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Corporate Social Responsibility at McDonald’s – Part 2

Explanation and Evaluation of ‘Problematic’ Areas of Business Practice

The McDonald’s company has been growing and spreading internationally for the past three decades, although the company looks convenient, cheap, and clean yet still there are several negative aspects of the business concerning corporate social responsibility. Despite paying their employees low wages and negatively influencing other cultures, the company has managed to position itself as the positive piece of Americana (Paetzold, 2010, p.23).  The unethical business practices of the company are demonstrated as follows:

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a. Environmental Practices

Under the influence of the mass production ethics, the McDonald’s company has developed new production methods in the form of using frozen beef patties rather than fresh ground beef.  Moreover, the company is developing a genetically modified potato somewhat then utilizing the locally grown produce to make sure that all the fries of the company have the uniform taste (Kotler & Lee, 2005, p.31).

Concerning to the environment, the business practices of the McDonald’s is questionable as different from fresh ground beef patty at the local butcher shop, the hamburger patty of the McDonald’s contains the meat from more than thousand different cattle raised in several different countries (Kotler & Lee, 2005, p.65).  Hence, this raises the predictability of the specific patty of the company containing contaminants of unknown origins.  The business practice of the company using the food from the extreme distances is problematic environmentally from the perspective of the public health, as the utilization of the beef from multiple sources makes the contaminated sources far more difficult to trace (May et al., 2007, p.78).

The company is famous and questionable concerning the destruction of the tropical forests in order to make the cattle ranching.  The company produces annually over a million tons of packaging that negatively affects the environment and contributes to global warming, ozone layer destruction, depletion of mineral resources as well as destruction of the natural habitats (Rendtorff, 2009, p.67). The company purchases its meat from privatized farms that is not the problem for itself but the conflict arises when the privatized farmlands are built on the land where the abundant rainforest once located and hence the company is playing the significant role in polluting the air (May et al., 2007, p.87). Need custom assignment help? We are here for you.

b. Workplace Practices

Apart from the ineffective business practice of the McDonald’s concerning the health and environment, the company misconducts with its workers by paying low wages particularly those who perform assembly line factory work and factory type work (Rendtorff, 2009, p.65).  However, the work performed by the burger manufacturers and drive through cashiers were reclassified as the factory work then that can add around 3.5 manufacturing jobs to the economy of the country. Moreover, within the thirty one thousand stores of McDonald’s around the world, several workers of the company get paid minimum wages despite the fact that the company is currently earning more than billion dollars, which is surely the unethical business practice of the company (Kotler & Lee, 2005, p.54).

Several employees have complained against the company that ranges from discrimination and lack of rights to the understaffing, few breaks, as well as illegal hours and kitchens flooded with sewage.  Moreover, the sale of the food that has been dropped and the type of low paid work has been termed as the’ McJobs’ concerning the company (May et al., 2007, p.76).

Moreover, the McDonald’s employs over one and half million individuals around the world and over half of them under the twenty-one years old (Paetzold, 2010, p.66).  The McDonald has adopted the age discrepancies between the adult and younger workers means that they pay most of their employees less than the normal adult minimum salary.  For instance, the company pays around sixteen year old as little as the 6.80 dollars for an hour.  However, the employees of the company also experiences poor safety conditions within the company (Tannock, 2001, p.65). 

In McDonald’s, if the store is busy when the guaranteed hours are finished, the employees are required to work the extra time and it is quite unexpected for the managers of the company to tell their workers to leave before their scheduled hours are finished but rather worked as extra working hours (Macdonald & Sirianni, 1996, p.44).  However, the company does not pay overtime rates even when the employees work very long hours and pressure of the company to keep the profits high and cost of wages low consequences understaffing and therefore the staff is required to work harder, faster with extra working hours (May et al., 2007, p.88).

c. Advertising Practices

The company have spent over two billion dollars each year on the advertising in the form of using collectable toys, televisions advertisements, promotional schemes in the schools and figures such as McDonald’s has attacked main targets group that are children (Mullerat & Brennan, 2010, p.77).  However, several parents around the world argue strongly to the influence of the advertisements of the company over their children.  In the past years, the company advertisements in the form of McDonald’s Happy meals to kids with the support of airlines have opted to directly target the children raised the moral concern of fairness (Rendtorff, 2009, p.87).

The online advertisers of the company create websites that are virtually playground for the kids; the company utilizes games and contests hoping to get to visit their websites repeatedly (Werther & Chandler, 2010, p.70).  The website of the company asks for the personal information from the kids by allowing them send e-mail to their favorite cartoon character.  While, the company sells personal information of the children to other companies to particularly target the children for other purposes.  For instance, in order to send the letter to the Ronald, the kids are required to answer the questions such as their name, grade in school, favorite MacDonald’s food, favorite sport and favorite book and after the letter is sent, a response is sent back thanking the child from the company (Werther & Chandler, 2010, p.76).

The McDonald’s has conducted unethical practice about their French fries by saying their French fries as vegetarian however, several veteran ingredient readers have observed that the fries of the company contain ingredient that includes beef.  However, the lawsuit was filed against the company and the 10 million dollars settlement was agreed where the 6 million dollar were gone to the vegetarian groups (Mullerat & Brennan, 2010, p.45). 

d. Manufacturing Practices

In the manufacturing areas of the company, the unusual waste from all the food company sell is generated as well as massive amount of power and energy are used to keep all of the manufacturing branches up and running (Macdonald & Sirianni, 1996, p.87).  In the manufacturing factories, the company produces pollution by destroying the natural rain forest for the manufacturing of their products.  Moreover, during the manufacturing of the products, the farmers of the company usually treat the animals quite inhumanely (Rendtorff, 2009, p.87).  The company usually buys eggs from the suppliers that de-beak hens considering that cutting off the beaks of the chicken reduces the damage of fighting of chickens (Rendtorff, 2009, p.67).

For instance, concerning the irresponsible manufacturing practices of the company, the Chrissy Haley, who is the wife of the assistant coach of the Dallas Cowboy has found rat in her salad after ordering the salad and happy meal for her child (May et al., 2007, p.76).  However, the Chrissy Haley has tested negative results for illness and sued McDonald’s for 1.7 million dollar for both the dead rodent in her salad as well as McDonald’s neglected response towards the incident.  The corporation has decided to be uncooperative during the course of the lawsuit (Mullerat & Brennan, 2010, p.66).

During manufacturing of their products the farmers of the company make the hens standing for the longer period, stretch their legs and wings inhumanely. The farmers of the company also forced molting of hens meaning that shedding the features of the hens through which the hens are rested from the production of eggs and hence restored the capability of the hen to lay eggs (Macdonald & Sirianni, 1996, p.87).  However, with the inappropriate utilization of the manufacturing products, the company has given experience to the children with the life threatening illnesses as the diet offered by the company contributes to obesity, heart disease, asthma and predictably the mad cow disease (Werther & Chandler, 2010, p.67). 

e. Community and Society Practice

The business practice of McDonald’s has been mainly focusing on increasing the profit for the organization and it has quoted many times as to serving the community by providing healthy and safe foods, good working environment and profit to its shareholders (Griseri & Seppala, 2010). Different problematic areas as discussed above indicated that this claim of the McDonald’s is partially wrong. Apparently, the company has been utilizing its values and heritage for creating the impact on the communities of the world, but concerning the ethical and social moral standards, the company has been deviant (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2008 ). It is found that McDonald’s has established a community support framework, which aims to deal with the community involvement of the firm. The framework entails four ring programs including RMHC and children program, partnership and sponsorships, owner and operator involvement and disaster relief (Kotler & Lee, 2005). Such programs, relief, and sponsorship are of great significance but the company’s business practices has negative influence in terms of benefiting communities (Goldsmith & Carter, 2009). It is found that business practices of the company related to diet and nutrition, health and safety, advertising and marketing, and environment protection do not relatively show the commitment of the company with the community betterment. According to Godfrey (2000), negative and positive effects of business on the community have become wide due to global business practice. In the case of McDonald’s, it is seen that global business practice of the company has made it difficult for the management to ignore any of the aspect related to community. It is further found that the claim of the company related to serving the community actually refers to serving its own interest, because non-ethical standards followed by the company benefits the company but negatively affects the community (Cross & Miller, 2008). 

f. Ethical Governance Practice

According to Blasio(2008), McDonald’s has established effective and efficient ethical governance for its business practice. In this view, McDonald’s has been found as one of the most ethical company of the world (Kotler & Lee, 2005). Despite being recognized as most ethical company, it is found that ethical governance practice of the company does not comply with ethical standards and what other call‘corporate social responsibility’. The company claims that it has built ethical corporate governance, which is integrated with the professional and personal foundation of the company. The board of directors of the company is the responsible body for the ethical governance within the organization. This body ensures that company’s business practice is according to ethical and moral standards while avoiding any violation of legal compliance (Williams, 2003). In order to meet the ethical and moral standards, the board issues the Standards of Business Conduct as a guide to the ethical and legal responsibilities for the company’s business and activities. These standards and code of conducts are not meant to be for owner/operators, suppliers or their employees (Crane & Matten, 2007). The essential element noticed in the guide is that within the ethics of the company, there is more focus on protecting the assets of the company through legal actions. The loophole in this guide is that the company’ ethical code of conduct is based on the protection of its assets including name of McDonald’s, trademark, intellectual property, and financial assets (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2008 ). However, the significant element of this code of conduct aims to protect the assets of the company from being used non-ethically or illegally. This shows fair and honest code of business conduct but it can be taken into account as avoiding any legal obligation or conflict of interest. Moreover, there is separate policy and code of conduct determined for the suppliers, employees, boards of directors and investors and customers that intends to identify unique code of conduct for related people. 


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