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Corporate Moral Minimums and a Sustainable Society

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Identify and discuss an instance where a corporate entity was responsible for an environmental emergency or problem while maintaining state, local, and federal regulatory compliance. What ethical questions were involved, and how were they handled? How does the issue of the adequacy of regulatory compliance intersect a multi- or transnational corporation with global operations?

NOTE: This is tougher than it may appear at first read - the problem/emergency has to have occurred while the corporate entity was in compliance - in other words, they were, from a regulatory perspective, doing everything right. This eliminates many of the 'rogue's gallery' of companies we referenced in Module 2's DB (BP, etc.). Most, if not all of those, have very poor histories of regulatory compliance.

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One of the longest running, yet barely remembered, environmental disasters in the United States is that of the Centralia, PA coalmine fire. The fire started 27 May 1962 and continues today. The fire began in a former open pit coalmine, being utilized the town of Centralia as a dump. The fire was started as a dump-cleanup project authorized and funded by Centralia Borough Council (DeKok, 1986). The resulting fire made its way through seams of coal at the bottom of the pit and into the mine tunnels below the town. The ground temperatures and toxic fumes ...

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An example of an environmental disaster involving a company that was within regulatory guidelines. Lehigh Valley Coal Company

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What is Morality?

This is the assignment... I need help in obtaining information on this subject. Please provide citations and references so that I will be able to research the material as well.

Part 1: What is Morality?

Read the following article by Jay Feldman and answer the questions that follow:

There was a time in the not so distant past when many, if not most, publicly held corporations, including the one for which I worked, embraced in their mission statements, codes of conduct and similar pronouncements a responsibility to serve multiple stakeholders: their stockholders, of course, but also their employees as well as customers, suppliers and the community in which they operated. Today, all too many companies, in deed and often in word, articulate a single-minded obligation to serve only their investors by focusing exclusively on profitability.

As a result, we have witnessed corporate downsizing and outsourcing of jobs; restructuring of pension plans or their complete termination; reductions in health care benefits; and wage stagnation in spite of increased productivity. Domestic suppliers have been squeezed or, more often, replaced by cheap foreign sources. Customers seeking service are confronted with automated answering machines and foreign call centers. Environmental concerns are viewed as obstacles to profitability.

At the same time, the senior managers of these enterprises have seen their compensation grow exponentially as a reward for their perceived contributions to the bottom line.

Sadly, what these corporations fail to appreciate is how their obsession with the bottom line is shrinking their markets, both domestic and foreign. The large number of people unemployed, underemployed, afraid of losing their jobs or without the means to pay all their bills perpetuates the present worldwide economic crisis.

Add to this the unwillingness of businesses to pay their fair share of taxes to support education, health care and the infrastructure that is critical to their success. In the end, these self-serving practices endanger the very profitability their practitioners seek to enhance.

We need to return to the earlier model of the corporation as a good citizen. Doing so can help ensure the long-term viability of our free enterprise system.

JAY N. FELDMAN

Port Washington, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2012

The writer is a retired corporate lawyer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-how-corporations-behave.html?ref=ethics

Considering the passage above, and addresses the following:

1. Discuss Alfred North Whitehead's statement: "What is morality in any given time and place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike." Consider the following questions as guide:

a. Businesses can have ethical standards, but Businesses are not moral agents. Do you agree or disagree?

b. Is it true that the "bottom line" of business is profit and profit alone?

c. In business, are there other less tangible goals that are intrinsic to and just as important as making money?

d. Why should we be moral as individuals?

e. Why should a corporation or organization be moral?

2. How would you apply the first formulation of Kant's categorical imperative to a Business environment?

Consider deontological ethics, teleological ethics, moral objectivism, and ethical relativism in your argument. Provide at least 3 valid reasons to support your argument. Also, be sure to include the following in your paper:

Identify your argument—or thesis statement—within the introduction of your paper.

Include definitions of utilitarianism, Categorical Imperatives, Process Philosophy, moral relativism, moral absolutism, ethical relativism, moral objectivism, deontological ethics, and teleological ethics.

Consider morality and ethics from the perspective of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, and Immanuel Kant's universal categorical imperative. Could you argue that Businesses can have ethical standards, despite the fact that Businesses are not moral agents? Why or why not? Please explain.

Distinguish between descriptive and normative definitions of morality
Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
You may find that you change your mind on the issue as you are writing your paper. That is fine, but be sure to present your ultimate decision at the beginning of the paper, and stick to it consistently throughout. This may require that you go back and change the first few paragraphs that contain your thesis statement.
Your argument should be clear, concise, and supported with logically valid claims.

Part 2: What is Morality? - Ethics

A very prestigious events planning firm, Verlon, has approached John Sanders, vice president of Echo Industries to secure a contract as a vendor. The president of Verlon Events Planning would like Echo Industries to consider their company for planning Echo's several corporate upcoming conventions. Echo hosts 3 large events per year, which results in the awarding of more than $500,000 dollars in contracts. David Smith is in charge of researching suppliers and vendors for Echo Industries to ensure compliance with their ethics department. One of the ethical stipulations for awarding contracts is that agreements cannot be awarded to relatives of upper management employees. Vice president Sander, David's boss, recommends Verlon catering as a choice, and states to David, "There is not a need to do research on the Verlon; I can vouch for the company." He also states that David would be up for a promotion if the upcoming events are successful. David is excited about this news; he was unemployed for 2 years before landing his present position 6 months ago. A promotion would certainly help him catch up on bills and provide for his family of four. However, out of curiosity about the Verlon Company, David conducted some research. He discovered that the Verlon Event Planning's president is the ex-sister-in-law to his boss. At the monthly general finance meeting for approving contracts, the finance manager, William Young, asks David two questions: "Is the company reputable?" "Would there be a conflict of interest according to our company policies?" Vice president Sanders and William looks in David's direction for the answers.

Consider this ethical dilemma, and then answer the following:

1. From a deontological perspective, what should David do in this situation? Define deontological ethics, and then explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

2. What should David do from a teleological perspective? Define teleological ethics and explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

3. Should David have discussed the research findings with his boss before the meeting?

4. What ramifications, if any would David answers have for the companies? For David?

Read the following article by Jay Feldman and answer the questions that follow:

There was a time in the not so distant past when many, if not most, publicly held corporations, including the one for which I worked, embraced in their mission statements, codes of conduct and similar pronouncements a responsibility to serve multiple stakeholders: their stockholders, of course, but also their employees as well as customers, suppliers and the community in which they operated. Today, all too many companies, in deed and often in word, articulate a single-minded obligation to serve only their investors by focusing exclusively on profitability.

As a result, we have witnessed corporate downsizing and outsourcing of jobs; restructuring of pension plans or their complete termination; reductions in health care benefits; and wage stagnation in spite of increased productivity. Domestic suppliers have been squeezed or, more often, replaced by cheap foreign sources. Customers seeking service are confronted with automated answering machines and foreign call centers. Environmental concerns are viewed as obstacles to profitability.

At the same time, the senior managers of these enterprises have seen their compensation grow exponentially as a reward for their perceived contributions to the bottom line.

Sadly, what these corporations fail to appreciate is how their obsession with the bottom line is shrinking their markets, both domestic and foreign. The large number of people unemployed, underemployed, afraid of losing their jobs or without the means to pay all their bills perpetuates the present worldwide economic crisis.

Add to this the unwillingness of businesses to pay their fair share of taxes to support education, health care and the infrastructure that is critical to their success. In the end, these self-serving practices endanger the very profitability their practitioners seek to enhance.

We need to return to the earlier model of the corporation as a good citizen. Doing so can help ensure the long-term viability of our free enterprise system.

JAY N. FELDMAN

Port Washington, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2012

The writer is a retired corporate lawyer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-how-corporations-behave.html?ref=ethics

Considering the passage above, and addresses the following:

1. Discuss Alfred North Whitehead's statement: "What is morality in any given time and place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike." Consider the following questions as guide:

a. Businesses can have ethical standards, but Businesses are not moral agents. Do you agree or disagree?

b. Is it true that the "bottom line" of business is profit and profit alone?

c. In business, are there other less tangible goals that are intrinsic to and just as important as making money?

d. Why should we be moral as individuals?

e. Why should a corporation or organization be moral?

2. How would you apply the first formulation of Kant's categorical imperative to a Business environment?

Consider deontological ethics, teleological ethics, moral objectivism, and ethical relativism in your argument. Provide at least 3 valid reasons to support your argument. Also, be sure to include the following in your paper:

Identify your argument—or thesis statement—within the introduction of your paper.

Include definitions of utilitarianism, Categorical Imperatives, Process Philosophy, moral relativism, moral absolutism, ethical relativism, moral objectivism, deontological ethics, and teleological ethics.

Consider morality and ethics from the perspective of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, and Immanuel Kant's universal categorical imperative. Could you argue that Businesses can have ethical standards, despite the fact that Businesses are not moral agents? Why or why not? Please explain.

Distinguish between descriptive and normative definitions of morality
Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
You may find that you change your mind on the issue as you are writing your paper. That is fine, but be sure to present your ultimate decision at the beginning of the paper, and stick to it consistently throughout. This may require that you go back and change the first few paragraphs that contain your thesis statement.
Your argument should be clear, concise, and supported with logically valid claims.

Part 2: What is Morality? - Ethics

A very prestigious events planning firm, Verlon, has approached John Sanders, vice president of Echo Industries to secure a contract as a vendor. The president of Verlon Events Planning would like Echo Industries to consider their company for planning Echo's several corporate upcoming conventions. Echo hosts 3 large events per year, which results in the awarding of more than $500,000 dollars in contracts. David Smith is in charge of researching suppliers and vendors for Echo Industries to ensure compliance with their ethics department. One of the ethical stipulations for awarding contracts is that agreements cannot be awarded to relatives of upper management employees. Vice president Sander, David's boss, recommends Verlon catering as a choice, and states to David, "There is not a need to do research on the Verlon, I can vouch for the company." He also states that David would be up for a promotion if the upcoming events are successful. David is excited about this news; he was unemployed for 2 years before landing his present position 6 months ago. A promotion would certainly help him catch up on bills and provide for his family of four. However, out of curiosity about the Verlon Company, David conducted some research. He discovered that the Verlon Event Planning's president is the ex-sister-in-law to his boss. At the monthly general finance meeting for approving contracts, the finance manager, William Young, asks David two questions: "Is the company reputable?" "Would there be a conflict of interest according to our company policies?" Vice president Sanders and William looks in David's direction for the answers.

Consider this ethical dilemma, and then answer the following:

1. From a deontological perspective, what should David do in this situation? Define deontological ethics, and then explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

2. What should David do from a teleological perspective? Define teleological ethics and explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

3. Should David have discussed the research findings with his boss before the meeting?

4. What ramifications, if any would David answers have for the companies? For David?

Part 1: What is Morality? - Morality
Read the following article by Jay Feldman and answer the questions that follow:

There was a time in the not so distant past when many, if not most, publicly held corporations, including the one for which I worked, embraced in their mission statements, codes of conduct and similar pronouncements a responsibility to serve multiple stakeholders: their stockholders, of course, but also their employees as well as customers, suppliers and the community in which they operated. Today, all too many companies, in deed and often in word, articulate a single-minded obligation to serve only their investors by focusing exclusively on profitability.

As a result, we have witnessed corporate downsizings and outsourcing of jobs; restructuring of pension plans or their complete termination; reductions in health care benefits; and wage stagnation in spite of increased productivity. Domestic suppliers have been squeezed or, more often, replaced by cheap foreign sources. Customers seeking service are confronted with automated answering machines and foreign call centers. Environmental concerns are viewed as obstacles to profitability.

At the same time, the senior managers of these enterprises have seen their compensation grow exponentially as a reward for their perceived contributions to the bottom line.

Sadly, what these corporations fail to appreciate is how their obsession with the bottom line is shrinking their markets, both domestic and foreign. The large number of people unemployed, underemployed, afraid of losing their jobs or without the means to pay all their bills perpetuates the present worldwide economic crisis.

Add to this the unwillingness of businesses to pay their fair share of taxes to support education, health care and the infrastructure that is critical to their success. In the end, these self-serving practices endanger the very profitability their practitioners seek to enhance.

We need to return to the earlier model of the corporation as a good citizen. Doing so can help ensure the long-term viability of our free enterprise system.

JAY N. FELDMAN

Port Washington, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2012

The writer is a retired corporate lawyer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-how-corporations-behave.html?ref=ethics

Considering the passage above, and addresses the following:

1. Discuss Alfred North Whitehead's statement: "What is morality in any given time and place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike." Consider the following questions as guide:

a. Businesses can have ethical standards, but Businesses are not moral agents. Do you agree or disagree?

b. Is it true that the "bottom line" of business is profit and profit alone?

c. In business, are there other less tangible goals that are intrinsic to and just as important as making money?

d. Why should we be moral as individuals?

e. Why should a corporation or organization be moral?

2. How would you apply the first formulation of Kant's categorical imperative to a Business environment?

Consider deontological ethics, teleological ethics, moral objectivism, and ethical relativism in your argument. Provide at least 3 valid reasons to support your argument. Also, be sure to include the following in your paper:

Identify your argument—or thesis statement—within the introduction of your paper.

Include definitions of utilitarianism, Categorical Imperatives, Process Philosophy, moral relativism, moral absolutism, ethical relativism, moral objectivism, deontological ethics, and teleological ethics.

Consider morality and ethics from the perspective of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, and Immanuel Kant's universal categorical imperative. Could you argue that Businesses can have ethical standards, despite the fact that Businesses are not moral agents? Why or why not? Please explain.

Distinguish between descriptive and normative definitions of morality
Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
You may find that you change your mind on the issue as you are writing your paper. That is fine, but be sure to present your ultimate decision at the beginning of the paper, and stick to it consistently throughout. This may require that you go back and change the first few paragraphs that contain your thesis statement.
Your argument should be clear, concise, and supported with logically valid claims.

Part 2: What is Morality? - Ethics

A very prestigious events planning firm, Verlon, has approached John Sanders, vice president of Echo Industries to secure a contract as a vendor. The president of Verlon Events Planning would like Echo Industries to consider their company for planning Echo's several corporate upcoming conventions. Echo hosts 3 large events per year, which results in the awarding of more than $500,000 dollars in contracts. David Smith is in charge of researching suppliers and vendors for Echo Industries to ensure compliance with their ethics department. One of the ethical stipulations for awarding contracts is that agreements cannot be awarded to relatives of upper management employees. Vice president Sander, David's boss, recommends Verlon catering as a choice, and states to David, "There is not a need to do research on the Verlon, I can vouch for the company." He also states that David would be up for a promotion if the upcoming events are successful. David is excited about this news; he was unemployed for 2 years before landing his present position 6 months ago. A promotion would certainly help him catch up on bills and provide for his family of four. However, out of curiosity about the Verlon Company, David conducted some research. He discovered that the Verlon Event Planning's president is the ex-sister-in-law to his boss. At the monthly general finance meeting for approving contracts, the finance manager, William Young, asks David two questions: "Is the company reputable?" "Would there be a conflict of interest according to our company policies?" Vice president Sanders and William looks in David's direction for the answers.

Consider this ethical dilemma, and then answer the following:

1. From a deontological perspective, what should David do in this situation? Define deontological ethics, and then explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

2. What should David do from a teleological perspective? Define teleological ethics and explain how your answer evolved from that definition.

3. Should David have discussed the research findings with his boss before the meeting?

4. What ramifications, if any would David answers have for the companies? For David?

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