Week 1 Discussion 1
Let’s begin our class discussion with an overarching conversation about the importance of ethics. Why are ethics important? How do they affect our decision making? What are the consequences if we do something unethical?
Week 2 Discussion 2
Our first TCO asks us to consider the deontological ethical approach given certain ethical dilemmas that may arise in the professional world. You may want to review this week’s lecture as you think about the following topic for discussion. Consider a situation in which a company is planning to implement a surveillance policy to monitor its employees. What kinds of ethical duties do you think this company has that would be involved in this decision? You may talk about duties to its shareholders, customers, employees, and others. Why do these duties exist? How should they impact the decisions made in this context?
Week 2 Discussion 1
Last week we considered deontological ethics in the discussion thread, and this week we will consider the alternative approach of utilitarianism. How would a utilitarian approach cause someone to make a different decision in certain cases. Can you think of cases in which a decision made would be different based on the ethical approach a person takes?
Week 2 Discussion 2
Societal norms, in essence, are those rules for how people should act in society. Although these norms are accepted, there will be times in which a societal norm runs contrary to a workplace standard. What is an example of when such a situation can arise? How do you decide the ethical choice when faced with such a dilemma?
Week 3 Discussion 1
One of the important areas of law and ethics in business relates to privacy rights. Several laws have been passed that direct businesses to respect privacy. In this thread, let’s consider how HIPAA, GLB, and COPPA laws can help ensure people’s privacy. What is their ethical justification? Is there gray area in these laws? How do some businesses try to find their way around these laws?
Week 3 Discussion 2
Some industries and businesses have their own uniquely applicable laws and standards. In this thread, let’s share our own experiences with industry standards. What field are you in? Are there specific laws and standards associated with this industry? Why are they in place? Are these laws and standards consistently followed?
Week 4 Discussion 1
What are some examples of organizational culture? Where does organizational culture come from? How do we learn it? How do we know when we have violated it?
Week 4 Discussion 2
Consider the following scenario: You are aware of a problem that is costing your company productivity. This problem is caused by a fellow employee who refuses to use current technology. This employee has asked you to keep the situation to yourself, since he is one year from retirement and does not want to lose his job or have to endure new training. This employee is also very popular with everyone at the company. You have just been asked by your superiors why you think your division is not as productive as it could be. Do you tell the truth? What are the ethical considerations involved in this decision? How should one deal with this kind of ethical ambiguity?
Week 4 Assignment
ETHC 232 Week 4 Assignment/Homework Question
Week 4 Homework
ETHC 232 Week 4 Assignment/Homework Answer
Week 5 Discussion 1
Businesses are intended to make money, and sometimes this means keeping business practices secret. What kind of information does the public have a right to know? What kind of information does a business have a right to keep secret? How do we make these decisions?
Week 5 Discussion 2
In a business world where information is usually the key to making money, sometimes information that is not available to the public can be considered legally and ethically improper to use in making business decisions. What is insider information? Why are there laws against it being used to make investment decisions?
Week 6 Discussion 2
If you are an employee of a business, and learn that it is violating the law, what would you do in this situation? What are your ethical obligations? Under what conditions would you report the illegal activities? Under what conditions would you keep quiet?
Week 6 Homework
Scenario Summary – Are We Safe?
“Wooden” is a large factory in Littlebury. Littlebury is a small town with a population of approximately 1,200 people. Wooden is the largest employer in the town. In Littlebury, everyone knows each other, as they are either related or friends. Wooden specializes in creating wooden objects from shaving and shaping logs. The factory takes in approximately 1,000 logs a day and operates on a 24/7 schedule. The activity generates an enormous amount of wood dust. There is dust at least an inch thick on all of the equipment, flat surfaces and ceiling rafters. There are some areas in which the dust could be as much as three inches thick.
Wood dust is a combustible material and, given the right circumstances (ignition source, amount of dust, etc.), can be explosive. Also, inhaling fine wood dust can create respiratory illnesses.
Employees have complained over the years about the dust, but the employer still has not created a method to frequently clean the factory. One day Karen, a co-worker, tells you that while she was operating her machine she noticed three quick sparks in the air near her work station. Karen informed her Section Manager about this incident, but the response was that she shouldn’t worry about it. She is now scared that the factory may explode at any moment.
You are an employee at this factory. You have worked there for over 10 years and know everyone from the owner to the co-workers. This situation has you nervous as well, but you don’t know what to do because you do not want to get anyone in trouble. You decide to speak with several people at the factory. Based upon their responses (listed below), answer the following questions:
1. Would you report this situation to anyone else? If so, who and why?
2. If you choose not to report the situation, explain your decision.
3. What are the possible consequences if you were to report this situation?
4. What are the possible consequences if you fail to report the workplace condition?
5. Let’s assume that you have reported the workplace condition. Is this whistleblowing? If so, would it be morally justified in this situation?
Week 7 Discussion 1
Can you think of a situation in which personal or religious beliefs might conflict with something that may be asked of you professionally? What should you do in this situation?
Week 7 Discussion 2
What are some examples of cultural differences around the world that can affect business practices? Should a business change practices based on cultural sensitivities? Why or why not?
Week 7 Assignment
Ethical Dilemma Paper
Your writing assignment this week is to write a 2 page paper analyzing two ethical dilemmas facing a profession. You can choose a profession you are currently in or a profession in which you wish to practice.
The paper should contain the following:
• Describe the ethical dilemmas
• Provide an example regarding how the dilemma exists in a real life situation
• Analyze the efforts being made by those in the profession to resolve the dilemmas (rules, standards, etc.)
• Describe the possible consequences if one behaves unethically in the situation
• Sources must be cited and documented using APA style (see the Syllabus for more details)
ETHC 232 Final Exam