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Todd Carnes

1. Discuss how the corporate culture at Ben & Jerry’s, as described in this case, influences the daily implementation of ethical decisions in the firm. The company believes that the “product, economic, and social” aspects of its mission statement are equally important, that mutual respect from everyone in the communities in which they are part of are necessary for a socially responsible (and ethical) existence. This vision lays the groundwork in which the company operates.

They espouse a somewhat fun and unorthodox culture, from the way they name their administrative positions, to their product branding. They also feel strongly about supporting the community—when they offered their initial stock to the public, it was only initially restricted to Vermont residents. The concept of “caring capitalism” is being consciously followed in such a way that the company operates not for the sole purpose of profit.

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Since its inception, Ben & Jerry’s operated with the improvement of the lives of its employees and the community in mind—from creating charity projects, giving to environmental causes, and implementing streamlined employee compensations—Ben & Jerry’s tries to stick to its core values and always gives something back to the community. 2. […] In what other ways could Ben & Jerry’s demonstrate to stakeholders its commitment to ethical and socially responsible conduct? In Ben & Jerry’s Social Audit, its social missions and environmental accomplishments are clearly outlined.

However, there were concerns that employee morale is low, mostly because of the assumption that the company, particularly the top management, does not/would not remain committed to its values. Since employees are in the core of the organization’s mission and values (and are therefore major stakeholders in the company), Ben & Jerry’s should not take this matter lightly—they should create more initiatives and opportunities to affirm their commitment to the community. 3. […] How can such companies protect their core values as they grow from small firms into large ones and/or are acquired by multinational conglomerates?

Companies like Ben & Jerry’s, which start out small but are ultimately acquired by conglomerates (such as Unilever) can protect their ethical and social platforms first by a legally binding pre-acquisition agreement to the effect that the constituents of the original companies top management is preserved, and that whoever are the progenitors of the company’s ethical and socially aware paradigm remain in control and thus have the ability to preserve the moral foundations of the company.

Upon acquisition, said management should not allow the safety buffer of the new umbrella company to make them complacent about upholding their original goals. The company should keep up public and internal awareness of the company’s ethical and social responsibilities. Public awareness, in particular, will be a positive driving force for the company’s goals.

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