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Business ethics assignment: Ethical Issues Faced by John Lewis


Task: Develop a detailed report on business ethics assignment discussing the ethical issues faced by John Lewis and various business strategies to mitigate the issues.


Introduction to the case scenario of business ethics assignment
No business can run for a long time without any ethics. Ethics are the base of any organizations which make them strong. Every organization has their own business policies, which they have to maintain in order to show their clear point of views, their vision and also to maintain a good reputation in the relevant field of market. If a company does not follow their ethics, they have to face certain consequences due to their unethical situation. Business ethics show the principles and morals that a company usually carries. Business ethics also helps to implement some business policies and also helps to avoid controversial matters. Thus every organization has their own HR department by their side, whose one of the main roles is to maintain law and order within a workplace(De Stefano et al., 2018, p.549). In this business ethics assignment, John Lewis company has been taken as an example, showing what kind of ethical issues are faced by them and what the leaders of the company are doing to mitigate the situation.

Forms of corruption
What is the current ethical problem related to business environment identified in the present context of business ethics assignment?

John Lewis is a UK based brand, which provides various services including retailing, baking and finances and similar others. The company has currently more than 83,000 employees, who are not only the staff but also the partners of the company, which shows that all of them are the co-owners of the company and have the democratic voice and also have their role in the financial stake behind the success of business. However, the company has some ethical issues as well.

John Lewis has comparatively a good rating for the management of their supply chain. The company has the collaboration with many other organizations, which helps to improve the rights of the workers.However, whenever the topic comes to their garment workers, the story is quite different. John Lewis is incapable of showing both the list of their suppliers as well as the details of the sources from where their clothes come. This lack of transparency is hampering the ethical values of the company in case for garment production(Tormo-Carbó et al., 2018, p.2717).

John Lewis has proved themselves in the field of their responsibilities regarding the environmental issues. They are fulfilling their corporate service responsibilities or CSR. They have stated to reduce their carbon intensity by 67% by the year of 2021, in comparison to their baseline of 2010. In spite of this, they have got a moderate rating in case for the corporate service responsibilities. This is because it has been found that they have an impact regarding the environmental issues due to some of their unethical operations. They have failed to show the details of the chemicals they are using in the chain of their supply, which is becoming an unethical factor as well.

Besides these, the leading retailing company, John Lewis has failed to show any policies regarding the animal testing. According to the record of 2018, it has been revealed that the company has some unethical activities regarding animal products. Moreover, the company has got a bad rating in case for taxation. Two subsidiaries of the company have enlisted as two high risk having organizations due to tax avoidance.

Besides these, according to Rendtorff, (2019, p.43), some other kinds of ethical issues can be found within organizations, including corruption, payment facility, security and safety issues and similar others. Trust and integrity are the two most important issues faced by the organizations. These factors have a large contribution to the functioning area of an organization, playing a major role behind its success. Honesty and transparency are main in order to gain the consumers’ trust, hence all the companies have to focus on their ethical practices even more. Obeying all the governmental legislations is also a part of ethical policy. Companies have to follow the government orders and cooperate with them to maintain law and orders as well. Employees are the valuable resources of an organization, so their behaviour also matters in order to show the company’s nature. Hence, it is also a duty of the employees to maintain all the rules and regulations of their respective companies, not only to maintain ethical policies but also to maintain a healthy workplace environment in order to achieve a good reputation in the relevant fields.

Approach possessed by the organisation to manage business ethics As mentioned above within this business ethics assignment, this report insists on the company’s culture and structure as followed by a private company named John Lewis. Their organizational structure includes various activities such as synchronization, direction and provisioning. It is important for any private organization to manage its business ethics and culture. The approach possessed by an organisation to manage their business ethics are:

Compliance and ethical programs
The company John Lewis implements compliance & ethical programs. This program helps them to make appropriate decisions and manage their employee’s behaviour. Moreover, compliance with the company policy and regular regulatory requirements are actually a critical parameter of risk management (Remišováet al., 2019, p.16). Thus, maintaining and monitoring compliance is not only to make the ethical regulators happy and satisfied but also to maintain the company’s ethical health. Thereby, this helps to support the company’s long term prosperity as well as promote and preserve its value.

In practicality, a compliance & ethics program is very essential as it supports the company’s ethical behaviour, identifies their legal boundary, ethical boundary, goals and objectives. This approach taken by the company helps them to respond appropriately and quickly on detected issues to minimize its impact on the company’s reputation. The compliance & ethical programs demonstrate the company’s commitment to creating a corporate culture and favourable work environment (Attwellet al., 2017, p. 70). Thus it helps to identify the values and ethics of the company that are good, right and just or not.

Establishment of internal processes by the organization
UK based companies always establish internal processes. This means that the employees have the right to come forward in case they suspect a legal or ethical violation of policy has occurred. In that case, the processes permit anonymity. Even some of the UK-based companies have an ombudsperson. Their role and responsibility are to handle ethical and legal misconduct or matters confidentially and offer advice to employees whether they want to take any formal steps or not. It entirely depends upon the employee whether they escalate the matter to the external or internal authorities. Some employees inform the internal authority and sort out the misconduct. Wherein, some of the employees tell about what is happening in their company’s misconduct to the public.

As stated in the business ethics assignment, the allegation can take various forms such as violation of rules and regulations and law or a threat to the public interest which includes corruption, safety and health violations or fraud. They may escalate the matter in media, law-enforcement agencies, ethical groups, or regulators.

Appropriate decision making of the managers
The company keeps some appropriate managers to take care of their ethical practices and it has to be abided by rules and regulations. Their responsibility is to assure that the workforce is aware of the company’s ethical code & the employees have the right to seek questions to sort out their understandings. The manager of the company John Lewis monitors the employee’s behaviour with respect to their company’s expectations of suitable behaviour. Moreover, they quickly respond to them to shorten the suspected impact on ethical violations. The managers also take their time to employees by counselling& assisting them in case they face ethical breaches or suspect ethical dilemmas. The managers uphold and maintain the company’s ethical standards with their own decisions and actions (Calabrettaet al., 2017, p.370). Thus the company’s ethics as well as responsibilities are appropriately taken care of by the managers.

Role of organisational leaders to demonstrate ethical leadership
The business ethics assignmentexamines the study ofAntonakis and Day, (2018) that in any organization as leadership is a unique cycle, it is that there is a scope of styles to fit in with various people, teams and circumstances, instead of one style. It is the responsibility of a leader to coordinate towards a bunch of objectives. The style of the initiative and the response of the employees or teams are to be resolved extensively by the circumstance concerned. Moral administration at an organization like John Lewis & Partners, a well-known department store in the United Kingdom, needs ethical leadership. It is the responsibility of the leader to guarantee that ethical practices are completed all through the association. Ethical leaders within the respective organisation are normally in a place of intensity both on and off the activity, so moral administration must focus on how leaders influence this force in the choices they make, activities they take part in and ways they impact others.

Leaders are answerable for influencing employees to do to their work, complete assignments, and carry on in specific habits. Proper ethical leadership additionally impacts measures, incorporates change in mentalities and values of employees, and intensifies strengthening and self-viability of their workers, as they try to understand the corporate vision (Hoch et al. 2018, p, 523). The sustaining part of initiative can likewise improve an organization's system and worker's qualities to more significant levels of ethical conduct. By exhibiting moral initiative the leaders advance an elevated level of respectability that invigorates a feeling of dependability, and urges subordinates to acknowledge and follow our vision. Character and respectability gives a solid establishment to other individual qualities that direct the employees’ moral convictions, qualities, and choices.

As of 2017, John Lewis & Partners employs 37,100 workers. For the purpose of demonstrating effective ethical leadership there is a framework or model known as 4-V model which is followed in the company. This particular model according to the founder, Dr. B. Grace, adjusts the leader’s inward conviction and qualities to their outside practices to drive forward the benefits of all the employees, leaders, company and beyond. The functions of this model include value, voice, vision and virtue (Storey and Salaman, 2017, p. 350). Firstly, in case of ethical leadership, values involve understanding the responsibilities of a leader and committing to them. Based on the qualities which make up the centre of a leader’s characters and efficiency, it starts the way toward coordinating John Lewis & Partners’ extraordinary qualities with the ethical initiative that requires the capacity to outline a leader's Moral activities inside an image of "what should be" – especially in the territory of administration to other people.

However, when it comes to voice, ethical leaders have the option to express their vision to others in a bona-fide manner that helps them to function more effectively. On the other hand, virtue is an ethical leader’s endeavour to make the wisest decision and great improvement (Koet al. 2018, p. 118). They practice idealistic conduct by inquiring whether their value, vision and voice are proper and idealistic as per the policies of this organization. Moral initiative is the basic requirement for today’s leadership. Viewing the data over the past months and years has underscored the significance of being ethical in business and especially in providing the administrative guidance to the employees. Leaders additionally mentor workers in increasing their sense of individuality and capability.

Strategies to minimise corruption
The corruption effects are visible in all regions worldwide. The countries are poor or rich but corruption is a huge problem for the governments. The actual cause of corruption is such as poverty, inequality, instability and eroding the wealth of the nation. The UK Government established some law against corruption. The UK bribery Act was established in 2011 which is the one toughest law of anti-bribery in all over the world. Bribery systems still remain an important risk for the companies in the UK. There are some strategies against corruption and John Lewis has to follow this for reputations as illustrated in the following section of business ethics assignment.

Anti- corruptions and anti-bribery policies are important for any organisation and also for the governments. Most of the businesses in the UK already adopted the anti-corruption and anti-bribery strategies. The company implements the laws in organisations and this is critical for some employees to understand what is not acceptable as donations, political donations, hospitality and gifts. The John Lewis Company has to organise programmes to motivate the employees against corruption and bribery. The workers need to follow the expectations and rules of the company. The employees and organisation both need to understand between proportionate and legitimate (Dodd, 2020). The Corruption and Anti-bribery principles are important to follow and the John Lewis Companyhas to refer to the law in training and handbooks. This law also applied for supplier contracts with termination clauses.

Hospitality and gifts are not allowed as corruption and anti-bribery. John Lewis has a business legitimate purpose which is proportionate and transparency is necessary.

The company has to ignore the facilitation payments. It needs to avoid this in the respect of performance speed up. This method has to be ignored and it is decided by the government officials.

The company has to make and follow some extra precautions and instructions when dealing with the public foreign officials. It should make this matter clear that workers obviously do not offer any money or other gifts to the officials and this includes the charities also (, 2020). According to the research on business ethics assignment, the immediate report policy is a vital part for any organisation. The employees are required to be aware about the witnessed or bribery suspects. They can communicate with the manager and report against the employee who is harmful for the reputation of the organisation and employees both. If any employee participates in corruption the company can take actions against the employees and investigate the situations.

The commitment is important for employees and organisation both. The employees have to commit that anti-corruption is a part of the company's job and culture. John Lewis has to make some instructions on zero tolerance procedure on corruption and bribery and employees have to follow this. Assess is important for John Lewis company. The organisation has to recognise different opportunities to develop the business and improve compliance.

The proper definition is essential for success. The company has to develop the goals and make some rules and policies against corruption and bribery. The organisation has clearly shown the importance of anti-corruption and other extra hospitality which is against law and not good for company reputation plus success.

Implementationand measure is vital for a company and John Lewis needs to implicate this against corruption. The company has to establish anti- corruption policies and programmes and every employee has to follow this. After the implementation the company has to monitor whether the employees follow these laws or not. Communication with stakeholders is another important part of this strategy and John Lewis has to follow this (, 2020).

The current study developed in this business ethics assignment has reflected on the business ethics. Every organization has their own business policies, which they have to maintain in order to show their clear point of views, their vision and also to maintain a good reputation in the relevant field of market. To understand the concept of the business ethics more clearly, a UK based leading retailing company; John Lewis has been taken as an example. Some current ethical problems faced by the business environment have been discussed. The different types of approaches adapted by the organization to manage the business ethics have been elaborated as well. Role of the organizational leaders in order to mitigate the situation, by demonstrating the organizational leadership has also been described as well. Some of the strategies to minimize the unethical orders have also been discussed.

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