Chapter 4 Essay Questions
Burt’s Bees mission is an Earth Friendly, Natural Personal Care Company. As part of that mission, Burt’s Bees has a Zero Waste to Landfill initiative. During what phase of the strategic marketing planning process would this initiative be pursued?
The initiative would need to be discussed during the implementation phase, which is when firms identify potential markets and discuss how to successfully deliver the four Ps.
Identify how a company might evaluate whether to support the United Way, a program that collects donations and distributes them to a wide range of charities.
If a company decides to support the United Way, it must ensure that the charities it supports will benefit the firm’s various stakeholders identified in Exhibit 4.7 (employees and their families, current and potential customers, partners, competitors, the community, and the environment).
The CEO of your firm, a distributor for a domestic beer manufacturer, has asked you to take on a special project. She has been hearing about a growing trend toward corporate social responsibility, but wonders whether this is a reasonable investment for the firm. Outline the costs and benefits in general terms and draw your own conclusion for her consideration.
A number of options could be considered, but the student should focus on ways in which the distributor could serve the different stakeholders identified in Exhibit 4.7 (employees and their families, current and potential customers, partners, competitors, the community, and the environment). As a beer distributor, the student can bring in issues associated with alcoholic consumption, recycling, and green marketing considerations.
Paul wants to work for a firm that demonstrates corporate social responsibility. Draw up a list of questions Paul could use in an interview to determine the level of commitment of potential employers.
The student should include questions addressing the ways in which the firm serves the various stakeholder groups identified in Exhibit 4.7 (employees and their families, current and potential customers, partners, competitors, the community, and the environment).
How would you distinguish a firm that practices corporate social responsibility from one that behaves ethically?
The student should focus on the nature of relations with the firm’s community and causes it supports.
Respond to the question, “Which is a more important corporate objective: making a profit, or obtaining and keeping customers?”
Although firms cannot stay in business without earning a profit, using profit as the sole guide for corporate actions can lead to short-term profit that may cause the firm to lose customers in the long run.
Why are marketers often singled out among business disciplines as the cause of consumers’ ethical concerns?
Unlike people in accounting or finance, people in marketing interact directly with the public. Because they are in the public’s eye, consumers can observe unethical marketing practices such as deceptive advertising, promotion of shoddy products, products that damage the environment, and other marketing issues affecting consumers’ attitudes toward the profession.
What types of unethical behavior are most frequently encountered in marketing?
-high-pressure, misleading, or deceptive sales tactics -misrepresenting company earnings, sales, or revenues -withholding or destroying information that could hurt company sales or image -false or misleading advertising.
Paulo, owner of a local plumbing repair company, wants to improve his company’s reputation for corporate social responsibility. What could Paulo do?
Corporate social responsibility includes a firm’s voluntary actions to address ethical, social, and environmental impacts of its business operations and concerns of stakeholders. Answers will vary but a plumbing repair company could volunteer to help with a Habitat home, assist with community efforts to help poor or elderly homeowners, provide a free seminar on how consumers can avoid being taken advantage of, or offer to replace aging lead pipes in public buildings at cost.
After a series of embarrassing and unprofessional actions by her marketing team, Ming wants to ethically align personal and corporate goals within her firm. What general and specific actions will she need to take?
In general, she will need to establish and build a strong ethical climate. Specifically, she will need explicit rules for governing the firm’s transactions, a code of ethics, and a system for rewarding and punishing behavior.
How does corporate social responsibility relate to ethics?
The student can explore a number of dimensions. Some will develop the issues summarized in Exhibit 4.2. Others may explore personal feelings about ethics, companies, and responsibilities.
Funeral home businesses were recently criticized for accepting payments from medical parts companies for assisting medical parts companies in finding families who would allow materials to be harvested from deceased family members. Though not illegal, the payments raised ethical questions. How should the funeral industry go about addressing these questions?
-Identify issues: What are the issues? -Gather information and identify stakeholders: How widespread is the practice? Which groups are raising questions? What are their concerns? -Brainstorm and evaluate alternatives: Should the payments be banned? Should they be made known to donating families? Should they be shared with donating families? Other alternatives? -Choose a course of action: Should the choice be industry-wide or left to individual firms?
If there are no correct answers to ethically troubling situations you might face in your career, how can you be expected to perform ethically?
A wide range of responses can be anticipated, but the more mature student will be able to explore dilemmas, personal ethics, the culture of a firm, and the realities of the marketplace in his or her answer.
Jacinta has just learned that a brand of clothing she has been selling for years in her store is being made by workers in sweatshops, under inhumane working conditions, by workers paid subsistence wages. Which of the questions in the Ethical Decision-Making Metric will most likely affect her decision to discontinue the brand?
Answers may vary, but the first test, the publicity test, “Would I want to see this action on the front page of the local paper?” would likely be important. Any ethical retailer would not want to be publicly associated with selling sweatshop-made products. The person-in-the-mirror test could also be important. Could she live with herself making money off sweatshop-made products? The transparency test could also affect her decision. Could she justify not taking the brand off her shelves given the information she has received?
Why do the authors state that “using profit as the sole guiding light for corporate action” can harm the company?
Decisions to maximize short-term profits can cause the firm to lose customers in the long run.
Why are marketers more likely to be singled out for criticism about unethical behavior than other business professionals?
Because marketers interact directly with customers while managers, accountants, finance, and other business professionals are less visible to consumers.
What short-run versus long-run ethical dilemma do marketers often face?
Doing what is beneficial for them and possibly the firm in the short run versus doing what is right and beneficial for the firm and society in the long run.
Martin, a sales rep for a wholesale food supply firm, knows that the new head chef at one of the restaurants he calls on is inexperienced. Martin knows that he can talk the chef into a large order and make a significant monthly bonus from his company, but suspects that the chef will soon realize that she did not need the quantities she was talked into buying. What frequent marketing ethical dilemma does Martin face?
Doing what is beneficial for him and possibly the firm in the short run versus doing what is right and beneficial for the firm and society in the long run.
What is the difference between government regulation of business and corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility is a set of voluntary efforts, not required by law.
During which phase(s) of the strategic marketing planning process are ethical issues likely to arise?
Issues can arise in any phase of the process.
A local deli has decided that it wants to become more socially responsible. For three of the stakeholder groups listed in the chapter, suggest socially responsible actions the deli could take to serve those stakeholders.
* Employees: The deli could offer additional benefits to employees, or could investigate its pay structure to ensure that employees are paid fairly at all levels of responsibility. * Community: The deli could support a community project—perhaps donating food to a local food bank. * Customers: The deli could ensure that it offers healthy dining choices on its menu.
Describe the four steps in the Ethical Decision-Making Framework and include some questions that should be asked in each step.
1. Identify issues: What are the issues? 2. Gather information and identify stakeholders: How widespread is the practice? Who are the stakeholders? Which groups are raising questions? What are their concerns? 3. Brainstorm and evaluate alternatives: What are the possible courses of action? 4. Choose a course of action: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative course of action? What potential legal issues may be involved? Does the decision being made meet the stated decision-making criteria? What are the ethical issues?
Explain why people may make unethical decisions. How can a firm ensure that the people who work for it make ethical decisions?
Every individual is a product of his or her culture, upbringing, genes, and various other influences that may influence what is considered unethical behavior. The best thing a company can do is create an ethical climate in the workplace with explicit rules for governing transactions, including a code of ethics, and a system for rewarding and punishing inappropriate behavior.
Name at least two examples of ethical behavior and two examples of socially responsible behavior that you have witnessed in a company or heard about through the media. How do these instances meet the criteria for ethical and socially responsible behavior as outlined in the text?
Answers will vary but should focus on the definitions of ethical and socially responsible behavior.
Briefly describe the three phases of the strategic marketing planning process and give one example of an ethical dilemma that might arise during each phase.
Answers will vary but must list the planning, implementation, and control phases of the strategic marketing planning process and an appropriate example for each phase.
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