Below are three papers to be written. There is no minimum on word count, but they should be a nicely develop report.
1. Businesses often face difficult situations where they must choose between different unpleasant and/or undesirable alternatives. Difficult moral choices can arise in any aspect or area of business. Ethical dilemmas may appear in decisions relating to financing, purchasing, personnel hiring or firing, promotions, risk management, outsourcing, production, marketing, acquisitions, bankruptcies, etc., etc. Whenever you have competing interests and/or conflicting moral objectives, those may give rise to ethical dilemmas.
In this context, your assignment is first to identify a recent news article (published within a month of your submitting your answer) that touches on an ethical dilemma that a specific business, or an industry, either has recently faced or else must face in the near future. Based on the article that you have selected, your task then is to write a short essay describing the relevant ethical dilemma(s) at hand and discussing the various ethical dimensions of the choices that the business(es) in question either have faced or must face. As part of your answer also make sure that (1) discuss to what extent you believe different approaches to ethics and morality might yield different decisions relating to the issues at hand and (2) how you believe the issues at hand should best be handled.
Your report on this issue should be submitted as a single word or pdf file that you upload in Canvas. The article that you select should be clearly identified in a reference section at the end of your answer.
2. Dan Ariely’s research on dishonesty suggests that, regardless of how underhandedly we may sometimes act, most of us still want to think of ourselves as being well-meaning, upright, and decent. This may create a certain tension between our self-image and our more opportunistic tendencies. Still, it seems that most of us can find rationalizations for various actions that we might, upon further reflection, admit are unethical by the metrics of normative moral philosophy (deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics). As Ariely has also explained, this can lead us down a slippery slope. Sometimes, what starts out as mild moral sloppiness, along with just a few seemingly insignificantly dishonest actions, eventually escalates into very unfortunate situations.
In this context, your assignment is first to identify a recent business or government scandal (or disgraceful event) that was caused by unethical and/or illegal actions which most people would condemn (at least in retrospect). Next, your task is to carefully review the information that you have about the event in question. Then, in the context of Ariely’s arguments and based on the event that you selected, you need to write a short essay imagining and reconstructing how the situation in question might have started out and how it might have escalated to its eventual and unfortunate conclusion. Ariely).
Your report on this issue should be submitted as a single word or pdf file that you upload in Canvas. The event that you select should be clearly identified with references at the end of your answer.
3. Different people have very different ideas about the general social obligations of business.
On the one side, Milton Friedman argued that the most important social obligation of business was simply to be profitable. He maintained that all other goals had to be considered secondary. As Friedman saw it, businesses are set up specifically by their owners to achieve business goals which cannot be achieved without profits. A business that loses money cannot meet its obligations to its owners, to its employees, or even to the government in terms of taxes. While Friedman felt that philanthropy and social goals were fine for businesses, he argued that those could never be achieved anyway unless the business was first profitable. On the other side, some proponents of the stakeholder view of business argue that businesses have equal obligations to all stakeholders, including bystanders and society at large, and thus that profits should not be the primary goal of business.
Those kinds of underlying differences in attitudes towards the social obligations of business notwithstanding, it is certainly true that many businesses see the prepping up of their social reputations as an important aspect of their marketing strategies. Touting specific charities and other forms of philanthropy, espousing environmental concerns, or supporting social outreach programs can affect good will and sales. Thus, the businesses who most promote their philanthropy and social responsibilities may also just be trying to maximize their profits using all the tools at their disposal. Indeed, it seems that the businesses who are the most likely to be affected by their social reputations are often also the ones most likely to tout their social responsibilities.
In this context, your assignment is first to identify some specific recent business philanthropic and social endeavors (including charity support, environmental actions, social outreach and/or community support, etc.) Next, your task is to carefully consider the full motivations of these efforts and their likely impact on the bottom line for the businesses in question and for society at large.
Your report on this issue should be submitted as a single word or pdf file that you upload in Canvas. The examples that you select should be clearly identified with references at the end of your answer.
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