Coporate Social Responsibility
1. Professor Ballistico is the director of the Foodcorp Centre for Food Science at BigCity University. The Foodcorp donated the money to the University in order to set up the research centre and to fund its activities. Professor Ballistico had a recent research which showed the results of the higher risk of the additives. However, the additives in the research were common in the products of the Foodcorp. The main ethical issue is that if Professor Ballistico publishes the results, it is possible that the Foodcorp will go trouble and the funding to the University will be affected.
The University relies on the funding. If the results are not published, the responsibility to report the risks of the additives of Professor Ballistico will be undermined. It will violate the ethical conduct of Professor Ballistico and affect the objectives of the study. 2. The first option available to Ballistico is publishing the results of the latest tests which showed that the two food additives significantly increase the risk of human allergies for long-time consumption. This is actually a successful piece of research and can make them more famous.
Most importantly, this allows the public to know the side effects of consumption of food additives and hence Ballistico has complied with the ethical standard. However, this action will greatly affect the Foodcorp which sponsored the university to carry on the study. Another choice is to privately tell Foodcorp about their results before announcing the report so that Foodcorp can take appropriate action to deal with the food additives and it can prevent great loss. However, Ballistico will violate the ethical standard as it will cause unfairness to other food manufacturers and it harms the public interests.
The third choice is to discuss the problem with the principal of the university. This allows the team to make the decision but the team may request not publish the result or amend the result due to the fund provided by the Foodcorp. The last choice is to amend the study result or simply not publish the results. This can certainly avoid damage to Foodcrop and but harms the people’s health and contravene the objective of the study and his responsibility. 3. Professor Ballistico should tell Foodcrop first about the result of the research and advise them to take appropriate action to deal with the food dditives and then announce the result. This is because if the centre does not announce the result, other researchers will do the similar research next time and hence the long-term benefit will also be harmed at that time. The centre will also help the corporation to find out the substitutes for the additives. Publication of the result will not only benefit the corporation, but also the university. This was because, if such a conflict of interest is revealed in the future, the reputation of the university will also be badly affected. This will consequently reduce the funding from other sources.
To prevent similar problems arising in the future, the centre can make contract with the sponsor. The contract should specify that the corporation which sponsors the centre should not intervene in any researches conducted by the centre. The centre has its own discretion in the type of the studies and the publication of the results. 4. The corporation gives funding to the university and other public institutions because they want to enhance reputation, but it will cause ethical concerns. Firstly, it will affect the independency of the research.
The corporations will advice the centre to conduct some researches for their own benefits. The research centre cannot freely conduct any researches it likes. Consequently, it may affect the creditability of the result. If the result is not beneficial to the corporations, the corporation will ask the centre to amend the result. The result of the research will no longer be reliable. There may be biases in the result. Furthermore, it causes unfairness not only to the general public, but also to other corporations in the same industry. Transparency is lost.
The general public cannot have access to the real result. Unlike the corporation who sponsor the centre, other corporations in the same industry cannot first take precaution and prevent losses. 5. The reasons why the corporations stepping into roles often played by governments are government failure and increasing power and influence of corporations. The corporations have the potentials to take the social and political roles as they are very powerful and have a wide variety of stakeholders. Hence, they have great ability to affect the stakeholders and the society.
The concept of corporate accountability shows that the corporate should be responsible for the consequence of its action because they have large rage of stakeholders. It may cause the problem of conflict of interest because the government is responsible for the whole society but the corporations just focus on their own interest rather the social benefits. For example, the purpose of the government to provide funding of education is to increase the education level of citizens but the corporations may not have the same attitude towards the funding. They may just want to improve their reputation or nurture the talents for their companies.