PAPER – Construction Technology – CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Review your colleagues’ posts and respond to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways: 1-2 paragraphs each Colleague

· Compare your analysis to your colleague’s and explain why you think there are similarities or differences.

· Provide an insight you gained by reviewing your colleague’s example.

· Ask a probing question supported by additional context from your experience and the readings from the week.

· Offer another issue that you think the organization identified by your colleague may face and suggest how you think the organization should improve with respect to its moral imagination or how you think the organization could bring about positive change.

1st Colleague to Respond to:

In her article, Patricia Werhane (2008) discusses Walmart, is mission and values, and the common perspectives society has on the company. We all know that Walmart is one of the biggest retail chains that exist. They have everything, from groceries, to clothes, to toys, and even a car care center. We all expect Walmart to be our “go-to” store whenever we need something quick and affordable. With them priding themselves on their low prices and the fact that they sell everything, we tend to forget, or not think about, those moral components that take place behind the scenes. Werhane (2008) defines moral imagination as “the ability to get out of a particular mind-set or mental trap, and to evaluate both that mind-set or mental model and, in some cases, its traps.” Reading this, lets me know that when I think of Walmart, the “traps” are the low prices and the convenience. Knowing they have such low prices, they should expect a slew of customers all day every day, right? So why is it that, in every Walmart store, there’s long lines, workers who are unwilling to assist, or produce departments with no fresh produce?

Another “powerhouse” organization, similar to Walmart, is McDonalds. I typed “McDonalds” in a google search, just to see what would come up first. “McDonald’s: Burgers, Fries & More. Quality Ingredients” is what the fast-food chain is advertising on their website (). They definitely have “burgers, fries, and more”, but “quality ingredients” I’m not so sure about. McDonald’s has always had low prices for a fast-food chain and no other fast-food restaurant can beat their famous $1 menu. The kids love their happy meals because McDonald’s always gives out the best toys. However, McDonald’s has been the “talk of the town” since I can remember for the fact that they sell fake meat in their burgers and their chicken. This is honestly their number one issue because their stance on beef sustainability. I’m sure we’ve all seen or heard the horror stories. Back in 1999, a man put a McDonald’s burger in his cupboard and left it there for 14 years, only to find the burger in its normal state (Boerop, 2020). No mold, nothing broken down, no nothing. Just a perfect burger. What about in 2013 when McDonald’s was accused of resurfacing the use of pink slime in their burger meat? Or, what about the 2001 picture that went viral of a woman’s “mighty chicken” wing that was actually a chicken’s head (ABC News)?

Over the years, McDonald’s hasn’t done a very good job of convincing the community that their meat is 100% beef and 100% chicken. So, what does this mean? How does this make people feel? As I think about Werhane’s (2008) definition of moral imagination, I can’t help but think about the negative stigma that mostly the media has implanted in my mind. Is it a trap that McDonald’s has such low prices with their food still being pretty decent? Or is the trap from the outside world that McDonald’s lies about their meat being 100% real, making me choose the competition instead? With me learning to use Werhane’s (2008) framework of moral imagination, I know that there are other layers of thought for me to consider McDonald’s as a decent fast-food chain. I ask myself the following questions: Has there been hard proof of the allegations against them? Whenever I have eaten the food, did I enjoy it? What positive things does McDonald’s do for the community? Training my mind to avoid getting stuck in the stigmas of the common opinion will allow me to think beyond what’s presented directly to me.

ABC News. (2006, January 7). McDonald’s Customer Gets Chicken Head. https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94840&page=1

Boerop, L. (2020, March 7). We visited a meat-processing factory to find out exactly how McDonald’s hamburgers are made. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/i-went-to-a-mcdonalds-factory-and-saw-how-the-burgers-are-really-made-2018-10?international=true&r=US&IR=T#once-frozen-the-hamburgers-disappear-into-blue-plastic-bags-and-then-into-boxes-10

McDonald’s – Official Global Corporate Website. (2017). McDonald’s Corporation. https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd.html

Werhane, P. (2008). Mental models, moral imagination and system thinking in the age of globalization. Journal of Business Ethics78(3), 463–474. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9338-4

2nd Colleague to respond to:

Amazon.com is one of the largest e-commerce retailers in the world.  Amazon first started as an online bookstore and has now grown substantially with product diversity. The highly successful company continued to increase its success by adding and entering into new market industries. They have also developed popular electronics such as Amazon tablets, Kindle e-readers, Fire TV, Echo.  Amazon Prime provides a variety of services such as audiobooks, movies, and music.  You could solely survive off only using Amazon.   

It is easy to understand all the reasons for Amazon’s success throughout the years. Early in 2020, when many of us were unable to go to stores or confined to our homes because of the pandemic. We were able to use Amazon for groceries, household items, to movies and music. Amazon was an online, one-stop shopping experience. 

Amazon is not without its problems and issues. In recent years, and as recently as 2020, reports have claimed that Amazon’s treatment of their employees was unethical and demeaning. Past employees stated that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, and his executives and management team’s organization culture were the factors in inadequate treatment and a hostile work environment. Some examples are: unrealistic expectations and high standards, facilitating unhealthy competition among employees, insensitive management, favoring criticism, lack of benefits, a disregard for employees’ work-life balance and on the job safety (COVID). Jeff Bezos has publicly denied these accusations and claims that what these employees suggest is far from the organization’s values and beliefs.

Whether the accusations about Amazon’s culture and the company’s senior executives’ poor treatment of employees is true or not, the negative image is out there in some capacity. With respect to moral imagination and action, Amazon should take the necessary steps to improve their work environment and the relationships between management and the employees.  Once a scandal or problem reaches the public audience, regardless of its validity, people automatically start to form their own opinions and perspectives on the situation. Malicious accusations can significantly hinder an organization’s reputation and image, even if the claim is entirely false. It can destroy and shut down almost any business.  Unethical, mistreatment or unfair treatment with a company’s employees is a damaging issue considering business organizations now views corporate social responsibility as a high priority. Amazon should consider taking steps to enhance or create a more positive environment and work relations with its workers, regardless of how accurate those accusations are from their previous employees.  This action can be called damage control.

Werhane’s framework suggests that every mental model has a variety of different perspectives, and each one is incomplete. “By that, we mean that each of us can frame any situation, event, or phenomenon in more than one way, and that same phenomenon can also be socially constructed in a variety of ways” (Werhane, 2008). The way a person frames a situation affects the outcome, and our framework creates perspectives or mental models based on personal experiences, views, beliefs, values, and cultures. “Sometimes, then, we are trapped within an organizational culture that creates mental habits that preclude creative thinking” (Werhane, 2008).

The concept of moral imagination allows one to view a situation from a different and challenging perspective. Essentially, it forces an individual to leave their mind-set or mental habits and analyze a new view and even their mental traps more adequately. Therefore, moral imagination consists of self-reflection, disengaging from situations, imagining new possibilities, and evaluating from an ethical standpoint. With this concept and these factors in mind, the application of moral imagination thinking could help bring positive changes to Amazon’s organizational culture. Moral imagination would allow the management team to understand their employee’s concerns and issues from the eyes of the employee.  Could Amazon’s CEO and management team so focused on success through profit and customer satisfaction that it could neglect their own employees’ satisfaction out of habit and oversight?  In the big picture, Amazon needs to determine how they view employee complaints or essentially their employees.  Is this a low priority or something that Amazon wants to invest resources to help correct the issues. 

Amazon’s popularity and success could drive the management team to continue to focus on performances with unrealistic demands and expectations of their workers. But moral imagination mentally puts them in their employees’ seats and providing them the ability to react, respond, and analyze the situation from their worker’s point of view. The understanding and clarity of multiple perspectives can vastly change the outcome. “Moral imagination operates on organizational and systemic levels as well, again as a facilitative mechanism that may encourage sounder moral thinking and moral judgment” (Werhane, 2008). Amazon’s utilization of moral imagination will significantly improve the organization’s culture by strengthening work relationships with their employees.

Imagine if companies of any size could eliminate clouded, biased judgments, and actions.  

References

Werhane, P. H. (2008). Mental models, moral imagination, and system thinking in the age of globalization. Journal of Business Ethics, 78(3), 463–474.