Case Study Essay

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Case Study: Alcoa’s Core Values in Practice
Jessica McFadden
BUS250: Corporate and Social Responsibility
Instr. Jodi Feikema
January 26, 2015

Case Study: Alcoa’s Core Values in Practice

Alcoa is a company that has been known to demonstrate strong values and also produce an ethical work climate for their employees. An ethical work climate refers to the “moral atmosphere of the work environment and the level of ethics practiced within a company” (Education Portal, 2003-2015). As a company, Alcoa felt that all employees should be able to partake in certain values that will be long lasting such as integrity, excellence, accountability, environment, customer, health and safety, and profitability (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). They specifically wanted these values to exist so that the work climate could be easy and manageable.
Therefore, in this case the ethical criterion that is displayed is the Integrity approach. According to Forbes, the word “Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be” (Forbes, 2012). Alcoa expected personal morality from their employees. This company work ethics speaks for itself. Alcoa has high standards for their work status. Consequently, they felt that each employee should be able to respect each other and communicate effectively. They believed that if each employee followed those criteria’s then they could work together efficiently to make sure the rules and procedures were being followed by the company.
According to the case study, the top management, CEO Paul O’ Neil plays a significant and critical role in the development stage on maintaining an ethical work climate and also the organizational performance seen at Alcoa. Mr. O’Neil main intentions for Alcoa was to simply recognize the importance of health and safety guidelines within a company. Therefore; in “1990 he implemented the health and safety to the global ethics and compliance program” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). While placing these guidelines in effect, he wanted to reveal that not even the amount of money can replace an individual’s safety. In order for Mr. O’Neil to show that he was serious about the level of safety at Alcoa, he began to place individuals in place who sole purpose was to report all compliance issues to the CEO and board of directors in order to mandate the ethics and compliance guidelines. O’Neil clearly believed that no employee should be required to work at a company where their safety and the safety of other employees are at stake. “Alcoa’s management supported the ethical principle that no employee should leave work in a worse