Sample Management Essay on Public Issues concerning Tobacco Industry

MNGT 3711 A1

Part A: Discussion Questions

Question 1: Describe the “performance-expectations gap” evident in this case – what were the stakeholders’ concerns and how did their expectations differ from the company’s performance?

The concept of the “performance-expectation gap” describes the failure of an organization to achieve the desired goals and objectives. The concept can also capture the perceived differences existing between the company’s performance standards and shareholders’ expectations and desires. The identified “performance-expectations gap” in the Coca-Cola case includes different operational, resource utilization, and environmental issues. In particular, the company is facing serious water shortages and this is affecting its operational efficiency. Additionally, local communities in places like India are complaining that Coca-Cola is overexploiting the water resources that they could otherwise use for drinking and irrigation purposes. Evidence of pesticide residues in the firm’s products has also increased global calls for a possible boycott of its products. The company’s primary shareholders in this case study are the citizens of Kerala, a state in India. Coca-Cola’s desire for maximum profit does not resonate with the stakeholders’ (inhabitants) with a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Therefore, the company should develop appropriate strategies and policy decisions to satisfying their stakeholders’ desire for clean, safe, and quality water for domestic purposes. Overall, the successful integration of the company’s policies and the raised concerns will help in reducing the identified “performance-expectation gap.”

Question 2: If you applied the strategic radar screens model to this case, which of the eight environments would be most significant?

The concept of the strategic radar screens model describes various important elements of the external environmental issues that can have an indirect impact on the desired performance levels. In this case, the appropriate strategic radar screens model would be geophysical. Under this model, it is clear that Coca-Cola is facing numerous geophysical issues in its operations in Kerala, India. For instance, the company’s shareholders (the state’s inhabitants) are complaining about Coca-Cola’s excessive exploitation of water and the contamination of other important natural resources. The firm is also facing a harsh legal environment with a case filed against them at the Indian court. Other relevant government regulatory agencies and United Nations are also assessing the situation carefully further complicating the geopolitical environment and affecting Coca-Cola’s operational plans. Lastly, the consumers are questioning various safety issues concerning some of the firm’s products further affecting its ability to attain set market goals and objectives.

Question 3: In your opinion, did TCCC respond appropriately to this public issue? Why or why not.

In my subjective opinion, I think that TCCC failed to issue appropriate responses to the stipulated public issue or concern. Specifically, in the initial stages, the firm failed to provide comprehensive explanations to the Indian government’s questions. However, TCCC later realized its mistake and admitted to the damages caused to the natural environment from their exploitation of the local natural resources. Subsequently, TCCC identified and implemented appropriate responses to the stipulated challenges. The company’s management established clear objectives towards the reduction, replenishing, and recycling of water resources in the Indian state of Kerala. Through such plan and strategies, TCCC hoped to efficiently utilize water resources in its operations and minimize possible wastages. Progressively, TCCC made the decision to demonstrate an appropriate level of social corporate responsibility. Effective and progressive responses to the stakeholders’ concerns concerning the environment and product quality were fundamental in attracting and retaining its traditional consumption bases in Kerala.

Part B: Public Issues concerning Tobacco Industry

The subsequent sections explore various secondary smoke health issues in various environments.

Section 1: Context

Secondhand smoke is a serious public health issue responsible for causing adverse impacts on the health of the victims such as children and adults. Notably, secondhand smoking occurs when second parties inhale smoke from a burning cigarette from a particular smoker. The key stakeholders in the global tobacco industry include persons and companies engaging actively in the industry. The primary stakeholders are responsible for the growth, sale, shipment, distribution, and promotion of tobacco-related products. The secondary stakeholders in the tobacco industry include secondary and third-party smokers, government agencies, and media outlets (Mbulo et al., 2016). Other important stakeholders in the industry include competing entities such as electronic cigarette companies. Notably, companies involved in the direct production and sale of cigarettes comprise the primary stakeholders. Service industry personnel such as bartenders and restaurant attendants are also susceptible to the perceived impacts of secondhand smoking. These stakeholders are in constant exposure to dangerous levels of smoke and may absorb other dangerous forms of carcinogens in their body systems. The inhalation of tobacco smoke on a habitual manner puts them at greater risk of exposure to adverse health-related conditions.

The identified stakeholders are responsible for strengthening various important functions and activities. For instance, the primary stakeholders aim to improve profit margins and enhance equity levels. Other important stakeholders such as the media are responsible for sustaining higher levels of social responsibility. The media inform the targeted consumers of the perceived dangers associated with the consumption of tobacco-related products. The industry is always under constant scrutiny from media outlets because of various negative impacts associated with tobacco smoking (Lidón-Moyano et al., 2017). Some of these health-related impacts of tobacco smoking include cancer, asthma, and throat cancer among others. Markedly, adverse negative impacts of tobacco include malformations in babies and other related effects on the secondary users. Exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes can increase susceptibility to different health-related risks. Other common health issues facing secondhand smokers in the industry include eye and nasal irritation, respiratory complications, and other severe chronic conditions.

Section 2: What does this mean to my family?

My father is a regular smoker and the secondhand smoke emanating from burning cigarettes is harmful to the general health of our family members. Secondhand smoking can have massive negative impacts on health-related conditions facing my family members. Some of the important stakeholders in my family include the younger siblings, the infant, and my asthmatic uncle. I am also a stakeholder because I am allergic to nicotine, a chemical compound common in tobacco-related products. He experiences more frequent and severe asthmatic attacks when he inhales cigarette smokes from second parties.

My pregnant sister is also a stakeholder in this particular issue of secondhand smoking.  She risks harm to her general healthcare condition and to the unborn child. Enhanced exposure to smoke especially during pregnancy can result in placental abruption and possible miscarriage. Additionally, my sister may suffer from stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy if my father will continue exposing her to the secondhand smoke from his cigarettes. Notably, secondhand smoking can limit the amount of oxygen available to the mother and the baby during pregnancy. Subsequently, my sister may experience an increase in the baby’s heart rate and enhance the probability of low birth weight or premature birth. Lastly, the possibility of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) may result in the premature death of the infant.

Additionally, my younger siblings are feeling the adverse impacts of staying in a smoke-filled environment. In particular, they are feeling the impacts of constant exposure to such environments. I have been noticing frequent colds and respiratory infections such as pneumonia among the children. I also attribute their constant asthmatic attacks and chronic coughs to secondhand smoke-filled environments. The children are experiencing various learning and behavior challenges such as inattention and aggressive responses to environmental stimuli. The medical practitioners at a local hospital warned that the children risk becoming smokers if my father will continue with the behavior.

Correspondingly, the children can inhale secondhand smoke during our regular visits to the local restaurants. In such public places, the hazardous levels of exposure to toxic chemicals from the smoke can contribute towards the identified health-related conditions. Over time, the children may experience poor lung development and other related problems in the later stages of life. Nevertheless, I have limited control over my father’s character in the house. Typically, he is the head of the house and controls most of the decisions. Furthermore, controlling smoking in public spaces such as restaurants is inherently challenging. Therefore, I have limited influence over this critical public health issue and its perceived impacts on our family. I can also encourage my family to create a smoking-free area to limit the perceived impacts of secondhand smoking on the members.

Section 3: What does this mean to my company?

Tobacco companies are private entities whose primary objective is to facilitate the sale of a maximum number of cigarettes to the targeted customer bases. Accordingly, the entities are ready and willing to eliminate possible obstacles that may limit their efforts (Savell, Gilmore, & Fooks, 2014). They can silence their critics through bribes and other means, distort scientific data and information concerning the health impacts of tobacco smoke and influence public opinions and discussions. The companies can also have massive control over public policy frameworks to ensure effective coordination of market strategies.

Global tobacco companies are facing numerous challenges such the public health issues in their respective markets of operation. Accordingly, as a tobacco industry executive, I would propose various management strategies to mitigate the perceived impacts of the public issues on the companies’ corporate profit margins (Jawad et al., 2015). I will develop appropriate mechanisms to address various legal, political, health, and social concerns raised by other important stakeholders in the industry. Most countries categorize tobacco as a serious health hazard threatening the citizens’ overall wellbeing. The companies have effective strategies relevant in resisting government regulations on tobacco-related products, comprehensive public relations campaigns, creating controversial arguments concerning their productions, and bribing political leaders in their host countries (Savell, Gilmore, & Fooks, 2014). Furthermore, tobacco companies have competent groups of lobbyists responsible for influencing desirable government policies that can support their operations. They rely on different front groups and allied entities to oppose the government’s efforts to introduce and implement strict measures and policies that may have negative impacts on their market operations. The lobbyists can also preempt future string legislations on tobacco-related commodities by countering them with weaker laws using corrupt public officials.

In particular, as a marketing executive, I can engineer consent from the public about the company’s commodities. In such cases, my primary objective will be counter-public discussions linking cigarette smoking to chronic health conditions such as cancer. Addressing and strengthening consumer confidence despite the numerous reports and evidence from the scientific communities on the negative impacts of tobacco can be a challenging experience (Leppan, Lecours, & Buckles, 2014). For instance, I would convince the public that the company is concerned about their smoking behaviors and advice them against such excessive practices. Through such strategies, I will seek to change popular perceptions that tobacco companies are purely pro-profits with no serious social corporate responsibilities. Public assurance that tobacco companies can issue responsible advice to consumers can create positive mindsets.

I would also mobilize all the company’s corporate resources to address numerous legal, political, and social issues affective the sale and consumption of tobacco-related products.  These resources can brie other political leaders and policy experts to change and challenge harmful laws. Furthermore, I would support and finance the creation of smokers’ rights groups and alliances to reject strict government policies on the sale, consumption, and distribution of tobacco in the host countries. Through such strategies, the company can gain strong grassroots public support from alliances such as farmers, retailers, and promotional companies (Savell, Gilmore, & Fooks, 2014). Another viable strategy that I can apply to address public concerns is the use of legal and economic systems to harass and frighten government officials. In extreme cases, I may rely on using different illegal trade routes to smuggle tobacco-related products into the country.

Section 4: What does this mean to my country?

Governments play a significant role in controlling and eliminating issues emanating from the tobacco industry in their respective jurisdictions. For instance, governments can design appropriate policies and legislation to control the production, sale, distribution, and consumption of tobacco-related products in the market. Some of these legislations include the FHSA (Federal Hazardous Substance Labeling) Act by the U.S. government. The act categorizes tobacco as a toxic substance that may inflict serious health-related issues on the population. Therefore, according to the act, tobacco companies should include package-warning labels on cigarette packages to enable users to make rational choices concerning their lifestyle habits. Besides, the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act requires tobacco companies to include a warning to consumers on the perceived health effects of cigarette smoking during their advertisement campaigns (Tangcharoensathien et al., 2017). The act also requires companies in the tobacco industry to list confidential information on the ingredients used in the manufacture of their products. The list should incorporate the special additives and the specified content of nicotine in their tobacco products before releasing them into the market. These health warnings through package labels and advertisements can enable consumers to understand and make rational decisions in their cigarette smoking behaviors.

Governments can also introduce laws and legislations to control cigarette smoking, especially in public spaces. For instance, they can create designated smoking zones to help in controlling secondhand smoking and prevent the subsequent health-related impacts. The governments can further introduce comprehensive education and sensitization programs on the dangers of secondhand smoking to various stakeholders. Through such programs, they can target a reduction in the smoking habit and subsequent collapse of the industry in their respective countries (Hiilamo, Crosbie, & Glantz, 2014). Another appropriate response from the government towards controlling the tobacco industry is the introduction of high taxation. For instance, a high excise tax on tobacco-related products can help in reducing the corporate profits of the companies and a reduction in their market activities.

Section 5: Media impact

The mass media plays a crucial role in supporting efforts towards controlling and preventing tobacco production, sale, distribution, and consumption in their respective countries. A strong partnership between government agencies, health institutions, and other important agencies can help in ensuring effective control over the industry. They can ensure constant press releases detailing the perceived impacts of tobacco products on the overall wellbeing of the citizens (McCool, Freeman, & Tanielu, 2014). Videotape presentations on the health-related effects of tobacco are an effective deterrence measure towards the companies. Similarly, the media can facilitate various educational symposia, radio, and online advertisement campaigns on appropriate healthcare choices. Therefore, the media should sustain positive relationships with other important players in the industry such as healthcare workers and the identified shareholders in the industry. The media can spread messages concerning various legislative measures instituted by the government to help in preventing and controlling tobacco use.

The media can also control the aggressive marketing campaigns through a strong emphasis on health education to sensitize the public on the dangers associated with cigarette smoking in different environments. Overall, the media can have a massive influence on the attitudes and behaviors of the public towards eliminating the habit (Kulsolkookiet et al., 2018). Therefore, public health professionals should explore the important role of the media in reducing the prevalence of tobacco use in their respective societies. They can use the media to ensure relevant exposure to knowledge on the efficacy of tobacco use.

References

Hiilamo, H., Crosbie, E., & Glantz, S. A. (2014). The evolution of health warning labels on cigarette packs: the role of precedents, and tobacco industry strategies to block diffusion. Tobacco control, 23(1), e2-e2.

Jawad, M., El Kadi, L., Mugharbil, S., & Nakkash, R. (2015). Waterpipe tobacco smoking legislation and policy enactment: a global analysis. Tobacco control, 24(Suppl 1), i60-i65.

Kulsolkookiet, R., Wongpinunwatana, N., Savaraj, L., & Pothisarn, T. (2018). Using Social Media to Change Smoking Behavior: Line Instant Messaging Application Perspectives. Journal of Applied Business & Economics, 20(1).

Leppan, W., Lecours, N., & Buckles, D. (Eds.). (2014). Tobacco control and tobacco farming: separating myth from reality. Anthem Press.

Lidón-Moyano, C., Martínez-Sánchez, J. M., Fu, M., Ballbè, M., Martín-Sánchez, J. C., Martínez, C., & Fernández, E. (2017). Secondhand smoke risk perception and smoke-free rules in homes: a cross-sectional study in Barcelona (Spain). BMJ open, 7(1), e014207.

Mbulo, L., Palipudi, K. M., Andes, L., Morton, J., Bashir, R., Fouad, H., … & Kashiwabara, M. (2016). Secondhand smoke exposure at home among one billion children in 21 countries: findings from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). Tobacco control, 25(e2), e95-e100.

McCool, J., Freeman, B., & Tanielu, H. (2014). Perceived social and media influences on tobacco use among Samoan youth. BMC public health, 14(1), 1100.

Savell, E., Gilmore, A. B., & Fooks, G. (2014). How does the tobacco industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review. PloS one, 9(2), e