Saturday, November 21, 2015

McDonald's: Employees' Lives Shortened (2015)

McDonald's logo
McDonald's has been a relatively controversial company since its inception. One of McDonald's most recent controversy involves inadequate employee compensation. Employees have trouble living or raising a family on wages given to them at McDonald's. Although, McDonald's adheres to federal minimum wage regulations, and any applicable state and local minimum wage requirements, it is clear that McDonald's employees have trouble making ends meet on these starvation wages. McDonald's employees recently walked off the job to protest these low wages, fighting to be paid $15 per hour. McDonald’s workers making minimum wage working forty hours a week make approximately $15,000 per year or $1,250 monthly. The average rent payment is about $750, and the cost of food about $40/week. The McDonald worker only has $340 per month in their budget left to pay for clothing, health care/insurance, utilities, and cable, car payments, gasoline for their car, and unanticipated expenses. They cannot possibly live on these types of wages. 

The stakeholders in this case include the employees, company management, customers, and the families of the employees. In this case there are both direct and indirect stakeholders. The direct stakeholders in this case are the company, and its employees. The indirect stakeholders of the company are its customers, and the families of their employees, and the company shareholders.

From the view of an individualists, McDonald's not paying its employees at least the bare minimum of compensation needed to sustain basic life is perfectly acceptable. For individualists the only constraint on operations is the law and McDonald's followed all the regulations. Therefore, McDonald's is ethical according to individualists.

Kendall, a 22 year-old McDonald's employee

Utilitarianism is an approach that aims to balance the competing interests of the different groups, much like a compromise. It is an approach that attempts to make the most stakeholders possible happy, and minimize the number of stakeholders who are unhappy. Utilitarians do a rational cost-benefit analysis, considering the relative cost and benefits of their actions on every stakeholder. Having employees in poverty is a concern and should focus on their employees more, rather than their stakeholders. In the point of view from utilitarians this would be unethical. 

Kantianism focuses primarily on rationality and good will, and argues that it is wrong to exploit and use others to obtain your own ends and goals. There are four principles to Kantianism; act rationally, help others make rational decisions, to respect people, and be motivated by good will. One of the main formulations of the Categorical imperative is the Formula of Humanity which states that it is wrong to exploit others.  In this case, Kantians would say that McDonald’s exploited their workers by using them to perform the organizational functions of the business but not paying them enough to be able to afford basic necessities of life. For this reason, Kantians would say that McDonald’s failed the Categorical imperative test since they used their employees for their own benefit. McDonald's decision to pay workers such low wages was motivated by economic self-interest, good will did not even factor in. Therefore, from a Kantians point of view this case is unethical as well.

Virtue Theory
Virtue theory, developed by Aristotle, focuses on rationally and whether or not a given person is virtuous. The four main virtues include courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. Analyzing the McDonald’s case from the perspective of Virtue Theory, McDonald’s did not display an ounce of courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. McDonald's overall, was unethical in this case according to virtue theorists. 

Ethics Justification
McDonald's should raise the amount they pay their employees because the employees that help generate the profits for McDonald's deserve to live with a decent quality of life, and should not have to fear that one unexpected expense will bankrupt them. Also, raising these wages will improve employee turnover at McDonald's, and could potentially improve profitability.   


Brook, Oak. "McDonald's Reports Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2014 Results." McDonalds. N.p., 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

"McDonald's History." History of McDonald's. McDonald's Corporation, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

Mcgeehan, Patrick. "New York Plans $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 July 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

Meyer, Pauline. "McDonald's Vision Statement & Mission Statement Analysis - Panmore Institute." Panmore Institute. N.p., 03 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Sharf, Samantha. "Mcdonald's To Raise Wages: Will It Be Enough To Please Employees, Shareholders?."Forbes.Com (2015): 10. Business Source Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

Wahba, Phil. "Mcdonald’S Warns ‘Trend’ Toward Higher Wages May Slam Margins." Fortune.Com (2015): N.PAG.Business Source Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment