The ethics of a company establishes rules and regulations not only in terms of the behavior of employees determining the relationships within the team, customers, business partners, and government agencies, but also it is part of the corporate culture. Ethics and responsibility suggest a set of norms and practices of organizing activities of the company (Rankin Bohme 60). The work of large companies should be based on respect for employees and a scornful attitude towards their health or any other aspect of labor; otherwise, the disparagement will affect the company’s image and its future operations in the market.
Regarding Dole and its history, several leading aspects of their performance can be stressed out. This is a company that markets bananas. As per the article, it has been operating in the markets where environmental awareness and control were rather low and the company used dangerous practices that led the company to a scandal (Carroll and Carroll 619). Dole utilized DBCP, which is a dangerous pesticide that enabled getting larger crops, thus, boosting the company’s performance.
Nevertheless, the use of this pesticide had strong effects on the health of the plantation workers, which was pronounced in a decrease in the health status in almost all the people working on Dole’s plantations in other countries. However, the main issue of the company’s performance was revealed in the fact that Dole was aware of the side effects and would still use the pesticide notwithstanding the harm it would cause to the workers (Carroll and Carroll 619).
Consequently, the company considered its economic interests solely and neglected the ethical considerations that were related to the workers’ health. Thus, it can be stated that they were unable to balance the economic and ethical speculations in decision-making.
It should be noted that the decision of companies to use or produce the pesticide evidence that they were following the principle of maximization of profit at any cost. Nonetheless, the implementation of the economic benefits of any company implies following the principles of ethics and social responsibility (Rankin Bohme 91). Ethics occupies an intermediate position between law and free choice and it is up to every company whether to follow this principle or not.
Even though the chemical could be used in developing countries, it does not diminish the responsibility of Dole, Dow Chemical, and Shell (Carroll and Carroll 619). Understandably, the US government could not impose its policy regarding pesticide usage in other countries; nevertheless, it is the company’s responsibility to be liable for the health of all the employees and Dole neglected it when using DBCP.
The notion of social responsibility that applies to companies operating in the USA implies the balance between profit maximization, ethical considerations, and liability. For that reason, the realization of economic gains as the only social and ethical accountability of the company to shareholders cannot be perceived positively. The formal legal compliance with the laws of another country does not indicate any ethical considerations.
The activities of Dole towards its foreign workers can be comprehended as employee discrimination while the same practices were inappropriate about the American staff (Rankin Bohme 203). There is no legal force to prohibit producers or sellers to use DBCP, but the lack of social justice in the company’s performance implies that the same harmful loopholes could be used in the USA as well. Consequently, the absence of social responsibility is also characteristic of Dole.
The notion involves the recognition of liabilities by the management to implement decisions and actions that increase community well-being and meet the interests of the company’s key stakeholders. However, the well-being of one country should not proceed while harming the other one. If the company applied the utilitarian approach to its activities, it would be guided by the principle of ethical environmental performance. In this case, it would balance all the considerations to be able to eliminate the possible consequences to all the parties involved.
In general, it can be stated that the specifics of the structure of companies such as Dole and their products should conform to the markets and the jurisdiction of the countries in which they operate. All companies need to act in certain legal and institutional frameworks. Due to the international nature of their activities, they have to carry out their corporate strategy in different cultural settings, in different legal and political systems (Rankin Bohme 299).
However, the specific structure of the company’s activities should not only meet the market and the jurisdiction of the countries but also be guided by the principles of ethics and social responsibility. Thus, in addition to compliance with international agreements and rules, the management must consider administering the organization by the tenets of sound labor relations and environmental protection.
The top management of a company should ensure that the ethical responsibility provides for the implementation of socially useful activities by the company. These activities should not be determined by the rule of law or the desire to meet the direct economic interests exclusively but reflect the ethical norms that have been defined by the universal principles and values of almost any society, which is the considerate attitude towards employees, stakeholders, and associates. Thus, any decisions and actions of an organization aimed at obtaining benefits at the expense of society are unethical; therefore, they are inappropriate.
Carroll, Archie, and Ann Buchholtz. Business and Society: Ethics, Sustainability, and Stakeholder Management, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.
Rankin Bohme, Susanna. Toxic Injustice, Oakland: University of California Press, 2014. Print.