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Ethical Decision Making and Business Culture

Text Book – Ethical Theory and Business (7th ed.) – Beauchamp, T. & Bowie, N. (2004) Upper Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Chapter 1 Roadmap for the Journey

Question 1a

Compare and contrast the ethical theories of utilitarianism and Kantian ethics; address fifteen (15) issues in your discussion. In your opinion, which ethical theory has more merit for business decisions? Defend your choice by stating two (2) reasons for your opinion. (25 points) (A 1½-page response is required.) Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Question 1b

Rights, virtue, feminist, and common morality theories have all impacted ethical decision making in the past decade. Respond to each of the following questions referring to these theories. (25 points) (A 1½-page response is required.) Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Define each of the four (4) theories.
What influences do you see each of these four (4) theories having on business ethics?
Which one (1) of these theories do you think will be most important in the next five years? Defend your answer with at least one (1) reason and one (1) example.

Activity 1c

Activity Instructions: Enron Analysis

A few years ago, the Enron Corporation was a high-tech investor’s dream. Stock prices were high, employees were able to buy stock and invest in their 401K plan, morale was high, and things were apparently going smoothly. Their auditing firm, Arthur Andersen supported the financial numbers that were given to the public as to the soundness of the company. Then a female whistleblower from the inside (a vice president) revealed that there were many other corporations formed within the company, and monies were loaned to top officials of the company. In a matter of weeks, Enron became (at that time) the largest bankruptcy case in American business history. Later it was discovered that senior managers took millions of dollars through stock transactions and, at the same time, were telling employees that the company’s future looked bright. Many employees lost all their retirement assets, and stockholders lost millions.

Delineate the ethical standards violated in the Enron case based on each of the six (6) ethical theories studied in this assignment. Begin by briefly identifying/defining each of the six (6) ethical theories. Next, focus on those standards violated by Enron, and discuss five (5) issues related to utilitarianism, five (5) issues related to Kantianism, three (3) issues related to rights issue ethics, four (4) issues related to virtue ethics, six (6) issues related to feminist ethics, and four (4) issues related to common moral theory. Then, briefly discuss 13 standards violated by Arthur Andersen. Your Activity responses should be both grammatically and mechanically correct, and formatted in the same fashion as the Activity itself. If there is a Part A, your response should identify a Part A, etc. In addition, you must appropriately cite all resources used in your response and document in a bibliography using APA style. (100 points) (A 3- to 4-page response is required.) Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Chapter 2 & 3 Corporation, Character, and Responsibility

Question 2a

Compare and contrast stockholder and the stakeholder theories; the comparison/contrast should be based on six (6) specific issues of each theory. In your opinion, which theory is more valuable in business? Explain. (25 points) (A 1½-page response is required.) Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Question 2b

It has been said that the Guidelines for Organizational Sentencing is best understood by assessing the character of the organization. Either create or research a situation in which an organization is guilty of violating the four (4) characteristics defined in the guidelines. Then explain what a culpability score is and indicate how each of the four (4) violations would affect the corporation’s culpability score. (25 points) (A 1½-page response is required.) Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Activity 2c

Activity Instructions: Challenger Ethical Issues

Reread the narrative entitled “Roger Boisjoly and the Challenger Disaster: The Ethical Dimensions” from your textbook (pages 123-136). Your Activity responses should be both grammatically and mechanically correct, and formatted in the same fashion as the Activity itself. If there is a Part A, your response should identify a Part A, etc. In addition, you must appropriately cite all resources used in your response and document in a bibliography using APA style. (100 points) (A 3- to 4-page response is required for the combination of Parts A and B). Single-space within paragraph and Double-space between paragraphs

Part A

Relevant Theories: The Federal Government has chosen you to take a second look at the ethical issues pertinent to the investigation of the Challenger disaster. Specifically, you have been asked to analyze and identify the ethical theories relevant to each of the issues identified below. For each of the five (5) issues identified below, discuss four (4) relevant ethical theories; these issues may be related to one or more theories. (60 points)

1. Whistle-blowing by Roger Boisjoly

2. Treatment of Roger Boisjoly following his testimony to the Rogers Commission

3. The apparent order by Jerry Mason for Bob Lund to “take off his engineering hat and put on his management hat.” The result of the meeting was a unanimous recommendation to launch.

4. The response of Mr. Mulloy to Chairman Rogers of the Rogers Commission (Beauchamp & Bowie, 2004, p. 131)

5. The finding of the Commission that concluded that “[t]here was a serious flaw in the decision-making process leading up to the launch of flight 51-L. A well-structured and managed system emphasizing safety would have flagged the rising doubts about the Solid Rocket Booster joint seal . . . . Had these matters been clearly stated and emphasized in the flight readiness process in terms reflecting the views of most of the Thiokol engineers and at least some of the Marshall engineers, it seems likely that the launch of 51-L might not have occurred when it did” (Beauchamp & Bowie, 2004, p. 133).

Part B

Position: Take a position on whether the corporate character theory or the individual responsibility theory should be used in future cases such as these. Provide rationale to support your opinion by discussing four (4) reasons for your opinion. Write a final summation on your views of the initial handling of these issues. (40 points)

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