Booth & Ellis plc (“B&E”) is a UK listed company that operates a pub and restaurant chain under the “Booth & Ellis” brand. Established in the 1970s, B&E has developed a reputation for good quality, low cost food and drink plus cheerful service. The company currently owns 800 pubs throughout the UK.
The company has made steady but unremarkable profits for the past few years. Its nearest competitors, by contrast, have made much greater profits. The situation is concerning some of B&E’s shareholders. B&E’s lower levels of profitability put it at a competitive disadvantage: over the long term it will have less money to invest in new technology, pub refurbishments or advertising etc. Further, the dividends paid by B&E are significantly less than those paid by their competitors.
The shareholders believe that B&E’s relative lack of profitability is due to its having the highest staff costs in the industry. B&E pays its staff what it regards as a ‘living wage’. However, its competitors pay the legally required minimum wage, which is considerably less than this. Further, some of B&E’s pubs are over-staffed.
B&E has a diverse workforce of both full- and part-time employees. Its staff are, on average, older than the industry average. B&E does employ a significant number of young students who typically stay for 2-3 years but many more B&E employees are in their 50s or 60s and have worked for the company for many years. The company also has a higher number of working mothers than the industry average. B&E have an excellent reputation for its treatment of staff. Staff satisfaction is high and staff turnover is much lower than industry average.
B&E have just appointed a new CEO and her first priority is to reduce staff costs. She has identified three possible options as set out below. You should assume that all of these options are legal.
Option 1: Introduce zero hour contracts for all existing and future staff below pub manager level. Staff on zero hour contracts will be ‘on call’; managers will notify them of the hours they are required to work for each week one week in advance. This will ensure that pubs are not over-staffed in quiet periods whilst still ensuring there is sufficient staff to cover busy periods. Staff are only paid for the time they work. This option should result in the biggest reduction in staff costs.
Option 2: Identify over-staffed pubs and carry out a programme of redundancies. Offer the minimum redundancy package required by law. Introduce a ‘pay freeze’ on wages until B&E’s wages are in line with its competitors, i.e. minimum wage. This option should result in a significant reduction in staff costs – but less than that achieved by option one.
Option 3: Decrease staff numbers through ‘natural wastage’, i.e. not replacing staff who leave voluntarily. Since B&E has low staff turnover, it will take some years before B&E sees significant cost savings from natural wastage.
This question paper consists
of 3 printed page, which is identified by the Code Number LUBS5229M01
Assessed Coursework for the degree of MA and/or MSc
Assignment Outline – Essay (Ethical Awareness)
Read the hypothetical scenario provided to you and answer the questions below.
1. Identify the stakeholders who will be most affected by the CEO’s decision. For each of the three options, state how the option is likely to harm or benefit the stakeholders that you have identified. (Remember that the workforce is diverse and so it makes sense to consider different types of employees as different stakeholders in this analysis). 400-500 words
2. Taking into account your answer to question one and any other considerations that you believe relevant, which option is ethically the best? Give reasons for your answer. 500-600 words
2. Expected response:
Fail (0-49%) candidates will have a combination of poor performance markers such as lack of organisation and structure, lack of clear expression, lack of ethical awareness, lack of critical skills, and lack of academic conventions.
Pass (50%+) candidates will be expected to have a clear structure. The essay should have two main sections: one for each question. The first question/section does not require an introduction or conclusion but it should answer the question in a concise and focused manner. The second question/section should start with a short introduction that briefly sets out the argument to be made, contain a clear line of argument in the middle part, and a short conclusion. Candidates will be expected to express themselves reasonably clearly and use appropriate academic conventions. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate ethical awareness.
Merit (60%+) candidates will be expected to have the above but also contain a good measure of critical analysis. Candidates will put forward their own argument that gives their own opinion and will support it well. Candidates will make reference to the lecture material and/or literature set for the course to the extent it is relevant to their argument. Extensive references are not expected. Candidates should be wise and judicious in selecting their references.
Distinction (70%+) candidates will be expected to have the above but the essay will superior in some respect. For example, candidates may present an argument in question two that is exceptionally well-supported and/or insightful; candidates may use one or more theories or concepts presented in the lecture and/or literature such as shareholder/stakeholder theory in a way that demonstrates superior understanding and only where they are relevant; candidates may carry out further research on ethical or non-ethical matters that is appropriate and relevant to the question. Marks of 70+ may also be given to candidates who in addition to meeting the criteria for a merit, write exceptionally clear, well-structured answers. Extensive referencing is not necessary to achieve a mark of 70+.
Distinction+ (80%+) The candidate will be expected to have all the above but will be exceptional in all respects: critical skills, structure and organization, clarity of expression, wise and judicious use of lecture material and/or other literature, use of academic conventions. Extensive referencing is not necessary to achieve a mark of 80+.
Assignments should be a maximum of 1000 words in length.
All course work assignments that contribute to the assessment of a module are subject to a word limit, as specified in the module handbook for that module. Unless stated specifically otherwise in the relevant module handbook EVERYTHING except the title, bibliography and any appendices is included in the word count. A detailed explanation of word limit rules can be found at the following link https://lubswww.leeds.ac.uk/code-of-practice/coursework/
The deadline date for this assignment is 12.00 noon on Thursday 8th January 2015
An electronic copy of the assignment must be submitted to the Assignment Submission area within the module resource on the Blackboard VLE website no later than 12 noon on the deadline date.
Failure to meet this initial deadline will result in a reduction of marks. Faxed, emailed or hard copies of the assignment will not be accepted. Please ensure your assignment has the standard front cover (available from LUBS Taught Student Guide), the file name is saved as your student ID e.g. (212345678.docx) and your name is not written on your assignment.