Business and Society
The Coca-Cola Company is evidently the biggest soft drink company in the world. The company boasts of having over 146,000 employees who work as associates of the subsidiary branches. The Coca-Cola Company is established on the goal of refreshing the world and inspiring optimism and happiness for its customers. In order to do this, the company works on its code of conduct of business that documents its intended goal for the stakeholders and the employees (Coca-Cola, 2012). The code of conduct is standard guideline that documents the company’s goals and aspirations. This paper attempts to design a comprehensive code of conduct for the company.
The exact meaning of ethics is hard to capture. What is “ethical” varies from place to place depending on the culture and environment. For that reason, it would be an exercise in futility for this paper to make a case for some universal code of ethics. However, scholars are still entangled in the struggle of finding a comprehensive way of describing ethics. Fundamentally, ethical behavior aims to create harmonious coexistence between individuals in a social setting. We can only hope that our laws reflect the ethical standards that we think are pertinent. Ethics refers to a body of standards of wrong and right, borne, not out of a requirement to obey a rule but for the sake of goodness and justice and fairness. Concerns about ethics cut across the whole sphere of society – from the household to the workplace to places of worship et al. So long as people interact, the question of how best to come within reach of their interaction and create an environment that is conducive will always arise. Let examine the code of conduct of some most known companies and compare them with the one that we attempt to design for Coca-Cola.
Leaping Lizard is a new company in the beverage industry that has introduced the new Leaping Lizard drink. The company has a strong mission, which is to offer clients with everyday solution to their endeavors and at the same time provide them with energy. The energy drink motivates individuals who work early in the morning and late at night (Hardy, 2010). The company’s choice of introducing energy drinks had led to competition from other companies. These companies include Red Bull, Monster, and other similar energy drinks producing companies in the market (Paul, 1997). The main challenge that Leaping Lizard Company faces is how to introduce Leaping Lizard drink to the market. The company is now struggling to establish marketing methods that will see its product compete well in the market. Since this product is intended mostly for the middle class workers, the company wants to reach as many low-income earners as possible. For that reason, there is a dire need to include unusually many work places in the marketing strategy. This calls for a well-defined organizational objective plan. The code of conduct for this company embraces the “culture of must win.” This method defies any aspect of organizational decency and instead focuses on a campaign to popularize their own brand.
Red Bull is a slightly carbonated energy drink that improves mental and physical activity. It is a combination of minerals found in the body with caffeine and other minerals. The company holds 55 percent of the market share in the energy drink industry. Red Bull targets middle age people between ages 35-65 years. For advertisement, the company used different media channels to build a highly loyal customer base. Red Bull aims to expand its customer base by venturing into other social groups in society. Red Bull practices an open door policy that informs the consumers of the side effects of their product. This gives the consumer the chance to make his or her own decision.
Some ethics scholars argue that ethics as of philosophy, involves two types of principles that comprise deltiology and teleology. Detelogical principles assume that behaviors are inherently right or wrong. For this reason, it is the responsibility others to determine the ethicality of actions of others. On the other hand, teleological principles consider the consequences of actions, decisions as based on expected rewards or punishments. In business, many scholars believe that managers apply delelogical and teleological criteria when making ethical judgments. Several scales are used to measure ethics including cognitive moral scales, developmental scales, developmental scales, multi- dimensional scales among others (Shanan& Hyman 2003). However, how accurate are these scales in the measure of morality? The code of conduct that we design for Coca Company is one that focuses on the 3-cs. This code of conduct subscribes to the ideas of Corporate Culture, Competency and Customer Value.
According to Schein (2009), corporate culture refers to shared beliefs, values, and behaviors that a firm subscribes. These beliefs, values, and expected behavior provide a foundation upon which a firm is managed. The organizations executives articulate cultural statements to the workers. Usually, firms with a strong corporate culture outperform those without a strong corporate culture. Because culture is relative, organizations have the power to create a culture that fits organizations objectives.
Corporate culture plays out in various ways. Company’s culture can be distinct in ways such as the way they handle communication, feedback, project coordination, or customer relations (Kotter, 1992). In some cases, corporate culture is visible in the way an organization is structured. Some companies emphasize servant leadership while others focus on teamwork; others promote basing on appraisals while others promote basing on future objectives. In many cases, the nature of competition and the desire of the company to be like the rest or to form a unique identity define corporate values for many companies (Schein, 2009).
Schein (2009) argues that the articulation of a corporation’s culture is meaningless if a strong leadership is missing. Leaders of a corporation must be aware of the required culture in a corporation and determine ways in which the culture is understood by all sections for the firm. Leaders must also play the role models by exhibiting behaviors that are demonstrable of the organization’s goals.
Weinstein & Johnson (1999) write that successful companies do not only satisfy customers, they work hard to please them too. Superior customer values mean continually creating a business experience that exceeds the ordinary expectations (p.4). In their view, value is the strategic driver that most multinational corporations utilize to differentiate themselves from the rest in view of customers. In the abstract form, values mean the excellence usually based on the desirability or usefulness (Weinstein & Johnson, 1999, p.5). Gale (2010) reports that a value driven marketing strategy help organizations in several areas including but not limited to:
Helping the company understands customer choices
Customer segmentation and customer relations management
Increasing competitive option by creating niches
Avoiding unnecessary price competitions
Improving the company’s service quality
Developing an effective customer communication system
Competency refers to the behaviors that individuals possesses or must possess to perform work. Competency, therefore, focuses on the individual’s input and the outcome thereof. Measuring competency requires what is usually defined as competency structure. The competency structure is a framework that defines the company’s expectation on each individual. Laske (2001) wrote about learning and growth development. According to them, the growth and development is a framework for quantitatively assessing employee satisfaction, productivity, and relation in the framework of scorecard balance. The learning and growth method emphasizes measures not only as employee’s behaviors but also in developmental terms at work.
The Federal Sentencing Guideline 2011 offers a framework for companies to develop an ethical standard. While we find the document helpful in articulating the goals for the future, we do not see the contents defy the organizational culture that we have created using the 3-cs code of conduct. What we have is an inbuilt code of conduct that emphasizes organizational growth and progress. Petty issues like common theft are taken care of by the inculcation of employee value system upon employment. The only challenge that we face is for our associates across the world to understand the concept of 3-cs basing on their use of cultural differences, language barrier and different approaches in leadership
The world offers a very big market for companies to exploit. Because of globalization, firms are given unlimited opportunities across the globe that they can effectively exploit for their own benefits. The global market, when effectively used, provides a room of expansion. However, for companies to reap the benefits of globalization, they must be ready to play with the rules of the games. First, the company must be ready to meet the needs of all its customers across the world. Coca- Cola Beverage Company is perhaps a classical example of a company that has used the global market to expand its operations unrivalled with any beverage company. Establishment of the global market brand and customer base is thus one of the biggest advantages of global marketing. Coca-Cola has achieved this status by tactful advertisements and promotions aimed at luring consumers to feel that Coca-Cola represents their own taste. Coca-Cola sells the same product worldwide but standardizes the product to meet the needs of its customers based on cultural preferences. The 3-code of conduct system has been instrumental in meeting this need.
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