Business ethics, also at times referred as business law, may be defined as the overall study of the activities and operations in which a few rights and wrongs regarding the financial as well as overall market position of a company are stated. …
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It also enhances the relationships between management, stakeholders and the society. Business ethics involves decision making process which focuses on moral awareness which leads to moral judgement or moral motivation. From prior studies, it can be evidently stated that ethical considerations provided by organisations in the post-modern era not only tends to boost its industry relations, but also tends to strengthen its existence in the market. Thus, ethical concerns by organisations play a crucial role in rewarding the company with competitive advantages in its targeted market (Shaw, 2010). Hereby, this paper will intend to provide a brief description of Starbucks, a coffee company in relation to its ethical considerations. With this concern, the paper will focus on the ethical dilemmas faced by the company and its ethical practices implemented in the recent company operations. From a rational perspective, these facts will be further analysed so as to obtain a comprehensive explanation business ethics related issues faced by the company based on which recommendations will also be suggested. Overview of the Company It was in the year 1971 that Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington. The main reason in instigating the company was the love and desire for coffee in the then American community. As days passed on, this company grew up slowly with its branded coffee and by the year 1981, it established a well equipped coffee roasting plant. It had also built four retail stores that sold the whole bean coffee in the markets around Seattle. Starbucks continued growing rapidly into the market with continuous development of retail stores and establishment of new enterprises. Within five years, the number of Starbucks’ stores grew nearly about tenfold with various locations prevailing in different countries like U.S, Japan, and Singapore among others. In the year 1998, Starbucks partnered with Conservation International (CI), which is a non-profit organisation and it enormously helped Starbucks to promote bio-diversity especially in the coffee-growing regions in order to support the producers of shade grown coffee. The result with this partnership has also laid impact on the positive response towards the environment and also among the farmers engaged in the initial level of the company’s supply chain. From the very beginning Starbucks made some strategy of loan guarantees that helped to provide loans to the farmers and with this financial support they enabled themselves to double their income which facilitates farmers’ motivation (Stanley, 2002). Issues or Dilemmas Facing by Starbucks One of the major and most hazardous operational issues faced by Starbucks was that it had limited control over fluctuating global prices. As a consequence, increase in the commodity prices in the global market forced the company to increase its product price. Furthermore, with an increase in its product price and simultaneously in its profit earned, Starbucks should also require taking appropriate measures for community services which can be observed as an ethical issue faced by the company. For instance, the farmers play a very crucial role in the production process of coffee in the supply chain of Starbucks. But unfortunately it was these groups of people who are observed to suffer a lot of hardships that can hamper the production process to an extent which is likely to have significant influence into the
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The proper use of business ethics in the management of a company makes it run all the business operations in a manner that respects the company’s stakeholders. Business Ethics according to Crane and Matten (2010:5) is “the study of business situations, activities and decisions where the issues of rights and wrongs are addressed”.
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