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PH3005 Business Ethics

Please answer only two of the following four questions. For each question that you answer you must answer both parts (a) and (b):
  1. Barron Stone, a manager at Duke Energy, reported that the group falsified its accounting from 1998 to 2001 to receive many benefits from the US government. Stone alerted his superiors in 1999 that the practice did not meet "generally accepted accounting principles" but was told that their decisions were final. In 2001 he anonymously alerted the government of these actions. His identity was disclosed and he was transferred to another, less important, post.
  • Can we consider Stone a disloyal agent in his company? What would a virtue-ethics approach be here? Justify your views.

  • What kind of policy should Duke Energy utilize to protect the company from unethical practices? Explain your answer.
  1. A junior member of staff has just returned to work after taking special leave to care for her elderly mother. For financial reasons she needs to work full-time. She has been having difficulties with her mother’s home care arrangements, causing her to miss a number of team meetings (which usually take place at the beginning of each day) and to leave work early. She is very competent in her work but her absences are putting pressure on her and her overworked colleagues. You are her manager, and you are aware that the flow of work through the practice is coming under pressure. One of her male colleagues is beginning to make comments such as “a woman’s place is in the home”, and is undermining her at every opportunity, putting her under even greater stress.
  • What would you advice the manager to do in order to avoid discrimination and resolve the case in a fair way (you may use Utilitarianism, any version, or Kantianism, or Aristotelianism, in support of your decision).

  • Explain the Employee Right to Due Process and examine how it would apply here.
  1. In July 1970, a federal court found that the Department of Public Safety in Alabama systematically discriminated against African-Americans in hiring. The court ordered that the state reform its hiring practices to end "pervasive, systematic, and obstinate discriminatory exclusion of blacks." A full 12 years and several lawsuits later, the department still had not promoted any African-Americans above entry level nor had they implemented a racially fair hiring system. In response, the court ordered specific racial quotas to correct the situation. For every white hired or promoted, one African-American would also be hired or promoted until at least 25% of the upper ranks of the department were composed of African-Americans.

(a) Utilize the Aristotelian ethical theory (include also the compensation argument) in order to discuss this case.

(b) Would you consider Affirmative Action as a necessary tool for creating an ethical culture in contemporary organizational affairs? Justify your answer. 

  1. Discrimination based on gender identity and orientation is one of the most widespread forms of discrimination. More than 40 percent of gay employees in the US reported facing harassment and discrimination at work, according to a recent. Meanwhile, 90 percent of transgender individuals said they faced the same kind of abuse at the office, with nearly half of those polled saying their gender identity had a negative affect on their professional lives because they faced discrimination.

  2. Explain the Utilitarian and Kantian arguments against discrimination in the workplace.

  3. With which of the two would you agree more and why? Justify your position.

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