Question 2: What is a white-collar crime and why has it become such a widespread problem?
ANSWER. White-collar crime, by definition, encompasses any offences which are primarily committed by the government officials, or members of the professions, for instance, fraudulent engagements, embezzlement, theft of intellectual property, dealing in Ponzi schemes, misinterpretation of financial statements, breach of legal artefacts or health or safety regulations. The definition was devised by Sir Edwin Hardin Sutherland in 1939, who stated, "White-collar crime’ is ‘committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” These crimes do not categorize as physical or violent sort of crimes but encompass illegal acts related to economical and socio-political aspects.
It can exist within a system in a form of simple bribe or as complex as running an illegitimate business as well as money laundering (Gottschalk & Tcherni-Buzzeo, 2017). The reason that white-collar crimes are prevalent in today’s age is because of weak governmental laws. It has been observed by numerous researchers that in many countries the judiciaries and the legislature are themselves too corrupt to put an end to such crimes. Many of the economical crimes occur in compliance with the law of a particular country (Berghoff & Spiekermann, 2018). Furthermore, it is not necessary that an economical law which is illegal in one country would be illegal in another country as well. On the other hand, the contrary is true. The law must be acted upon with strictness, which means that all the white-collar crimes should not be neglected and instances of malfeasance and systemic crimes must be severely penalized.
Q3. How do societal expectations affect corporations and their ethical initiatives? Give an example of a company that had to alter a product or service because society was concerned about its health, moral, or social impacts?
ANSWER. The world today faces numerous natural catastrophes and environmental imbalance which has the humankind socially aware of their surroundings and their role in the exploitation of the environment or its natural resources (Georgallis, 2017). The calamities such as amazon fires, tsunamis and COVID 19 pandemic has made humans realize that they have harmed the nature more instead of doing any good. This has led to an alarming situation worldwide. With an increase in the awareness, Man, in today’s era has become sensitive towards the protection and preservation of natural kingdom. They are making well-informed choices and chose to use products which align with their newfound realization. Many initiatives have been taken by the governments of different countries to ensure sustainable growth and development in their country.
Undoubtedly, it has also created a humungous pressure on the corporate giants to align with the government's initiatives and fulfil their "corporate social responsibility (CSR)". CSR permits both large as well as small businesses to bring about a positive change in the surroundings. One such company is Coca Cola or Coke. The contribution of Coca-Cola in reducing the carbon footprint is commendable. The company contributed to the emission of 3.7 million metric ton of greenhouse gases due to its fleet of trucks used in delivering the product. After taking the initiative to change to a new model of delivery by using alternatively-fuelled trucks, it had been successful in reducing the carbon footprint by 25 per cent in the year 2020 (Maon, Swaen & Lindgreen, 2017).
Q2. What are the major features of a successful ethics training program and communication systems? Provide at least with 1 (one) example of a company with strong employee ethics training?
ANSWER. Ethical training programs aim to develop the skill of effective decision making. Promotes healthy behaviour at the workplace. It helps the employee to handle ethical issues, for instance, issues related to punctuality in an organization, work ethics, behavioural ethics and other such parameters. It boosts the morale and invigorates the environment within an organization. It creates value creation and ensures a safe environment for the staff to work, cordially. The main features of the ethical training program include, development of cultural competency, gender equality, compliance with company policies and data protection, balancing of work and fun activities (Edinger-Schons et al., 2019). The best ethical training program is evident in Amazon Pvt Ltd, which is an e-commerce-based company (Kroll & Dolan, 2017). They have strict policies and effective cohesion between the user and the supplier. It is punctual in delivering the products and focuses primarily on customer satisfaction. Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO of Amazon) was ranked as the richest business man in the world. The net worth of the company was deemed the highest amid the other companies in 2018-2020. This is possible not only because of “low cost and high-quality performance”, but also imperative ethical performance.
Q3. Describe the six-step process of conducting an ethics audit in detail.
ANSWER. Ethical auditing ensures that compliance with the code of conduct in an organization and maintenance of a healthy work environment. Audit related to ethics is a team effort and a culture which recognizes the definition of ethics. Many companies hire an expert or ethics and compliance officer but it cannot be stated that a single individual is responsible for the ethical behaviour of all the employees. There are six basic steps which ensure ethical hygiene and compliance, 1), Assessing employees’ awareness regarding the company’s policies and procedures. 2) Background check on of the employee through data gathered from tools such as login and log out hours, 3) Scheduling and open meeting, 4) Conducting onsite fieldwork, 5) Drafting a report and lastly 6). Setting up a close meeting. As per the research conducted by Ojasso, (2016), “Ethical auditing demonstrates that an organization is a serious business and that social responsibility is not merely strategy, but rather forms part of an organization’s ethics, that is, its nature or way of being and doing.” The auditor must be careful to involve a third person during the audit to spectate. This is done to reduce any biases the auditor may or may not have for the employee.
Q2. How can differences in two countries' cultures create ethical issues in business? Provide at least with 1 (one) example to support your answers.
ANSWER. There can be variation in ethical beliefs in various countries. Many of the economic crimes occur in compliance with the law of a particular country (Berghoff & Spiekermann, 2018). Furthermore, it is not necessary that an economical law which is illegal in one country would be illegal in another country as well. On the other hand, the contrary is true. Furthermore, due to increased globalization, the cultural differences must be addressed ethically. According to Yang et al., (2017), “In order to stay ahead of the competitors, the business needs to adapt and improve their strategies according to the aspects of nation and ethic. Multinational team is very important to achieve business success as well as understand local people who live in the area that business is going to operate. Working with people who come from various nations and have different cultural backgrounds and experiences is also difficult to understand the diversity.
Therefore, the company needs to concern about the ethical issues and also national aspects to contribute a peaceful relationship at a particular working environment and avoid misunderstanding during the interaction with people. This study will focus on the national and ethical aspects to understand the beliefs, behaviour, and particular problems of people more than one country in order to understand the different issues and analyse the international business operations.” One such example is the ethical issues is seen in the employees from differential nationalities working in the same organization. Due to cultural diversity, the perception of right from wrong may differ across organization which has employees from varied backgrounds. This is the reason why many employees may face an ethical dilemma at the workplace (Armstrong, Francis & Grow, 2017). For instance, in the American culture, it is fine to call the boss by name, whereas in another country it may appear to be offensive and to address any superior, it is important to add a title such as Sir.
Armstrong, A., Francis, R., & Grow, H. (2017). Ethical issues in the employment of expatriate leaders in corporations. Journal of Economic and Social Development, 4(1), 71-80.
Berghoff, H., & Spiekermann, U. (2018). Shady business: On the history of white-collar crime. 289-304
Edinger-Schons, L. M., Lengler-Graiff, L., Scheidler, S., & Wieseke, J. (2019). Frontline employees as corporate social responsibility (CSR) ambassadors: A quasi-field experiment. Journal of Business Ethics, 157(2), 359-373.
Georgallis, P. (2017). The link between social movements and corporate social initiatives: Toward a multi-level theory. Journal of Business Ethics, 142(4), 735-751.
Gottschalk, P., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2017). Reasons for gaps in crime reporting: The case of white-collar criminals investigated by private fraud examiners in Norway. Deviant Behavior, 38(3), 267-281.
Kroll, L., & Dolan, K. A. (2017). Forbes 2017 billionaires list: meet the richest people on the planet. USA
Maon, F., Swaen, V., & Lindgreen, A. (2017). One vision, different paths: An investigation of corporate social responsibility initiatives in Europe. Journal of Business Ethics, 143(2), 405-422.
Ojasoo, M. (2016). CSR reporting, stakeholder engagement and preventing hypocrisy through ethics audit. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 6(1), 14.
Yang, Y., De Cremer, D., & Wang, C. (2017). How ethically would Americans and Chinese negotiate? The effect of intra-cultural versus inter-cultural negotiations. Journal of Business Ethics, 145(3), 659-670
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