Business Ethics is about appropriate or right and wrong behavior to be carried in business. In this paper, the general principle of ethic will be applied on the analysis of the ethical issue of the Walt Disney Company. The recommendations we believed that can help to address the ethical problems are also included in this paper. Background of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company is a international entertainment and media enterprise. It has established for more than nine decades and developed from a cartoon studio in the 1920s to the global corporation today.
The Walt Disney Company is consisted of five business segments which are media networks, parks and resorts, the Walt Disney Studios, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive Media. It provides entertainment with high quality for every member of the family around the world , including Canada, The United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Germany, France, Greece, China, India, Australia and so on. To develop a ethical environment for all of its employees and Cast Members, the Standards of Business Conduct and ethics training have been provided for their employees.
Also, the harassment prevention and discrimination policies are set out for prohibiting employees from harassing. CSR and The Walt Disney Company Corporate Social Responsibility is the obligations and tacit contract of the company to the community. Under the CSR, the companies should produce an overall positive impact on society by managing the business processes. The Walt Disney Company is well-known corporations practicing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and was named as the leader in Corporate Social Responsibility according to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute in 2009.
Walt Disney has sponsored the Special Olympics for many years. It can help to boost its image as a family-friendly company. According to the Journal titled ” Disney’s limits on links to fatty kids’ foods speaks to CSR trend”, the Walt Disney Company has established a campaign to restrict their products which characters anil brands can promote to help to control the childhood obesity in the society. Under the campaign, the food will be limited with certain percentages of tats. More choices of healthier food can be chosen by kids.
The Walt Disney Company has contributed to the community though carrying the Corporate Social Responsibility. However, there are some argument about the ethical issue of the Disney. Principles of Ethic Right, justice, caring and utilitarianism are the general principles of ethic. Principle of Right The Principle of Rights focuses on what decisions or actions are best for protecting the right of individual. The issue of environmental problems brought by the Walt Disney Company causes controversy among different people.
In 1997, Hong Kong Disneyland has been constructed on the Lantau Island leading to a enormous environmental costs. The reclamation at Penny’s Bay and the development of massive infrastructural has created water, noise and air pollution. The water filled with sediment and over $3. 5 million worth of fish died in the period of dredging work. Moreover, the Man-made Tourism has be developed on the Lantau Island. It causes more than twenty tons of rubbish daily. According to the survey, the amount of Polystyrene Products used in Hong Kong Disneyland is over 7300 tons per year.
Also, the Hong Kong Disneyland keeps having fireworks every day. It is not only causing air pollution, but also affect the residents of Discovery Bay and near villages who will suffer from the air and noise pollution. For the development of the Disneyland in Hong Kong, a lot of valuable types of animals and plants are destroyed. The Walt Disney Company can not achieve the principle of right as they have not protected the environment in a good way. Principle of Justice The Principle of Justice focus on what decisions can promote fair treatment of every person.
It is concerned whether the benefit and burdens are equitably distributed to individuals in the society. The Hong Kong Disneyland Cast Member’s Union is set up in 2005 and aims to protect and fight for the right of the employees of Hong Kong Disneyland. Since the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland, it has received over 250 complaints from the employees about being treated unfairly during their working period. On the other hand, there is a ethical dilemma in the China’s market. The wage paid for local Chinese employees and US employees who work in the Chinese Walt Parks are different.
The reason of the difference is that it is expensive for US employees to live in China. It is not justice for the local Chinese employees with lower wages. The Walt Disney Company can not act appropriate under the Principle of Justice as they can not provide an environment with fair treatment for their employees. Principle of Caring Under the Principle of Caring, a person is trusted as relational but not as an individual. For the employees of the Hong Kong Disneyland, they are required to build up an operative role and same belief of making dream into a reality.
However, in fact, they have to wear the overweight costumes which weight over 35 lbs with one size with long period of working hours. If employees are shorter, they will need to add pads on their shoulder to bear the overweight costumes. If employees are taller, they will need to wrap their back to fit the costumes. These will cause the employees suffered from physical and mental problems, such as stress. Therefore, the turnover rate of employee is high. For consumers of the Hong Kong Disneyland, they are prohibited to bring food entering into the parks.
However, the food and drinks are expensive in the parks. The consumers have no alternative but to spend much money to buy food and drinks in the parks. Hong Kong Disneyland has not done a good job on caring their employee and consumers. Principle of utilitarianism The Principle of utilitarianism is focused to maximize the happiness or pleasure for all parties involved. Under this principle, the company should maximize the well-being of society. The Walt Disney Company need to earn money and maximize their profit because they have to attract investors.
Moreover, no safety guidelines are provided for the labor in China who respond to produce dolls for Disney. The labor normally injured in the industry accidents. Also, the labor need to accept the low labor cost with heavy work and dangerous working environment. For the management, no standards are provided for them and the employees are working like a machine or tools which produce goods and services. The Walt Disney Company should provide services and products to their consumers to maximize their happiness under the Principle of Utilitarianism.
However, Disney has contributed little on public welfare and use its bargaining power to deal with Hong Kong government to ask for investment solely for the benefit of the company. Recommendation Creating Fair working environment To create a fair environment for the employees , the Walt Disney Company should balance the right of employees and profit of the company. They have responsibilities to care their employees to ensure their employees can work in the safe and fair working environment with balanced workload.
Increasing the communication channel between the employees and the management can help in this situation. Employees have opportunities to speak out their opinion to the management and the problem faced by them can quickly identified and addressed. Increasing the transparency of the Disney Government can help to increase the transparency of the Disney because they are the major shareholder of the Disney. Society can join to monitor the management of the Disney by increasing the transparency of the Disney, such as the way to know the production process and where the material are come from.
It can help to increase the accountability of the management of the Disney to let them to put more force on managing their products and services. Increasing the caring for consumers To increase the caring of their consumers, the Disney has to adjust the price of their products, food and drinks to a reasonable and acceptable price. This way can reduce the complains by the consumers about the prohibition of carrying foods into the parks and boost the sales of their products and food. Conclusion
To conclude, although the CSR has been carried out by the Disney, the Principle of Right, Justice, Caring and Utilitarianism cannot be achieved by the Disney as well. The development of the Walt Disney Company has caused a series environment problems and the relationships between the company, employees, customers and societies become worse in the recent year. If the problem can be considered and solved by the Disney, the loss but not only the profit but also the loyalty of the employees and customers.