Ethics in Business
Prepare a 2,500 word essay addressing ethical dilemmas in business following the approach set out in the Assessment Brief
The required approach to addressing the ethical dilemma that forms the focus of the assessment task will be practiced in seminars.
Evaluation and application of ethical reasoning to a business dilemma: individual application of ethical reasoning within a case study leading to a defensible managerial decision
Essay reflecting upon personal experience of applying ethical reasoning, attitudinal changes and personal learning challenges.
Learning outcomes assessed
1. Analyse the basis of moral reasoning
2. Apply moral reasoning to an ethical dilemma
3. Evaluate and apply the range and complexity of means/ends analysis to practical business and management situations
4. Analyse and synthesise the role of ethical conformance, corporate governance & responsibility in providing ethical leadership
5. Analyse and evaluate the common and specific ethical issues for different managerial functions in business
6. Evaluate the significance of different ideologies for ethical systemic analysis 7. Evaluate and apply ethical reasoning to international business dilemmas?8. Analyse an ethical dilemma?9.
Synthesise a number of viewpoints and evaluate their relative significance
10. Apply ethical reasoning to make a defensible decision
Assignment task: Ethical Dilemmas in Business
This assessment is in TWO parts. You should attempt BOTH parts and submit them together as ONE document.
Assessment Part A
A communications managers dilemma
FossGenisanewlyestablishedenergyexplorationandproductioncompanybasedinthesouth of England. The aim of the company is to identify and exploit unconventional natural sources of energy, with a
particular focus on the recovery of natural gas from shale rock through the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This is a fast growing part of the energy sector in the UK, with FossGen
as a new entrant competing with existing rivals including Cuadrilla.
Natural gas exploration and extraction is regulated in the UK. Energy firms are required to obtain planning permission from relevant local authorities before exploration can begin, this can be a
time consuming and costly process especially for small firms like FossGen. While not a legal requirement, energy firms are expected to engage communities in advance of any application for planning
permission and then again at each stage of development (Guidance on fracking: developing shale oil and gas in the UK issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy April
2016). At the same time energy firms are expected to abide by the terms of a Community Engagement Charter in which firms commit to being open and transparent with all stakeholders. Again this is
not a legal requirement. (https://www.ukoog.org.uk/community/charter).
You are a communications manager with FossGen, and are part of a small team working towards obtaining planning permission for a test well to be drilled in Wessex, which if successful might identify
substantial amounts of natural gas in the area. You are aware that fracking is a controversial process and that there are a number of groups and individuals in the local community that object to
the proposed drilling. Equally the application has support from other groups and conforms to the government energy strategy. It is important to FossGen to obtain the necessary planning permission,
and to support your application you commissioned a report from Professor Darwin, an influential and very well regarded geological expert. The report was emailed to your team this morning and to
your surprise Professor Darwin contradicts other information held by Foss Gen. She states categorically that because of the local geology the test well will have significant environmental impacts,
including contamination of ground water and destruction of a site of special scientific interest. The first of a series of planned community meetings is due to be held tomorrow.
Write an essay that answers the question below:
Should you disclose Professor Darwins report at the community meeting tomorrow? In answering this question
a. identify and explain the ethical issues raised in the dilemma above and also identify and explain who the stakeholders affected by the dilemma are; ?
b. analyse the ethics of disclosing or not disclosing the report by reference to two of the following three ethical theories: utilitarianism; the ethics of duty (Kant) and Rawlsian ideas of
c. state and justify your response to the dilemma in ethical terms bearing in mind the practical constraints that might have an impact on your response.
The word limit for this essay is 2000 words and the essay is worth 70 marks
Further information about fracking can be found on the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy website. See for example:
Asalreadyindicatedfrackingiscontroversial. Youcanfindmoreinformationaboutthecontroversy by looking at the sources below and by conducting your own research.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14432401?https://www.what-is-fracking.com/?https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/climate/fracking?The scenario in this assessment has been developed for educational purposes
only. Any similarity
to situations or to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Assessment Part B
At the start of the semester you were asked to complete a short questionnaire on your views on ethical issues in business. In the questionnaire you were asked the extent to which you agreed with
the eight questions below:
1. As a general rule people tend to act in their own self interest ?
2. Ethical decisions are based on the situation ?
3. Theonlyresponsibilityofbusinessistocreateshareholdervalue ?
4. Personal values have no place in business ?
5. Employees are obliged to do what their managers tell them so long as it is lawful ?
6. Thereareuniversalmoraltruths ?
7. Ethical decisions should be made on the basis of care and relationships rather than abstract ideas of justice ?
8. Factoryfarmingisunethical ?
Having had a semester to think about these statements you should write a short essay justifying your response in ethical terms to one of the statements made, the statement
being: Personal values have no place in business?Your answer should be based on one recognised ethical theory which we have discussed in this
module or which you have researched independently.
NOTE: You may not refer to either of the ethical theories which you used to analyse the ethical dilemma in Part A.
The word limit for this short essay is 500 words and the essay is worth 30 marks
Part A: Marking criteria
A comprehensive identification and explanation of the ethical issues raised by the dilemma is provided together with a clear and justified account of the affected stakeholders based on credible
A comprehensive analysis of the two alternative actions is developed, based on credible sources, which demonstrates an excellent understanding of the ethical theories discussed
Building on the analysis of the ethical issues, theories and stakeholders considered, a clear and well argued position is developed which effectively takes into account opposing perspectives and
relevant practical constraints to present a persuasive justification for the action to be taken.
Part B: Marking criteria
A comprehensive identification and explanation of the ethical and practical issues raised by the statement is provided based on credible sources
A comprehensive analysis of the ethics of the statement is developed, based on credible sources, which demonstrates an excellent understanding of the ethical theory discussed
Building on the analysis of the ethical issues and , theories considered, a clear and well argued position is developed which effectively takes into account opposing perspectives and relevant
practical constraints to present a persuasive justification for the response to the statement
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