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In this two-phased final assignment, students will select a topic from the Unique Ethical Issues from weeks 3, 5, and 7, research the topic and discuss the ethical dilemma in detail.
Brief one page paper that identifies the unique ethical issue, the ethical dilemma and the traditional theories that will be used to suggest potential resolution of the dilemmas.
Theme Two: Unique 21st Century Ethical Business Issues
Sub Theme One: Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
Sub Theme Two: Information Ethics
Theme Two: Unique Ethical Organizational Issues
Theme One: Knowing Your Own Values and Ethics
Theme Two: Unique Ethical Issues for the Individual
As you approach Phase 1 of your Final Project – which you will be working on this week – please make sure that you limit your “Unique Ethical Issue” to an issue that will enable you to deal with the matter in the confines of your final paper. Identifying your topic and ethical issue as narrowly as possible is the key to success here. “Marketing Ethics,” for example, could comprise any number of ethical issues and lead to several books on the topic! Narrow it down to, perhaps business bluffing, negotiation overstatements, PR grandstanding, the problems of focusing on a vulnerable market population, etc.
Please do take the time to work through identifying just what the ethical issue is, as well as how it can be presented in a dilemma format. This will be an opportunity to get a ‘pre-read’ from me on how you intend to approach your Final Project – which is worth 30% of your final grade! I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.
What is a dilemma? A dilemma is not just deciding what to do – or even deciding what is right and what is wrong. A dilemma generally arises when there appears to be no ‘right’ possible choice – or when there is a choice between two, mutually exclusive, ‘right’ choices. Thus, dilemmas often arise when the choice is been two ‘wrongs’ or between two ‘rights’.
What do I mean? If we have two people who need a liver transplant, but only one liver – a liver which is a good match for either – who gets it? That is a choice between two ‘right’ options, giving the liver to patient A or giving the liver to patient Z.
A choice between two ‘wrongs’ would be if a terrorist commanded you, the doctor, to determine who was the best match for a liver transplant needed by the terrorist’s buddy, who was in your hospital, threatening to kill not only you, but your entire surgical team – and to keep killing until someone produced a liver that would be a good match for the buddy. What do you do? There seems to be no “good” option. . . .
A simple right/wrong decision does not represent a true ethical dilemma. Thus, it is not a dilemma to determine whether or not to murder someone. It becomes a dilemma only when a terrorist holds a gun to your head and tells you to murder someone. See what I mean? Similarly, the decision whether or not to steal from ones employer is not a dilemma. It becomes a dilemma only when another value conflicts with it – the Les Miserables type of dilemma, for example, where the theft appears necessary to prevent immediate starvation.
The topic for your Final Project should include an ethical issue which gives rise to an ethical dilemma of this sort, or which presents a good/bad determination which is not obvious. A Final Project that tries to analyze a “dilemma” of whether or not lying is permissible in business dealings – absent more – will not have presented the type of ethical dilemma that will enable you to do the kind of ethical analysis that will score well.
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