the workers asking for increment in their wages and the plant was not able to adhere to the workers’ demands. Finally the company was issued a proposal on how they were to manage their waste before disposing it. The environmental regulations imposed were also quite pricey for the plant to handle.
*Countries recommended for relocation*
From the report made by Ms. Smith, there seemed to be potential cities that could be cost efficient for the plant. Workers were willing to start earning from 3 dollars on an hourly basis and the cost environmental safety is affordable. To add, there is security along the border line a labor was guaranteed due to the high rate of unemployment. The only factor that posed a risk was bad publicity. Similar plans were located along the border line cities and this resulted to an increased number of birth defects in the surrounding cities. Environmental laws are less strict than the one in America and pollution is something that is faced head by capitalist and NGOs.
*b) **South Africa*
Unlike Mexico, environmental strictness is adhered. Policies that protect the environment are strict when it comes to chemical releasing plants and improper disposing of waste products. One relief is that the costs of machinery that help in reducing emission of harmful gases are relatively cheaper. Labor is readily available, although due to labor union policies a future anticipation of salary increment could be forecasted.
Philippines had more favorable conditions than both South Africa and Mexico. The wage rates in Mexico are one dollar per hour and even lesser when the worker is below the age of 16. The environmental policies are not strict and are actually cheaper. Also another advantage was that there were no previous complaints of cancer, birth defects or any environmental related defect.
Having found suitable relocation sites, there would be no need for the plant to continue its operations in the USA. Cheaper labor be found in Philippines and other countries such as Haiti, morocco, Madagascar and Jamaica. It might not be all about the profit margins but also considering a country’s environmrtal policies might be crucial and helpful.
Nagle, T. T., & Müller, G. (2017). The strategy and tactics of pricing: A guide to growing more profitably. Routledge.
Andresen, M., Biemann, T., & Pattie, M. W. (2015). What makes them move abroad? Reviewing and exploring differences between self-initiated and assigned expatriation. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(7), 932-947.
*Case study 7:*
*Leaked Movie Trailer and a Confidentiality Agreement*
Movie lovers are in huge number all around the world. Some are always in the cinema or online checking out the latest releases of trailers or final movies. There are different reasons why people watch movies; it might not be for enjoyment for everyone but also for learning purposes. Having a family member or someone close who works at firm creating movies might sound advantageous but this is a potential threat.
You might not be the first one to always know which movie is on the making through your brother, wife or husband who works at a film firm such as Luke. Luke worked as an assistant editor at a huge film company based in Los Angeles. One day he was in the middle of editing of a movie that was barely released to the public eyes. His family members had previously tried to pressure him to give them a glimpse of any movie that was on the making. But due to his confidentiality contract that he signed, he said not even a word. Shock on him when one of the movies he was working on went viral.
*Importance of a confidentiality agreement*
It just similar to one who has a gift, all wrapped up waiting for a certain day in order to hand it over to the owner. But before that happens the one to be gifted gets to see the gift. It might sound unfair and to some extend unethical. Coming up with a movie is so much hard work and efforts of combined people coming together. A movies starts from an idea, then transits into a script, it is then reviewed acted edited then released. If a family member working at any film company gets to give out this information, it might see as betrayal and inconsiderate of the others involved. Even though Luke had close friends and family at times it is just all about the sacrifice. Everyone will get a chance to watch the movie once it is officially released.
After signing the confidentiality agreement, one is to acknowledge that everything that is within the walls of the work place should not go beyond the walls. It might be unethical for one not to go with the code of confidentiality. As an employee you should value your work and the work of others. There might be pressure from family members and relatives but that does not accredit you not to acknowledge others efforts of keeping it to them. From Luke’s incidence, one employee decided to leak a movies trailer. Even though it might have increased the movies publicity, the one behind it can be considered unethical and untrustworthy. ( Sheehan 2016)
*The harm of a leaked trailer*
When the leak happened, it was only because of the grounds of publicity that the case was not followed up. The movie handlers got to use the leakage as an advantage to them. It was free publicity from the viewers. They gave the incidence a positive approach and opted to make any accusation to the leakage. If the publicity had not taken place, there would be numerous harms that could have resulted. First the film may not have been copy righted and this was content that was available to millions of people and piracy would not be a choice for some. Stealing of concepts or ideas from another is yet another lawful crime but it can be placed charges against, when the content is copyrighted and licensed.
Movies might be a source of entertainment but there is a lot of work put in before the actual movies come to. That is why after every movie credits are given to the ones involved throughout the film. When you get a chance to work at firm that produces films, remaining confidential even to your family might reduce unnecessary future financial burdens and keep your job.
Pattenden, R., & Sheehan, D. (2016). The law of professional-client confidentiality. Oxford University Press.