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Analysis of the Organizational Ethics and Values
Most organizations face the ethical dilemmas at some point of their development, usually, while going through restructuring or experiencing misunderstanding. The ethics and moral principles guide the individual courts in determining between the good and evil. Unethical behavior usually occurs in the periods of changes, crisis, or transitions, as well as when the organizations became the most vulnerable. People employ the internalized ethical framework for weighing the alternatives and determining the right course of action. The moral judgment involves the application of the moral framework that will allow one to select the most ethical alternative among the numerous choices. Both the non-profit and for-profit organizations sometimes face the problems that affect their ethical principles; they can choose the opposite actions according to the philosophical theories in order to solve them.
The Ethical Dilemmas of the American Red Cross
All non-profit organizations should pay attention to the ethical issues. With an appropriate code of ethics, such an organization can focus on its mission and good deeds that it intends to do. Therefore, it is crucial to implement a carefully planned set of ethical initiatives aimed at improving the ethical climate. On the other hand, the employees have to gain the practical experience, which they should be able to apply in their everyday work and personal life. It is a question of leadership; the leaders lay the foundation for all the ethical issues in the organization (Elci & Alpkan, 2009).
The non-profit sector also affects the ethical dilemmas as the corporate America does. People run the non-profit organizations according to the same set of ethical standards used by the rest of society (Rothschild & Milofsky, 2006). In the recent years, the American Red Cross, both its national and individual units, targeted the negative headlines on the Internet and media. The ethical issues undermine the public confidence in the industry as a whole.
The American Red Cross provides a number of useful services, including the disaster relief and community services that help the needy. One of its most known functions is the collection, processing, and distribution of the blood and blood components. Serious shortcomings in this important function were the subject to the decades of research by the Food and Drug Administration, which reported the extensive, long-term, and dangerous practice of the ARC.
The American Red Cross is an independent organization that is supported by the donations from the public and voluntary services. It helps the victims of disasters and help people to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the emergencies. In addition, the organization owns the largest blood bank in the United States. The American Red Cross has updated the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct in January 2007 (Bloomberg, 2012). The ARC offers a 24-hour anonymous hotline Trunk Group. This line provides the American Red Crosss staff, volunteers, and members of the public with the possibility to discuss the problems or ask questions regarding the potentially illegal, unsafe, or unethical conduct (Bloomberg, 2012).
After Hurricane Katrina, the temporary workers of the call centers were accused of stealing from the Katrina Relief Fund. After the catastrophic impact of the disaster, the ARC was caught off guard with such an accusation. The organization decided to respond to the emergency; soon, it was swamped with both the calls and the volunteers offering their help.
The American Red Cross is an influential organization that makes a huge difference in the lives of those in need after different natural and manmade disasters, such as the September 11, 2001 or the Hurricane Katrina. The organization is huge; this peculiarity causes certain challenges common for any large organization. Some of these issues are experienced at the corporate level while the others on the front line.
The American Red Cross has also experienced problems with the monetary donations. Some of these problems occurred because the ARC was not ready to deal with a number of countries that were struck by the recent disasters. In addition, the ARC has also been criticized for its corporate partnership. The corporate donations play a significant part in the overall strategy for saving the American Red Cross. The critics argue that the ARC must pay extra attention to the cooperation in the times of national disaster, in order not to allow using the emergency for promote the corporate products.
The Food and Drug Administration have scrutinized the American Red Cross for its management of the donated blood. The ARC is the world's largest supplier of blood and blood products. The Red Cross Blood Service is one of the safest in the world, but the accusation of the unsafe treatment began to appear in 1993 (Rothschild & Milofsky, 2006)., The ARC has paid more than $21 million in the federal fines due to the problems reported in the FDA study (Bloomberg, 2012). These fines were charged because of the mismanagement and screening collection, as well as the inability to refuse the potentially unsafe donations. In addition, even though, the ARC was aware of these problems, the organization has repeatedly failed to investigate the consequences and causes of their mistakes.
The American Red Cross faces many challenges in the field of marketing just as any other ethical and transparent non-profit organization does. The ARC should effectively reduce the risk associated with the donation and should be careful while choosing the partnerships with the private corporations that will continue to encourage the blood donations. The organization also needs to handle effectively any claims that may damage its reputation. Finally, the ARC should focus on marketing, which will have the positive effects on the whole society, including the vital role it plays in the disaster management. These marketing efforts will ideally mean for the organization the increase in the positive effects and enhanced support.
Because of the actions of the ARC after the Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11, its position in the business sphere was significantly damaged. The critics emphasized its long-time response for the disasters. The American Red Cross experienced a lack of necessities such as food, blankets, and batteries for the victims in the days immediately after the emergency. On the contrary, sometimes, the quantity of supplies was too high, so the food had gone to waste. The bad use of resources is one of the major problems of the ARC during the emergencies. During the Hurricane Katrina, for example, the Red Cross did not follow the procedures for screening the volunteers and many offenders penetrated into the staff. It was easy for these volunteers to engage in unlawful activities and fraud without the timely recognition.
The Ethical Dilemmas of the British Petroleum Company
The British Petroleum Corporation is a petrochemical, oil, and gas monopoly in the United Kingdom, 46% of the share capital of which is owned by the state. It was founded in 1909 in London and named The Anglo-Persian Oil Company based on the agreement concerning the exploitation of the oil fields in southern Iran. After the nationalization of its assets in 1954, the word Iranian was changed, and the company received its present name (Bloomberg, 2012).
The corporation took the 1st place in the UK and 6th place among the industrial monopolies of the developed capitalist and developing countries. It specializes in the exploration, production, and refining of the natural gas, coal, base metals, and uranium. It also is interested in the renewable energy sources such as the wind and solar energy. The scandals associated with the BP included the pollution and unsafe conditions of the companys activities at the Prudhoe Bay and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These dilemmas have significantly affected the stakeholders of the BP.
In many aspects, the company behaves like a corporate citizen. The most important of these is the net impact on the environment, which is associated not only with the oil and energy operations of the BP but also the climate change caused by the actual use of all the oil by the BP customers (Rose, 2007). The current scientific evidence raises serious questions about whether the human society can afford to burn all the hydrocarbons, the existence of which have already been identified, not to mention the potential for the future discoveries (Greenpeace, 2004).
An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform took place on 10 April 2010; it immediately caused a series of events (Bloomberg, 2012). They have affected both the society and non-governmental organizations in order to protect the environment. On this platform, about 11 people were killed while a large number of people were injured and wounded. As a result, there appeared an oil spill that, according to the statistics, was the largest in the U.S. history. The oil covered about 75 thousand cubic meters of space (Bloomberg, 2012).
According to the Code of Ethics, today, the BP strengthens its position in the market and desires to be in the leading positions in its market segment (Ardichvili, Mitchell, & Jondle, 2009). Therefore, it signs the long-term contracts with the other organizations. According to the documents, the oil company shares responsibilities with its partners. Therefore, one of the companies, which cooperated with the BP, agreed to pay the compensation for damages. It was the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. It was very important that the companies with which the BP had business were ready to come to aid.
In addition, in 2005, the British Petroleum faced its worst disaster when one of the plants, located in the Texas City, exploded killing 15 individuals, wounding other 180 people, and forcing thousands of the nearby residents to take refuge in their homes (Bloomberg, 2012). The investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board found the organizational and safety deficiencies at all the levels. The British Petroleum was found guilty of the criminal acts violating the Clean Air Act and was fined $50 million; however, it received the probation for only three years (Bloomberg, 2012). The Occupational Health and Safety Organization issued the largest fine in its history of $87 million for the BP after the investigation (Bloomberg, 2012). The Organization found more than 270 violations that have been previously mentioned (Bloomberg, 2012), but were ignored and not managed by the BP.
A company with such extensive operations in the developing countries also needs to manage its approach to the human rights and ethical business. The British Petroleum has a significant impact on the local communities as it is a big employer. In 2006, the BP pleaded guilty to the federal offense that had cost it $20 million of the criminal penalties because of the estimated 201,000 gallons of oil that leaked in the Alaskan tundra (Bloomberg, 2012). The Anchorage Daily News said that the prosecutors manager of the company did not pay attention to numerous red flags and warnings on that its key pipelines within the country's largest oil field were going bad. The BP continued to demonstrate the ethical issues, ignoring any reports that could prevent the leak from occurring.
In 2007, the BP experienced the problems with pollution at the refinery in Whiting, Indiana (Bloomberg, 2012). The British Petroleum uses this plant to refine the heavy oil from Canada. It is one of the biggest polluters in the Midwest; now, the BP seeks to expand its plant in order to release 54% more ammonia into the Lake Michigan (Bloomberg, 2012). It causes the death of the fish and beach flora.
The British Petroleum is a very powerful global player. It has no democratic legitimacy, so this dilemma needs to be carefully handled. The mission statement outlines the companys ambitious and broad business principles (Sauser, 2005). The statements of the Company seek to show how the company fulfills its obligations in order to support profitability.
Personal Reflections on the Ethical Actions of the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross faces many risks and ethical challenges. Some of them are common to any organization of its size, including the executive compensation, prevention and treatment of the staff misconduct, and taking into account all the stakeholders in its operating model. The other risks, however, are unique to the Red Cross, for example, the clear and accurate understanding of the need to manage the cash donations, volunteer time, and donated blood.
It is difficult for the public to embrace the core values based on the ethical problems that the American Red Cross faces at the local and national levels. The American Red Cross needs to assess its leadership as there are personal, professional, ethical, and legal obligations will provide the organization with the information required for growing and being ethical (Low & Davenport, 2009). The Red Cross experienced some serious troubles in the recent past. It faced the charges of the financial fraud after 9/11 and the Hurricane Katrina. Some leaders were forced to resign the office. The Congress forced the organization to look through its structure and operations. The layoffs and reorganization were conducted; consequently, some local branches and national headquarters in Washington were closed. Today, the Red Cross experiences a deficit of the budget.
From a marketing point of view, the biggest strength of the ARC is its ability to focus on the positive sides of its deeds. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent presented a report on the discrimination against the older people, women, and people with disabilities in disasters. The IFRC arrived at the conclusion that these situations, as well as sexual violence, could have been prevented with the improved programs of the disaster preparedness. Moreover, with the increased support from the charitable organizations, such violence can be reduced or eliminated in the future. Even despite the positive coverage of the ICRC for the benefit of the overall competitiveness of the ARC, the International Committee of the Red Cross had to leave Myanmar in 2006 (Jin & Drozdenko, 2010).
Personal Reflections on the Ethical Actions of the British Petroleum
The decision of the BP to position itself as a sustainable energy company was the red rag to a bull for some competitors. They point out that, if the British Petroleum wants to become a global leader in the production of a clean burning of the fossil fuels, it will have to gradually improve the quality of oil at best, and refuse the fossil fuels in the worst case. They argue that the BP has adopted the language of the environmentalists with no real commitment their message.
After the incident, no one complained about the lack of discipline; it was reported that there were some problems with the equipment. Nevertheless, the company paid a fine, and the issue of liability and subsequent investigation had no resonance in the society. Probably, it was a decent way out; the company bought everything that did not fit its strategy. In my opinion, however, this business approach is not beneficial. The company classifies its actions to the highest ethical standards. The concept of ethical implies morality and responsibility (Fieser & Moseley, 2012). The fact that the company has taken the responsibility for the accident itself is a worthy decision. The company allocated the money for cleaning the oil spill; moreover, it created the special structures that would prevent the oil spill in the future. It also hired enough people for cleaning the beach. Indeed, it was a common reaction of the BP. It tried to eliminate all the consequences on their own but, at last, engaged many authorities, who assisted in cleaning and removing the results of the disaster. It was a truly global event of effective addressing the global incident.
However, the British Petroleum behaved irrationally towards society; therefore, it received many acquisitions and dissatisfactions. The company had to pay more attention to its relationship with the common citizens. The untimely actions led to the fact that the company's image in the eyes of the consumer was significantly spoiled (Fieser & Moseley, 2012).
The Critique of the American Red Crosses Actions
The ARC was criticized for helping the victims of the Hurricane Sandy move from the transitional to permanent housing. It was accused of changing the eligibility requirements in the course of the program; eventually, the ARC reached an agreement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on providing the additional relief for the program (Fieser & Moseley, 2012). The actions of the agency followed the deontological ethics. The members of the organization had no other choice than to act according to the rules established for all non-profit organizations.
The ARC also increased the transparency of its fundraising. It is significant for the ARC to have a clear budget system in order to maintain its confidence and avoid the criticism of not using the donations right. The moral relativism theory explains this action, which was taken by the agency (Fieser & Moseley, 2012). The decision to be transparent and open to the public is a significant step towards creating a good image. The effective communication with the government agencies is another challenge. The ARC must develop the strategic plans in order to implement a more effective response to disasters. These plans should include the strategy for responding to the organizational failures and setbacks. The transparent and honest communication of the goals of the ARCs achievements, opportunities for improvement, and errors will go a long way towards restoring the confidence in this organization. However, the many stakeholders of the ARC, including the donors, staff, volunteers, and society must continue to monitor the actions of the American Red Cross in order to ensure its long-term success.
Critique of the Philosophical Theory of the British Petroleum
The mission statement asserts that the BP has ambitious and broad business principles. The statements of the Company seek to demonstrate how the company fulfills its obligations in a way that supports profitability. The first companys shares can be described by the theory of selfishness. Now, it acts as a good citizen, and cares about the net impact on the environment - not only in terms of the oil and energy of its own operation, but also the climate change caused by the oil used by the BP customers. The current scientific evidence raises serious questions about whether the human society can afford to burn all the hydrocarbons, the existence of which have already been identified, not to mention the potential for the future discoveries (Kornberger & Brown, 2007).
Moreover, according to the theory of utilitarianism, the British Petroleum had positioned the companys well-being above the needs of the society (Jin & Drozdenko, 2010). Only the recent actions have been taken in accordance with the interests of the customers while the first ones were taken in order to save the interests of the company, its revenues, and relationships with the partners. Now, the BP states that it recognizes the significant environmental and social issues facing the world in the 21st century. The management believes that it can and should play its part in addressing and resolving many issues related to the sustainable development. It also assumes that, while the company may be a part of solutions, it is not t entire solution. The governments, companies, and civil society should adopt an effective way of working together.
Every company has its inner culture, but some companies focus on the profits and results. The ethical dilemmas can be difficult for the workers to deal with, especially if they do not know what the official guidelines of the company are. Therefore, it is significant for the organization to provide their staff with the ethical trainings. It will help identify the unethical behavior and show how to avoid it. Every company must have an ethical policy, which will explain the fines for violations. Moreover, both non-profit and for-profit organizations should act according to the moral norms and general codes of the society. When all the requirements are met, the company will no longer face the bad influence of the problems that arise.