Although it is common knowledge that companies perform a SWOT analysis, these reports are not easily located on the Internet. A site called Data Monitor provides information about businesses including each company’s SWOT.
For those interested in researching some interesting ethical businesses cases, there are plenty from which to choose. Business leaders may feel squeezed by shareholders to produce profits. Some have made some ethical blunders in an attempt to remain competitive. Others have used their size to squeeze out the competition. The following includes some important business ethics cases based on well-known organizations:
Enron – Questionable accounting practices and manipulation of the energy supply brought down this company. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is an excellent documentary movie that explains the scandal. Check out an excerpt from Enron’s Code of Ethics.
Monsanto – Monsanto has been criticized for its mega-size. Critics fear they are taking over the food supply as well as creating negative environmental issues. Check out Monsanto’s Code of Ethics for Chief Executives and Senior Financial Officers.
WalMart – Studies have shown that WalMart may save people money but they may also negatively impact communities. Their low prices may also hurt suppliers. The company received criticism when leadership announced they wanted to hire healthier, more productive employees. WalMart has been accused of being anti-union and has survived sweatshop and discrimination scandals. Check out WalMart’s Statement Regarding Code of Ethics.
Countrywide – The company offered subprime loans that later resulted in default. Critics have claimed that Countrywide employees told clients that their properties would increase in value and that their loans would be able to be refinanced when market values rose. The market values declined causing many to lose their homes. Check out Countrywide’s Code of Ethics.
Beechnut – Beechnut’s ethics came into question when it was discovered that they were selling “apple juice” to foreign countries that contained something less than apple juice. For more information on this scandal, check out Beechnut’s History and Apple Juice Scandal.
Starbucks – Clustering strategy may force smaller companies out of business. There were so many Starbucks on street corners that movies like Best In Show made fun of how there might be one Starbucks right across the street from another. Check out Starbucks’ Code of Ethics for CEO and Financial Leaders.
Nike – Manufacturing practices included producing shoes offshore to save money. Nike has used its share of sweatshops in manufacturing. They have come under fire for human rights violations. Check out Nike’s Code of Ethics.
Companies have something called a code of ethics that outlines how they will run their business. Sometimes they refer to this as their code of conduct. There aren’t always laws to govern things like ethics. Therefore, it is up to companies to define some of their ethical behavior.
According to the International Labor Organization, “Unlike labor law, corporate codes of conduct do not have any authorized definition. The concept “corporate code of conduct” refers to companies’ policy statements that define ethical standards for their conduct. There is a great variance in the ways these statements are drafted. Corporate codes of conduct are completely voluntary. They can take a number of formats and address any issue – workplace issues and workers’ rights being just one possible category. Also, their implementation depends totally on the company concerned.”
The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011. They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.
Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined. Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow. For more specifics, click here: Apple Value
The movie The Social Network showcased Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to create an enormous business from seemingly nothing. Not all entrepreneurs have been accepted to Harvard like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to hit it big. However, having the intelligence to get there doesn’t hurt.
I grew up next door to a very smart man who worked his way through a state college and started a little company with $5000. That man was Leonard (Sam) Shoen who created U-Haul by asking gas station owners to let him rent trucks from their lots. Amerco is now the parent of U-Haul and is a far cry from the corner gas station beginnings.