Reflective Journal A Essay Example

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Reflective Journal A

These are the four external factors that influence businesses: the economy, the government, the need for corporate citizenship and changing consumer trends (University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law n.d., p. 8). There are several ways in which each of the four factors can influence the performance of Ford and Walmart. Whereas Ford produces goods in the form of cars, Walmart provides its services as a retailer. Government passes regulations that may affect the performance of the two businesses. Moreover, the amount of money that the two businesses pay in the form of taxes is determined by regulations which are developed and enforced by the government. Changes in the economy and consumer trends can affect the performance of Walmart and Ford because such changes affect the ability of people to purchase the products and services of these companies. Therefore, when an economic downturn occurs, the demand for the services and products of Ford and Walmart decreases. As a result, Walmart and Ford make losses. The growing demand for corporate citizenship means that consumers demand to know the steps that companies are taking to safeguard the environment and give back to the society. Therefore, the reputation and performance of Walmart and Ford depends on how responsible the two companies are.

There are four types of competition: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly (University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law n.d., p. 19). Under perfect competition, the market is composed of very many small sellers of products and services. Similarly, under conditions of perfect competition, the market is composed of very many small consumers. Therefore, in a perfect competition market, neither suppliers nor the buyers can influence the prices of the product (Pride & Ferrell 2008, p. 67). Buyers and sellers accept the price that is set by market dynamics. In general, markets for consumer products meet the conditions for perfect competition. Under monopolistic competition, many sellers attempt to differentiate the products that they sell in the market (Pride & Ferrell 2008, p. 67). For example, firms offering financial services as well as those offering communication services attempt to differentiate their products. Under oligopoly, very few suppliers concentrate on serving specific areas of the market. For example, Internet search engines are few and concentrate on specific segments of the market. Similarly, companies offering high-tech services such security printing are few and can concentrate on specific regions. Under monopoly, a single supplier controls the market (Pride & Ferrell 2008, p. 67). For example, the government can nationalise a specific service and give a monopoly status to a single entity to supply the service to market.

Ethical dilemmas are described as situations in which a business leader faces a ‘right versus right’ situation (University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law n.d., p.29). A business leader who is facing an ethical dilemma must choose between two equally acceptable but opposite alternatives. Under such circumstances, a decision maker must choose an alternative not because the other option is wrong. Dilemmas arise because businesses have many stakeholders who normally have conflicting interests (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell 2012, p. 31). For example, a business manager may be faced with the dilemma of whether to increase the salaries of employees and thus reduce shareholders’ earnings, or to ignore the workers and please the shareholders.

An ethical decision relates to a situation in which a business manager must choose between right and wrong. In other words, an ethical decision presents a ‘right versus wrong’ scenario for the business manager. The business manager must identify the issue at hand as the first step of making an ethical decision. Next, the manager must develop various alternatives and then assess the impact of all the alternatives. Lastly, the leader selects an alternative that is the most appropriate one. For example, a business leader faced with a case of gross employee indiscipline may have to assess the situation and decide on whether to terminate the work contract of the employee.

An ethical lapse occurs when someone takes an action that is clearly illegal or unethical. In other words, when an incident of ethical lapse occurs, a person loses his or her sense of ethical behaviour and ends up committing an action that is unmistakeably illegal or unethical. To understand how ethical lapse occurs, it is important to consider the test that one is likely to apply to a situation to determine whether the situation is ethical. First, a person decides whether a specific action is legal. If a person discovers that an action is illegal, the person is unlikely to commit the action, under normal circumstances. Moreover, if an action is not illegal, a person is likely to ask him or herself whether the action is fair to all parties. Next, a person is likely to examine the possible impact of the intended action on various stakeholders. One normally considers the opinions and feelings of others before deciding. If this entire process fails or if a person chooses to take an action that is clearly illegal and unethical, then the person has undergone an instance of ethical lapse. For example, a manager who deliberately colludes with auditors to conceal losses of a firm commits an action that is clearly illegal and unethical.

Importing involves accessing goods manufactured by an overseas company and then selling them in the domestic market (Moore 2008, p. 455). The importing company covers all the financial costs associated with bringing into the country goods from a different country and then marketing them in the local market. Exporting involves selling goods in a foreign country. The manufacturing company makes sure that it meets all the required obligations before it successfully exports its goods to specific countries and markets the goods in those countries. In general, importing and exporting are costly processes because the companies that are involved in importing and exporting must have the required financial and technical capacity to undertake the processes (University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law n.d., p. 86). Under licensing, a company that wants to internationalise gets into an agreement with a local company in the targeted country (Moore 2008, p. 456). Under the agreement, the local company can use the special procedures of the parent company to produce the products of the parent company and market them using the original brand name. Franchising makes it possible for companies to allow smaller ones in different countries to use the brand name of big company. Licensing and franchising are the better methods because they are less costly than importing and exporting.


Ferrell, OC, Fraedrich, J Ferrell, L 2012, Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases, Cengage, London.

Moore, CW 2008, Managing small business: an entrepreneurial emphasis, Cengage, Mason, OH.

Pride, WM & Ferrell, OC 2008, Marketing, Cengage, Mason, OH.

University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law n.d., Foundations of business, University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government & Law.