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ACCT1081 Business Analytics And Technology

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ACCT1081 Business Analytics And Technology

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ACCT1081 Business Analytics And Technology

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Course Code: ACCT1081
University: Durham University

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Country: United Kingdom

Question:

Requirements:
Research into current ethical Issue
You are required to search existing databases of : newspapers, periodicals, YouTube, academic articles to find a current business event that involves either ethical or unethical practice and behaviour. The business event should have occurred in the last two years.
You are then required to discuss the following issues in your assignment

What Are the Relevant Facts? 
Who Are the Primary Stakeholders?
What Are the Ethical Issues?

This includes identifying the ethical issue (s) associated with each of the relevant facts and rank or comment on its severity. Include the different perspectives of: utilitarianism, deontological ethics and justice and fairness.

Answer:
Racism is a prevalent issue in America. The phenomenon occurs in a broad range of spheres including businesses. Starbucks has faced several racism issues in recent times which has prompted various reactions to these issues. The most recent one involved a store in Philadelphia when an employee called the police when two African American men asked to use the restroom in the store. This issue generated a backlash that prompted the company to create a four-hour session for its employees to raise awareness on matters of bias and stereotype in a bid to promote greater awareness and reduce such incidents. 
The anti-bias training incorporated about 175,0001 employees and sought to unravel the roots of unconscious bias. The program sought to include the aspects of social justice and self-reflection. After the arrest of the two African American men in a Starbucks in Philadelphia, an apology from the company was not deemed enough. It sought to improve its image through policy changes allowing people to sit without buying anything and by enlisting social justice activists for guidance in the development of policy on the way forward. The arrests could not be justified, and the prosecutors decided not to press any charges. The two men reached an agreement with the city of Philadelphia and Starbucks later on.
The company decided to catalyze a discussion on the perennial problem of racial inequalities in the country. It closed most of the stores it owns in the US leaving customers without their favorite caffeine products and foregoing a significant amount of revenue in the process. Nevertheless, the company admits that four hours of a creating awareness session would not be sufficient to ward off centuries of systemic racism in the country. It is, however, a step in the right direction and a valuable assurance to its customers of its commitment to social justice. The reaction by Starbucks could be complemented by more proactive initiatives in the future that eliminate the image of a knee-jerk reaction to unfavorable incidents.
Primary Stakeholders
Internally, Starbucks has two key stakeholders namely employees and shareholders. Employees are essential in this case given they deal directly with customers, and they, therefore, have firsthand experiences whether positive or negative. In the above scenario, the employee who called the police may have had a genuine concern that the two men were trespassing given they needed to use facilities without making a purchase2. However, it is vital to consider what would have been the case if the two men were white. It is highly probable that the employee could have allowed them to use the facilities without any further action. While considering racist actions directed towards customers, it is also crucial to consider those actions done against employees. About half of Starbucks’ employees are minorities. With the common phrase ‘the customer is always right’ taken literally, bias or racism towards employees could go undetected, or it could be ignored. Shareholders are also vital as they are involved in deciding various issues such as electing board members for the company. During an annual general meeting, they could discuss ways the company could invest resources in making it more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of all people. By making its stores more welcoming, the company is bound to increase its revenue and ultimately its profits. Shareholders may be concerned with for instance the opportunity cost of the training session given their primary concern is profitability and growth.
Externally, stakeholders range from the government, customers, the public, activist groups, to its suppliers. It is the mandate of law enforcement officers to respond to various issues involving breaking of the law. However, it is essential to practice restraint in the use of force or while deciding without full awareness of all the facts. Suppose the two men simply used the restroom and walked out without buying anything, does that break any law or does it violate company policy? Customers are also crucial in the issue at hand. Customers are likely to frequent businesses where they are treated well without any form of discrimination or prejudice. In this case, the customers were arrested for not doing anything wrong but based on what can be termed as unconscious bias. Equally, the general public consists of activists and potential customers who are likely to act based on such an incident and develop negative attitudes towards the company. The government, at the state and local levels, can work with its enforcement officers to instill awareness on how to handle a range of scenarios.
Key Ethical Issues
The key ethical issue, in this case, is racism. Broadly, racism referrers to discrimination or treating someone different based on their race. Racism is often associated with violent and intimidating behavior while this is not always the case. It can be revealed through attitudes or even through subtler actions such as name calling or spreading negative stereotypes3. Racism in this context was experienced by a customer or potential customer. It was in the form of prejudice or a preconception that African Americans are more likely to be involved in criminal activities. Given that racism is learned, a person who acts in a racist manner has been exposed to a society that does the same repeatedly, and it is accepted. The employee who called the police was unconsciously thinking that the two African American men posed a threat to the safety of those in the store.
Racism has significant effects on those who experience it. It can be disconcerting to always be on your toes in public because other people have certain misconceptions about you simply because of the color of your skin. Most people who portray racist behavior are ignorant of intercultural issues. In America, people who have faced racism are likely to avoid places where they experienced it. It also has negative outcomes regarding the health and welfare of those on the receiving end. Starbucks has taken vital steps to combat racism. While racism is an ethics issue, an awakened society is the only solution to it. Racism is not only found at Starbucks or in businesses but in many spheres of life in the country.
Bibliography
Abrams, R., Hsu, T., & Eligon, J. (2018, May 29). Starbucks’s Tall Order: Tackle Systemic Racism in 4 Hours. [Online].  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/business/starbucks-closing-racial-bias-training.html
Black men arrested at Philly Starbucks say they feared for their lives. (n.d.). [Online]. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-men-arrested-philadelphia-starbucks-say-they-feared-their-lives-n867396
This is what Starbucks wants to teach its staff about racism. (2018, May 29). [Online].  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-29/starbucks-to-teach-employees-about-racism-in-anti-bias-sessions/9813092

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