Ethnic Leadership and Decision Making - Ethical Dilemma Faced by KFC - Essay Writing Assessment Answer

March 02, 2018
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1AFHC

Question:Ethnic Leadership and Decision Making

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Ethnic Leadership and Decision Making

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Ethnic Leadership and Decision Making


Employees are often encountered with ethical dilemmas in their workplaces. Dilemmas are situations which a choice has to be made between two options. Ethical dilemmas are common and sometimes they are difficult to answer them, however the concepts might be straight forward, but challenges come in execution. Dilemmas are caused even when on organization has well-placed procedures and policies and are conversant with laws and regulations. There are three conditions which may be considered as a dilemma. The first is when a person is in a position which he has to make a decision between a good and a bad course. The second form of a dilemma is when there are multiple choices, and you have to choose one though each one is favorable in its way (Clarkson, 2015, pp 25-26). Then the final one is a condition where even if you choose one action some ethical state has to be compromised. Almost all organizations face dilemmas, but we are going to look at the dilemmas which Kentucky fried chicken encounters. In this chapter, we discuss the main dilemmas caused by KFC and the relative the importance of the dilemmas.

Dilemmas faced by KFC

Kentucky fried chicken is known as one of the leading and largest fast food brands in the world. It was founded in 1952 by Colonel Harland Sanders, but to date, it is known for operating a franchise and having a worldwide chain of around 11000 stores which sell and prepare ready to eat foods. Recently there has been some debate on living standard of people where they were arguing about health and nutritional attributes. Some people were more concerned about health and healthy living. Due to this debates, people increased their concerns on fast foods (Turban, 2015 pp 30). A lot of information and reports convinced people that fast foods have no nutrition, it is junk food and according to reports it leads to unhealthy lifestyle and obese weight. KFC faced this dilemma which hit them so hard because they had already started to build a good reputation in the first food industry, but now they are being accused of feeding people with unhealthy foods.

KFC has been one of most popular food joints with an enormous amount of individuals patronizing the company and the foods and services which they produce. According to Ogunyemi (2015 pp 87), It is of great importance for every food company to adhere and meet ethical standards of providing healthy foods. However, one of the employees confessed that they have been using oil with Tran’s fatty acids which are known for high-level cholesterol and has almost 75 percent of increasing cardiovascular diseases. However, this accusation led KFC to undergo investigations through the consumer group center of science and to their surprise the allegations were true therefore they were advised on using healthier products for their cooking. During this investigations, a random research was done in China due to its large population and the huge success KFC has had in China. However, research was done by Information Resources Management Association, (2016 pp 78). Found that KFC China uses Sudan Red in a product which they were introducing known as New Orleans roasted wing which had a harmful aspect of human beings and was not recommended by a health specialist. However, they were stopped from using this product by the China health ministry and were advised on using healthy and safety food ingredients instead.

The management of KFC reduced their prices to gain competitive advantages and have a huge client base by using cheaper oils on cooking which contains Tran’s fatty acids and Sudan Red which risked the health of its customers for their advantage. The suppliers had hiked the food ingredients and the Sudan Red to create worthiness and collect profits from KFC which was a fraud instance (Katz & Melvin, 2015 pp 23). When the government agency found KFC was endangering the lives of its customers by using unhealthy products with defects, instead of taking corrective actions they gave the company a chance to use healthier cooking ingredients instead of protecting the interest of the consumers.

How KFC handled the dilemma

KFC image was replenished by the use of oil which contained Tran’s fatty acids and dangerous food ingredients of Sudan Red in their products influenced their brand which even led to some countries demonstrating. However, KFC had a choice of refusing the allegations that they were not using this product on their foods hence adhering to the health standards and guard their image, therefore, increasing competitiveness in other international competitors. The organization has a popular brand and had the rule to prevent future circumstances happening. However, when they realized how the dilemma had affected the business and reputation therefore they stopped using this type of oil and opted for using more healthy oils for their products (Kemayou, 2016 pp 23). They developed their principle which was meeting customers’ demands in the healthiest way possible.

Kentucky fried chicken made a media report where they apologized for the allegations about the Trans fatty acids and the Sudan Red and vowed to their customers never to use such types of oils. They also upgraded their standard and conducted quality management audits so that same occurrence would never happen again. The government agency did a thorough research hence putting more healthy options and menu which favored the customers and contained healthy foods. The occurrences of their dilemma affected their sales as much as loyalty to their clients who most opted to shop on the competitor's joints. However, KFC made public promotions like producing economic suite they also reduced the cost of their products and services to increase profits (Sheridan, 2016, pp 31). They also distributed special offer discounts voucher where the public would download directly from their websites. KFC started joining the public in activities which promoted healthy living and foods which were a way of giving back to the community. They began to participate in public projects like funding the Chinese Hope project which was to mobilize the society to help school dropouts back to school. Due to their participation within two years they were able to collect up to 3 million

Theoretical concepts from managerial ethics

Rule-Based or Utilitarian Ethical Theory

According to Wymer (2015 pp 58) Utilization is known as one of the most modern ethical theories which propose that any action which is done can be considered right if it produces the most utility for the people whom might be affected. Therefore the determinants of the action are found by the effect of individuals, and the effects may be either bad or right according to the results. Individual action results mostly to the act of utilization. Utilization theory was first articulated in the late eighteenths century by Jeremy Bentham and was later improved by John Stuart Mill. The theory outlines the effects of the managerial and stakeholders decisions which may affect their business and still be the affected parties of their outcomes. Utilization theory was portrayed the KFC management when they decided to use cost reduction methods by the use of trans fatty acid oils to reduce cost hence affecting the products which they were selling. The management made the decision, and the effects were felt by the management of KFC when the number of customers started to reduce. The main aim of utilization theory is making a decision which would maximize the net profits of the organization hence minimizing the overall harms which may affect the stakeholders.

Utilitarianism theory also gives all the means in maximizing overall benefits. In the theory of utilitarianism applied when KFC had a huge customer base of almost 12 million happy customers yet they had other customers who were protesting against the chicken policy. Even though KFC had won hearts of most of its customers, it failed to the utilitarianism theory which leads people to protest hence leading to loss of most customers. According to Marais (2015 pp 97), Protest were held almost every year to stop KFC from the ethical dilemma and their concerns to be heard by the management of KFC. However, from then KFC is committed to producing ethical and responsible business through promoting Colonel Scholar programs and promotion of green activities.

Rights-Based Ethical Theory

The evolution of rights theory started back in the seventeens century by John Locke and Thomas Hobbes however, the growth continues to the eighteens century by a philosopher known as Emmanuel Kant. According to the rights theory, it is important to respect individual entitlements as the freedom of speech, their rights of privacy and the right of expression. The Kant’s theory emphasizes on the use of good morals and possession of individual human rights. The spokesman of KFC once issued a public statement addressing the issue on Tran’s fatty acid oils used in cooking. However, he said that they are taking health and safety issues very seriously and agreed on keeping the old loyal customers happy by producing more healthy foods. But again they introduced the healthy grilled chicken meal but was available to the US alone which raised a lot of question to the other worldwide customers. According to Kant’s view, KFC should act in a way to treat all the customers equally from all over the globe without favoring some customers alone. According to Mujtaba (2014 pp 23), All humans are rational because of the ability to reason and all the actions were done should make all the customers happy.

Justice-Based Ethical Theory

Formulations of the theory of justice based theory started in the fifth century B.C by Plato and Aristotle then the theory was modernized later by John Rawls. The main components if this justice was impartiality, justice and fairness. The actions taken would affect the comparative treatment of individuals or the groups which might be affected. The key points of this theory were to question the process by decisions that resulted in the outcomes if they were fair, equitable and impartial. Justice based theory supports fairness and burdens of social benefits. For the stakeholders and senior management, this theory empathizes on the importance of standards operating procedures and the rewards to the people who follow agreements in the contractual manner (Hicks, 2014 pp 32). However, this was not the case in KFC because the managerial team knew that they had breached this theory by not delivering justice to its customers who wanted to be served with fairness and justice trough delivery of healthy foods.

Relationship between ethics, leadership and decision-making

According to Clarkson (2015 pp 36), ethical behavior is more of a reflection process with good exercise that concerns the moral action of an individual through expressed different values. Ethical behavior creates and alignment between organizational values and personal values through the decision made. When ethical behavior is portrayed in an organization, there is a feeling of the integral which fosters increase of productivity and creates a feeling of teamwork within the organization. However, ethical guidelines in the workplace are always relevant if the leaders specify ethical behavior even when hiring new recruits.

Leadership is the relationship of people within a particular area as an organization. However, effective leadership is the ability to influence others on ethical beliefs, rights values and dignity. There are aspects which have to link with leadership like, honesty, trust, fairness and charisma. According to Clarkson (2015 pp 90) there is some consideration which a leader has to portray to have the ability to influence others:

  • A leader should understand ethical behavior
  • A leader should come up with strategies for implementing and promoting ethical conduct to his juniors or staff
  • Should act as a role model in implementing ethical behaviors

Personal behavior of the leader is also a determinant of ethical decision making because they are the instrumental values and the terminal values. The terminal values are factors like equality, social recognition and sense of accomplishments while instrumental values are the aspects which make a leader strive in decision making. However for an effective leader they have to develop a list of both terminal list and contributory factors because they are unique and are designed by a unique characteristic of an individual (Turban, 2015, pp 89). The moment a leader becomes consistent with the desired goals, they produce a value for the systems and are ready to achieve their goals in line with the ethical behaviors.

Great leaders have a systematic approach and character which helps them to make sound decisions regarding unethical behavior. Making ethical decisions helps in defining a moral leader due to the accountability of knowing what has to be appraised and judged in helping protect the organization from any unethical behavior. Management theory evolves in leaders who make ethical decisions (Ogunyemi, 2015 pp 63). However, there have been a few assumptions of making moral decisions in leaders like when a manager establishes the key proprieties when concertation on the main areas they are most likely to produce outstanding results in leadership. Then other assumptions are like when a manager makes practical decisions they impact positively to the organization and other individuals.

According to Kemayou (2016 pp 52) in the philosophy of management which relates to leadership, most active managers have an aspect of self-motivation which assist them in developing leadership which is satisfying. Participative leadership helps in making sound and ethical decisions, sharing of information and caring of the customers’ needs and meets. Leaders who prefer participative leadership would prefer the other employees to make decisions which would be ethically correct in their departments regarding procedures and policies. Therefore the other employees tend to get motivated and encouraged because they can make a decision on their own and be accountable to them. Leadership is used to determine the needs, understanding the personality of other employees and supporting the culture of the other employees. It is also important for a leader to develop and effective strategies which support effective performances. Therefore as the leader develops the desired future of the organization, it is important also to have ethical behavior because it is the central aspect of making ethical decisions. The relationship between ethic, leadership and decision making works together hand in hand with the other.

However Kentucky fried chicken is known as the leading fast food joints with some values of real leadership and decision making. KFC has a large number of employees who are the main representatives of the KFC brand they are efficient to their service to the customers due to the ethical behavior trained by their leaders in serving customers. Therefore the employees prepare food according to the ethical procedures which are laid down by their managers and provide services to the customers who walk in the restaurant every day. However, the managers have invested in training their employees on how to prepare foods and how to treat employees who walk in the restaurants which constitute essential outputs of the company. Audits conducted in this restaurants consisted of some customer survey which the employees were asked if they were satisfied to the leadership of KFC and 80 percent of the employees Sayed that they are satisfied with the leadership and decision making of the company (Hicks, 2014 pp 93). The survey was also conducted to detect the customer satisfaction where 96 percent of the customers were satisfied with the services and said that they like KFC due to its excellent customer service. Therefore ethical leadership has a direct impact on leadership and decision making.

KFC management has made some ethical decisions like protecting the employees’ health and providing them with a good working condition. According to statistics done by Marais (2015 pp 42) in every year more than 5000 workers are killed and other more than 70000 sustain injuries due to working environment. While more of this injuries occur due to workers working. However recently their management comes up with a procedure of occupational health and safety due to the increases injuries. KFC leadership can be congratulated due to observing and taking an ethical decision on the matter. Therefore the employees feel safe while working and hence having a good reputation.

When organizations get into trouble, all the blame goes to the organization management because they are the leaders and manage the organization direction. However, organizations are now aware of the importance of management decisions. When KFC was in a dilemma situation due to Tran’s fatty acid oil the administration was blamed of the hiccups of service, however, they were questionable and were ready to take the responsibility and took the corrective actions accordingly. They even when a step further and developed programs of giving back to the community as a way of apologizing to the community and customers through charity events which promoted KFC even more. Therefore the type of leadership model is a great determinate of an organizational success. According to Clarkson (2015, pp 79), ethical leadership should consider building quality ideas on the development of the organizations with the ethical method of leadership for excellent decision making, therefore, ethics, leadership and decision-making work together.


According to Information Resources Management Association, (2016 pp 78) leaders are the primary determinates of ethical decisions making because effective leadership is an essential part of the organization management. However, leaders can determine that the organization makes an ethical decision through leading by example to the others because a great leader always starts as a great leader of his own. Therefore for an organization to make an ethical decision the leaders should have intrapersonal skills within them with passion, enthusiasm and commitments. Leaders also can ensure that decisions are made ethically through developing ethical procedures which have to be followed by the organizations. Procedures are systematic ways which need to be followed to the latter in decision-making processes. The ethical procedure is followed by the other employees even when the management or manager is in absence. Systems help the organizations in developing responsible, integrity and ethical decisions.

Organizations always have the bigger picture of their long-term success therefore through ethical leadership and competencies the organization is prone of improving and achieving its desired goals more efficiently. For an organization to achieve their targets more effectively, they have to choose effective leaders who will not only make correct decision but will also mentor the other employees and show them the importance of ethical decisions in the organization (Turban 2015, pp 89). Therefore effective leadership is a great determinate of organizational success if it is transferred to the either employees from the leaders hence creating a success environment.

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