Ethical Issues - Sample Essay
Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the well-known fast food restaurants in the world. It operates in 74 countries and territories throughout the world. KFC began with Colonel Harland Sanders. He discovered his penchant for cooking when he was only 9 years old. Through the years he grew up to become a personage the world knows as Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC. KFC has more than 11,000 branches in more than 80 nations and territories all over the world. KFC now regarded as the most chicken restaurant chain. With the chicken’s natural juices sealed-in, leaving a special mouth watering taste that cannot be replaced. KFC prides itself as a fast-food restaurant that give customers great tasting chicken with a selection of home-styled side dishes and desserts to make a wholesome, complete and satisfying meal.
Identify the main ethical dilemmas facing your KFC. The fast food industry is being pressured by government agencies, consumers, and special interest groups to offer healthier menu options, particularly for children. KFC is being sued for frying its chicken in cooking oils that contain trans fats, which can contribute to heart disease and diabetes (Time Magazine, 2006). The Nutrition Action Healthletter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), reported in 1997 that in clinical studies Tran’s fat raised people’s blood cholesterol about as much as saturated fat did. It raises one’s bad cholesterol, which boosts the risk of heart disease.
The company says its products “meet or exceed all government regulations.” But as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the activist group behind the lawsuit, points out, a three-piece extra-crispy combo meal contains as much as 15 g of trans fat-more than a person should ingest in a week. However, providing clear information to consumers must be a priority yet Philippines KFC do not feature nutritional information (consumers international).
The Humane Society of the United States (2009) defines animal abuse as a range of harmful behaviors to the animals which includes unintentional neglect and intentional neglect to malicious killings. KFC’s suppliers treat chickens cruelly (IANS, 2009).This issue is associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR), namely animal welfare. Since the late 1990s, KFC faced severe protests by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights protection organization.
The issue in this case is not about the malicious killing of the animals, but the lack of treatment and care they receive when they are alive. Some workers even spit tobacco into the chickens’ eyes and tear the head of a living chicken which cause tremendous suffering to the chickens (Reist, n.d.). According to PETA, many of these birds are genetically engineered for faster growth. PETA also had written many letters asking KFC stop the abuse but KFC had ignored it
According to Guangzhou city government, an employee is entitled to no less than 4.3 yuan per work hour. However, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are being bombarded for their work contracts which offer their part-time Chinese employees just four yuan per hour. This contract had violated the legal rights of employees. The fast-food giants allegedly force part-time employees to work the same hours as full-time staff but fail to pay them any of the benefits to which full-time staff are entitled. According to the mainland’s labor laws, employees who work more than five hours a day and 30 hours a week should be given same benefits as full time workers. The Guangdong labor authority’s clarification indicates that part-time working students are not protected by the law, which is a relief for the employers involved (China Business, 2007).
At the same time, there was a certain lack of trust about KFC’s product. In Indian market, the regulatory authorities found that KFC’s chickens did not adhere to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. Chickens contained nearly three times more monosodium glutamate (popularly known as MSG, a flavor enhancing ingredient) as allowed by the Act. It related to consumer health issues. Besides that, KFC also faced problems in the form of protests by angry farmers in India led by the Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha (KRRS) who considered KFC is promoting junk and fried food and is unethical in a poor country like India with several malnutrition problems.
The farmer’s leader, Nanjundaswamy expressed concern that the growing number of foreign fast food chains would deplete India’s livestock, which would adversely affect its agriculture and the environment. An ethical dilemma evolves when the choice between alternative actions with moral content is unclear. Whether a specific behavior is right or wrong, ethical or unethical is often determined by the concerned stakeholders and an individual’s personal ethics. Consequently, values, judgments, and complex situations all play a critical role in ethical decision making (De George, R.T. 1999). Due to busier consumer lifestyles and dual-working families with children, emphasis is increasingly being placed on quick meal solutions (Atkins and Bowler, 2001). People today concerned more about their health and body figures.
However, due to research, nowadays fast food may cause obesity, especially KFC. Furthermore, many health organizations encourage people to concern more about their healthy and body figures. Since KFC operates until now, it only gains the bad reputation of a fast food that provides greasy unhealthy food. While fast-food retailers are not alone in feeling the pressure for multi-nationals to “clean up their act” (Sweeney, 2004), fast food in common with any food, has the potential to impact directly and visibly on people’s well-being like obesity. Act utilitarian is flaw because its claim of giving the greatest happiness to the most people is only temporary.
Over a period of time most of the same people will have the greatest unhappiness due to poor health. KFC comes out with new Kentucky Grilled Chicken which has fewer calories, fewer fat grams, and less sodium than original recipe chicken. It is better option for health-conscious customers. This new product is right as they tend to promote happiness through serving customers with nutrient food. The ethically correct action is the one that will produce the greatest amount of pleasure or the least amount of pain (J.Brooks, L., & Dunn, P., 2009).
For marketers, ethics in the workplace refers to rules (standards, principles) governing the conduct of organizational members and the consequences of marketing decisions (Ferrell, 2005). Therefore, ethical marketing from a normative perspective approach is defined as “practices that emphasize transparent, trustworthy, and responsible personal and organizational marketing policies and actions that exhibit integrity as well as fairness to consumers and other stakeholders (Murphy et al,. 2005).
Therefore, as for policies on marketing of food to children, KFC comply with all the guidelines which ban the sponsorship by fast food industries of children’s TV programmes and fast food advertisements during children’s TV programmes. KFC take responsibility to help customers make educated choices when it comes to choosing their meals, including helping them become aware about the importance of a balanced diet and good nutrition.
The nature of food production and processing is becoming more important to consumers nowadays (Baltas, 2001; Bredahl et al., 1998). KFC has developed nutritional content fact sheets of their products as required by the recent national fast food regulations. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy delivered a “Special Message on Protecting the Consumer Interest,” in which he outlined four basic consumer rights: the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard. These came to be known as the Consumers’ Bill of Rights (Ferrell et al,. 2005). Consumers have to right to know the nutritional labeling to make sure the product is in good nutrition.
Besides that, the corporate image and reputation are damaged because of the law suit by PETA and huge ruckus by the public. Stakeholders are considered in the decision based on how they affect or how they are affected by the corporation (Weiss J.W., 2002). Public awareness of animal welfare issues and subsequently the affected economic benefits have had significant impacts on the relationships between contemporary organizations and their shareholders and or public opinion. Concerns for humane treatment of animals have always existed. Stakeholder’s expectations and demands regarding the standardized guidelines of animal treatment are increasing.
Public activist groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is said to be the biggest animal activist group in the world. This causes stakeholders and potential shareholders to lose confidence on KFC and they might fail to raise funds from public. Moreover, (Florida Gulf Coast University, 2008) indicated that KFC is losing part of their loyal customers because of the petition held. The affected economic benefits have had significant impacts on the relationships between contemporary organizations such as McDonald and their shareholders and or public opinion. They afraid KFC might drag them down and the public will categorize them together as the unethical company along with KFC. It will affect all business in other countries where KFC operates – its reputation and turnover and profit