Corporate Responsibility (2) Stakeholder perspective
Obesity and fast food
Use the stakeholder analysis to look at the impact of fast food (eg MacDonald’s) on each stakeholder group. Should the sale/marketing of fast food be regulated/ restricted? If so why? If not, why not?
Childhood obesity has been labeled one of the most serious public health issues if the 21st century. 42 million of the children under five years old are overweight all over the world, in Australia, there is a number shows 17% of the children are deemed to be overweight, which is quite a high figure and a lot public controversy surrounding this issue. Typical ethical issue being identified includes:
← Is the consumption of fast food really contributes to the obesity among children? ← Who is responsible for the obesity problem of the society? ← Can fast food related to eating healthy?
← Is that ethical for communication companies to make junk food advertisement during the time of the children’s TV program?
Using different ethical model, advertising junk food to children can be seen as morally ethical or morally unethical. This presentation will look at the different views, especially the two different social responsibility models: shareholder model and stakeholder model.
From a consequentialist perspective, ethical rightness and wrongness of actions are determined by the consequences of those actions. Advertising junk food to children lead to an increasing profit and also compony expansion, which have a good consequence for the society as it will improve employment rate and economic wealth as a whole. However, there is also bad consequence as advertisements motivate consumption, which may result in obesity and also other harm to their health and life-long bad eating habit may be created. Therefore, it is hard to argue that whether this action is ethical or not.
From a deontologist perspective, an action is ethically wrong because it is prohibited by the rules. Fast food Advertising is doing nothing against the law, and it also disobeys any of social standards as companies are not forcing any one or telling a lie. Therefore, form a deontologist prospective, these fast food companies are doing things morally ethical.
Using ethical Relativism, which is the thesis that attributions of ethical rightness or wrongness are not absolute but always relative to a particular culture. Multinational fast food corporations such as McDonald’s developed different products and advertises for each country. Therefore, from a relativism perspective, these fast food corporations are not doing anything ethically wrong.
Under shareholder theory the sole purpose of a corporation is to generate profits. By allowing corporations to solely focus on profits this will produce the greatest amount of competition and in turn will increase tax revenue. Then it should be up to the government, the minsters the public elected, to decide what social responsibilities should be focused on with the public’s money, not corporations with stockholders money. Why should it be the food manufacturers or advertisement agency responsibility to look after other people’s children? It is the parent’s responsibility to raise their child as they see fit and they should be held accountable for their children not corporations.
However under stakeholder theory R. Edward Freeman argues that different form shareholder theory, that business is more than a matter of just making money. They believes that corporation should take responsibility for all stakeholders rather than only looking at shareholders. A stakeholder is “groups and individuals who benefit from or are harmed by, and whose rights are violated or respected by, corporate actions.” They are saying that like shareholder have special claim on the firm, the other stakeholder also have certain rights, and firms also need to take responsibility to these parties....
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