Introduction: the Rana Plaza Incident from the Perspective of Universal Ethical Values
There is no secret that a number of multinational corporations use cheap labor from third-world countries (Dixon, Drakakis-Smith & Watts, 2013). Such a strategy helps thee companies maintain their high revenues. However, exploiting cheap labor without thinking of the safety of the workers often comes at a price, as the notorious Rana Plaza incident shows (Disaster at Rana Plaza, 2013).
We will write a custom Essay on Values And Corporate Responsibility In Global Operations specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The aforementioned incident can be viewed as a breach of the universal ethical values, i.e., putting people’s’ lives in peril for the sake of financial profit (Rendtorff, 2009). It is not only the fact of neglecting every possible safety rule, however, that gets most people’s attention in the given case, but the lack of concern for the lives of workers shown by the company.
The Perspective of Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, Justice and Rights
The value of human life, the workers’ welfare and good working conditions are the required minimum that any company must provide to its employees, according to the basic ethical principles. In fact, even though different ethical theories exercise different approaches towards the concept of labor and the principles of social hierarchy among a group of people, each these theories puts a strong emphasis on the priority of human life.
For example, through the lens of the Kantian ethics, the Rana Plaza case can be viewed as a failure to follow the principle а Categorical Imperative and appreciate human life as the highest value (Motial, 2011). The Utilitarianism principles of striving for the greater good (Pogman & Frieser, 2011) have also been neglected in the Rana Plaza case. Finally, from the perspective of justice and rights, the workers’ rights for safe working conditions have been violated (Lundi, 2011).
Concerning the Moral Minimum in Corporate Responsibility: Kew Garden Principles
Taking the principles known as Kew Garden (Brenkert & Beauchamp, 2012), one can possibly transfer them into the realm of the business world and define the basis for the ethical relationships between employees and employers. According to Kew Garden, the following concepts must be taken as a guideline:
- last resort (Hollenbach, 2008).
Translated into business, these elements are interpreted as recognizing the ethical dilemma, approaching it, considering the effort to be taken and taking every possible chance to do the right thing (Fisher & Lovell, 2009).
De George’s Five Guidelines for Multinational Corporations
To understand how GAEMCI as the organization enhancing social responsibility (Yperen, 2006) must respond to the current state of affairs concerning large corporations and workers in underdeveloped countries, the following principles must be considered:
- Refusing to act causing international harm;
- Refusing to take part in the production process that brings harm to any of the stakeholders;
- Using technology to promote development of the state;
- Refusing to participate in human rights violation;
- Respecting the host country (Poel & Royakkers, 2011, 60).
Therefore, GAEMCI must promote equal rights in relationships between large corporations and third-world employees. Otherwise, further infringement of employees’ rights will occur (Simon, Powers & Gunnemann, 1972).
Conclusion: The Code of Business Conduct and the Affirmative Minimum of Corporate Responsibility as Boosters for International Business Integrity
Though rather basic, the aforementioned guidelines are bound to provide the third world employees with basic human rights (Ferguson & Jolley, 2013).
In addition, accidents can be avoided and the death rates among the employees due to accidents will be reduced (International Labor Organization, n. d.). Once the world corporations start recognizing the rights and freedoms of their employees, the relationships between the partners in international business will be more integrated (Stuart, Sarow & Stuart, 2007).
Brenkert, G. G. & Beauchamp, T. L. 2012, The Oxford handbook of business ethics, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Publishing.
Disaster at Rana Plaza, 2013. Web.
Dixon, S. J., Drakakis-Smith, D. & Watts, H. D. 2013, Multinational corporations and the Third World, Routledge, New York, NY.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Ferguson, S. & Jolley, M. A. 2013, Fashion victims. Web.
Fisher, C. & Lovell, A. 2009, Business ethics and values: individual, corporate and international perspectives, Pearson Ltd., Essex, UK.
Hollenbach, D. 2008, Refugee ethics: ethics, advocacy and Africa, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.
International Labor Organization, Safety and health at work. Web.
Lundi, C. 2011, Social work, social justice and human rights: a structural approach to practice, University of Toronto Press, Inc., Toronto, CA.
Motial, S. 2011, Applied ethics and human rights: conceptual analysis and contextual applications, Anthem Press, New Delhi, IN.
Poel, van de, I. & Royakkers, L. 2011, Ethics, technology, and engineering: an introduction, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.
Pogman, L. P. & Frieser, J. 2011, Cengage advantage books: ethics. Discovering right and wrong, Cengage Learning, Stamford, CT.
Rendtorff, C. 2009, Responsibility, ethics and the legitimacy of corporations, Copenhagen Business School Book Press, Copenhagen.
Simon, J. G., Powers, C. W., & Gunnemann, J. P. 1972, The ethical investor. Web.
Stuart, B. E., Sarow, M. S. & Stuart, L. 2007, Integrated business communication: in a global marketplace, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.
Yperen, M. van 2006, Corporate social responsibility. Web.