The informant is a movie that is all about ethics and professionalism, corporate governance and social responsibility. This movie depicts the unethical ways a company or employees of a company can carry themselves for selfish reasons. This movie is about a high-ranking employee at the company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), named Mark Whitacre, and it is all about him blowing the whistle on his company. A whistle blower is a person whom exposes the unethical behaviour, any fraudulent activities or any type of violation of the law. And this was Mark Whitacre, a whistle blower.
This movie is placed in Decatur, Illinois, in the United States of America, in the early 1990’s to early 2000’s. Throughout the movie, Mark is seen to be the ‘good guy as he exposes the unethical and unprofessional behaviour of the ADM employees. Although Mark helps expose ADM, he is involved in ‘White Collar Crime’. This entails that Mark was acting in nonviolent crime dealing with fraudulent activities for selfish purposes such as acquiring more money for himself. The main characters of the movie are Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), Agent Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula), Robert Hendon (Joel
McHale), Ed Herbst (Patton Oswald) and Ginger Whitacre (Melanie Lynskey). The main plot of the movie is situated all around global price-fixing between ADM and its competitors. Price-fixing is an illegal activity as it poses as unfair towards the consumers, as there will be no more of a free market system. Tax evasion is another main aspect that this movie focuses on as Mark evades payment of tax when he sent money to off- shore accounts. This movie deals with more unethical issues and corporate governance rather than social responsibility in the company.
What is social responsibility? Social responsibility can be defined as an act that a business can make to improve the community surrounding the business. In more depth, it can be known as a manager’s (or person of higher ranking in a business) obligation to protect as well as promote the welfare of all stakeholders of the business. This can either be financially or otherwise. There is primary and broader social responsibility. Primary social responsibility focuses on the business itself and this will include its owners, customers, suppliers, employees and competitors.
Whereas, broader social responsibility includes the activities that deal with the business’ local community as well as the country. Primary social responsibility greatly deals with how the business should attain the interest of their stakeholders while the broader social responsibility deals with how the business can influence or impact the country and community by uplifting the community and country through certain activities such as, sponsorships for education or sporting activities, health and safety programs, etc.
In the movie, the scene of where Mark is meeting with the olleagues and it is the time of the raid, Mark mentions that he had saved a man from chocking on a chicken bone, and he had learnt basic first aid courses from the local fire department, thus illustrating that mark had been participating in the CSR approach as no one would ever think of just going to the fire department. In another scene, Mark voices over this scene, and gives multiple examples of the ‘charity work’ him and his wife had done, such as giving a disabled child a special laptop to carry on with her studies, they had also done things for the homeless such as soup kitchens.
This shows that Mark was a representative of ADM when dealing with the CSR approach and helping the underprivileged in their small community. Corporate governance What is corporate governance? Corporate governance can clearly be defined as a set of rules or processes that top management applies to the business to run the business effectively and honestly. Corporate governance involves the business considering the interests of its stakeholders such as its customers, community, government, suppliers, shareholders and management.
Corporate governance has certain characteristics attaining to it. Such as ransparency, independence, accountability, fairness and discipline. Transparency deals with the company being ‘open’ about the processes of the business and how much inflow and outflow of capital the business gains or uses. Independence is when the business does not need to rely on another competitor for their gain or downfall but are confident in their products. Accountability is taking complete responsibility for your actions in the business, whether it be mistakes or accomplishments.
Fairness is when employees and directors treat everyone in the business with respect and is not bias towards one another. Integrity is about doing business in an honest and truthful manner. Discipline is the way you carry and control your actions, there is self-discipline, market discipline and regulatory discipline. In The Informant’, there is a clear indication that there is no transparency between the employees of the business. This can be seen in not one but throughout the entire movie as no one notices that there are huge amounts of money that is being embezzled by Mark.
Also, as Mark steals the money from the business, he denies all his actions which lead him to have no accountability. These aspects or not only shown in one scene or two scenes of the movie but throughout the movie. ADM has no integrity as their business dealings have not been honest and truthful as they are working with their competitors in price-fixing thus, causing their customers to experience a disadvantage. Ethics and Professionalism What are ethics and professionalism? Ethics refer to your good morals and values as an individual as well as a business.
As a business must apply a Code of Ethics that the business must adhere to. Professionalism can be defined as a professional’s competence or skill. There are many ethical issues that the corporate world faces such as, conflict of interest, inappropriate gifts, sexual harassment, unauthorised payments, past moral injustice, internet, email and cell phone issues, stealing from the company, firing an employee, insider trading, piracy, counterfeiting/bootlegging, unrealistic advertising, price-fixing, etc.
In ‘The Informant’ the main unethical issues that are portrayed throughout the film is price- fixing and stealing from the company. Price-fixing is when a business such as ADM, comes together with its customers and ollude on a fixed price for their goods or services and this is counted as illegal and unethical as it demands the customers of the business to create a higher expense to themselves whether or not they find the product of a high quality or not.
Thus, in the movie, representatives of ADM went out to meet with their competitors in order to agree on fixing the price on their goods. Stealing from the company, or embezzlement, is highly unethical. Especially for a well-earning scientist such as Mark. Mark has embezzled over $11. 5 Million from the company for he last few years that he has been working at ADM. This is counted as a crime as it is counted as fraud. In the movie, Mark stated that he has received kickbacks in the form of cheques.
This is another major unethical issue as it is counted as a form of brie in order for the other person to receive what he or she wants from the company or person being bribed. This movie shows Grade 12 Business Studies learners that breaking the laws and rules of the country and business you work for creates major consequences. There are many aspects that can lead to the downfall of the business as well as the ownfall of you as an individual if one does not follow the code of ethics of the business and acts in an unprofessional and unethical manner.
This movie clearly depicts how many issues a huge company can face and how it impacts on its local community as well as the economy of the country and business. With regarding to the content that is taught to grade 12 learners and by watching this movie, it is ow easy to identify the issues that have been portrayed in the movie as the content has been covered. It is easier to analyse the issues and determine how it will impact the business as well as community.