Individuals are held responsible for their actions whether it be a criminal or personal scenario and then this builds the person’s image and character. Actions reflect the type of person one becomes, how you are seen and remembered. So why shouldn’t this same idea apply for companies or firms that have been in similar situations? Companies are large entities made up of a multitude of departments and individuals; blame becomes easier to pass around and issues are easily forgotten. I believe Companies should be held accountable for their actions and decisions made in the past because it reflects poorly on the company’s image, corporate moral responsibility, and ethical responsibility.
It’s important for a company to have a positive image to the public because it becomes their reputation. Stakeholders, employees and consumers care more now than before about the firm’s image and what power they are giving to it. A negative image may impact the overall bottom line and may cause a high employee turnover and loss in stakeholders. Our society has a growing expectation that a company should be socially responsible. The consumer is not solely interested in the product but also the image and reputation of the firm or company and by taking these factors in consideration they determine their choice. ( website) I purchase eggs labelled cage-free because I know that the company is practising ethics and this concept shows the importance of the reputation a company holds to the public.
Consumers typically do not mind paying more a product produced by an ethical business. This factor contributes to the accountability the company should have and by stepping up to past issues will positively impact their image. Although there is currently a law that protects firms and individuals from past mistakes that are now illegal there should be an exception. The law is called Expo facto law is a law that applies to crimes that happened before the law was passed. This example can be applied in the issue at hand when firms are not held responsible for actions they have committed in the past. Although this is technically legal, firms should be held responsible in a moral sense because of the corporate morale responsibilities they hold to their consumers.
Firms have an obligation to do the right thing when they take on that role. For example, the Bp oil spill was the worst environmental disaster that spilt oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The cause of the oil spill was several relatively small errors for which there are individuals who are guilty but they’re guilty just for their small contribution and as a podcast I gathered information from states, “If we were to hold each of them responsible, punish each of them in accordance with their contribution, we really would not end up with the kind of response that matches up with the amount of harm that BP created” ( Sepinwall 1).
In this case, the harm was too great. There should be exceptions to this law and at least raises the amount allotted for the cleanup. BP had a 75 million cap to use for cleaning efforts, but it is not enough to fund the cleaning efforts Companies need to be held accountable for their actions because they should be implementing business ethics in every aspect of the way they function and operate. A pattern of ethical behaviour is essential to establishing a positive reputation. When companies develop an ethical -making framework it can reduce the chance for ethical dilemmas that result in ignoring ethical obligations. Ethics should be applied to daily functions and to the overall structure of the business.
Not only does this prevent ethical dilemmas but also helps attract and retain great employees. For example, There are several call centers in Arizona who practice business ethics by providing agents with a gym onsite to counteract the sitting all day activity. They also provide vending machines with healthy options and they have a wellness coach.