Professor: Grant Wylie
PHI 3360, Business Ethics
12 April 2011
Ethical Case Study Wal-Mart vs. PETCO
Good business ethics is just one of many ingredients necessary for a successful business. You cannot have a successful business if you take advantage of stakeholders that support and have a vested interest in your business. History has shown time and again that, when the opportunity to grab quick profits presents itself, ethics can all too readily take a back seat to the entrepreneurial spirit. Incidents or abusive behavior, harassment, accounting fraud, conflicts of interest, defective products, and bribery and employee theft can happen at any business. Corporations have a social responsibility, an organization obligation to maximize its positive impact on stakeholders and to minimize its negative impact. Wal-Mart and PETCO were both founded in the early 1960s’ and today have stores nationwide providing goods and services to millions of consumers. The steps taken by these two companies’ in regards to address and correcting allegations of unethical issues greatly impacted their reputation and sustainability. The founder of Wal-Mart Sam Walton success was attributed to his belief in customer satisfaction and hard work. Associates had to abide by the “ten-foot-rule,5 look the customer in the eye, greet him or her, and ask if he or she needed help with anything.5 Over the next 40 years the company grew from a small chain of stores5 into the largest nongovernment employer in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Today Wal-Mart focuses on keeping cost low to achieve its “everyday low prices”. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart also applied this same philosophy to its employees in the form of low wages, poor benefits, unfair treatment of employees in the workplace, discrimination; the using illegal immigrants and sweatshops all to save a buck. Wal-Mart claimed early on that a formal ethics program was unnecessary because it had Mr....