It is common for an organization to fall into some predicament once in a while. The concept reveals itself by the aspect of organizations having contingency plans that leverage them in the case of an impromptu or ongoing scandals. I have always observed that companies have insurance covers for such incidences. Most of the problems that organizations are likely to encounter include organizational ethical dilemmas. Recently, one of the well-known fast food joint, Chipotle Mexican Grill, alias chipotle. Chipotle encompasses a chain of fast food restaurants. The chain is allegedly accused of breaching the food policy protocol regulations by using dog and cat meat as part of their dishes. The situation has led to the chain facing food safety lawsuit. The ethical dilemma that Chipotle is facing entails the alleged claims on food security and making consumers sick against losing the market share and the shareholders. In this paper, I will provide my insight on the organizational-ethical dilemma that the Chipotle chain of restaurants are facing and how the organization is dealing with the crisis in light of the eight steps model of ethical decision making by Trevor and Nelson.
Key facts about Chipotle
The Mexican chipotle grill has had a rather rough time in the recent past. Just a recap, I did see that Chipotle had been sued by the federal government over compensation of stockholders in the year 2015. The same year and the corresponding lawsuits saw the sales decline by over 14.6% (Blackmore, 2016). Consequently, lawsuits by investors have been imminent. The current scenario is an alleged case of the organization using dog and cat meat as part of their dishes. The situation to me is a scary one since I do not think I can stand the fact that I may have taken a pizza or any meat affiliated product from them. It is reported that the FDA inspectors came across some live dogs and cats and correspondingly saw dead corpses of the same somewhere near the chipotle factory in Denver. The case was reported to the local authorities (Blackmore, 2016). The intriguing and weird question that I keep on asking myself is, “why would such a popular and high ranked chain result to such measures if at all the allegations are true?”
The ethical issue involved
Let me assume for a moment that the allegations are true and have some solid, irrefutable evidence. First, use of dog and cat meat is not legal by any means. If someone was to justify the case since I know of some nations that eat dog meat, then here in our country it would be awkward and unethical. It is expected that any food restaurant used the recommended and expected the raw material to synthesize and prepare the dishes. Failure to observe that is highly unethical and against the law. Inability to follow and keep the ethical guidelines is termed as unethical (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). The public has raised concerns on the same, and there is an imminent situation of conflict which indicates a sign of ethical collapse (Jennings, 2006).
Relevant Individuals and Groups
The key people involved here in my view are the stakeholders and the consumers. In my interpretation, the stakeholders have a lot to lose. If the business collapses entirely, then their investment is in jeopardy. The consumers on the other hand risk disease as a result of the extraordinary dishes they are served at the Chipotle restaurant. Trevino and Nelson, (2014) assert the customers, and the stakeholders are likely to suffer the most. In my view, the leadership has failed to establish and honor the food policy protocol and that is an indication of a failed leadership (Ciulla, 2005).
Possible Consequences and specific Alternative Actions
No company wants to see the good name and reputation go down the drain for whatever reasons. In the case that the situation occurs, companies will try their best to salvage the situation (Lamberton, Mihalek & Smith, 2005). Chipotle Mexican Grill is likely to suffer a significant loss both concerning the clients and the stakeholders. As an alternative, the company is offering the customers vouchers and free meals at the restaurants as a way of reassuring and attracting the customers. Additionally, the firm is holding general meetings with the stakeholders to explain and reassure them of their investment (Blackmore, 2016).
Relevant Obligations from my analysis of the dilemma
The Chipotle chain has a duty by law and by ethics to ensure that they provide their customers with what they promise. Additionally, they also need to engage the stakeholders in meetings and ensure that they have a consensus that does not see the investors pulling out (Clegg, Kornberger, & Rhodes, 2007).
Community Standards of Integrity that provides me with guidance
Service with integrity encompasses my day to day activities at my workplace and other social interactions. Integrity is a virtue that sees one doing the right things, the right manner, the right time, and place. If the Chipotle had observed service with integrity, then they may not have landed at the current predicament (Lamberton, Mihalek, & Smith, 2005).
Possible creative alternate actions
The Chipotle Mexican Grill have a daunting and tricky task ahead of turning the tables around. They have to invent some innovative and highly lucrative tactics. One of the tactics is discrediting the alleged evidence as malicious and false. Probably a plan by the competitors to downplay them. Moreover, they can disregard the accusations and focus on clearing their name while at the same time providing better and quality services to the customers (Hatvany, & Strack, 1980). In my opinion, the strategy turns tables around, though slowly but effectively.
What is my gut telling me?
I have a feeling that the case against the Chipotle restaurants has an imminent malicious background. If I am going to inculcate other additives the main dish of my customers with off the menu items, then I have to be smart. The Chipotle could not have been possibly that careless to leave evidence behind, mostly in an area frequently visited by health inspectors. That is an act of deliberated suicide.
The organizational-ethical dilemma facing the Chipotle group of the restaurant is dangerous in its state. The shareholders and the customers have questions and doubts regarding the overall credibility of the organization. Standards and responsibility are seen to have been lost or neglected by the company. However, in my honest view, the company seems amicably and responsibly responding to the adversity and may soon recover. Some of the positive actions that they are engaging include holding meetings with stakeholders, communicating as needed to the customers and even offering free vouchers for meals and other shopping to the customers. To me, this may just be the beginning of a long path to recovery.
Blackmore, W. (2016, January 9). Chipotle Sued Over Food-Safety Scandal. Retrieved from Take Part: http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/01/09/chipotle-investor-lawsuit.
Ciulla, J. B. (2005). The state of leadership ethics and the work that lies before us. Business Ethics: A European Review, 14(4), 323-335.
Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Rhodes, C. (2007). Business ethics as practice. British Journal
Management, 18(2), 107-122.
Hatvany, N., & Strack, F. (1980). The impact of a discredited key witness. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 10(6), 490-509.
Jennings, M. M. (2006, August). The seven signs of ethical collapse. In European Business Forum (Vol. 25, No. Summer, pp. 32-38).
Lamberton, B., Mihalek, P. H., & Smith, C. S. (2005). The tone at the top and ethical conduct connection. Strategic Finance, 86(9), 36.
Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2014). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do
it right. 6th Edition. New York: Wiley & Sons.