Case study assessment

Assessment Guidance

Read the following in conjunction with the case study you choose to focus on and the rubric.

Your assessment will take the form of a 3,000-word (you can go over by 10% making it a maximum of 3,300 words) submission consisting of three parts in total.

You will be expected to show that you understand the importance of individual and organisational ethical thinking and practice and that you can apply ethical decision making. You will also need to show that you can think critically about the role of business in society. Further, you will need to show that you have understand the way in which theory can underpin how ethical issues are viewed, but also that you understand that theory offers a guide but not necessarily the answer to practice. The assessment also requires you to show that you have reflected on what makes an ethical leader and manager and what that means in the context of organisational culture.

An extensive rubric is provided which will show you how the work is marked and what is required to achieve high marks.

Your assessment into two parts with part 1 being further split into two. Read the requirements below and attempt all three parts. You will submit all three parts together in the same submission.

The Task

You should look at the following cases of businesses that have attracted attention due to some aspect of practice. You should choose the ONE of these that interests you and complete the following:

Part 1

  1. You are required to write a brief report for senior managers at the case of your choosing. This report is written from the perspective of a middle manager tasked to outline the ethical dimensions of the issues from the case. You will need to explore several factors including – Why should this be explored as an ethical question? How might the company want to think about the role of business in society? You will also need to outline who the key stakeholders are and in what way they are affected. You should include research into examples of how ethical choices impact on other companies (e.g. where is there research that shows good choices benefit companies and bad choices have a negative impact?). Finally, you should conclude with some recommendations for what the company should do

This part of your assessment should be written as a report but should be referenced in the normal academic way using Harvard citations and referencing.

  • For this part you should again use your chosen case study – but this time choose TWO ethical theories and demonstrate that you can apply these to the case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case. This is written as an academic paper.

Your choices for cases are:

  1. EA Games: FIFA, Loot boxes and whales
  2. The gender pay gap: what the median pay gap says about your company.
  3. Ladbrokes: The online way to save your job.
  4. Johnson and Johnson: Taking the pain away?
  5. Supply chains and human rights abuses: This does not smell right- warnings to tuna companies.

Part 2

Part 2 is NOTrelated to the case study. This section requires you to discuss what makes an ethical leader and how you would, as an ethical manager, manage your business and/or others to a high ethical standard.

You will need to think about personal ethics, about the conditions that bring about unethical organisations and practices, about organisational values and methods of compliance. This part can be written in a more reflective style

Further guidance

Below is a suggested way to structure your work. You do not have to follow this but note that this structure reflects the rubric which will assist you in covering what is expected in the assessment.

Having chosen the case that interests you, you will act as a middle manager writing to senior managers on the subject.

Part 1

  1. Introducing the report, the nature of the ethical issue and the role of business in society

This section requires you to be clear to your audience (the senior managers) why the issue raised has an ethical dimension, think about where in class we have talked about what an ethical dilemma is. To add to your argument, you should think about outlining for your managers thinking about what role in society a business could/should have. This will require you to re-visit the classes where we thought about the perspective that the central role of business might not been seen solely as profit.

Identification of key stakeholders and the impact on them and examples of how ethical choices have dis/benefited other businesses.

This section should identify from the case you have chosen who the key stakeholders are and in what way they are affected. You might want to argue that the company neglected/failed to see/consider relevant stakeholders and you should point out how that connects to your argument that this is something to be considered from an ethical viewpoint.

It is also here that you use the research you will have done to demonstrate to your managers the benefits and costs of ethical/non-ethical thinking by reference to other examples. For example, where is there research that shows good choices benefit companies (e.g. that being seen as responsible attracts/retains/is valued by consumers, or if your case is about HR where is the research on employment practice that has what you would argue to be a good/ethical impact for the employee and company? Conversely you may want to emphasise where bad choices have a negative impact – are there examples of where a company for example has made unwise choices in advertising and the impact that has had?

Advice and recommendations for Company emerging from analysis

Having researched and analysed the issue you now must advise your company on what they should do to be an ethical and responsible company. Make some key recommendations for the management team you are reporting to. – for example, on how the view and use values in the company, view their role in society, and more practical suggestions around for example the way in which they employ people, think about the impact of advertising they use or train staff.

A bibliography which includes all the references that you used to in your report. This part of your assessment should be written as a report but should be referenced in the normal academic way using Harvard citations and referencing.

  1. Applying two ethical theories to the case study

For this part you should again use the case study – but this time choose TWO ethical theories and demonstrate that you can apply these to the case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case. This part should be written not as a report but in an academic essay style. You will take your example and use two theories – for example if you choose to use utilitarianism, what are the fundamentals of that idea? If (as it is) it is the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number, what does that say about the subject of your case study? You will probably need to think about the stakeholders you identified in part a) who/what are/is the ‘winners’ and who/what the ‘losers? Does that mean that choosing in favour of the greatest number is ethical? What are the drawbacks of that view? You can then do the same with another theory – deontology or feminist ethics for example. A sum up would then note if there are differences in what ‘answers;’ these viewpoints give and your reflection on that. NOTE – you can choose any two theories we cover in class, you do not have to choose ones that you think contrast each other; the task here is to show that you can understand, critique and apply theory. Note also that we will be practicing using these ideas on cases in seminars.

The two theories should be Utilitarianism (Jeremy Bentham and John S Mill) and Rights & Justice (John Rawls and John Locke)-please see below.

PART 2 – Ethical Leadership

The qualities recognised for ethical leadership and the creation of an ethical organisation.

This section will be a reflective piece, although still requires you to use academic sources to support your reflection. As it is reflective it is OK to use the first person when writing. We are expecting to see some engagement with the qualities of ethical leadership. This may well require you to think about what the relationship is between an ethical leader and an ethical manager. Think about what qualities you would identify in someone that you consider to be ethical.  If this marks out an ethical person, what is needed to transfer that into being an ethical leader? And so, the next step is how might that help develop an ethical organisation – the idea of the toxic triangle.? One way of examining this may also be to imagine what would stop this. Finally, you would need to draw that into how you would bring about the best environment for ethical practice – which may include values and tools for compliance.

!!!References to be used in the assignment!!!

Adams, S (2014) ‘The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates’ Forbes  available at  https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-2015-graduates/#73aa81912511 last accessed 13/09/2018

Crane, A and Matten , D. (2016) Business Ethics (4th ed) Oxford: Oxford University Press

DfBIS (2015) Understanding employers’ graduate recruitment and selection practices London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employers-graduate-recruitment-and-selection-practices last accessed 13/09/2018

Inman, P. (2016) ‘Study: big corporations dominate list of world’s top economic entities’ The Guardian  Monday 12th September 2016 Available at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/12/global-justice-now-study-multinational-businesses-walmart-apple-shell  last accessed 13/09/2017

James, H.S. (2014) ‘Why do good people do bad things in business? Lessons from research for responsible business managers’. In Issa, T. and Wolf, R. (eds) International Business Ethics and Growth Opportunities. Hershey, PA: IGI Global

Jenkin, M. (2015)  Millennials want to work for employers committed to values and ethics The Guardian  5th May available at

 https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/may/05/millennials-employment-employers-values-ethics-jobs  last accessed 13/09/2018

  1. Crane, A. & Matten, D. (2016) Business Ethics (4th Ed), Oxford, Oxford University Press -Chapter 1 ‘Introducing Business Ethics’
  2. Robinson, S. & Dowson, P. (2012) Business Ethics in Practice London CIPD -Chapter 1 ‘Are we still the good guys?’ – Introducing Business Ethics
  3. Fryer, M. (2015) Ethics theory & business practice, Los Angeles, SAGE Introduction pages 1-17
  4. Palazzo, G.; Krings, F. and Hoffrage, U. (2012) ‘Ethical Blindness’ Journal of Business Ethics 109 pp323-338
  5. Kohlberg, L. Hersh, R. (1977) ‘Moral development: A review of the theory’, Theory into Practice, 16:2, 53-59
  6. James, H., S (2014)
  7. ‘Why do Good People Do Bad Things in Business? Lessons from Research for Responsible Business Managers.’ in Issa, T. and Wolf, R. (eds) International Business Ethics and Growth Opportunities. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  8. Crane, A. & Matten, D. (2016) Business Ethics (4th Ed), Oxford, Oxford University Press, Chapter 2 ‘Framing business ethics’ – p. 57 – 61.
  9. Robinson, S. & Dowson, P. (2012) Business Ethics in Practice London CIPD – Chapter 11 Social Responsibility
  10. Crane, A. & Matten, D. (2016) Business Ethics (4th Ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  1. Robinson, S. & Dowson, P. (2012) Business Ethics in Practice.  London: CIPD
  1. Fisher, C; Lovell, A, and Néstor, V. (2013) Business ethics and values: individual, corporate, and international perspectives 4th ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall
  2. Fryer, Mick (2015) Ethics Theory and Business Practice. London: Sage
  3. Sandel, M.J., (2009) Justice. London: Penguin Books
  4. HOW GOOD PEOPLE MAKE TOUGH CHOICES RESOLVING THE DILEMMAS OF ETHICAL LIVING by Rushworth M. Kidder
  5. SAIS Rush Kidder: 4 Paradigms of Dilemmas

Also use Kohlberg and Hersh’s pyramid of moral development.

  • And consider this for a moment….
  • Business ethics ‘scandals’ ( as well as day to day decisions) seem to involve ordinary people.
  • So why do ‘bad decisions’ happen?
  • If we discount the idea that people are generally ‘bad’ and try ‘to do the right thing’, how can we begin to explain ‘business ethics’?
  • Later in the module we will look at how theory informs decision making, but for now let us think about some of the things that influence our decision making – and what a manager might do about it.
  • YOU can benefit from being clear what your values are just as businesses benefits from considering ethics as        

    self-interest, mutual interest and the common good.

  • Ethical dilemmas vary considerably and we will need and use different ideas to understand what the issues are

    we are faced with

  • There is an individual element to thinking about ‘doing the right thing’ and a situational element and as   

     managers we need to think about how we use both.

Journal articles:

Goodpaster, K.E. (1991). Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1, pp 53-73. doi:10.2307/3857592. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3857592?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Freeman, Managing for Stakeholders http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1186402

Review the learning resources on the Institute of Business Ethics website: http://www.ibe.org.uk/resources/52/52

A free report on stakeholder management can be found on the page.

http://www.ibe.org.uk/list-of-publications/67/47#pub2259

Newspapers

Task 1

https://www.newsweek.com/bill-gates-malaria-finding-895363

TOMS shoes are famous for their ‘Buy one, give one’ initiative. The following extract is from the bio of the founder Blake Mycoskie https://www.toms.co.uk/blakes-bio

This one is a bit longer – read the Paragraph on Thomas Cook ceasing to sell tickets to holiday parks that keep Killer whales.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44997389

Now look at these links. The first is a familiar short newspaper story about corporate taxes – this time Amazon.

The second one critiques TOMS.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/02/amazon-halved-uk-corporation-tax-bill-to-45m-last-year
https://www.vox.com/2015/7/23/9025975/toms-shoes-poverty-giving

Task 2. Stakeholders in Croc’s Play centres

You will need to have read the following article

https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/the-environment-is-toxic-croc-s-playcentres-under-scrutiny-20180706-p4zpx7.html