Jill Jones is a bright 45-year-old woman who is the vice-president of sales in a mid-sized family owned Candy Corporation. She began her career at the company right out of high school, and over the years earned two college degrees while working her way up the organizational ladder.
One day, Jill was stunned to learn that the firm’s head, William Potter, was considering placing his oldest son, Henry, in the position of CEO while he became chairman of the board. Years earlier, when Jill was in a middle management position, Henry had unsuccessfully propositioned her and made her life miserable. She had never mentioned the incident to anyone and had put it behind her when he was promoted to head the Miami branch of the business. However, now as she looks at William Potter she becomes even more shocked to hear him say” I can’t be objective about him Jill, You have always been so loyal to the company and successful in hiring excellent people for the sales force I want you to review him objectively and give me your recommendation.” Conflicting thoughts rush through her mind, the awful past, the all so possible awful future with him as her boss, the clear knowledge that he has done a great job with the Miami branch, and of course the knowledge that he is the bosses son. What should she do?
“Jill” has just come up against one of the myriad ethical dilemmas companies of all sizes and their employees face on an ongoing basis. Deciding the best course of action might be easy in some cases, when there are clear-cut choices between “right” and “wrong.” But there are many gray areas, like Jill’s, when it’s harder to know what the right choice is for you and your company.
Assignment #1: Making an Ethical Decision (15%)
In this assignment, students will respond to a short case study demonstrating an understanding of an ethical dilemma and the ethical theories presented in the course.
Required Elements of Assignment #1 – Making an Ethical Decision:
Required Formatting of Assignment #1:
ASSIGNMENT: Write a message with Positive Bad News–where the situation is negative and the content will clearly be felt as “bad news” by the recipient. Go beyond just reporting the facts and offer a workable alternative.
Be sure your message will be perceived as bad news by the recipient: Offering an unrealistic solution that is “too good to be true” does not meet the requirement. Your challenge is to stay positive yet still be honest and realistic.
Do your best to establish rapport with the reader by expressing real concern, showing a sincere understanding of the person’s needs, and offering them a positive solution or alternative that is appropriate and workable.
(a) A dissatisfied customer (Marie Smedley) received a defective product from your company and wrote to complain. The warranty expired one month before the incident. Ms. Smedley is asking for a product replacement or full refund. Write a positive message that keeps her as a loyal, satisfied customer.
(b) Your company (AlphaBeta) is losing money and fighting to stay in business. A decision has been made to reduce the workforce by 10% to protect the other 90% of jobs. Write a company-wide announcement to explain the decision clearly and help everyone accept the outcome as well as possible.
(c) Your chief of R&D, Matilda Bono, submitted a Formal Persuasive Proposal to you for a new product she has been developing for two years. She is enthusiastic and strong-willed. Her idea has promise, but still needs more research. Write her a message to explain your decision without de-motivating her.
(d) A highly-qualified applicant (Sam Peyton) was a finalist for a job in your company (WhoDat Industries), but someone else has been selected. Since you conducted the interview, he wrote you to ask whether he was rejected for the job because of a prejudice. Write an effective message that addresses the issue seriously, carefully, and thoughtfully.
(e) For years, your company has used a local computer services firm (X-Ray Computers). Some of your employees also have family members who work for it. However, since a key person left X-Ray, their quality and response times have suffered. Write them a message urging them to improve (or be replaced).
These are only examples. Ideally, the best scenario is a real-world example you recently have faced, are now facing, or expect to face soon.
AUDIENCE: Choose a person or group that is appropriate to the example you choose.
FORMAT: Use standard business document format (memo or letter), single-spacing in a Word document (.docx), with a 12-point regular Times New Roman font. See “memo format or “letter format” (under Course Content).
KEY GRADING FACTORS:
Builds quick rapport and projects strong sincerity throughout
Is direct in approach and highly respectful throughout
Is highly brief, crisp, clear, and to-the-point
Has no words or statements that might come across as negative
Goes beyond explaining to offer a strong, workable alternative solution
Has no typos, misspellings, or errors in mechanics or document format
LENGTH: 125-250 words (about one page).
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