fast-food franchise, International Business Communications

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In 800 – 1000 words, using APA format, with a minimum of 5 credible references and an individuality report of less than 20%, this needs to be completed with great attention to grammatical detail and citations. 

Your fast-food franchise has been cleared for business in all 4
countries (United Arab Emirates, Israel, Mexico, and China). You now have to
start construction on your restaurants. The financing is coming from the United
Arab Emirates, the materials are coming from Mexico and China, the engineering
and technology are coming from Israel, and the labor will be hired locally
within these countries by your management team from the United States. You
invite all of the players to the headquarters in the United States for a big
meeting to explain the project and get to know one another. In preparation for
the meeting, you want to avoid cultural silos, while ensuring all parties
engage with each other. Answer the following questions in preparation:

  • What
    do you know about these cultures—specifically their economic, political,
    educational, and social systems—that could help you in getting them
    together?
  • What
    are some of the contrasting cultural values of these countries?

As you begin to plan, you are concerned about some of the
language barriers, particularly the fact that the United States is a
low-context country, and some of the countries present are high-context
countries. Furthermore, you only speak English, and you do not have an
interpreter planned at this time. What strategy would you use to begin to have
everyone develop a relationship with each other that will help ease future
negotiations, development, and implementation? Address the following questions
in your response.

  • How
    will this affect the presentation?
  • What
    are some of the issues you should be concerned about regarding verbal and
    nonverbal language for this group?
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some additional information provided for use with this paper —

British American Tobacco Company:

Unethical Corporate Social Responsibility or Good Business Practices

  When one examines the topic of corporate ethics, there are many aspects one can focus on ranging from the knowledgeable production of harmful products to the use of illegal business practices such as bribery.  These are widespread and can be applied to virtually all corporations or industries around the world.  However, what about business practices that are legal, and viewed as socially responsible, but could have potentially negative impacts?  If a corporation establishes and enacts a strategy, which benefits its shareholders and stakeholders, but could cause others to violate agreements, is that strategy truly ethical?

While all industries are subject to the potential of unethical behavior, one industry can be argued to fall under complete scrutiny – the tobacco industry.  In an attempt to answer these questions, this paper examines one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, British American Tobacco Company (BAT) and a partnership it formed with Earthwatch Europe.  Beginning with an overview of BAT, the ethicality of their partnership is examined, and the impacts of the partnership are discussed.  This paper concludes with an opinion on the ethicality of the partnership.

Overview of BAT

  British American Tobacco (BAT) was founded in 1902 and provides their tobacco products in more than 200 markets worldwide (BAT, 2015c).  Operating in a controversial industry, as of 2014 BAT supports over 100,000 contracted tobacco growers around the world and has sold over 600 billion cigarettes (BAT, 2015b).  From an economic perspective, BAT maintains 44 production facilities in 41 countries, employs over 57,000 global citizens, and pays over £30 billion in taxes to governments around the world (BAT, 2015b).  BAT is a significant economic contributor to many developing nations.

  BAT believes in an open communication, active engagement policy to improve stakeholder relations. Through partnerships and direct investment actions, BAT engages in a variety of CSR activities. BAT has engaged in a €134 Million program with the EC to address the tobacco black market and it is instrumental in addressing child labour in the tobacco industry. Additionally, BAT is actively partnered with three non-governmental organizations (NGO), which have resulted in increased biodiversity awareness (BAT, 2015a), one of which is of significant importance. 

In 2002, BAT partnered with the European headquarters of the Earthwatch Institute – Earthwatch Europe (EE) (McDaniel & Malone, 2012), a non-profit, NGO whose mission is to promote environmental sustainability (Earthwatch Institute, 2015a) through partnerships with corporations who globally “show a credible commitment to improving their environmental sustainability” (Earthwatch Institute, 2015b, ¶3).  A cursory review of BAT’s website reveals this institutionalized commitment with an entire section dedicated to sustainability (BAT, 2015b).  Such an alignment between a tobacco company and an environmental NGO, communicates that BAT is an environmentally friendly corporation and that the sale of their tobacco products provides global benefits. While these CSR activities are commendable, and serve to benefit both the organization and the larger global community, the EE partnership has come under ethical scrutiny.  

CSR and Ethical Dilemma

  BAT has been the target of accusations of unethical behavior for quite some time.  While some accusations are attributed to the industry that they operate in, such as the 2002 lawsuit brought against the company by Mrs. McCabe (Nahan, 2002), others are directly attributed to the decisions made by the company.  While there are obvious benefits of partnering with NGOs in general, for BAT ethical concerns have been raised. 

Specifically, it has been argued that the partnership with Earthworks Europe provides BAT with a launching point for building relationships with other NGO’s globally. While on the surface this type of strategic alignment makes sound business sense, the alignment does not fully adhere to typical NGO activities.  NGOs “frequently partner with private companies to provide vital products and services” (Cavusgil, Knight, & Riesenberger, 2014, p.121) needed to accomplish their objectives.  Since it is unclear tobacco products can help EE attain its objectives, it has been argued that BAT chose to partner with EE because NGOs have a high degree of power of with respect to influencing policymakers in multiple national governments (McDaniel & Malone, 2012).  

This partnership could cause conflicting interests for developing countries because it could cause nations to violate World Health Organization (WHO) agreements (McDaniel & Malone, 2012).  Article 5.3 of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, states that countries “shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law” (WHO, 2003).  Since EE is in partnership with BAT, and the EE, along with other NGO’s can influence national policies, the conflict of interest which ensues can be in violation of Article 5.3 since national policies will inevitably serve the commercial interests of BAT. 

Simply put, it is arguably unethical for BAT to pursue relationships with NGOs that would serve its needs with policy-makers but potentially result in violate violation of WHO objectives.  While this decision makes sound business sense, demonstrates good social responsibility, and ultimately benefits stakeholders, such a partnership can be viewed as an unethical business practice.  The benefit to BAT of the partnership with EE puts BAT in the position to leverage its relationship to potentially lobby and manipulate global regulations in its favor which can be viewed as unethical use of power.  Therefore, while some corporate decisions may be socially responsible, this does not automatically make them ethical. 

Conclusion

  All organizations globally are faced with the question of what is ethical and what is not. This paper examined the allegations that the partnership between British American Tobacco corporation and an NGO, Earthworks Europe, was unethical.  BAT is a tobacco company which produces cigarettes and serves to benefit from an increased volume of smokers worldwide.  BAT has chosen to partner with NGOs, who have significant power with respect to policy-makers who establish national regulations and laws. Nations around the world, through an agreement with the World Health Organization, demonstrated a commitment to reduce tobacco use worldwide. BAT’s relationship NGOs enables them to potentially manipulate global regulations in its favor which is an unethical use of power.  This case demonstrates that while some corporate decisions may be viewed and perceived as socially responsible, this perception does not automatically make them ethical.   

References

BAT. (2015a). Stakeholder engagement: a Commitment to open dialogue. Retrieved from http://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__9D9KCY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO933J8K?opendocument

BAT. (2015b). Sustainability. Retrieved from http://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__9D9KCY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO52AD7G?opendocument&SKN=1

BAT. (2015b). Who we are. Retrieved from http://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__9D9KCY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO52ADCY?opendocument

Cavusgil, S. T., Knight, G., & Riesenberger, J. R. (2014). International business: The new realities [3rd edition]. Pearson, New York, New York.

Earthwatch Institute. (2015a). Earthwatch mission and values. Retrieved from http://earthwatch.org/about/earthwatch-mission-and-values

Earthwatch Institute, (2015b). Our approach to partnering with business. Retrieved from http://earthwatch.org/corporate-partnerships/our-approach-to-partnering-with-business

McDaniel, P. A. & Malone, R. E. (2012). British American Tobacco’s partnership with Earthwatch Europe and its implications for public health. Global Public Health, 7(1), 14-28. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2010.549832

Nahan, M. (2002). A dose of good sense. Institute of public afairs review, 54(4), 31.

WHO. (2003). WHO framework convention on tobacco control. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/fctc/text_download/en/

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