Business EthicsOrder Description
Instructions on Assessment:
“Tomorrow’s business leaders need to be nimble and to incorporate all aspects of good decision making in an increasingly global and complex business environment. Ethical leadership is vital to the future of ….business. Our world is rapidly changing – and the changes affect every business, every industry and every country. The future growth and competitiveness of business is at stake. The business world eagerly awaits tomorrow’s strong and ethical leaders.”
Harold McGraw III
Chairman, Business Roundtable
During this module you have explored the ethical challenges facing businesses. As you prepare to take your place in the management and leadership of the future you are asked to evidence and reflect upon the development of your ethical awareness and reasoning and to consider the challenges that may face you in your workplace.
Present the development of your ethical awareness and reasoning through an annotated portfolio of evidence supported by a 1500 word essay in which you first will identify an ethical dilemma in a business situation, and then suggest ethical solutions to this dilemma (see specific marking sheets at end).
Ethical Dilemma Essay (Part A) (1500 words) (50%)
Portfolio of Evidence (Part B) (1500 words) (50%)
Part A: Ethical Dilemma Essay (1,500 words)
Students are to identify and discuss a business-related ethical dilemma. Ideally, this choice should be relevant to your intended area of future employment. You must demonstrate both an awareness of the key issues surrounding why it is an ethical dilemma, and then propose solutions to that dilemma. A suggested format for the essay is:
• Ethical Dilemma Description (270-330 words)
• Justify why it is an ethical dilemma in a business situation (540-660 words)
• Ethical solutions proposed by the student to this dilemma should use normative theories and descriptive framework. (540-660 words)
Part of the learning experience of this essay is for you as the student picking and developing the dilemma yourself from either a relevant recent news event, personal professional practice experience (particularly for students who have been on placement) or similar.
• Students are strongly advised to read the marking criteria sheets (at the end of this document) very carefully to gain an understanding of exactly what the examiner will be looking for, and marking against.
You should not use an ethical dilemma that we have discussed in detail during a class or has been analysed in a textbook or website; this is your ethical dilemma, which you have developed, which ideally relates to your career aspirations.
Part B: Portfolio of Evidence Contents
The portfolio contents should provide evidence of your diligent engagement with the module activities including the directed learning opportunities. Your portfolio should be divided into clear sections, with the appendices clearly marked A, B, and C so that your examiner can easily find and mark your evidence. A summary of our expectations is provided below:
Appendix A The Ethical Leadership Debate (in Seminar 4) create a table and list down the characters and distinguish the four characters. (20% of marks)
A reflective statement of 600 words which describes and critically evaluates the arguments presented in the debate on Ethical Leadership. Your argument must culminate in your opinion regarding the debate motion. We expect you to analyse the arguments (for and against) made by the teams on behalf of their characters in your seminar. We are not asking you to write an essay purely based upon the character biographies that we supplied for debate preparation.
Appendix B The Seminar Case (in Seminars 1 and 5) (20% of marks)
A reflective statement of 600 words concerning the seminar ethical dilemma case which was discussed in the Seminars One and Five. Briefly identify the ethical dilemmas in the case, and then select one for analysis using the normative ethical theories and descriptive frameworks taught on this module.
Appendix C Interpersonal and Team-working skills (10% of marks)
A reflective statement of 300 words showing how your interpersonal and team-working skills were used in this module.
Important note about ARNA regulations
The regulations specify that students must complete every assessment component contributing to the modules on their programme. This applies to all forms of assessment as defined in the module descriptor. Please note that:
• if any assessment component is not completed, students will be failed in the module even if the module pass mark has been achieved;
• if the requirements for referral specified in section 5 of ARNA1 are met, a resit opportunity will be given;
• if unable to complete an assessment component because of extenuating circumstances, students should follow the procedure described in the Student Guide to Extenuating Circumstances1.
This change was approved by Academic Board on 12 October 2009 in consultation with the Students’ Union. Students should consult their Programme Leader or Guidance Tutor if they have any queries. Independent advice and support is also available from the Students’ Union Advice & Representation Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org) or from a student adviser in Student Services.
1ARNA and the Student Guide to Extenuating Circumstances Affecting Assessed Work are available from http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/central/ar/lts/assess/assproc/assdocstud/
The word count is to be declared on the front page of your assignment. The word count does not include title page, contents page, glossary, tables, figures, illustrations, reference list, bibliography and appendices.
Summarising and compressing the information in your assignment into the word limit is one of the skills that students are expected to acquire, and demonstrate as part of the assignment process.
Word limits and penalties for assignments
If the assignment is within +10% of the stated word limit no penalty will apply. However, if the word limit exceeds the +10% limit, 10% of the mark provisionally awarded to the assignment will be deducted. For example: if the assignment is worth 70% but is above the word limit by more than 10%, a penalty of 7% will be imposed, giving a final mark of 63%.
Time limits and penalties for presentations
The time allocated for the presentation must be adhered to. At the end of this time, the presentation will be stopped and will be marked based on what has been delivered within the time limit.
Submission of Assessment:
All assignments must be submitted via the Undergraduate Programme Office. Each assignment must be accompanied by an Assessed Work Form which must be completed in full. The assignment will not be accepted by the Undergraduate Programme Office unless the form is completed correctly.
Marked assignments will be returned to students. It is advisable to retain a copy of your assignment for you own records. Your mark will be returned on the Assessed Work Form via the Undergraduate Programme Office.
Referencing your work
The APA method of referencing uses the author’s name and the date of the publication. In-text citations give brief details of the work you are referring to in your text. References are listed at the end of the text in alphabetical order by the author’s name. The general format of an electronic journal reference in the APA style is shown below:
Coutu, D. (2009). Why Teams Don’t Work. Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 98-105. Retrieved 29th April 2012 from EBSCO http://searchebscohost.com
Author/s name and initials are listed first, followed by year of publication in brackets. Then there is the title of article and the journal where the article appears, which is in italics. Then state the volume and issue number (in brackets) along with the pages where article can be located. Finally add the date the article was retrieved and then the name of the database, followed by the web address. Wherever possible use the homepage URL rather than the full and extended web address.
For further information on why it is important to reference accurately go to the Referencing and Plagiarism topic in Skills Plus available from the Library website:
You will find other useful help guides on Skills Plus to help you with the skills involved in writing your assessments and preparing for exams.
For further information on the APA style of referencing see the Concise Rules of APA style and the APA website http://www.apastyle.org/learn
Plagiarism and Cheating
Your attention is drawn to the University’s stated position on plagiarism. THE WORK OF OTHERS, WHICH IS INCLUDED IN THE ASSIGNMENT MUST BE ATTRIBUTED TO ITS SOURCE (a full bibliography and/or a list of references must be submitted as prescribed in the assessment brief).
Please note that this is intended to be an individual piece of work. Action will be taken where a student is suspected of having cheated or engaged in any dishonest practice. Students are referred to the University regulations on plagiarism and other forms of academic irregularity. Students must not copy or collude with one another or present any information that they themselves have not generated.
For further information on Plagiarism, see the Referencing and Plagiarism topic on Skills Plus.
Mapping to Programme Goals and Objectives:
This assessment will contribute directly to the following Undergraduate programme goals and objectives.
1. Knowledgeable about the theory and practice of international business and management
Students will be able to:
1. Acquire knowledge of functional areas of business and management.
2. Acquire knowledge of specialist areas of business.
X 3. Apply their knowledge to business and management contexts.
4. Conduct contemporary research into business and management.
2. Skilful in the use of professional and managerial techniques and processes
Students will be able to:
1. Provide evidence of self reflection as a means of informing personal development planning.
2. Demonstrate effective interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work in a team.
X 3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills.
X 4. Demonstrate problem solving skills.
3. Aware of ethical issues impacting on business and professional practice
Students will be able to:
X 1. Identify an ethical dilemma in a business situation
2. Suggest ethical solutions to this dilemma
4. Employable as graduates
Students will be able to:
1. In the context of securing graduate employment demonstrate the skills of self presentation.
Assessment Criteria (NBS)
General Assessment Criteria (1 of 1)
Trait 0 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60 – 69 70 – 79 80 – 100
and Understanding Poor grasp of topic concepts or of awareness of what concepts are. Minimal awareness of subject area. Knowledge is adequate but limited and/or superficial. Sound comprehension of topic. Knowledge base is up-to-date and relevant, but also may be broad or deep. Knowledge and understanding is comprehensive both as to breadth and depth. Exceptional scholarship for subject.
and Alignment Failure to apply relevant skills. Work is inarticulate and/or incomprehensible. Communication of knowledge frequently inarticulate and/or irrelevant. In the most part, description/ assertion rather than argument or logical reasoning is used. Insufficient focus is evident in work presented. Reasoning and argument are generally relevant but not necessarily extensive. Awareness of concepts and critical appreciation are apparent, but the ability to conceptualise, and/or to apply theory is slightly limited. Higher order critical appreciation skills are displayed. A significant ability to apply theory, concepts, ideas and their inter-relationship is illustrated. A mature ability to critically appreciate concepts and their inter-relationship is demonstrated. Clear evidence of independent thought. Presentation of work is fluent, focused and accurate. Outstanding ability to apply, in the right measure, the skills necessary to achieve highly sophisticated and fluent challenges to received wisdom.
Please enter student ID on every sheet
SM0381 – Applied Business Ethics – Part A – Essay
3.1 Programme Goal 3: Aware of ethical issues impacting on business and professional practice Objective 1: Identify an ethical dilemma in a business situation
Performance Area Exceeds Standards Meets Standards Meets Standards Not Met Scores
Student demonstrates an understanding of the relationship between how the dilemma is understood and the options available for decision-making An excellent understanding of the relationship between the ethical dilemma and appropriate decisions. Outstanding criticality is displayed in the selection and application of decisions.
(7-10) A good understanding of the relationship between the ethical dilemma and decision making. A good level of criticality is displayed in the selection and application of decisions.
(6) Shows an awareness of the connection between the dilemmas and appropriate decision making. Outcomes are based upon assumptions.
(4-5) Shows a limited understanding of decision making or ethics. Is unable to make a coherent connection between the two concepts. Application is weak or non-existent.
Student demonstrates an understanding of the impact of relevant contextual factors (e.g. competitive conditions, codes of ethics.) An excellent understanding of how relevant contextual factors impact the dilemma options. Factors are critically evaluated in order to justify their impact.
(7-10) A good understanding of how the relevant contextual factors impact the dilemma options. Factors have a good justification for their impact.
(6) Is aware of how relevant contextual factors impact the dilemma options. However these tend to be generalised and omit core relationships.
(4-5) There is a limited if not absent understanding of the relationship between contextual factors and ethical dilemmas.
Student demonstrates an understanding of the stakeholders that are potentially impacted, and the moral intensity experienced by the decision-maker(s) dealing with the business ethical dilemma. An excellent understanding of how stakeholders are potentially impacted. There is an explicit, concise and informed understanding of how ethical dilemmas and the moral intensity experienced by decision-makers are linked.
(7-10) A good understanding of how stakeholders are potentially impacted. Evidence of the ability to use various dimensions in order to make a link between ethical dilemmas and the moral intensity experienced by decision-makers.
(6) Displays an awareness of stakeholders and their potential impact. However the link between ethical dilemmas and the moral intensity experienced by decision-makers is somewhat vague.
(4-5) There is a limited understanding of the link between stakeholders and their potential impact. Weak or no comprehension of ethical dilemmas and moral intensity experienced by decision-makers.
3.2 Programme Goal 3: Aware of ethical issues impacting on business and professional practice Objective 2: Suggest ethical solutions to this dilemma
Performance Area Exceeds Standards Meets Standards Meets Standards Not Met Scores
Student demonstrates the ability to make a recommendation supported by appropriate reasoning.
Provides a systematic and analytically rigorous account of the solution to the dilemma. This is supported by outstandingly convincing evidence, showing an excellent understanding of the relationship between resolution, and normative standards.
(7-10) Provides a well-argued solution to the dilemma. This is supported by a good range of evidence and an understanding of the relationship between resolution, and normative standards.
(6) Provides a solution to the dilemma. Although supporting evidence is adequately constructed, there is a lack of understanding between the solution and normative standards.
(4-5) Limited or no solution is provided. If one is provided it is not supported by evidence. There is no understanding between solutions and normative standards.
Student demonstrates an understanding of the normative ethical theories used to address the dilemma, and can apply descriptive ethical frameworks in their analysis. An excellent range of frameworks and theories are considered in addressing the dilemma. Outstanding appreciation of the way in which theories and frameworks impact on the decision.
(7-10) A good range of frameworks and theories used in addressing the dilemma. A good understanding of the way in which theories and frameworks impact on the decision.
(6) Awareness of some frameworks and theories. However the link to a dilemma is vague in places. A judgement can be made but lacks sophistication.
(4-5) Shows limited or no understanding of the role of normative ethical theories and descriptive ethical frameworks in decision making.
3.2 overall (‘E’, ‘M’ or ‘NM’) * Part A Total Score /50
Please enter student ID on every sheet
SM0381 – Applied Business Ethics – Part B – Portfolio
Marking Criteria –Seminar 4: Ethical Debate 1st
Identifies and isolates arguments and evidence used in the seminar both to support and to oppose the view that ethical leadership can be demonstrated in shareholder owned companies. /20
Critically evaluates the arguments and evidence to reach a conclusion drawing on a range of sources.
Marking Criteria –Seminar 1 and 5: Ethical Dilemma Case 1st
Identifies ethical dilemmas in the case. Whose dilemmas were these and what were their options? /20
Uses normative ethical theories (e.g. Deontology) and descriptive ethical frameworks (e.g. Stages of Moral Development, Stakeholder Salience, Moral Intensity) to analyse one of the identified dilemmas in depth.
2.2 Programme Goal 2: Skillful in the use of professional and managerial techniques and processes Objective 2: Demonstrate effective interpersonal communication and the ability to work in a team
Performance Area Exceeds Standards Meets Standards Meets Standards Not Met Score
Student shows the ability to reflect on their use of interpersonal communication and team-working skills in the module. An excellent reflection which considers whether the need to use interpersonal communication and to work as a team has influenced their understanding of ethical issues.
(7-10) A good reflection on the student’s use of interpersonal communication and team-working skills in the module which illustrates the ways in which the use of these skills has impacted on outcomes.
(6) Identifies interpersonal communication and team working skills that have been used in support of module tasks and assesses personal effectiveness using examples.
(4-5) Limited reflection which does not assess examples of the student’s use of interpersonal communication and team-working skills though examples may be identified.
Total of Appendices A to C /50
Please enter student ID on every sheet
SM0381 – Applied Business Ethics – Additional Marker Comments
SM0381 – Assessment Totals:
Sections Sub-totals Date
Part A Essay /50
Part B Portfolio Appendices A, B, and C /50
Please print marker’s name Please sign here
Total Mark /100 Marker’s Name Marker’s Signature
Please mark each section with a single cross
This is not an essay nor a report. I would like the write (348570) to write this as a statement. A reflective statement of 600 words which describes and critically evaluates the arguments presented in the debate on Ethical Leadership. Your argument must culminate in your opinion regarding the debate motion. I expect the writer (348570)to analyse the arguments (for and against) made by the teams on behalf of their characters in the seminar. I am not asking the writer to write an essay purely based upon the character biographies that have been supplied for debate preparation.
Instructions are as follows.
– The writer needs to read the seminar notes on Mike, Jan, Deshi and Mie-Hua.
– Please do not explain each character and what they do. (please note this has only been done within the seminar therefore the lecture is fully aware of the 4 characters).
– The Ethical Leadership Debate (in Seminar 4) create a table and list down the characters and distinguish the four characters by
1. An introduction paragraph explaining if the motion was accepted or defeated and why. (In this case, during the seminar, the motion was defeated).
2. Another paragraph showing who are the stakeholders
3. Identify the stakeholders dilemma
4. Pick one dilemma and apply moral intensity framework
5. Find a solution.
insert a table showing a comparison of disagreement between four characters.
paragraph of compare and co
Seminar Four: Ethical Leadership Debate
NB: This must be read in conjunction with the latest SM0381 Assessment Brief (downloaded from Bb)
• Develop team working, debating and presenting skills
• Critically appraise the arguments presented in the debate
• Critique the ideas of ethical leadership, virtue and covenant
“This Business School believes that ethical leadership is impossible in a shareholder focused economy”
Preparation for Seminar
Individually read each of the character profiles and formulate a response to each of the indicative questions posed underneath each outline. Meet as a team before the seminar (physically or virtually). It is critical that before the seminar that your team reviews all of the character profiles. Your team will be asked to represent one of the characters in the debate. Please decide in advance who will be your team’s spokesperson. There will be three rounds of debate so your team can nominate one person for all rounds, or have two different spokespersons in rounds one and two. The third round is open discussion, so anyone can be the spokesperson or your team can stay with the single nominee.
This seminar is aiming to develop your verbal communication skills and to build your confidence in debating issues critically and yet professionally. This is another example of the sort of skills which might be examined in an assessment centre day and will certainly be required as you engage in management in your future career.
Take carefully note of the debate motion, the argument is implicitly between the shareholder and stakeholder centric views, although there will be other dissenting voices. Remember that the debate will end with a vote on the motion as stated above.
In preparation for this seminar it is important that you familiarise yourself with ALL of the following four “characters” which will be represented in the debate.
You are to prepare notes for each of the characters viewpoints. There are some guiding questions beneath each profile to get you started.
Your team will be asked to play one of these characters in class.
Remember, these are just character outlines. If your team feels that a profile can be elaborated while maintaining the essential essence of the character this will be allowed in debate by the tutor. However, you must declare that this is a team interpretation during the debate. The tutor may rule against this interpretation if he (she) feels that it is too speculative or misleading to others.
Character Profile (1)
Mike is a retired lecturer from Malmo, Sweden. For years Mike taught Business Ethics at a well-regarded University for many years, and has been an active member of Greenpeace since 1992. Mike believed for many years that ethical behaviour of corporations is set by the behaviour at the top of the organisation, if you have good people at the top of the company, making good decisions, and using good rules, then the company itself will be ethical. Mike for many years argued that a virtuous set of rules for directors, and effective oversight of these rules, were key to producing good behaviour.
Unfortunately in recent years Mike has become a little disillusioned with this viewpoint. Mike’s daughter Anna graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics in 2005 and has since quickly risen to the role of a hedge fund manager at Alfaraft AB (an international profitable hedge fund). Mike has found himself in fierce arguments with his daughter who, since taking on the job, has changed greatly in his eyes. To him, she has changed from someone who used to care about the environment and social problems, to someone who works tremendously long hours and now seems utterly focused on her next bonus payment. Worse (to Mike), now that Anna is a part of management, Anna seems to be strongly espousing (advocating) is “get-rich-quick” bonus making message to her subordinates.
Mike is aware that Alfaraft AB has a well-written corporate ethics and governance code, and even donates to several local Swedish charities, but now wonders at what kind of company they are. Mike was at first extremely happy that his daughter had a good job, but now he’s worried at the type of business environment which is generated at companies which takes idealistic young graduates fresh out of Business Schools and turns them into bonus seeking executives. Where are these good governance guidelines acted upon, how is the company actually led? Why do young executives seem to “mouth” the words of corporate codes, but not act the actions?
Mike participated in his first Occupy protest on 16th October 2011. The protesters occupied the ground floor of the Alfaraft AB building in Goteberg, Sweden, in protest of their heavy financial investment into major companies who were supplying dubious third world regimes.
• What is your analysis of Mike before coming to the class?
• What sort of definition of ‘ethical leadership’ might Mike use?
• In Mike’s eyes, what should the role of codes of conduct and good corporate governance be?
• From Mike’s point of view, what is the importance of ethical leadership?
• Does Mike see a tension between the companies’ shareholders and ethical leadership?
• Do you think Mike believes Ethical Leadership should be taught at Business Schools?
• Does Mike believe that Business Schools can or should create ethical leaders?
• Which normative ethical theory (or theories) do you associate with Mike?
Character Profile (2)
Jan is the CEO (Chief Operating Officer) and founder of Clean Solutions Inc., an industrial building maintenance company (largest are major heavy chemicals companies) based in Kansas, Missouri with substantial operations across seven states in the Midwest of the USA. Jan employs a total of 927 people in a business she founded after finishing her Social History degree in 1997 at University of Kentucky. Clean Solutions Inc. has fifty shareholders, mainly local small Kansas investors, and Jan is very proud that these investors have been well rewarded for their initial trust in her.
Jan is an active member of the True Vine Baptist Church, and through this, she has become involved in a programme to provide educational facilities in Guatemala. Given Jan’s success as an entrepreneur and small businesswoman, she often finds herself donating her time to advising Guatemalan small businessmen on how best to manage their businesses to encourage job creation in the local Guatemalan region. With her husband Ken and their four daughters Jan has made five trips to the villages around Petapa in recent years. Jan feels passionately that people gain self-respect, self-reliance and self-motivation through gainful employment, and she sees the act of entrepreneurship, and the creation of new job opportunities, as a powerful step towards helping the Guatemalan people. Jan for many years has ran programme at her workplace to encourage workers at Clean Solutions Inc. to donate their time to helping people more disadvantaged than herself, and she is proud that last year her company donated a total of 1020 working days of time to charitable works, more than one day per employee (the company doesn’t market or advertise this fact).
Jan has become increasingly concerned in recent years at the nature of graduates she is employing out of business schools onto her in-house graduate development programme (the internal management scheme). Many of the graduates seem extremely focused on profitability and working their way up the company ladder rather than on good people management skills, being well-rounded citizens and good, genuine people. Jan feels let down by the educational system, and business schools in particular, who seem to be geared to producing graduates who are merely “meat-for-the-grinder” for larger international companies who are utterly focused on shareholder wealth development. Jan has commented to her Vice-President of HR on a number of occasions that these graduates seem “institutionalised” before they even get to her. Schooled in thinking of the functional areas of a business, on profit, wealth and budgetary systems, and they seem ignore the importance of the first word “good”, in the words “good businessperson”.
Jan’s Vice-President of HR has made it clear to Jan that these new graduate managers are amongst the lowest contributors to the company’s charitable time donation scheme, donating only a quarter of the time, as a grouping, when compared to the whole workforce. Jan sees it as her duty as CEO to change this trend.
• Your analysis of Jan before coming to the class
• What sort of definition do you think Jan would use if she was to describe an ethical leader?
• What is the importance to Jan of Codes of Corporate Conduct to how businesses should be run?
• Do you think Jan believes that “ethical leadership” and “being a businessperson” can work together?
• Jan’s charitable time donation costs money; do you see any conflicts of interest?
• Would Jan see any conflicts of interest?
• Which normative ethical theory (or theories) do you associate with Jan?
Character Profile (3)
Mei-Hua is a successful Senior Manager at International Pharmaceuticals Company WCP, one of the largest firms in the world (Headquarters Luxemburg for tax reasons). A successful Accountancy graduate of a leading UK business school she was delighted to accept an invitation to come to an Alumni event recently where she was asked to participate in a debate on whether her business school should continue the teaching of ethics and ethical leadership to students.
Mei-Hua feels strongly on this issue. She feels that professionals have had in recent years a very poor and negative image from the press as to their ethical conduct. While she won’t argue that accountancy in particular has deserved some of the bad press it has received, she feels this has gone too far in many cases. Accountancy as a profession has strict codes of conduct and strict rules, and Mei-Hua has always adhered (worked within) these rules, and she believes both she, and her fellow professionals are very ethical and moral people who are being treated unfairly. In her company, for example they have a strict corporate code of conduct, especially on financial issues such as fraud, and she has always been impressed at the way that this code of conduct is reinforced in corporate induction and in the company literature.
Mei-Hua believes that many people are actually unaware of how ethical some companies actually are, or at least, they are highly cynical. The Directors of WCP have an engagement strategy with charities in a number of third world countries, and while they do use this extensively in their marketing literature, Mei-Hua sees no harm in this, after all, it is the shareholders money. Mei-Hua believes that strong ethical codes of conduct and strong codes of professional behaviour lead to a more moral and ethical business, and that profit and wealth generation, as well as those ethics, can work alongside each other.
Mei-Hua is sure at the debate that a recent tax case which was in the news regarding WCP will be mentioned. WCP recently had to come to a large settlement with the US Government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding a certain scheme, and paid a $7bn out-of-court settlement to prevent the case going to prosecution. As a Senior Manager and Accountant at WCP Mei-Hua has been involved in developing a number of entirely legal (never prosecuted successfully) tax avoidance schemes which have saved the company literally millions in potential tax payments, routing transactions though tax havens such as Hong Kong, Dublin and Singapore. Mei-Hua believes there is nothing wrong with this. It is governments which create the tax rules, not her. She and the other accountants are merely “playing within the rules”; not breaking them.
• How do you think Mei-Hua would describe “ethical leadership”?
• Mei-Hua clearly puts a lot of faith in Corporate Codes of Governance and Professional Codes of Ethics. What is underlying her arguments? Do her arguments have merit?
• Mei-Hua does believe that Ethical Leadership and moral business behaviours can work side-by-side with shareholder interests. Are there any problems you can see in her argument?
• Does Mei-Hua working as a tax accountant prevent her from being a moral person?
• Mei-Hua is able to stay within the codes of conduct of the company, and her professional accountancy codes of conduct and the legal parameters (limits) of international tax codes and save the company millions (possibly billions) in tax payments. Should she be praised for this? Is this moral? How does this balance against the codes themselves?
• Mei-Hua is a Senior Manager, is she also an ethical leader setting an example to her sub-ordinates?
Character Profile (4)
Deshi was born in the Lincang, in Yunan Provience of China near the border with Laos. The city has a population of nearly 2.3 million and its economy grew last year by 15%. Deshi’s parent’s dream of him working one day for one of the major international companies which have been setting up joint ventures in the city, and Deshi himself desperately wants to gain an education to get a good job. Deshi, who is 20, is concerned that without a good office job he will never be able to provide a stable home environment to start a family, and that he’ll not be attractive to prospective fiancées. Deshi’s parents are the first of their family to have reached a comfortable “middle class” lifestyle, and Deshi’s Dad has worked hard all his life as a factory foreman (frontline supervisor) to provide for his son. Deshi’s grandparents are both uneducated farm workers, and while he and his family provide as much care and support for them as they can, they also serve as a constant reminder to Deshi and his family of their humble beginnings. Deshi has worked hard all his life in his education, and has tried hard to build himself some good business experience doing office gopher work (go-for) in the city during his summer. Deshi’s parents have saved a long time to send him to a western UK-based university Business School to finalise his education, and they hope that Deshi can gain both the language and business knowledge there to get him that all important job in the city.
Deshi has become a little dis-illusioned with one of his courses while at this UK university however; Business Ethics. Simply put, he doesn’t see the point of it, and he doesn’t see why it should be on the curriculum of a business school. In his summer job in the city Deshi often saw the “cut-and-thrust” of modern business, and he can’t remember anyone pondering long philosophical words while there. Deshi can’t see the point in wondering about “ethical leadership”. To Deshi, leadership is about getting things done and creating a profitable, successful business. Deshi can’t see the point of these various “codes of corporate governance” as they seem constraints that get in the way of good business. To him some of these even seem ludicrous (ridiculous), why would someone intentionally sign up to codes which will stop you making money? Anyway, to Deshi anyway, the bottom line is that “everyone knows” that western companies are hypocrites who say one thing and mean another when they operate in China. Profit and market share are what are important, and being a profit making manager is what will take Deshi from being a new graduate starter in an office job at a big company to being a well-paid middle exec.
In short, Deshi is unhappy at the teaching of ethics, and ethical leadership, on his degree course, and would like to express that unhappiness in an upcoming debate he’s been asked to participate in. He’s in danger of failing this Business Ethics course, which, to him, seems to have very little to do with “real business”. If he fails this course, he knows he’ll be endangering his degree as well, which means not only the end of that dream of that that nice safe office job, but especially the dream of being attractive to a prospective fiancée because of that job. Deshi doesn’t see why those dreams should suffer because of this “pointless” ethics course, and would like to see it removed from his programme of study.
• Your analysis of Deshi before coming to the class
• Other than, “annoying thing which get in the way”, how do you think Deshi would define “Ethical Leadership”?
• Consider Deshi’s view of the importance of Codes of Corporate Governance. Do his views have any merit? If so, what?
• Deshi clearly seems to believe that there is a conflict between “real business”, the pragmatic business which is done in the “real world” which creates wealth for shareholders, and ethics. Does he have a point? What is that point?
• Deshi clearly feels that Business Ethics is pointless to him, and won’t help him in the “real world of business”. Why does he think that? Do his arguments have any merit?
• The tutor will indicate who speaks next.
• You can only speak if you are the spokesperson for the team and you are standing up.
• The first round of speaking will be each spokesperson outlining their character’s opinion in the debate to the other teams.
• The second round will be the character’s rights of reply to each other character. The spokesperson for each team will comment in turn on the position stated by the other three characters.
• In the third round, students that were not eligible to speak (but wish to do so now) must raise their hand to get the tutor’s attention. He (she) will invite the student to speak when appropriate. As the student ‘has the floor’ they must stand up to speak.
• The tutor will conduct a vote at the end of the debate (students should vote according to their own opinion – not the character they represented).
After the debate and discussion has been had, the Discussion Moderator (i.e. Tutor) will lead a discussion to summarise the main points and how these relate to the concept of ethical leadership and the shareholder-focused economy, and whether Business Ethics and Leadership should be taught in Business Schools.
Post Seminar Activities
Consult the Assessment Brief for this module and use the notes you have gathered before and during the debate to answer the requisite portfolio appendix for your assignment. The submission date is the same as that announced for the entire SM0381 Assignment.
Crane A and Matten D (2010) Business Ethics OUP Chapter 5 & 6
Guiding Questions for your post-seminar Notes
We normally provide a structured table of questions to guide a reflective statement after each seminar. As your analysis of the seminar is contributing to your overall assessment, this is not provided this time.
As you carefully consider the requirements of the assessment brief, you might like to ponder the following questions that normally arise out of this seminar. Do not answer them directly in your portfolio, they are just guidance towards the type of notes you might have gathered.
• What was the definition of ‘ethical leadership’ adopted by the participants in the debate?
• What is the role of the directors as envisaged by typical Codes of Corporate Governance and wider society? Be prepared to cite real examples of such codes!
• Are these expectations consistent with the ideas of ethical leadership?
• What are the structures of codes of corporate governance that support the ethical behaviour of directors?
• In whose interest are these structures conceived?
• Do they promote ethical leadership as you understand it?
• What are the ethical tensions within a shareholder company and how may ethical leadership address these?
• What are the challenges in really delivering ethical leadership and how much of this is caused by the profit maximisation that underlies shareholder focus?
SM0381 Assignment (Portfolio Appendix A) Guidance
Make sure that you have read and fully understood the marking criteria as stated in the current issue of the SM0381 assignment brief.
You will be expected to make direct reference to what actually happened in the debate (in terms of the arguments raised). Please use the character names rather than Team A, Team B, etc.
Extensive paraphrasing (or regurgitation) of the provided character profiles will be a complete waste of your word count. You are strongly advised to dedicate as much of your writing to argument analysis as is possible. The marker understands the provided character profiles, and does not need to read them again.
The objective of this portfolio appendix is to build a case “for” or “against” the debate motion using the appropriate normative ethical theory and descriptive ethical frameworks taughtonthismodule (or described in the textbook, Crane & Matten). Make sure that you mention the wording of the debate motion.
Substituting obscure theory (or little-known frameworks) in the total absence of taught content will not be acceptable.