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978-1285428710 Section 1 SECTION 1B

Page Count
9 pages
Word Count
5515 words
Book Title
Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings 8th Edition
Authors
Marianne M. Jennings
SECTION 1B – RESOLVING ETHICAL DILEMMAS
READING 1.9 – SOME SIMPLE TESTS FOR RESOLVING ETHICAL DILEMMAS
1. Management Guru: Dr. Peter Drucker – Use PowerPoint Slide 22
Note: Sadly, Dr. Drucker passed away just after the 5th edition of this book was published. He is
remembered for his clear thinking on both management and ethics.
Primum non nocere: Above all, do no harm. Company should do nothing that harms others.
2. Laura Nash: Harvard Divinity School Meets Business
Use PowerPoint Slides 23 and 24 – “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: Laura Nash”.
(1) Have you defined the problem accurately?
(2) How would you define the problem if you stood on the other side of the fence?
(3) How did this situation occur in the first place?
Note: Some practitioners feel that the Nash model is overly complex for business people faced
with immediate dilemmas and requires too much analysis for practical application. However, it
is an excellent model for use in a post mortem in which a company tries to determine what
happened in a situation and why.
3. A Minister and a One-Minute Manager Do Ethics: Blanchard and Peale
Use PowerPoint Slide 25 – “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: Blanchard and Peale”.
(1) Is it legal?
4. The Oracle of Omaha: Warren Buffett’s Front-Page-of-the-Newspaper Test
Use PowerPoint Slides 26 and 27 – “Front-Page-of-the-Newspaper Test”.
Perspective: Use that of a reporter or a wage earner – Am I willing to have what I am about to do
disclosed on the front page of a newspaper for my family, friends and others to know? How will my
The quote from the former chairman of Prudential makes the case for the front page test – if we had
thought about our decisions, if they were subjected to scrutiny. . .
5. The students might also consider the infamous Jennings’ National Enquirer model – use PowerPoint
Slide 28. The purpose of these decision tools is to help managers step back from their immediate
pressures and highly political environments and see the issue from the perspective of an outsider.
6. The Wall Street Journal Model
Use PowerPoint Slide 29 – “The Wall Street Journal Test”. Help students remember with C3
Compliance, Contribution, Consequences.
(1) Am I in compliance with the law?
7. Other Models
Use PowerPoint Slides 30 and 31 – “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: Other Models”.
(1) Kant and the Categorical Imperative: Am I willing to live in a world that is subject to my rules or
would I resent those who behave by my rules?
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Use PowerPoint Slides 32 and 33 to answer this question.
2. The models want us to think through who, what, how:
Who is affected?
How are they affected?
READING 1.10 – SOME STEPS FOR ANALYZING ETHICAL DILEMMAS
Use PowerPoint Slide 34 – “Steps in Ethical Analysis”.
Review with the students the Steps for Analyzing Ethical Dilemmas and Case Studies in Business.
1. Make sure you have a grasp of all of the facts available.
2. List any information you would like to have but don’t and what assumptions you would have to make,
3. Take each person involved in the dilemma and list the concerns they face or might have. Be sure to
consider the impact on those not specifically mentioned in the case. For example, product safety
issues don’t involve just engineers’ careers and company profits, shareholders, customers,
4. Develop a list of resolutions for the problem. Apply the various models for reaching this resolution.
You may also find that as you apply the various models to the dilemma you find additional insights
5. Evaluate the resolutions for costs, legalities and impact. Try to determine how each of the parties
6. Make a recommendation on the actions that should be taken.
READING 1.11 – ON PLAGIARISM
Use PowerPoint Slides 35 - 38.
This case is an excellent intro case to help clarify academic standards. This case could also be used in
conjunction with the Pelton/Piper plagiarism case (Case 1.12). Use the slides to walk through the
distinction between using facts and using phrasing and writer’s voice.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. What students have after this discussion and the use of the slides is a clear line between what is
research and what is plagiarism. They can make the decision to always do their own writing and
2. The credo is, “I won’t lift material from other sources.” And the credo is honored by continually asking
3. Use PowerPoint Slides 39 - 41.
Students gain:
Paper or assignment is done more easily
Their time is freed up for other things
Risks:
Sanctions for breach of academic integrity standards
Reputational harm
Forego:
Lose extra time to devote to other courses and activities
CASE 1.12 – THE LITTLE TEACHER WHO COULD: PIPER, KANSAS, AND TERM
PAPERS
Discuss with the students the nature of the assignment, the warnings, and the penalties imposed.
Discuss the reactions of those affected by her decision on the penalties for the students. Discuss the
reactions of the community, including colleges and universities as well as those who reacted to Ms.
Pelton. Have the students discuss why Ms. Pelton was willing to give up her job. This is a point to
integrate the discussion of credo and how she had decided not to cross the line on these standards.
Have the students compare the actions of the parents, the principal, and the school board with those of
Ms. Pelton’s.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. This defense of “I didn’t know” is generally raised, and was raised in this case, i.e., consequences
were not made clear enough. One of the things that has become very clear in academic dishonesty
cases is that the rules must be established very clearly upfront before any disciplinary action can be
2. Students will disagree on this issue as well. The penalty was spelled out in advance and Ms. Pelton
3. The problem with the board’s intervention is that there was a bit of an end-run. The teacher now
lacks the authority and credibility to uphold standards because the students were able to obtain a
4. Students will disagree on this question. Some feel that the parents should let the students take their
lumps so that there are consequences for their actions. Others feel that the parents were right to
5. The senior’s statement on cheating no longer being wrong is perceptive insight on the end-run
problem. The teacher’s decision was reversed, so the students feel they are in a position of power
6. The consequences for the students was that all of their reputations were affected because the case
was so well publicized. Everyone from Piper is presumed to be a cheater, either because they did or
Point out that there are some classic rationalizations in this question, “Everybody does it,” etc. The
problem with academic cheating is that we then have no valid way to measure achievement and
mastery of subject matter. If everyone cheats, then all we are measuring is the ability to cheat without
life.
CASE 1.13 – DOG WALKERS AND SCOOPERS
This is one of those minor misdemeanor types of statutes that covers conduct. The risk for not complying
is low and the act of picking up is not pleasant for the dog owners. There is also no societal condemnation
for it and the social norm seems to be shifting so that the conduct is tolerated.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Yes, these are the labels of “not right” and “unfair” that we use when we see conduct that we feel is
wrong. In this case, there is a statute, but the norm and the lack of enforcement has made it
2. Those who must walk the streets – it is on their shoes. The hygiene – smell and appearance of the
city. Those who do not have dogs have to tolerate something that would not exist if there were no dog
3. If they were filmed or photographed not picking up after their dogs, it would be embarrassing for them.
CASE 1.14 – PUFFING YOUR RÉSUMÉ
Use PowerPoint Slides 42 and 43 for this discussion.
This case is a critical one for students because they may be in the process of looking for a job and/or
putting together their résumés. Emphasize the point that falsehoods on their résumés will always
percolate to the surface. The point should be made that there is nothing wrong with presenting yourself in
the best light possible. The line for unethical résumés is crossed when the information is not accurate.
For example, you could put "Denny's Restaurant Manager," or you could list your activities, "Coordinated
scheduling, handled purchasing, performed payroll, customer satisfaction, etc." and then list Denny's as
the place of employment. Saying you performed those management duties when, in fact, you were a fry
cook would be unethical. It is wrong to place false information in a résumé. You may not have the
chance to correct it.
Legal Issues
If you are bidding on a contract and fail to disclose information about yourself or misstate or overstate
your qualifications, there could be statutory penalties as well as an action for fraud or misrepresentation.
Your misrepresentations on your résumé can be used against you later on as a justification for firing you.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. According to the case, there is great risk because phone calls can verify or blow up information on the
résumé. The motivation, particularly in grim economic times is to get a job. Some are figuring that no
one will check and the false information is a way to get a foot in the door for an interview. Some
examples HR managers have seen is people putting down that they worked for a company without
Many students say that “puffing” gets them in the door. However, the risk is that they go too far; that
2. The Thompson matter generated a great deal of chatter on the Internet about his resignation. Many
Yahoo employees felt that they would be fired for such a misstatement of their degrees. Others felt
Scott Thompson’s experience troubles many people because he had carried a misrepresentation on
his résumé, for years and although he did lose his job, he was not affected in his future. There are
3. Ms. Green was a capable individual who thought it would look better if she put down a degree that did
not exist. While there were many things going on in her life, the additional stress from work should
Employers have to rely on the element of honesty in employment applications and résumés. No
employer has sufficient resources to verify the information contained in all the applications, or even
the final pool selected for interviews in the case of a job or position. The termination of Ms. Green
4. Again, use PowerPoint Slide 43 to make the point that the information does percolate to the surface.
It is just a question of time. By putting false information in your résumé, you affect those who are
applying for the job who are not selected for the interview process. Also, it may not be the best job
strategy to confess during the interview that you have not been forthcoming on your résumé. There is
a difference between marketing yourself effectively and lying. You should never claim to have a skill,
5. Rather than misstate the degree, you should take care of the debts or fines. Either way you handle
this one, you are going to have to disclose unethical behavior. You have not defined the problem
6. A thirteen-month lapse is not so unusual these days. Concealment from a prospective employer will
7. Puffing is acceptable so long as there are no false impressions. Misrepresentation may get you a job,
8. Mr. Minder withheld information that was critical in terms of his role with a gun manufacturer. The
past was important to know, but its concealment seemed to have the public concluding that Mr.
9. The credo lesson is that you can make yourself look as good as possible on your resume, but make
CASE 1.15 – DAD, THE ACTUARY, AND THE STATS CLASS
Point out to the students that often the emotion and sympathy in a situation drive us toward the unethical
solution, thinking that the conduct is justified. This type of choice is moral relativism, unethical conduct is
chosen because there was such an injustice or unfairness to be resolved. However, the key here is to not
be backed into the either/or conundrum that emotion sometimes drives. The key is to ask whether there
is another solution that is consistent with our ethical values, the lines we don’t cross to get results and be
successful.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Joe’s father is a committed moral relativist. His son was wronged and whatever it takes to right that
2. We often find ourselves emotionally invested in a situation and feel justified in taking steps that are
ethically questionable to right a wrong. However, think through some of the models What if
3. Those affected by the decision to complete the course include: Joe, his father, Joe’s employer, the
4. Alternatives include reimbursing the employer until Joe can or can retake the course. Appealing to a
member of the deanery at the university. Faculty members can attest to the fact that there is always
an academic administrator standing at the ready to reverse a faculty member. Check to see if the
university has some type of medical leave or disability policy (almost all do) that allow students a
medical withdrawal that then permits them to return when they are well and complete courses at no
5. If everyone behaved this way, grades would have little or no meaning. We could not be sure who had
CASE 1.16 – WI-FI PIGGYBACKING
This is a good case for the internet generation. You will find that they have different attitudes about
property rights and the internet.
Legal Issues
Some states now have laws on using networks without authorization. The issue of applying trespass law
here is problematic because the posting of signs or prevention mechanisms are not available. The
question in law boils down to the nature of the network as a property right. The law is, in short, not fully
developed in this area so we really do have an ethical issue.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The users are rationalizes. They are not really hurting anyone (these are big companies). It’s not
stealing because it’s just out there for the taking. The telling part of the one statement is that she
2. Kant requires that we consider what if everyone behaved as we are – what would happen? And
would we set up the rules we use as the rules for the world knowing that we would be hurt by what we
have decided to do. If it were your network and it was being bogged down by freeloaders, you would
3. If everybody does it, the network is no longer available – the golden goose is destroyed. There are
Compare & Contrast
This conduct is similar to cuts in line. Perhaps this conduct is worse because you are taking cuts in line
ahead of those who actually paid to be in line. Both are a form of getting what you want without
investment of time or effort.
CASE 1.17 – STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL AND THE CHEATING CULTURE OF
EXCELLENCE
Use PowerPoint Slide 44.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The student was trying to justify their conduct as a gray area. What he was really saying is that
because everyone was doing it that what they were doing did not seem to be wrong to them. The
2. The student describes a dangerous approach of being a “moral postpone” in which you are acting
unethically in order to achieve a goal. The difficulty is that many are harmed as a result of such an
3. The administrators need to make clear what cheating is and then need to take enforcement steps –
when the students are caught cheating, there should be a penalty – something that will work as a
CASE 1.18 – SPEEDING: YOU CAN'T SURVIVE ON THE ROAD UNLESS YOU DO
Legal Issues
There are lots of legal theories that students bandy about when it comes to speeding. Here are some
basic legal principles and folklore that cut across state lines:
The speed limit sometimes includes a “for conditions,” something meant to have drivers adjust down
for rain and conditions. However, some adjust up for good weather.
State troopers and police sometimes ignore a certain amount over the speed limit. “Nine you’re fine
and ten you’re mine,” is a well known motto among highway patrol officers.
If you have an accident while you are above the speed limit, you are held to the law.
Students believe they will die if they go the speed limit. Challenge them to try it – it is possible and gets
rid of this resistance.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. “I am in a hurry and can get there faster,” was a simple response – leave sooner; learn to work within
“I present a danger if I don’t speed.” Most folks say this without ever trying the experiment of just
“It’s much safer to keep up with traffic.” Again, they probably do not really know, but are simply
2. Consider who is affected by your speeding. The risks are that you could have an accident and you will
3. The officers had engaged in driving at a speed that had become accepted along this particular
freeway. In their minds, going 72 and 76 – in an area of 65 mph – was not speeding. “The norm has
Areas in life and work where we might be speeding: we sign off before work is completed. We say
4. The student had a message about how compliance is important when we have jobs and if we cannot
figure out how to follow rules such as the speed limit that are fairly straightforward, we may struggle
CASE 1.19 – HAZING, DRINKING, AND CAMPUSES
Legal Issues
There are several lawsuits pending around the country related to hazing and alcohol binges. There have
been several cases in which national fraternities have been held liable for the conduct of local fraternity
houses in alcohol poisoning and other injuries.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. The ethical categories are organizational abuse and interpersonal abuse. These are activities that
allow the weaker or those who wish to be recognized in some social setting to succumb to physical or
2. Often, the colleges and universities are victims of the bystander effect. They know that these
behaviors are taking place on their campuses or through campus groups, but they take no action.
3. The bystander effect occurs when students witness the hazing and the pain and suffering of others
and do not step in and simply say, “Enough,” or leave the activities and report them. Or help others
CASE 1.20 – THE PACK OF GUM
Legal Issues
The gum is not yours. Title has not passed. You did not pay for it. It is not an intentional crime, but you
did take something that does not belong to you.
Answers and Key Discussion Items
1. Most folks resist taking the gum back, even if they would drive back 20 miles to get their fries if the
restaurant forgot them at the drive-through. Here are some responses of students. Go through each
one and apply the rationalizations to them:
“It’s not worth my time, trouble, and effort – not a big deal.”
“I have some experience in retail and it would cost them more to straighten it out than it would for
Bring them back to it’s not their gum.
2. They have some flexibility – they could call the store and see what the store wants them to do – store

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