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. ... Free Database ... Sociology #2
Below you can an extract from a research paper on sociology developed by our writers. With the project you can find the requirements provided by the customer. 

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... Free Sample on Sociology #2

Topic: Johnson & Johnson Company: Racial Discrimination in Workplace


An analysis of the case which including the conclusion of the facts and what's the basic assumption. This is a business ethics issue. Research Area: Johnson & Johnson Company: Racial Discrimination in Workplace. Purpose: To write an analysis of this case, which should include the basic assumption of the case, and a conclusion of the analysis. Objectives: To discuss ethical issue in Johnson & Johnson Company. Course Title: Business Ethics.



Issue: Two current JNJ employees filed lawsuit against the Company, alleging racial discrimination. Background: Recent surge of litigation based on perceived racial discrimination, which involved some of the nation's largest corporations. Company: Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ based health care producer. Commonly reputable for promoting high ethical standard, including equal opportunity and corporate citizenship. The insider truth may be different in material respects, however. Pertinent Fact: Nilda Gutierrez and Linda Morgan, the plaintiffs claiming to represent the Hispanic and African-American minorities in the Company's human resource portfolio. Seeking to have the incident qualified as class action. 


The aforementioned individuals recently filed a lawsuit against the renowned healthcare producer, in alleging that the company has a sufficiently long record of having knowingly engaged in discriminatory practices that affect Hispanic and African American minority employees in all aspects pertaining to promotion and raises [3]. This incident shows promise of raising a class action agenda in two important ways:

(a) For one, the plaintiffs argue that the controversial practices have been characteristic of employment and HR policies on a company wide level, rather than qualifying as individual-specific nuisance. On second thought, the Company has not been very forthcoming in articulating its official feedback. JNJ has resorted to a form of signaling its social 'goodwill' by trying to offset any such accusations with its official mission statement on the one hand and its active community role on the other. It remains questionable whether a formal mission statement may lend the immunity against de-facto shortcomings. Moreover, it appears incorrect (if ethical in its own right) to mix distinct aspects of socially responsible conduct.

(b) The issue gains momentum in light of the other roaring lawsuits filed against giants like Texaco, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft--which makes it all the more difficult to deny class action.

Indeed, from the legal standpoint, one must distinguish between what's referred to as disparate treatment discrimination versus disparate impact discrimination, pertaining to the class (systemic) as opposed to individual or incidental instances of mistreatment (Cheeseman, 2000: 839). The underpinning equal-opportunity law enables the employee (or job seeking candidate) to be treated on an equal and professionally relevant basis, and to sue the employee otherwise. Class action implies a more 'global' status for the lawsuit, thus enabling select plaintiffs to act on behalf of the entire qualified group being de-facto or potentially discriminated against. 

Now, the complexity of such cases lies in the fact that one has to have the hard evidence that the alleged instances of adverse selection really amount to discrimination over and above any intrinsic comparisons. Unless the incident involves inter-group conflict (inter-racial or otherwise diversity setting), it may be possible to boil it down to trivial cronyism. This subtle form of corruption would not involve any explicit bribery or for that matter insider trading; in this case, it is more appropriate to talk about some form of asymmetric informal statuses securing asymmetric promotions. After all, rapport is a highly subjective issue hardly enforceable by any formal prescriptions. Rapport is likely to be lower between counterparts that are just too different, have little overlap. One should therefore feel for a stumbling block at this point: broad diversity, unless properly managed and utilized as an asset, may prove to become a major potential leverage of asymmetric rapport, bias, and cronyism in its own right. 

A more serious way of approaching the issue would be to stress the threats and costs to cronyism. Individuals facing skewed opportunity sets have stood ready for major revolts; nations suffering asymmetry will sanction protectionism and condone terrorism. On an economy-wide level, it is the institutions that affect the distribution of opportunity. On a company level, the existence of policies effectively overlooking discrimination distorts opportunity in a similar fashion. A class action claim thus renders the issue far more 'interesting' than singular incidents of controversial conduct. Now, a number or observers i the sociological disciplines have looked into the psychology and economics of bias (notably the Nobel winning Gary Becker (1967) whose formal analyses of crime and prejudice were among the first in bounded rationality studies) [4]. However, the agenda of surgery on the individual's mind is as challenging as it is controversial and irrelevant, for we are seeing the more tractable problem: that of shaping and enforcing the 'behaviors' of institutions and organizations. 'Glass walls' and 'glass ceiling' is what formal mission statements amount to. The Nobel winning work in economics of 2001 has dwelled on many of similar issues: there are the opportunity sets, and there are the resources that find it difficult to make it inside, despite their oftentimes superior fundamental value [4]. The intrinsic values may be unobservable or misperceived (as in bias), and has to be signaled. So, one wonders whether the large companies can afford the cost of such adverse selection in the longer run--consistent human resource mismanagement. 

One other irrationality symptom has to do with the hard-earned 'goodwill' that the companies find themselves dissipating in the course of continual litigating and costly public relations. It remains questionable just how these companies can afford, over a long haul, retaining these net value subtractors or negative assets--I refer to the discriminatory policies (of formalized) and/or the unscrupulous managers. (The latter could be another--subtler--layer of agency cost and adverse selection at work). 

Along these lines, though, I would also suggest we distinguish between what can be viewed as 'lower-bound discrimination' versus 'upper-bound discrimination': first to fire versus first to promote. The study at hand appears to raise the latter concern. One way of showing the importance of this dichotomy would be to refer to some observed results in HR and marketing management studies, whereby dissatisfaction has very different relevant ingredients than lesser satisfaction. This would, in particular, imply that the employee will not necessarily be fired just because there is a better alternative; however, promotion issues lend themselves to comparison more readily. They are not nearly as 'discontinuous' and hence more manipulable ethically.

Another strand of literature in law & economics addresses the issue of externalities, i.e. the effects on other stakeholders over and above that intended by the choice maker according to his private interests [5]. Some of the better known illustrations of [negative] externality is the smoker-nonsmoker battle, air pollution, and unrequited love to name but a few. As it happens, bias-based discrimination is all the more of a perfect candidate for externality. Externality is also commonly known as the social cost. By definition, then, the choice maker must [be forced to] internalize these costs and not just consider the private cost of his or her action. This is the area where economic, legal, and ethical issues successfully marry: The espousers of systematically discriminatory practices must pay for their biases. 

Analytical Afterthoughts and Concluding Remarks.

In the previous sections, we have suggested an ethical as well as a law-and-economics perspective to study cases involving discrimination and class action. The formal legal process might prove at disadvantage in proposing judgment based on the observable evidence: after all, a lot of salient information on the litigants underlying incentives and possible response get buried in public statements and damage claims. 


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