Morrisons Ethical Behavior

Introduction

Wm Morrison Supermarket is a large chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. The supermarket chain was founded by William Morrison in 1899 in Bradford, England. Since then the company has grown to become the 4th largest supermarket chain the UK with a market share of approximately 11%[1]. The company has a net income of approximately 240 million pounds but that number has been gradually decreasing due to poor management. The supermarket chain has employed approximately 125,000 workers in its 555 stores which have also been gradually decreasing with time[2]. The objective of this essay is to evaluate how the business is operating ethically and the various issues which are bringing unwanted negative public attention to the company.

Stakeholder of Morrisons

Currently, Morrisons is a publically traded company which and is therefore owned by many different individuals and organizations. However, the Morrison family owns 10% of the total shares which is the biggest percentage of shares. The next biggest shareholders each own 5% of the company and the percentage goes down since the public has significantly invested in the company[3]. Morrisons has approximately 125,000 employees in the UK. The employees are important but their interest in the company is limited since they have no real stake in the company apart from being employed. Morrisons owns 11% of the supermarket industry market share. The company has a long history and the 11% are most likely individuals who have a long held tradition of shopping at the supermarket. Their interest is therefore sentimental more than anything else. The suppliers of Morrisons supermarket have a large interest in the company because the company does rake in approximately 240 million pounds every year. Furthermore, an 11% share of the supermarket industry is quite attractive for any supplier. Morrisons has different competitors such as Asda, Salisbury, Tesco, and Co-operative Foods[4]. While the first three have a bigger share of the market respectively, Morrisons does have the advantage in various cities in the UK. Subsequently, it is in the interest of these companies to see the supermarket chain make mistakes or even collapse.

Morrisons Values

Morrisons is known for its popular slogan which is “Buying British”. This slogan sparkles with ethical standards since such a term reflects tradition and commitment to excellence[5]. Such a statement heavily impacts consumers and other stakeholders because it makes the company stand out as a representative of British culture and long held traditions when it comes to food, grocery, and service. Another statement from the government is “More than great prices, good values[6]. This statement refers to the conduct of its employees and the quality of service customers should expect when they enter in to a Morrisons supermarket. To all stakeholders, this statement refers to the fact that they should expect to experience a culture of good values in terms of cleanliness, vibrant customer service, order, and satisfaction during or after shopping. Finally, Morrisons Supermarket also believes that “fresh attitudes and firm principles help make us what we are”[7]. In addition to having a tradition of excellence the company is also innovative when necessary in order to make sure stakeholders are comfortable. Additionally, it is important to have fresh attitudes because it helps curb the competition.

Conflict of Interest between Shareholders

In recent times the company has been struggling as a result of poor management. Consequently, the Morrison family has openly criticized the management for having a poor strategy towards leading the company to sustainable practices. As of late customers have heavily criticized the supermarket for limiting their shopping especially relating to purchasing alcoholic beverages[8]. There have been various reports that the supermarket has refused to sell wine to people of age wine for ridiculous reasons. On the other hand, some stores have been caught selling alcohol to minors. The company has also been criticized for ignorant marketing, false claims that it supports British farmers, and also for partnering up with Asian suppliers who reportedly utilize slave labor[9]. More recently, 2000 of Morrisons workers are suing the supermarket for leaking their personal information online[10]. The data was leaked by a disgruntled worker but the question is how such classified information became so easily available in the first place.

Recommendation for Change

The company is definitely facing some serious issues but a closer look reveals that there is a lack of transparency and competence in management. The management is too complacent in keeping a close eye on day to day management. The company is too keen on maintaining profitability that it is beginning to forget the value system which has kept it competitive for the past 100+ years[11]. The allegations listed above are completely uncalled for taking into account the company’s level of respect. A company labeled as “Buying British” should not be making so many redundant mistakes. Subsequently, it is quite clear why the Morrison family is so disgruntled and looking for a way to get rid of the company before it comes down when it is too late.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Morrisons had been getting negative public attention in recent times as a result of poor management. As a result, the company has been slowly losing revenue and profits on an annual basis. As a result, the competition is slowly getting ahead and the company is losing value and the public trust. Nevertheless, it’s high time the supermarket chain went back to its value system which puts the customer first and ethics become the foundation of doing business. This might require reshuffling management and getting fresh minds in positions of management.

Bibliography

Butler, Sarah. Thousands of Morrisons staff to sue supermarket over data leak. The Guardian.      (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:       http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/27/thousands-morrisons-staff-sue-            supermarket-data-theft

Daily Mail. Father-of-three aged FIFTY is asked to prove he is over 18 while buying alcohol at    Morrison’s. (2013). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2438596/50-year-old-man-asked-ID-Morrisons-       supermarket-prove-hes-18-buying-alcohol.html

Hodal, Kate. Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK. The    Guardian. (2014). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-           thailand-produced-slave-labour

Morrisons. Company History. (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:             http://www.morrisons-corporate.com/about-us/company-history/

Morrisons Graduates. Our Values. (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:             http://www.morrisonsgraduates.com/why-morrisons/our-values

Rattray, David. Morrisons wins over ethical food shoppers. Marketing Week. (2009). Retrived      November 23, 2015 from: http://www.marketingweek.com/2009/10/07/morrisons-wins-    over-ethical-food-shoppers/

The Grocer. Morrisons Serves up both values and ethics. (2009). Retrieved November 23, 2015    from: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/companies/morrisons-serves-up-both-value-and-           ethics/203513.article

 

[1] Morrisons. Company History. (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:        http://www.morrisons-corporate.com/about-us/company-history/

 

[2] ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] The Grocer. Morrisons Serves up both values and ethics. (2009). Retrieved November 23, 2015   from: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/companies/morrisons-serves-up-both-value-and-      ethics/203513.article

 

[5] Rattray, David. Morrisons wins over ethical food shoppers. Marketing Week. (2009). Retrived      November 23, 2015 from: http://www.marketingweek.com/2009/10/07/morrisons-wins-  over-ethical-food-shoppers/

 

[6] Morrisons Graduates. Our Values. (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:                http://www.morrisonsgraduates.com/why-morrisons/our-values

 

[7] ibid

[8] Daily Mail. Father-of-three aged FIFTY is asked to prove he is over 18 while buying alcohol at     Morrison’s. (2013). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2438596/50-year-old-man-asked-ID-Morrisons-                supermarket-prove-hes-18-buying-alcohol.html

 

[9] Hodal, Kate. Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK. The     Guardian. (2014). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:     http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-       thailand-produced-slave-labour

 

[10] Butler, Sarah. Thousands of Morrisons staff to sue supermarket over data leak. The Guardian. (2015). Retrieved November 23, 2015 from:      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/27/thousands-morrisons-staff-sue-          supermarket-data-theft

 

[11] The Grocer

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