FOR BUSINESS ETHICS CASES – Global Homework Experts

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Step 1 EXPOSITION: Get the Facts
Step 2 RISING ACTION: Identify Red Flags
Step 3 CLIMAX: Synthesize Ethical Rules & Principles (ERP)
Step 4 FALLING ACTION: Take Ethical Action
Step 5 RESOLUTION: Draft a Giving Voice to Value (GVV) Script
Step 6 DENOUEMENT: Ensure Compliance
STEP 1 EXPOSITION: Get the Facts
A character in a setting…
The first step is to prepare a Statement of Facts by answering the following questions:
1. How would you describe the protagonist (“P”)?
• Her strengths – what skills / life experiences P brings to help with this challenge?
• Her weaknesses – Describe what characteristics might prevent her from acting?
• Her position – What is P’s position in the organizational hierarchy and her sources
of formal and informal power? (see discussion of allies below)
2. What is the corporate setting? Explain the organizational context by answering the following
four questions:
• CULTURE: How would you describe the organization’s culture?
• POLICIES: What formal policies are in place that may be relevant to the situation?
• HISTORY: Does the organization have prior experience with the kind of issue at
hand, and how did it respond at that time?
• LEGAL CONTEXT: What is the external context? Specifically, discuss identify any
laws and regulations could P use to support her position.
3. Who are the other stakeholders?
• Who are P’s potential allies in this situation? Identify the Identify the individual or
group in the organization that has the power to solve the problem at hand and
explain how P is related to that person.
• Likely opponents, adversaries (antagonists)?
• Don’t just provide a laundry list of all stakeholders but focus on the most relevant
to resolving the issue.
STEP 2 RISING ACTION: Identify Red Flags
Has a problem…
The next step is to succinctly identify the key ethical issue(s) in the form of a question. To get
you started here are a few prompts:
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1. What type of ethical category does this fall into?
• Taking things that don’t belong to you (stealing)
• Saying things you know are not true (lies of commission)
• Giving or allowing false impressions (lies of influence)
• Hiding or divulging information (lies of omission)
• Buying influence or engaging in a conflict of interest (facilitates stealing and/or
• Taking unfair advantage
• Committing acts of personal decadence
• Perpetuating interpersonal abuse
• Permitting organizational abuse
• Violating rules
• Condoning unethical actions
• Balancing ethical dilemmas
2. What is the apparent ethical dilemma? Consider whether one of Rushworth Kidder’s 4
dilemmas apply:
• Truth versus Loyalty = honesty/integrity vs. commitment,promise-keeping
• Individual versus Community = “Us” vs. “them”
• Short term versus Long term = now vs. then and consequences for each
• Justice versus Mercy = fairness/equity vs. love and compassion
3. What rationalizations or neutralization techniques have been employed? Here are some of
the most common excuses for unethical behavior:
• Denial of responsibility (passing the buck) – “I was just following orders”
• Denial of injury (ostrich syndrome) – “It doesn’t really hurt anyone”
• Denial of victim (blame the victim) – “She should have known better” or “He had
it coming”
• Condemn the condemners (find fault in critics) – “We all don’t share the same
• Appeal to higher loyalties (pitting one value against another) – “I want to be
loyal” or “The system isn’t fair”
• Moral ledger (compartmentalizing) – “But think of all the good done in the past”
• Defense of necessity – “That’s the only way to get it done”
• Claim of normalcy (false consensus effect) – “Everybody else does it” or “If we
don’t, someone else will”
• Denial of negative intent – “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody”
• Claim of ambiguity – “It’s a gray area”
• Claims of relative acceptability (not a big deal) – “Its no so bad by comparison”
• Postponement (action is needed but you stall)
• Hide behind the law – “We’ll wait until the lawyers tell us its wrong”
• Use of euphemisms (call it by a different name) – “Smoothing earning”
• Also consider the possibility of a Fraud Triangle (opportunity, pressure/incentive,
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STEP 3 CLIMAX: Synthesize Ethical Rules & Principles (“ERP”)
But then has an aha! Moment…
Step 3 is to synthesize an ethical rule for this case. The climax or aha moment is the decision
point. The ethical “crossroads” moment comes after P is aware there is an ethical issue and has
decided something is wrong but before she takes any action. Use the following ERP Ladder to
organize your ethical reasoning:
1. Law-based: What rights apply? What is the company’s legal obligation? Remember that
doing what is lawful is just the moral minimum.
2. Outcome-based: What are the short-term and long-term consequences for the
stakeholders? (include P, the company, and other stakeholders) Remember the three
limitations of utilitarianism: unforeseeability, indeterminacy, and injustice.
3. Duty-based: What duties or obligations apply? Two primary sources: reason (e.g., selfevident
moral intuitionism or Kant’s categorical imperative) or revelation (including general
revelation (NNL) and special revelation (Bible))
4. Virtue-based: Is this consistent with who P claims to be? What actions will help P become his
or her ideal self? Remember habits help shape one’s character. It requires doing the right
thing for the right reason and having your friends never be surprised (i.e., triple level
STEP 4 FALLING ACTION: Take Ethical Action
Comes up with a plan to solve the problem…
Step 4 is where you demonstrate your ethical reasoning ability by applying the ERP to the
situation. Explain how your ERP was or was not followed in the actual case and the
consequences, and then set forth a plan an action, with appropriate levers, for how the matter
should have been handled. When developing a plan be sure to ask:
§ What else (resources) or who else (resonance) should be included in the decision-making
§ What additional data (research or investigation) is needed?
§ What is the most effective action plan? What is the back-up plan?
Remember your strategy should match P’s personal characteristics with effective methods.
Consider using several of Howard Gardner’s seven levers for persuading others to do the right
• Reason (quality) – Present pros and cons. expose faulty either/or thinking, etc.
• Research (breadth) – Provide numerical data and other information about ramifications
of a choice/option, make long term risks more concrete.
• Resonance (honesty) – P’s influence is proportional to his or her track record
(consistency) and his or her relationship to the decision-makers.
• Representational re-description – Defuse resistance (conscious or unconscious) with
respect and reciprocity. Effective presentation requires adjusting how P presents the
message: (a) analogize to a problem the organization had or overcame in the past
(remember how we lost three customers last year because of something similar…); (b)
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leverage the power of contrast (we are out of date and this is the wave of the future);
(c) know audience’s intelligence (learn from what didn’t work with a particular person or
audience last time); and (d) deliver the message in the most appropriate format. That
may be a compelling story, statistics, or use of graphics.
• Resources and rewards: Draw on resources to demonstrate the value of your idea and
provide incentives to adopt your idea. provide incentives to do the right thing
• Real-world events: Monitor events in the world on a daily basis and, whenever possible,
draw on them to support P’s idea.
• Resistances: Devote considerable energy to identifying the principal resistances to P’s
ideas (both conscious and unconscious resistances) and try to defuse them directly and
In addition, consider using some of Kotter’s eight steps to accelerate change in your
• Create a Sense of Urgency
• Build a Guiding Coalition
• Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives
• Enlist a Volunteer Army
• Enable Action by Removing Barriers
• Generate Short-Term Wins
• Sustain Acceleration
• Institute Change
STEP 5 RESOLUTION: Draft a “Giving Voice to Value” (GVV) script
And how to explain it…
The next step is to write a script of exactly what the Protagonist should have said if they had
followed your plan. Your pre-script will be scored in the following four categories:
• METHOD Decide whether a face-to-face conversation or written communication would
be more effective?
• AUDIENCE Should P speak to people one-on-one or in a group? You will need to decide
to whom to address your arguments.
• MESSAGE What should P say? How should the value proposition be framed? You will
need to decide what are the most persuasive arguments.
• COUNTERPOINTS Be sure to anticipate possible objections and include in the dialogue
the most likely counterarguments (reasons and rationalizations) you might expect and
then craft an effective response to them.
STEP 6 DENOUEMENT: Ensure Compliance
And makes sure it doesn’t happen again.
This last step involves coming up with an ethical “rule of thumb” that could be applied to future
situations involving similar facts and then outline preventive steps that are reasonably
calculated to ensure this particular crisis doesn’t happen again. At a minimum, be sure to
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incorporate these “best practice” compliance measures derived from U.S. Sentencing
• Leadership (tone at the top, commitment by senior and middle management)
• Risk Assessment
• Standards and Controls (policies and procedures, monitoring, auditing, confidential
reporting structure and investigation process, corrective action and remediation,
incentives and disciplinary measures, protection against retaliation)
• Training (education, communication, awareness)
• Oversight (continuous improvement, assess program’s effe

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