In today's society, business ethics and morals play a crucial role in corporations. Over the last decade, consumers have become more aware of the exploitation, greed, and environmental destruction by corporations. In the movies Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and Silkwood, the viewers are able to comprehend the impacts business decision-making could have on communities and their employee's families. In many of these corporate cases, there is a David, an average person, taking on an industry and winning.
A common theme of all three movies is the single mothers of the working class who confront powerful corporations and politicians in a man's world, which has abused and exploited them. The women in all three movies could not be scared or silenced by a company or its battalion of lawyers. They were going to fight for what they believed was right no matter what the cost. This is a consequence of a situational ethical decision to place the safety of their co-workers and themselves before their personal gratification.
Another theme was unfair treatment of workers in Norma Rae and Silkwood. The employees of the corporations faced punishing work, excessive noise, authoritarian management and low pay coupled with job insecurity. In the movie Silkwood, unfair treatment occurred to Karen Silkwood when the doctors performed the procedure to eliminate contamination. It was a painful process to be scrubbed with brushes as well as humiliating. This method is unethical as the protection of workers should be a priority of the corporation. In Norma Rae, Rae's father collapses and dies in the mill. He died from a heart attack caused by sheer pressure of work and the stress of the heat. The ...
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...This requires individuals to make a decision to combat the problem or ignore it.
These movies heighten awareness of the general population in regards to the exploitation, greed, and environmental destruction by corporations. The value of corporate responsibility continues to increase as consumers continue to force companies to revolutionize. When employees take an ethical and moral stance while fighting for themselves and fellow employees, they stand a chance of winning against a powerful industry and the wealthy. The influence of an individual can prevail.
Boatright, J. R. (2009). In D. Musselwhite, D. Repetto, & P. Walsh (Eds.), Ethics and the conduct of business (Sixth ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. (Original work published 1997)
Erin Brockovich. Dir. Stephen Soderbergh. Perf. Julia Roberts and Albert Finney. DVD. Universal Studios, 2000.
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