- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Buying and Merchandising Management

By:   •  Essay  •  1,036 Words  •  November 10, 2009  •  839 Views

Page 1 of 5

Essay title: Buying and Merchandising Management

Buying and Merchandising Management


„X Review relevant literature on ethical issues in retailing with particular emphasis on buying and sourcing products.

„X Comment on at least one ethical issue that has arisen in recent history in the context of Irish retailing that links to your literature search.

What is ethics?

For many people, when asked what ethics is about, they find it hard to explain and simply answer that it is the difference between right and wrong. This would seem to suggest that there are potential absolutes of ethical behaviour. However, this is not the case. What constitutes Ў§rightЎЁ or Ў§wrongЎЁ in one social or cultural context may not be a case in the other. It is difficult to actually define ethics that is acceptable to everyone; it can be seen as being a set of social and individual guidelines that shape the nature of choices made, decisions taken and responses to them. These guidelines may not be constant and context specific, but provide a lens through which action can be taken and evaluated.

In business, moral dilemmas present themselves, not as differences between right and wrong, but as complex situations often with difficult trade offs, multiple alternatives, possible damage to innocent parties and career threatening or even-life threatening decisions. Often these decisions have a winner and loser, whether it is an increase or decrease in shareholders profits, advantages or disadvantages for the community or the general safety of employees.

Ethics in Buying and Sourcing

One of the most common ethical decisions companies face is - how far to go in buying business? What payments are legitimate for companies to make to win orders and, the reverse side of that coin, when do gifts to employees become bribes? According to Sir Adrian Cadbury in Ў§Ethical Managers make there own rulesЎЁ (1987) there are to methods to test whether a payment is acceptable from a companyЎ¦s point of view: Is the payment on the face of the invoice? Would it embarrass the recipient to have the gift mentioned in the companyЎ¦s newsletter?

The first test ensures that all payments however unusual they may seem, are recorded and go through the books. The second is aimed at distinguishing bribes from gifts, a definition, which depends on the size of the gift, and the influence it is likely to have on the recipient.

The logic behind these rules of thumb is that openness and ethics go together and that actions are unethical if they will not stand to scrutiny. Openness in arriving at decisions reflects the same logic. It gives those with an interest in a particular decision the chance to make their views known and opens to argument the basis on which the decision is finally taken.

Openness is also the best way, according to Sir Adrian Cadbury, the best way to disarm outside suspicion of companiesЎ¦ motives and actions. Disclosure is not an answer for improving the relations between business and society, but willingness to operate an open system is the foundation of those relationships.

Dunnes Stores Strike

In July 1984, ten Mandate members employed in a Dublin city centre branch of Dunnes Stores supermarket went on official strike in support of a colleague who had been suspended for refusing to handle South African produce in accordance with our UnionsЎ¦ Anti-Apartheid policy. The strike lasted for two years and nine months until the Irish government introduced sanctions banning the importation of all South African agricultural produce.

The strike won support from many quarters at home and internationally. The African National Congress congratulated the strikers on their solidarity with South African trade unionists and two of the workers involved travelled to New York to address the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid. Bishop Desmond Tutu and the South African Council of Churches were particularly supportive and a delegation of the strikers met Bishop Tutu in London as he travelled to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.


Continue for 4 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Buying and Merchandising Management and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2009, 11). Buying and Merchandising Management. Retrieved 11, 2009, from

"Buying and Merchandising Management" 11 2009. 2009. 11 2009 <>.

"Buying and Merchandising Management.", 11 2009. Web. 11 2009. <>.

"Buying and Merchandising Management." 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009.