[Solved] Monsanto Attempts to Balance Stakeholder Interests Case Study

Business Studies

You will complete a Case Assignment from Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. ISBN 13: 9781305500846. You will answer the questions at the end of the case in 4 to 5 pages (double spaced), not including the title or reference pages. The Monsanto Case Study Assignments must be written in current APA format. In […]

Monsanto Case Study

The capability to deal with and anticipate the dilemmas and issues of business ethics has become an essential priority in the 21st Century. According to Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell (2017), several well-publicized scandals have, in recent years, caused public outrage concerning distrust, fraud, and deception. The cases have also resulted in a demand for legislation to protect the financially innocent, greater corporate responsibility, and improved business ethics. For example, the reputation of Monsanto on the global market is that of a bioengineering and agrochemical organization specializing in manufacturing chemical products and plant seeds to improve and protect crop performance. However, the debate and publicity of the highly exposed ethical and legal lapses at Monsanto highlight the need for organizations to integrate responsibility and ethics into all business decisions.

Monsanto and Maintenance of Ethical Culture

For much of its history, Monsanto has failed to uphold an ethical culture that the stakeholders would approve of. The reason, in this regard, is that the organization is yet to come out clean on the impact that its products have on the environment, animals, and people upon consumption. The production of Agent Orange chemical is an instance of many unethical circumstances surrounding the firm. The US soldiers had used the herbicide to defoliate Vietnam in its distressed effort to turn the tide of the war it was losing. The chemical defoliant led to horrendous human congenital disabilities that still impact millions of US Vietnam veteran service members and Vietnamese civilians today. In 2004, Jill Montgomery, the representative for Monsanto, held that the corporation should not be accountable for all the demises or harms ensuing from Agent Orange (National Academies of Sciences, 2016). Hence, considering this form of corporate sentiment and some other very dubious history, Monsanto is not to be trusted.

For almost 40 years, Monsanto has released toxic waste into a creek in the Alabama town of Anniston. The firm had also disposed of a highly poisonous chemical, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in the region. The outcome of this action has been catastrophic. The poison led to early deaths and health problems for the residents because of elevated PCB levels. Furthermore, the animals that reside around or in the creeks are either deformed or dead due to the chemicals in the water. A paper trail demonstrated that administrators of the company were aware of the pollution since the 1960s but continued with the dumping. Thousands of petitioners from the city sued Monsanto once the cover-up was discovered. The company, along with Solutia, in 2003, agreed to pay more than 20,000 Anniston residents a settlement of $700 million (Ferrell et al., 2017). Thus, all these have led to the ruining of the reputation of Monsanto, losing the trust of various parties, including stakeholders.

In recent years, Monsanto has been working to enforce its code of ethics to respond to the ethical issues they have experienced. The firm has become more socially responsible in responding efficiently to different stakeholders. Stakeholder uncertainty and scandals over the company’s GM products tarnished the business’s reputation when Hugh Grant, the current CEO, took over the office in 2003 (Ferrell et al., 2017). Grant chose to alter the tactical focus because he knew the corporation was fragile. Monsanto has recovered and is now prospering through a strong emphasis on GM foods. Currently, the organization hires nearly 22,000 people globally, and Corporate Responsibility Magazine acknowledges it as one of the 100 best corporate citizens (Ferrell et al., 2017). Grant’s leadership demonstrates that all companies have to deal with misconduct. In this manner, ethical behavior needs identifying and understanding issues and making quick judgments.

Comparison of Benefits of Growing GM Seeds with Potential Negative Consequences

Genetically Modified Foods (GM foods), as produced by Monsanto, have transformed the agriculture sector around the globe toward more proficient farming. Although the products in question generate considerable benefits for human health, there are some distresses concerning biodiversity induced by modified plants, which can secondarily impact the well-being of people. On the one hand, GMOs have various benefits, such as increasing food production. One of the fundamental reasons for these foods was the need to enhance food production due to the increase in the world’s population (Cinici, 2016). GM technology, in this respect, offers various types of unique products using less plant treatment and less inexpensive substrate.

Another exciting and promising feature of growing GM seeds is genetic engineering, which aims to improve the diet’s nutritional value in the standard dietary sharing schedule. Another benefit of GM seeds revolves around resistance to infectious agents and insects. Nearly all plants are inclined to be damaged or infected with insects and plant-specific infections, such as bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and fungi (Karami & Mahasti Shotorbani, 2018). The stated diseases not only threaten a nation’s agricultural economy but also occasionally may have dangerous side effects on the well-being of people. All in all, growing GM feeds as produced by Monsanto presents various benefits, including less carbon-dioxide emission, help to save fossil fuel, the likelihood of developing plants with every soil composition and in every geographical region, no need to use pesticides, overproduction of crops in less time.

Despite the advantages and benefits, the growth of GM seeds also presents some concerns. The concerns revolve around two ways, including the more important on human health and the effect on the environment and ecosystem. Changes in the food web of some arthropods and animals are the main aspects of the ecosystem impacted by GM seeds. For example, it has been revealed that Bt maize has increased the rate of other nontarget organisms, which can secondarily impact the anthropoid mortality level. The gene flow through breeding between non-GM and GM is the other aspect that the GM seeds can influence, where the latter is affected by different environmental and biotechnological factors (Karami & Mahasti Shotorbani, 2018). In this instance, the flow of genes leads to undesirable contamination of non-GM plants, and the produced hybrid crops are often less fit than wild ones.

Managing the Potential Harm to Animal and Plant Life

The existence of chemicals, such as Roundup, is centered on perceiving agriculture not as a core creation of biodiversity and care for the land but as a battle against the diversity of her species, including plants and insects. In this respect, Monsanto can take two steps to manage the potential harm to the life of animals and plants by utilizing products such as Roundup. The first approach is the development of “refuge areas.” GM seeds often produce “superbugs” or “superweeds” that, over time, become resistant to pesticides and herbicides, as well as GM crops and seeds. The “refuge areas” is one particular approach that the company can adopt to prevent the development of pests persistent to GM seeds (Shiva, 2019). The regions are swaths of land where non-GM crops are grown and, in turn, act as refuges for the pests. The pests remain and migrate in these sections, where they breed and eat. The pests will not need to become resistant to GM crops since the ‘refuge area” affords them ample nourishment. In the end, securing the bulk of products.

Crop rotation is another practical approach that Monsanto can utilize to manage the potential harm to the life of plants and animals from using products such as Roundup. Crops are different in their capability to compete with weeds. Some weeds are less problematic in particular crops, while they are a problem in some. The rotation would be unfavorable to any specific weed spectrum in this respect. The strategy also enables using different weed control practices, such as applying herbicides and cultivation with varying sites of action (Shiva, 2019). Furthermore, the longer the timeframe of the rotation, the lower the possibility of passing on strains of diseases to future crops. Pests have a great chance to maintain active colonies when the same crops are grown year after year. Rotation assists in keeping them at bay. Finally, each plant contains different compounds that grow and nourish the products that become the yield, and rotation presents nutritional advantages for soil.


In summary, the case of Monsanto demonstrates that highly observable ethical issues impact the public’s attitude toward an organization and destroy trust. It is vital to learn how to come to conclusions in the internal environment of a company to attain organizational and personal objectives. Nevertheless, a business does not occur in a vacuum. As evident in Monsanto’s case, business decisions have implications for society, investors, suppliers, employees, suppliers, and customers. Moral judgments must consider the mentioned stakeholders because unethical conduct negatively impacts industries, firms, people, and society. Therefore, organizations must establish ethical corporate cultures by communicating core principles to their workers. Businesses can achieve this by developing shared values and supporting ethical choices motivated by the moral leadership of top administrators.


Cinici, A. (2016). Balancing the pros and cons of GMOs: Socio-scientific argumentation in pre-service teacher education. International Journal of Science Education38(11), 1841-1866.

Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2017). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. Boston, MA, USA: Cengage Learning.

Karami, F., & Mahasti Shotorbani, P. (2018). Genetically modified foods: Pros and cons for human health. Food and Health1(2), 18-23.

National Academies of Sciences. (2016). Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Shiva, V. (2019). The fight against Monsanto’s Roundup: The politics of pesticides. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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