Procter & Gamble and Disposable Diapers Case Studies

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Procter & Gamble and Disposable Diapers

Introduction

Post, Lawrence & Weber (2002, p.15) argue that business do not operate in a social or political vacuum. In fact most companies operate in a swirl of social, economic, technological and political changes that produces both opportunities. Coronado (2007) states that business is in fact part of society. Coronado further explains that business is an institution of society that affects and is affected by governments and other social actors. Therefore, it is vital to understand the BSG triangle before understanding the business. The BSG triangle is the connections and links between business, government and society. However, each sector (B, S, G) will have different needs and forms of relating with the other sectors. Each is comprised of multiple levels and diverse links. For example, different levels of government, different groups of society and their issues.

Coronado (2007) believes that stakeholders, social responsibility, business ethics and ideological model are vital concepts to understand the BSP complexity. Post et al. (2002) states that stakeholders are those people and people who affect or can be affected by, an organisation’s decisions, policies and operations. Stakeholders are most important factors within society. The notions of social responsibility involves the assumptions that companies responsibility and behaviours must be built upon doing the right things and in the right way. However, business ethics is the way business intentionally applies ethical principles to its conduct and activities, strving to do the right thing by society. Ideology is important concepts to describe the complexity of BSP relation.

The purpose of this case analysis is to identify and analyse the social issues in relation to disposable diapers. This case analysis will further look on environmental impacts by using disposable diapers.

Company Background

The U.S. diaper industry began to evolve following the end of World War II. With the industrial revolution underway, an entrepreneurial mother began a series of diaper inventions beginning with the introduction of plastic covers for cloth diapers and ending with the eventual creation of the first disposable diaper in 1950. When Mary Donovan pitched the concept to the major U.S. paper companies, none were interested in manufacturing the diapers due to cost and perceived lack of practicality. In the 1960’s disposable diapers became widely available for the first time after Procter and Gamble (P&G) introduced Pampers. Procter & Gamble's development of the disposable diaper revolutionized the diapering habits of consumers worldwide and virtually created the category. The introduction of Pampers paved the way for parents to bid farewell to the burdensome cloth diapers that were irritating and uncomfortable to babies (P&G website). The liberation of women and minority groups continued throughout the 1960s and they entered the workforce in greater numbers. Disposable diapers rose in popularity as society demanded a convenient way of waste disposable for their busy lifestyle.

Society Perspective

Disposable diapers for a new era in society, post war baby boom

During World War II the increase of working mothers brought the need for the "diaper service". Fresh cotton diapers would be delivered on an as-needed basis. This represented a problem as families had to estimate appropriate quantities and store dirty diapers waiting to be picked up, thus a new solution was needed. According to the Berk (1997), the first mention of the disposable diaper was made by Pauli Ström in Sweden, in 1942. However it was not until the late 1940s that entrepreneurs such as Mary Donavon and Stanley Mason, who patented the world's first disposable diaper, popularised the idea. Society was changing, prior to 1950 women did not represent a large part of the work force, the advent of television and advertisements placed emphasis on...
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