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Ethical performance evaluation: an extension and illustration

Ethical performance evaluation: an extension and illustration Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate over time the ethical performance of a multinational foods company – Nestlé – operating in a highly dynamic, complex, and often ambiguous environment in a crisis torn Zimbabwe. Design/methodology/approach – The case study applies an ethical performance evaluation (EPE) managerial framework to evaluate the actions of Nestlé Zimbabwe at various critical decision‐making time periods. Findings – While consumer pressure groups and international rights activists in Europe condemned Nestlé's actions in Zimbabwe as unethical and unacceptable, this research found that by exploring the events over time (i.e. longitudinal research) as the context of the event (crisis in Zimbabwe) evolved, it was shown that Nestlé faced a major ethical dilemma; and may have acted ethically and indeed acceptably given the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe. Research limitations/implications – An EPE managerial framework is a useful tool to provide insight and knowledge of a particular event, however using the framework will not determine what is ethical or not. Evaluating ethical performance is always a value judgement and therefore the framework only offers insight and knowledge into the events over time, allowing the researcher or manager the opportunity to draw better, more informed, ethical decisions. Practical implications – The case study provides an illustration of a dynamic approach that can be used by business managers to assess the ethical performance of a company. Originality/value – The paper proposes that an ethical performance of a company needs to be evaluated over time as the context of the events evolves. The EPE managerial framework is adapted to emphasize the importance of evaluating the time and context parameters. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Business Review Emerald Publishing

Ethical performance evaluation: an extension and illustration

European Business Review , Volume 23 (6): 11 – Oct 18, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0955-534X
DOI
10.1108/09555341111175408
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate over time the ethical performance of a multinational foods company – Nestlé – operating in a highly dynamic, complex, and often ambiguous environment in a crisis torn Zimbabwe. Design/methodology/approach – The case study applies an ethical performance evaluation (EPE) managerial framework to evaluate the actions of Nestlé Zimbabwe at various critical decision‐making time periods. Findings – While consumer pressure groups and international rights activists in Europe condemned Nestlé's actions in Zimbabwe as unethical and unacceptable, this research found that by exploring the events over time (i.e. longitudinal research) as the context of the event (crisis in Zimbabwe) evolved, it was shown that Nestlé faced a major ethical dilemma; and may have acted ethically and indeed acceptably given the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe. Research limitations/implications – An EPE managerial framework is a useful tool to provide insight and knowledge of a particular event, however using the framework will not determine what is ethical or not. Evaluating ethical performance is always a value judgement and therefore the framework only offers insight and knowledge into the events over time, allowing the researcher or manager the opportunity to draw better, more informed, ethical decisions. Practical implications – The case study provides an illustration of a dynamic approach that can be used by business managers to assess the ethical performance of a company. Originality/value – The paper proposes that an ethical performance of a company needs to be evaluated over time as the context of the events evolves. The EPE managerial framework is adapted to emphasize the importance of evaluating the time and context parameters.

Journal

European Business ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 18, 2011

Keywords: Zimbabwe; Multinational companies; Business ethics; Ethics; Performance evaluation; Nestlé

References