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The Role of Ethics in Business and the Influence of Corporations in Society

Essay 1: Maximizing Stakeholder Wealth and the Role of Ethics in Business

Essay 1:
Given that business is about maximizing stakeholder wealth and given that there are laws governing the process by which this is accomplished, where is the role for ethics in business? In other words, if organizations (and organizational members) follow the law, is there any additional need for ethical considerations? When organizations maximize stakeholder wealth, aren't they already doing the "right" thing according to the design and purpose of organizational existence? 
Success Factors: 
This essay asks you to form an argument regarding the role of ethics within organizations.  
Draw upon content to support your framework. 
Include a short discussion from the opposite perspective. 
Answers should be comprehensive and tie varying concepts together. 
Goal: 700+ word
Essay 2: 
Business is becoming increasingly vocal about moral positions in our society. In some cases, corporations are stepping in to fill a void where politicians have been reluctant to act. For example,  
Big retailers removing AR-style rifles from shelves after mass shootings 
Retailers like Walmart banning vape products from its shelves 
Major League Baseball moving the All-Star game from Georgia in protest of restrictive voting laws 
Businesses cutting off donations to politicians based upon their stance on the capital siege this past January 
Most recently, the Women’s Tennis Association’s suspension of all tournaments in China 
 
Business influence is increasing. 
Politicians have been vocal in response. Earlier this year, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican minority leader said, “My warning to corporate America is to stay out of politics,” before adding: “I’m not talking about political contributions.” 
 
For context, Sen. McConnell was a leading advocate of “Citizens United”, the Supreme Court ruling that characterized corporations as “individuals” with rights of free speech and the ability to offer unlimited contributions to the political process. Citizens United is one of the reasons why there’s such heavy lobby influence in Washington. Political contributions come with influence which often leans towards legislation that facilitates the interests of corporate profit-making. 
 
In response, hundreds of companies and executives released a letter in April (4/14) condemning legislation that restricts "any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot," per the New York Times. The effort was organized by former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. Says Chenault, “Throughout our history, corporations have spoken up on different issues. It’s absolutely the responsibility of companies to speak up, particularly on something as fundamental as the right to vote.” In regards to the WTA’s suspension of tennis tournaments in China, WTA CEO Steve Simon says some things “are bigger than money”. 
 
The question now is, should businesses “stay out of politics” or should businesses “speak up” when it comes to our shared society? Are businesses already influencing society? What, if any, difference do you see in the current efforts of business to influence society (positively or negatively)? Do you consider businesses to be “individuals” with the same “rights and responsibilities” of individuals in our society (as the Supreme Court rules)? If so, what are the roles (and limits) of businesses as individuals in shaping our society? How might stakeholders be impacted by either position?  
 
Draw upon ethical theory to revisit the influence that business has on society. Use your understanding of the readings to support your position of corporate influence – whether you desire to see expansionary influence in societal matters, or if you support a constriction of business influence in societal matters.  Use this essay to develop your proposed approach of moving forward, supported by an ethical framework. Be sure to frame and support your answer with terms and concepts from our reading. 
 
Success Factors: 
Use the expository essay format. 
This essay asks you to evaluate the influence of business on society and the impact of that influence on varied 
stakeholders (share-holders, customers, leaders, employees, communities, etc.).  
Consider utilizing the ethical decision model as a part of your analysis. 
Include a short discussion from opposing perspective(s). 
Answers should be comprehensive and tie varying concepts together. 
Goal: 1000+ word

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