HP and IBM Ethical and Sustainable PoliciesIntroductionThe effectiveness and efficiency of an organization is charged based on dynamic critical success factors. The success of a business organization should be geared towards delighting the customers, advancing towards the company vision, fulfilling the aspirations of both the employees and other stakeholders, making money for both the company employees and the shareholders, developing the employees and their overall aspirations, and ensuring that the company activities constantly make a positive impact to the communities within which it operates (Thompson and Martin 2005, p.
18). This paper aims to have an in-depth evaluation and examination of the diverse ethical, computer industry analysis, and sustainable policies of IBM and HP with close reference to the computer industry. The diverse ways in which various ethical and sustainable policies have been implemented would be examined while the levels of effectiveness in IBM and HP’s ethical and sustainable policies would be evaluated.Industry AnalysisSoftware piracy, data theft, spying, spoofing, masquerading, spyware problems, and health related issues are some of the modern issues that are of great concern to information technology based organizations.
The need to gain a strong competitive advantage over the competition has in a number of ways triggered unfair competition strategies which most business organization employ. Based on the argument of Garrison (2001, p. 55), the continued paradigm shift in business management approaches have continued to elicit divergent views on the exact manner in which business ethical standards should be streamlined. Information communication technology management deserves the integration of both technological and social-human expertise in order to realize utmost benefits from the systems and software applications being developed in the industry.
The overall operations of computer industry has continued shift towards the use of programmed systems that need constant human interaction to the use of more ‘intelligent’ systems that employ artificial intelligent systems (Garrison 2001, pp. 45-53). The need for more efficient, faster, cost effective IT services and the increased levels of awareness on the need to adhere to globally acceptable ethical standards are key factors for organizations to integrate computerized systems into organizational operations. According to Martin and William (2004, pp.
36-37), the need for business ethics sustainable practices could also be attributed to the ever increasing global crusades on the importance of preserving the environment and the communities in which business organizations operates in through corporate social responsibilities and adherence to other ethical business practice (Cole pp. 219-491).The computer industry comprises of software applications, hardware, service, and the endless array of diverse products. Lack of ethical standards and sustainable business practices could result to failure to achieve the set goals.
According to the Gartner and IDC reports, the worldwide personal computers market finished in the year 2004 on positive note, with double-digit percentage growth for the year. In the computer industry, Dell, Apple, HP, Gateway, IBM, and Sony have emerged as the major players. Customized technology services, evolution of new personalized computerized services, machines, and software applications are the key competitive factors in the industry that demand establishment of ethical standards (Thompson and Martin 2005, pp. 17-21; Smith 1999, p.
24). Based on the undertaken research, it is evident that innovations and technology are advancing every year thus making the industry to be fiercer. The computer industry suppliers, both the existing and the potential suppliers, constant rivalry amongst the existing firms, stakeholders’ demands, the existence of substitute products, the threats posed by new entrants to the industry, unpredictability of customer needs, and the existence of complementary computer products other driving forces for setting up sustainable business policies (Sheila, Lenny, and Jeremy 2006, pp. 2-13).
Most organizations tend to employ unfair business strategies in order to gain unfair competitive advantage over the competitors. Lack of business ethical practices and sustainable ethical practices contribute to monopolies and the illogical and unfair competition in the industry (Weitzner and Kapor 1998, pp. 23-61). Over exploitation of consumers, weaknesses in the ICT infrastructure in most parts of the world, and the rapid development of computer related technologies such as the Internet are some of the core factors that have warranted the need to implement ethical business standards.
Organizational reputation is vital for constant customer attraction and enhancement of transparency and accountability. Implementing ethical standards in the computer industry ensures that the highly skilled employees in the companies are retained and that they remain motivated and productive thus a positive reputation to the organization (Martin and William 2004, pp. 36-37; Scholes, Johnson, and Whittington 2008, pp. 4-81).
Implemented Ethical and Sustainability PoliciesTransparency, integrity, accountability, integrity, and trust are core values attributed to the implemented ethical and sustainability policies of both Hewlett Packard and the International Business Machines Companies (Thompson and Martin 2005, pp. 17-21). Though in the same industry, Hewlett Packard and the International Business Machines companies implement relatively different ethical standards with the aim of remaining relevant in the industry while at the same time gaining a greater competitive advantage over the competitors in the industry.i.
Hewlett Packard Implemented Ethical and Sustainability PoliciesThrough its global citizenship program, HP has continued to emerge as one of the major companies in the Information Technology (IT) industry that adequately comply to globally accepted ethical standards and ethical policies (Hewlett Packard 2009). The company’s top level management is committed to doing the correct things and making strategic decisions geared towards ensuring that customer and stakeholder satisfaction is realized while at the same time providing environment friendly to the consumers. For instance, the Global Citizenship program is very integral to the overall success of HP’s business. In the company’s global supply chain, all local issues are accorded global significance.
The company is founded on a culture that is built on trust, dignity, and respect which have its core goals with stringent international operational policies, standards, and processes (Global Social and Environmental Responsibility Operations 2009). Under climate and energy conservation sustainable policies, the company has developed ethical strategies and programs such as HP SkyRoom and HP Halo that aims to reduce the need for business travel and hence reduce the GHG (greenhouse gas) effects.Various environment and sustainability policies have continued to be implemented by HP. The company designs its products and services to be energy efficient, easily recycled, and to use fewer materials.
According to company’s executive vice president, Joshi Vyomesh, ‘sustainable designs of the company help to minimize negative environmental impact across the life cycle, create efficiency, increase productivity, and reduce the running costs.’ Due to the need to ensure that the environment is adequately protected, HP offers sustainable design in its products (FY07 Global Citizenship Report Web Content 2010; Vest, Allaire, and Young 1996). The wide portfolio of diverse innovative products and services and solutions facilitate the reduction of environmental footprint businesses and the consumers alike. As a Window based personal computer desktop, HP ethical and sustainability policy has made all its PC components to be free from both the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and the harmful brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
Energy conservation with an in-depth attention being accorded to the need to generally conserve energy conservation and ensure that a healthy society coexist in the communities in which they operate has been accorded great attention. For instance, HP DeskJet D2600 has been designed to consume 30% less energy compared to the previous model that had a 50% recycled plastic. By the end of 2011, the company’s sustainable ethical policies state that the recycled plastic in the HP printing products should have been reduced by 100 million pounds (Kessler and Hopkins 2006). Before 2012, Hewlett Packard intends to ensure that it reduces its energy consumption by at least 40%.
The five steps implemented by HP Company for saving energy and financial costs include assessment of the impact, cutting on the energy use, stopping unnecessary wastage of paper, conducting more recycling of water materials, and converting most of its operations, products, and services from analog to digital. These ethical practices are undertaken by the company due to the industry realization that IT can help reduce up to 98% of the green house gas emissions. From the year 2009, the company has targeted to ensure that it exceed its goal of tripling the amount of recycled materials that are used in its Inkjet printers (Hewlett Packard 2009). Based on these policies, it is evident that the company accord great attention to the need to conserve the environment and realize cost effective and efficient operations.
Additionally, the company’s supply chain responsibility and the product manufacturing guidelines clearly outline measures which its product suppliers must adhere to reduce negative environmental impact.HP ensures that it is responsible for its large IT supply chain management. The company does that by building supplier capabilities, promoting global collaboration with other companies and local community organizations that foster ethical standards, and increasing transparency in its services. Training is also constantly undertaken by the company both to the consumers and the company employees in order to better understand how environmental conservation related issues.
The company’s devices allow for health-care workers get patient information and then order tests and medication with great accuracy and speed. To enhance a healthy society, the company, through the London Center for Health Care services being used by HP, uses HP technology to track infusion pumps for the purpose of administering fluids. Employee behaviors are regulated through the set company standards of business conduct (SBC) that targets to ensure that no fraudulent activities are tolerated at all levels of the HP company operations (Scholes, Johnson, and Whittington 2008, pp. 4-81).
To the HP employees, strict adherence to the company’s ethical code of conduct, CSR, and conducting business with integrity, trust, and loyalty of other people is mandatory. Constant employee training and attendance of seminars and technology forums is a common phenomenon geared to ensure professional growth and fulfillment among its employees (Thompson, Strickland, and Gamble 2008, pp. 16-62). As a sustainability effort, HP, through its corporate social responsibility, sponsors a number of community, educational, health, and technology related projects with the ensuring that it gives back to the community while at the same instance promoting its products and services.
Through the grid and cloud computing program, which is collaboration between UNESCO, Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute, UNIDO, and HP, educational sponsorships mainly in Africa and in the Middle East are offered real-time scientific coloration in order to change ‘brain drain’ effects to being ‘brain gain.’ii. IBM’s Implemented Ethical and Sustainability PoliciesIBM is the world’s fourth technology company and it has a history that dates back to the 19th century. Numerous policies that relates to the ethical and sustainable manner in which companies address ethical challenges are in existence.
The IBM Company mainly focuses on establishing an enterprise that is leading and sustainable. The policies implemented by the company in recent times relates to energy management, waste management, carbon management, water management, sustainable procurement, adherence to ethical labor standards, product lifecycle, and product composition (Mane 2003, pp. 193-217; 2009 Strategy IBM press release 2009).To begin with, workforce diversity is a key business ethics strategy being employed by the IBM Company.
It nondiscrimination policies considers sexual biasness as a great offence in the company. The company became the first major company to stop using generic information in its employment decisions (Maney 2003, pp. 189-222). Through its Genographic Project and its collaboration with the National Geographic Society, IBM fosters equitable distribution of employment opportunities geared towards enhancing business transparency and better career growth among its employees.
The IBM services that targets global market utilizes the company experts in more than 160 countries to offer clients with deep process, business, and industry expertise to establish innovative mechanisms to create, deliver, and identify consumer needs that need to be fulfilled (2009 strategy IBM press release). Through its current projects that include developerWorks, alphaWorks, and the manufacturing and semiconductor design, IBM gets to learn better technology skills on how best to improve its operations and sustainability strategies (Pacey 1992; 2009 Strategy IBM press release). Through its established Open Client Offering, the company enables business organizations to use similar software applications on the Windows operating system and its other alternatives. This cuts cost of management thus proving consumers a cost effective products.
Training of employees and customers is an ethical and sustainable policy which IBM Company employs. According to the argument of Scholes, Johnson, and Whittington (2008, pp. 4-81), IBM offers very comprehensive educational and technical training services to its employees, companies, and other business organizations in order for them to acquire, optimize, and maintain their information technology skills.IBM environmental policies aims to reduce the hazardous wastes released to the environment through the guidelines in its corporate environmental policy.
Based on the 2009 Strategy IBM press release, the environmental policy is intended to reduce the environmental degradation by 40% in the next five years. It has also redesigned processes in order to eliminate the closed loop recycling. The built modeling solution is intended to help reduce the carbon footprint through the use of six and lean sigma principles (2009 Strategy IBM press release 2009). Since 2007, the Extreme Blue, an internal IBM company program, that uses experienced engineers, business managers, and talented interns develop high-value environmentally friendly technologies.
This helps identify business and community needs and design the best mechanisms to solve them thus making the company more relevant and competitive in the industry (Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2008). On the other hand, the Project Big Green and the Smarter Planet project were established in 2007 and 2008 consecutively in order to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Based the IBM project Match solar power utilization strategies implemented intend to realize very low cost methodologies for use of solar energy products called CIGS solar cell modules through the thin film technology (Julie 2009). The energy policies aim to develop new solution of processed thin film photovoltaic-devices.
IBM’s corporate policy on better strategies for environmental protection that were established in 1971 were redesigned in 2005 in order to adhere to the USA’s environmental protection agency requirements to eliminate cancer infections and related diseases. Levels of Effectiveness in the IBM and HP Ethical and Sustainability PoliciesIBM uses a holistic business approach to its planet and ethical challenges and implementation of its sustainable policies. Its level of effectiveness is achieved by combining deep business insights, high levels of industry expertise, and the use of innovative technology. There are a number of ways in which both IBM and HP companies have progressed in their ethical and sustainability policies based on the established international ethical standards and corporate standards.
Collaboration and business partnerships have constantly been used by IBM in its efforts to adhere to high ethical standards. For IBM, its work force diversity and lack of unwarranted discrimination policies has been a very beneficial ethical and sustainability policy that has been employed by its top management (Kessler and Hopkins 2006). HP works collaboratively with its suppliers and consumers to ensure compliance with ethical standards and policies such as regulatory and legal compliance, environmental performance improvement, information access, and management systems (Hewlett Packard 2009). In fact HP’s sustainability policy entails offering numerous take-back options, leasing, donations, refurbishment, recycling, asset recovery, and trade-in options.
On the other hand, the employee training by IBM though of high standards is mainly geared towards ensuring that the employees are equipped with critical information technology skills to improve their performance and thus enable the company to leverage its business investment. The training is hardly geared towards benefiting the employees and ensures that their professional careers are wholly developed. Based on the argument of Robert (2002, pp. 9-51), the training offered by IBM to its employees is normally inclined towards benefiting the company and not its employees.
Furthermore, the training undertaken to the consumers is not ethically intended to benefit the consumers by imparting them with the desire skills but rather to ensure that the company products and IT services are more preferred to those of its competitors. Indeed, the high costs which some of the courses offered by IBM have been criticized. IBM’s non employee non-discrimination policies have been very contentious. The company’s Project Match which allows company employees that faces layoffs to be moved to other countries such as Czech Republic, India, and Brazil is argued to an unethical policy that moves incompetent and worn-out employees to poor countries for cheap labor at the expense of quality and effectiveness (Julie 2009).
Its sustainability policy also entails laying off workers ones high profits have been released. There have also been allegations that IBM has been supporting gay rights of its employees through health benefits and the provision of anti-discrimination clause. Due to its gay friendliness, since2003, IBM has emerged as the winner of at least forty lesbian, gay, and transgender awards globally (Robert 2002). Both IBM and HP identify security challenges and ethical loopholes in their operations and address then in time in environments such as cloud computing and service oriented architecture – SOA.
Compared to IBM and other Computer related companies, HP has emerged as one of the most ethically upright company with more employee friendly policies and operational strategies. Employee training and stewardship of their professional growth, community development and collaboration efforts through diverse corporate social responsibility programs of the company, networking and diversification of its services, effective and efficient energy consumption, and non environment pollution programs are some of the major successes witnessed in HP’s ethical and sustainable programs. Indeed, HP’s global citizenship is very integral to the overall success of Hewlett Packard’s business. Its sustainability policies have been a great success with great focus being put on developing consuming friendly applications and secure systems, thanks to its high level technical expertise and strategic management.
Early 2010, HP unveiled an HP threat analysis comprehensive system (CATA) that offers design and architectural guidance in order to reduce the levels of vulnerability in the systems and software applications. However, like IBM, the reports that HP was cutting 850 jobs has in the recent past attracted a lot of criticism from the government with the company being accused of only focusing on maximizing profits and ignoring the plights of its employees (Kessler and Hopkins 2006). Additionally, the HP 2006 spying scandal has been a major challenge leveled against the company thus hindering the execution of its energy consumption and other related sustainability policies. According to Kopytoff and Guynn (2006), in an effort to track down on the news leak within the company, the undertaken spying of the board members through ‘pretexting’ by the contracted independent security experts was a great diversion from the company’s own ethical security standards.
ConclusionAccording to Sheila, Lenny, and Jeremy (2006, pp. 2-13), the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization is charged based on dynamic critical success factors. For both HP and IBM computer companies, the implementation of ethical and sustainable policies is normally aimed at conserving the environment, remaining more competitive, and ensuring that the interests of people and the communities and addressed. Both HP and IBM’s ethical and sustainable policies focus on protecting the core business strategies through provision of IT solutions, growth of business beyond the major value added services, reinforcing a customer-centric culture, evolving a pricing and business model, and having a streamlined delivery.
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