Multinational Organizations Role in Human Rights

Listen to this postI witnessed a heated discussion over the human rights and one of the discussion points was around the question “Should multinational organizations work in countries that are accused of human rights violations?”

Multinational organizations may work in countries that are accused of human rights violation. The organization should not intentionally violate human rights or encourage it. However, the organization should help the local community by paying them a fair wage to the amount of work done by the labor. Lam (2009) surveyed Chinese executives working for American multinational organizations in China and the executives felt that “Corporate Social Program” are human resources department job. The Chinese executives did not see their ethical responsibility or feel the obligation toward the society because their functional strategies did not incorporate social responsibilities (Lam, 2009). Multinational organizations, similar to domestic  organizations, are influenced by three conflicting needs, the organization, the industry and the society (Labbai, 2007). The ethical conflict between personal ethics and the organization would have strong effect on the organization operations in the international market (Labbai, 2007). The executives’ and the line managers’ ethical responsibilities would be the deciding factor for the multinational organization to behave ethically in countries that violate human rights.


Labbai, M. (2007). Social Responsibility and Ethics in Marketing. Paper presented at the International Marketing Conference on Marketing & Society, 8-10 April, 2007, IIMK.

Lam, M. (2009). Beyond Credibility of Doing Business in China: Strategies for Improving Corporate Citizenship of Foreign Multinational Enterprises in China. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 137-146. doi: 10.1007/s10551-008-9803-3

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Listen to this postCorporation’s responsibility to stakeholders representing the concerns of the people, the planet and the profit (Angus-Leppan, Metcalf, & Benn, 2010). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) depend on a moral framework that has four moral theories. The first theory is egoism which is the morally correct action that display the corporate social responsibility. The action is done to maximize the shareholder profits but not because of the obligations toward social responsibilities (Frederiksen, 2010). The organization stop the harmful acts and maximize the socially acceptable acts because such acts are in the organizations self-interest. The second theory is libertarianism. This theory state that libertarian believe in avoiding disturbing the negative rights but not doing the positive duties. The libertarian would avoid harming the society or deny the community its basic rights like freedom of speech or freedom of religion (Frederiksen, 2010). The libertarian is not obligated, according to the theory, to help anybody positively.

Utilitarianism theory state that utilitarian organization would always seek the best possible outcome from its actions. The best outcome can be helping a society in another country and not helping the close by society (Frederiksen, 2010). Utilitarian would target maximizing happiness regardless of the place. Common-sense morality theory is somehow in between the egoism and the libertarianism because the common-sense morality theory state that the organization should not violate the societies tights and should he same time act positively towards certain groups of the society (Frederiksen, 2010). Those groups can be the organization’s employees, members of the society or people closely related to the organization.

Lee (2010) state that businessmen are more honest than the preachers because the customer would test the products sold or recommended by the business person. Nobody would be able to come alive again and tell the community about the preachers claims validity. Similarly, the organizations cannot mislead the society in claiming that their products are not as advertised, they would be easily spotted while violating their claims.



Angus-Leppan, T., Metcalf, L., & Benn, S. (2010). Leadership styles and CSR practice: an examination of sensemaking, institutional drivers and CSR leadership. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 189-213. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0221-y

Frederiksen, C. (2010). The relation between policies concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philosophical moral theories – an empirical investigation. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(3), 357-371. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0226-6

Lee, D. R. (2010). Why businessmen are more honest than preachers, politicians, and professors. Independent Review, 14(3), 435-444. doi:

Is Marketing Ethical?

Listen to this postI think the biggest ethical challenge for marketers would be the fact of capturing the customer’s attention while being ethical. This is a big marketing challenge that most marketers avoid taking. Marketing a product required presenting the benefits and the advantages of the product but sometimes exaggerating these benefits. The customer would equate the products benefits and advantages with the amount of money paid for buying it. Another ethical challenge in marketing and advertisement would be transparency in telling the customers the side effect of the products. The marketers either neglect or fine print the side effect of their products. Sometimes the harmful effect of the products are displayed on the product, such as the cigarettes,  but the marketing campaign is so strong that the customer would go ahead and use the product anyway. Sundaram & Mitra (2007) found that cigarette manufacturers are advertizing in magazines and internet sites with considerable number of young reader. The advertisement in these locations use young models and display smoking as fun activity to attract large segment of the population.



Sundaram, D. S., & Mitra, K. (2007). Ethical evaluation of marketing practices in tobacco industry. [Article].International Journal of Business Research, 7(2), 194-204.

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Self-Regulation Is The Best Answer

Listen to this postThe most obvious reason to self-regulation would be to avoid governmental intervention to enforce rules and regulations for the industry. The industry knows its business better that the government. The industry knows what is possible and what is difficult and costly to regulate. Another reason for the self-regulation would be the public image, because the public would respect and appreciate the industry’s effort when it is self set and enforced rather than seeing the effort as an obligation. Catastrophic event, like the Bhopal toxic chemical release that lead to 3800 fatalities, initiated a self-regulating effort that established the Responsible Care program which regulate the chemical industry. The Three Mile Island incident in 1979 created the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations to self-regulate the safety in nuclear power plants (Sharma, Teret, & Brownell, 2010). Most of the natural resources are scarce. The industries that depend on natural resources should regulate itself to avoid over using the scarce resource. Fishery and forestry are self-regulating themselves to avoid over fishing or deforestation (Sharma, et al., 2010).

Obese childResearch indicated children and adolescents as major contributors to the obesity problem (Goren, Harris, Schwartz, & Brownell, 2010). The food industry is moving toward self-regulations to control the unhealthy food marketing and selling. The self-regulation is one step before the forced regulation by the government. The food industry is issuing statements of concern and announce that self-regulations would solve the unhealthy food consumption by children (Sharma, et al., 2010).

The self-regulations is mostly originated by the industry but The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is ensuring the industries’ compliance. In the United States of America,The FTC feels that Alcohol industries’ self-regulation standards are too lean. The FTC advice the Distilled Spirits Council, the Wine Institute, and the Beer Institute-pledged to revise their self-regulation codes (Sharma, et al., 2010). One of the important codes which were revised is the percentage of legal drinking age viewers for a magazine. The new percentage was change from 50% to 70%, so the alcohol industry would not be able to advertise its products in a magazine with more than 30% of its readers are under the legal age for drinking. The codes are revised by the alcohol industry and supervised by the FTC but there is a growing concern over enforcing these codes. The public and the communities have difficulties in trusting the industry’s honest effort.



Goren, A., Harris, J. L., Schwartz, M. B., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). Predicting support for restricting food marketing to youth. Health Affairs, 29(3), 419-424.

Sharma, L. L., Teret, S. P., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). The food industry and self-regulation: Standards to promote success and to avoid public health failures. [Article]. American Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 240-246.

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The Results of Wrong Relationship Marketing

RakazListen to this postReligious and patriotic campaigns are getting more intense and popular in the last few years in Kuwait. The campaigns are trying to reach the young generation in the age of 16-26 and those with modernized thinking and western influence. Most of the advertisement and billboards that display the campaigns massages are showing young men wearing western outfit (T-shirts and pans) while the Deshdash (traditional men outfit)  is never used in these messages. The western outfit may be used intentionally to relate to the targeted group but at the same time wrong message might be delivered. Showing the young generation in non-traditional outfit encourage them to abandon the traditional principles which is directly connected with religion and patriotism.

I have done an extensive research on the wrong relationship marketing done by Coca-Cola in India and would like to share the research with you. The researched case might not be similar to the above subject but would present the consequences of building the wrong relationship. Please click here to read the full research.


First Class Lounge

Airport First Class Lounge

Airport First Class Lounge

Listen to this postI was fortunate enough to use the first class lounge in Kuwait airport. The lounge is spacious and well decorated. The staff present excellent service and the atmosphere is relaxing. Large screen LCD TV‘s positioned in good locations for most of the gusts to see. The volume is low so as the sound does not bother the relaxing guests until their flight is ready to board. I had long and busy day before reaching the airport, so I asked for my skimmed-milk latte‘ to relax in the lounge. The surprise was when the man started steaming the milk and the sound … Noisy! Nearby guest wake up not knowing which country he is in because of the noisy steam. I felt guilty for ordering the latte’.

All the nice things that made the lounge luxurious  and relaxing disappeared because of the noise. You may have noticed the same noise when you order Frappuccino in Starbucks. The noise associated with making this sugary drink equal the number of calories in it! Basically I think Frappuccino is a crazy mix of milk, ice, sugary, artificial flavor and coffee, blended together with fatty cream on top. Back to the First class lounge, I would suggest a simple solution to solve the noise problem while serving fresh coffee to the guests. They should make the coffee inside the service room and bring it out fresh to the customer. The guests would enjoy the relaxing atmosphere just by relocating the coffee-making machine to a nearby room.

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Valentine’s Day is A Commercial Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Like most lovers

Listen to this postValentine’s day is today February 14 if you forgot. This day is set for people to express their love to each other. I believe that valentine’s day is a commercial day and has been marketed very well to make us feel guilty for not buying something valuable to express our love to our loved ones.
Valentine’s day is named after a priest who lived in Rome around AD 269. The occasion became more popular in 1800 when British printers started producing decorated cards that have paper ribbons and lace.  People started mailing each other such cards and the occasion grow up with popularity since that date. This how it was back then but now, you have to buy gifts, flowers or chocolate. A combination of all these gifts will get you closer to your loved one. The more you buy the better they will feel. That is how Valentine’s day is sold to us. But we do not need to show our love only on that day and does not have to be through gifts.

Cut Hart

Getting ready

I will now discuss the commercial side of Valentine’s day. The day is marketed very well by printing calendars with a reminder that February 14 is Valentine’s day. Just before that day, the companies (especially brand names) need to remained us of their existence. No more marketing is needed because we are sold on the idea. I think the reminder is actually meant for the gift-receiver to expect the gift from the giver. A survey conducted this year in Bahrain estimated that 30% of the population would spend $180 (KD 52) for Valentine’s Day gifts. A quick calculation resulted in $40 million will be spent this year on Valentine’s Day in Bahrain. Please note that this survey was done in Bahrain, an Arab country that did not hear about Valentine’s Day until recently.

Be My Valentine

Most of the gifts has short shelve time, meaning that the store can not store them for the next year similar to unsold water heaters and blankets when the winter season end. So it is more economical to prepare the gifts just one week before the set date and sell them on that day. Commercially, Valentine’s day has another advantage which is storage space. The stores order large quantities of their merchandise and sell them all in 1 – 2 days. No storage needed to stock delicate products like flowers and chocolate around the year in large quantities. The store need to hold the smallest quantity always. So the business formula is to market the date, pre-order the products, sell them all in one day to enjoy quick profit. Now if I try to convince my wife on the above logic she would think that I am cheap!

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Customer Retention in The Local Barbershop

Local Barbershop

AudioI am at the age where hair cut means hair “cut”. I do not make an appointments with fancy hair dressers to cut my hair. I just walk through one of the nearby barber shops and trim whatever hair dear to grow at the top of my head. I don’t use gooey gels, vitamin-enriched shampoos or style my hair differently for those special evenings. The local barbers in Kuwait (and neighboring countries) are a good case study for customer satisfaction and customer retention. They are relatively clean and use disinfected utensils. Most of them updated their tools and started using hair driers and special  creams for facial treatments which I never used before in these barber shops or plane to use in the future. Entertainment is the newest thing in the local barber shops. Lately, every barbershop you visit would have his TV switched to one of the satellite channels showing a program in his native language (Hindi, Turkish or Bangladeshi). On top of the noise coming from the TV you would hear the barbers loudly talking to each other, using a language you would not understand. When they look at each other and smile I wonder if they are talking about my newly developed bold spot on the back of my head? I think the local barbershop has two main factors helping them retaining customers. First is the convenient location, since they are located in the neighborhood and it would be easy for the customers to just walk in. The other important factor is the low prices they charge for 30 minutes of customized personal services. Sometimes they offer free head and shoulder massage when the business is slow. Other than these factors I don’t think anybody with his right state of mind would set a foot in these shops.

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Permission Marketing Without Permission

A promotional image distributed by Ogilvy & Ma...

Many marketers distort the truth

AudioPermission marketing is a term invent by the marketing expert Seth Godin. Permission marketing developed from a simple gesture when the customer let the marketers to advertise their products or services directly to the customer. The customer wants the advertisement or knowledge and he or she gave the permission to be contacted when the information is available. Some of you had filled forms on the internet to subscribe in one of the internet sites. While filling the form you will notice that a small sentence asking you to subscribe to their services, send you a news letter or send you an update on their product as soon as they are available. You have to select (or check) the option to permit the site to send you that information otherwise the information will be direct annoyance. Some markets would broaden their annoyance by selling your information to other markets to sell it again to another …. and suddenly you are flooded with spam email.

In the past few years I notice that charity societies and small stores are becoming professional in non-permission marketing. The teller would ask you for your address or mobile phone number when you buy a small item or donate small amount of money. You will start receiving SMS messages or big envelops in the mail starting from that moment you give up your information. It will be almost impossible to stop the direct advertisement you got yourself into.

You will see the result of this poll immediately after you answer it and I will publish the overall result after I receive enough answers, so please check this blog again after few days.

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Dubai…the brand name!

Two men walk past the Burj Dubai on Sunday, the eve of the world's tallest skyscraper's official opening.

Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai)

Dubai was the dream land for many people because of the accelerated development and the strong commercial foundation the city made for itself. During the glory days, I checked with several clothing stores owners in the market and most of them said that they sell most of the displayed items in less than a week. The real estate market was booming to the point where the average price for an apartment was $2,700 per square foot!

The past 18 months were economically difficult for many investors around the world. Most of the motivational speakers and wise people tell us to look at the bright side of the matter and I would like to talk about it in this blog. Every summer we hear about the forest fire in many locations around the world. The good thing about this natural forest fire is eliminating the plantation over growth that consume the available resources. The forest would start from zero to grow new plants and trees to become a newly build forced (and maybe better than before). The good thing about the economic recession is eliminating the weak businesses and overwhelming initiatives in the world market. The strong businesses will buy the weak and mismanaged business to rise again as a stronger and well-integrated enterprise.

Proposed height of the Burj Dubai compared to ...

Image via Wikipedia

Until the end of 2007, Dubai was a brand name known around the world similar to many famous cities. Like many brands, Dubai had a major setback during the recession that exposed many fragile businesses and their supporting services. The chain effect of losing some businesses dragged down with it the good and strong companies in Dubai. Last year Dubai celebrated Atlantis Hotel opening by spending on the fireworks more than what China spent on the last Olympics opening. Dubai celebrated the world tallest building “Burj Dubai” yesterday quietly to the point where some observers equated the event with Dubai’s economical situation, just “Quiet”.

Last summer I took advantage of a competitive offer made by Kuwait Airways to stay at Atlantis hotel for a weekend. Economically, Dubai has a long way to go (minimum one year) to recover from the deep recession it is going through now. So this summer I recommend that you look for a good family vacation in Dubai were the prices are low and the service is excellent.

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