The Ethical Actor
I am the ethical actor seeking to sign a contract with an Indian supplier.
These include the company and its employees, its investors, the Indian suppliers, farmers and the children employed.
• The company is an ethical agent
• The company operates in a competitive market with a main objective of maximization.
• The company knows of international labor laws against child labor and worker exploitation.
Faced with the objective of profit maximization, should I accept the contract even though with child labor employment?
Value in Tension
• The access of Indian children to education
• Child labor is both unethical and inhuman
This deal involves farmers and their children who seem have no information on the illegality of child labor and rights to education. However, they are protected by the international labor justice system that deals with rogue business entities found guilty of employing child labor and exploiting workers. As the Vice President in charge of operations, am I justified to employ children whose education remains in contention?
My Chosen Three Options
• X: Accept the contract as provided with no restrictions about child labor.
• Y: Do not accept the contract unless the supplier can guarantee non-engagement of children in production.
• Z: Accept the contract as provided for full day salary for children if their labor is used. However, specify that the children can work no more than 4 hours per day. Provide education for the children for 4 hours.
As the easiest of all, X not only ignores the labor force in use when processing the herbs, but also ensures that the company maximizes its profits. With a decision such as Y, contract signing may eventually be done with a potential increase in wage prices resulting in higher herb prices. Since Z incorporates social and economic concerns, it seems best for me to accept the contract and fully take care of child labor and education costs.
Part 1: Preserving Rights and Responsibilities
The Rights and Responsibility Lens attempts to answer a pair of questions: what are the rights and duties the company must follow, and what rights stand out as being relevant. Current global business situations require cutting-edge strategic movements in order to stay ahead of the pack. Therefore, I would undoubtedly choose to sign the contract since it is in the desperate motivation of profit maximization and market domination.
In reversible conditions, I would argue that as long that there are proper working environments in herb preparation factories, I would be willing to go to work. In choosing option three, the company accepts to, economically, empower the poor farming communities through full wage payments and education. In order to meet community expectations as a global business entity, this company should be on the forefront in attaining social concerns.
Part 2: The Greatest Good
While X would excite the management as it attracts enormous profits, it shows no social concern for Indian families sacrificing their children to work in the field at meager wages. By choosing Y, I risk losing the supplier to a competitor hence further upsetting their profit maximization prospects. With such a move, only the supplier stands to benefit. However, Z offers greater relief to all stakeholders since it is my obligation to exercise social responsibility.
From the above arguments, it can be shown that while signing the contract acts as a deal breaker, ultimate stakeholders’ happiness should be my goal. While X and Z weigh toward contract signing, Z more than proportionally makes all the stakeholders happy: farmers get their income; children get well paid and educated: the supplier has his contract, and I get my herbs.
In choosing Z, I stand to incur a nominal sacrifice to educate and fully pay for labor. Similarly, more children would incur real sacrifices with time and strength used to work as child laborers. Since levels of happiness among the parties outweigh the sacrifices, Z becomes an option for many.
Part 3: Assuring Justice
My company reserves the right to choose Y since some parts of this contract are unethical. Similarly, international labor laws require that no child be used as a source of labor. Moreover, such individuals have all rights to proper education. Despite Y adhering to the above liberties, it fails to consider the value of education and better pay. Therefore, according to the “Just Savings Principle”, Z remains superior in future resource investment through education and competitive wages.
While X fails to touch on social responsibility, Y and Z fully insist socio-economic equality through better workers’ wages. However, Y differs from X and Z since it discourages child labor but fails to touch on education. Evidently, Z encompasses Y and then provides an additional educational sponsorship for my company’s child workers.
Consequently, reflective equilibrium exposes Z as the giver of the best advantage to my company, the farmers, and their children. In the end, each stakeholder acquires a suitable means to success. Moreover, this option places much focus on building an economically charged society that identifies itself with the company.
Part 4: The Virtuous Option
A company’s greatest measure of excellence would be through quality and highly competitive products. To achieve this, it is my duty to make informed and ethical decisions based on the good of the company. While X selfishly takes care of our interests, Y and Z act as the societal measure based on responsibility.
By picking on Y, I would be shunning child labor hence acting out of courage, integrity, civility, and justice. However, based on the unity of life, Y fails to place value on education thus paving the way to Z. Therefore, Z is arguably the most consistent with the ability to energize and transform both my company and the sourcing community.
This company is on the verge of signing an Indian-based supplier, who offered attractive price packages on essential herbs, used as production ingredients. The contract in question dictated that the supplier took charge of herb preparation from planting through to packaging until their shipment to America. Offered such extremely competitive prices, I saw a chance of enjoying a sizable competitive advantage in its industry. However, I later learnt of reported cases of child labor employment during herb preparation process.
Upon questioning, the supplier argued that he contracted farmers, who employed their children as a cheap labor source. He added that families involved children above the age of ten in preparation for the purpose of reaching the inventory threshold and increasing their income. As the Vice President in charge of operations, I found out that most of these families lived below the international poverty level. Being an American company, this organization abides to the international labor law system, whose main mission entails the abolishment of child labor and placement of competitive minimum wages. In a competitive market of our own, we aim to become financially profitable. However, as a socially responsible organization, we aim to act responsibly in a way that targeted equal resource distribution.
Armed with the above dilemma, I came up with the following three options based on the original four:
- X: Accept the contract as provided with no restrictions about child labor.
- Y: Do not accept the contract unless the supplier can guarantee a non-engagement of children in production.
- Z: Accept the contract as provided for full day salary for children if their labor is used. However, specify that the children can work no more than 4 hours per day. Provide education for the children for 4 hours.
I then went ahead to come up with the best solution using the Four Lens. Through the Rights and Responsibility Lens, I evaluated our policies, duties, and relevant stakeholder rights. Indeed, the revelation is that the organization owed the sourcing community more than just a market. Through the Relationship Lens, it appeared fair that I make a decision, which targeted a positive long-term relationship. The Results Lens looked on organizational goals, impacts, and overall outcomes. Lastly, Reputation Lens focused on the most unbiased, redistributive, and responsible cause of action to take. Based on the above stepwise procedure, I reached the decision that while X was most profitable, it appeared socially selfish (Fraedrich, 223). Furthermore, Y appeared daring since we had to sign the contract. Therefore, Z came out a superior option since it not only incorporated the opposite side of Y, but also showed social responsibility through socio-economic empowerment.
Accept the contract, as provided for full day salary for children if their labor is used provided that they work no more than 4 hours per day and that the company takes care of their education.
As each of us considers how we would like similar situational treatment, it appears only fair that this Indian community is, economically, empowered through better wages and education.
Given that each member considered on how to, individually, treat such a situation, the decision was that only an efficient option mix would carry the day. Surprisingly, ethicality reflected in the final decision through social responsibility. In a world with prevalent cutthroat competition, it becomes sensible enough to make profits while thinking about the future generation. After all, is it not adequate to argue that desperate times attract desperate decision making procedures?