Provide answers to ONE of the following:
Describe a team that you have been on recently. Assess what made it effective or ineffective. Support your views with material on Teams from the textbook.
Evaluate an ethical or unethical situation involving a business leader in the past few years. Explain what made this situation either ethical or unethical. Relate if you would have moved in a different direction.
Recommend steps to expand diversity in your workplace. Justify and support your views with information from the textbook.
Your response should be a minimum of 250 words with two (2) external non-textbook references.
I have chosen to discuss an ethical situation involving a business leader for this week’s post. The situation I selected was the 2014 decision by CVS Pharmacy (now CVS Health) President and CEO, Larry Merlo, to discontinue the sale of tobacco products at all of the company’s retail locations. As a brand that markets itself as the “leading health solutions company” (CVS Health, n.d.), CVS made the decision that tobacco products had no place on their store shelves. Despite the $2 billion in annual revenue that CVS received from the sale of tobacco products, Merlo decided that quitting tobacco was aligned with the company’s stated purpose “to help people on their path to better health” (TED, 2015, 6:34).
The actions of Merlo and his top management were both substantive, in demonstrating their commitment to the company’s purpose (even at the expense of revenue), and symbolic, in their modeling the type of behavior that they expect of the organization and its employees. As the first company to take such a sweeping action, many of CVS Health’s competitors thought this move would hurt the company’s bottom line and have little impact on the tobacco usage of CVS Health’s customers. However, research shows that, less than three years after the policy took effect, CVS customers who bought cigarettes exclusively from CVS locations were 38% more likely to quit smoking (Jaspen, 2017).
Senior executives set the tone when it comes to establishing the culture within an organization. Employees observe the decision that leaders make and whether or not their actions align with those decisions. They “learn what is most valued in an organization by watching what attitudes and behaviors leaders pay attention to . . . and whether the leaders’ own behaviors match the espoused values” (Lussier & Achua, 2016, p. 366). Merlo and his team’s decision, to do what they determined to be the ethical thing, certainly demonstrated to the company’s employees that they could “walk the walk.”
Personally, I do not know if I would have gone in the same direction as the top management team at CVS Health. I doubt I would have even thought of the idea of going away from the sale of tobacco products. Even if I had thought of it, I probably would have been among the skeptics that doubted the move would have made any significant impact on tobacco usage. Although, I am confident that Merlo sleeps a little better at night, knowing that his company’s actions are no longer contradictory to their stated purpose.
CVS Health. (n.d.). About CVS Health. https://www.cvshealth.com/about-cvs-health Links to an external site.
Jaspen, B. (2017, February 20). After CVS stopped cigarette sales, smokers stopped buying elsewhere, too. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/02/20/after-cvs-stopped-cigarette-sales-smokers-stopped-buying-elsewhere-too/?sh=5308fff0c8f5 Links to an external site.
Lussier, R. N. & Achua, C. F. (2016). Leadership of culture, ethics, and diversity. Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development (6th ed., p. 366). Cengage.
TED. (2015, April 3). The good and the growth in quitting: Larry Merlo [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM2ZtpqwYQs