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You need to show that you understand the importance of individual and organisational ethical thinking and practice and you can successfully apply ethical decision making

Business Management (level 6)

Business Ethics and Responsible Management – Assignment 

Read the following in conjunction with the case 4 – Johnson -attached and PowerPoint slides also attached

Distinction required

This assessment is 3,000 words (you are allowed to go over by 10% making it a maximum of 3,300 words) consisting of three parts in total.

Arial 10, 1.5 spacing, Harvard

The assessment is in two parts with part 1 being further split into two. Read the requirements below. You will submit all three parts together in the same submission.

The Task

You need to show that you understand the importance of individual and organisational ethical thinking and practice and you can successfully apply ethical decision making. You will also need to show that you can think critically about the role of business in society. Further, you will need to show that you have understand the way in which theory can underpin how ethical issues are viewed, but also that you understand that theory offers a guide but not necessarily the answer to practice. The assessment also requires you to show that you have reflected on what makes an ethical leader and manager and what that means in the context of organisational culture.

Part 1 (1200-1400 words)


a) CASE GIVEN (attached). You are required to write a brief report for senior managers. Write this report from the perspective of a middle manager tasked to outline the ethical dimensions of the issues from the case. You will need to explore a number of factors including - Why should this be explored as an ethical question? How might the company want to think about the role of business in society? You will also need to outline who the key stakeholders are and in what way they are affected. You should include research into examples of how ethical choices impact on other companies (e.g. where is there research that shows good choices benefit companies and bad choices have a negative impact?). Finally, you should conclude with some recommendations for what the company should do.

This part of your assessment should be written as a report and referenced using Harvard citations and referencing.

Details To do:

-  act as a middle manager writing to senior managers on the subject and be clear to your audience - (the senior managers).

-  provide clear introduction worthy of a report that could be delivered to a senior management team now. Succinctly written, explain with details the purpose of the report, what the report is about, who it is from and who it is for. The introduction concisely explains why the case presented should be viewed as a matter for ethical consideration highlighting why it is of concern, why the issue raised has an ethical dimension, what an ethical dilemma is. The work sets out how this ethical issue illustrates the role of business in society clearly articulating the current debates about how businesses could/should behave responsibly. The introduction cites credible, senior management team would be in no doubt why they need to examine the ethical impact of practice. Quality sources to support the points made and varied sources.

Hints: for this part review ppt slides week 2 material attached (but not limited to). You should be thinking about the given case and what that says about your company – does it make it look responsible for all stakeholders? But should it be? Remember Friedman’s argument that business is there to make profit while Freeman’s point is more about looking at stakeholder interest. How might you use that thinking when outlining your opinion of the case to managers? Given the issue you have picked, how do you think people view your company? As one that ‘does anything for the money’, or that looks at the wider interests of people (and other things) that the work of the company affects?


In this section identify who the key stakeholders are- (provide a list of seven or more) and specify in what way they are affected. You will argue that the company neglected/failed to see/consider relevant stakeholders and you should point out how that connects to your argument that this is something to be considered from an ethical viewpoint.

It is also here that you use the research to demonstrate to your managers the benefits and costs of ethical/non-ethical thinking by reference to other examples. For example, where is there research that shows good choices benefit companies (e.g. that being seen as responsible attracts/retains/is valued by consumers, or if your case is about HR where is the research on employment practice that has what you would argue to be a good/ethical impact for the employee and company? Conversely you may want to emphasise where bad choices have a negative impact – are there examples of where a company for example has made unwise choices in advertising and the impact that has had? Provide 5 (five) examples good/bad.

Details to do:

-  Prove excellent identification, appreciation and articulation of impact the case has on relevant stakeholders. Provide concise and insightful explanation of impacts linked to why the report is written as a reflection on ethical business practices. Use outstanding research to imaginatively and logically show how ethical and/or unethical behaviour impacts on a business – for example showing how certain behaviour improves image/brand recognition/sales/workforce morale etc. show outstanding use of sources – eg. academic studies, professional practice articles, reputable newspaper stories.

Hints: you may have some stakeholders that seem to be impacted more than others. You may wish to concentrate on them. By this stage you will be developing a picture of what the issue is and how the company might be approaching it; what examples have you found where the issue you are looking at has been covered? Here you can tell us about what you might be looking for to draw on to advise your managers why responsible management is a good idea. For example, this may be an article or research about another company that faced a similar issue, what they did; it could show what happened when a company ‘behaved badly’ – for example did they lose customers/market share?  It may be academic research that points to an advantage in managing responsibly – for example do ‘ethical companies’ really get more market share? Are employees more satisfied working for a company with values? You can be creative in this part.

Advice and recommendations

In this section you need to provide outstanding summary of key issues from report which logically leads to comprehensive practical advice and recommendations for actions informed by analysis of  report covering what to do about issue of case and how to inculcate ethical values into company, how to develop an ethical company – presented to senior management team. Having researched and analysed the issue you now have to advise your company on what they should do in order to be an ethical and responsible company. Make some key recommendations for the management team you are reporting to. – for example, on how the view and use values in the company, view their role in society, and more practical suggestions for example the way in which they employ people, the impact of advertising they use or train staff.

Hints: provide practical advice by thinking to answer the following questions, if relevant and applicable to the given case study: Reversing the decision? Putting in ethical place guidelines? More staff training on ethical behaviour? Making company values more explicit? How might you suggest the company leadership shows its ethical outlook?

A bibliography which includes all the references that you used in your report.


Ethical issue or issues – you need to identify the ethical issue and explain, using relevant sources.

Role of business in society – you are asked to discuss how the company and the ethical issue identified affected the society.

Stakeholders – you need to outline at least seven stakeholders in your case study and discuss how they have been affected by the ethical issue identified.

Examples of good and bad ethics – you are required to find five companies with good and three companies with bad ethical practices. Here the use of relevant materials is crucial. You might want to refer to such sources as BBC, Financial Times and other journals.

Recommendations – You need to provide a number of recommendations for the company, which are aligned with above discussion. Please remember these are recommendations rather than conclusion.

b) (suggested 900-1000 words) Choose THREE (or more) ethical theories and demonstrate that you can apply these to the given case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case. This is written as an academic paper.

Details TO DO:

- This part should be written as an academic essay style. Use THREE theories on the case scenario–

**for example, if you choose to use utilitarianism, what are the fundamentals of that idea? If (as it is) it is the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number, what does that say about the subject of your case study? You will probably need to think about the stakeholders you identified in part a) who/what are/is the ‘winners’ and who/what the ‘losers’? Does that mean that choosing in favour of the greatest number is ethical? What are the drawbacks of that view? You can then do the same with another theory – deontology or feminist ethics for example. A sum up would then note if there are differences in what ‘answers;’ these viewpoints give and your reflection on that.

NOTE – you can choose any theory; the task here is to show that you can understand, critique and apply theory.

prove ability to summarise and articulate complex arguments in a short space. Explain theories and evidence of understanding, also theories are used appropriately and critiqued. Show outstanding articulation of how theories underpin and explain the issue identified in the case study.

Demonstrate clear and insightful understanding of how adopting different views can lead to different outcomes and decisions being made.

Prove exceptionally clear and insightful understanding of how theory can influence the values of manager and organisation. Argument is supported by excellent sources.


1. Describe the theories – you need to discuss the theories and explain their key aspects in your own words. References are key here, as you are using academic sources.

2. Apply the theories – you need to apply the theories to the case study, so link theory to the case, show how are people in the case are affected

3. Critique – you should provide advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) of theories you have selected.

4. Recommendations – you are required to provide improvements for the ethical issue/issues identified in Part 1a, based on the THREE theories.

Hints: Think about the issue you are covering for your company/case, what, do you think you will be highlighting to your client about your issue when looked at by:…….. (choose three – or more to explore feedback)

Utilitarian - when you consider the case, which stakeholders are the winners and losers? Would you be happy that this idea would be one you could recommend guides the company as to what they should do? What are the criticisms of utilitarianism that you might want to point out?

Kantian ethics of duty – similarly, if you were to apply Kant’s imperatives would it suggest that the company should act in a particular way? Does it support what they did? Or does it suggest that they should have made a different decision?

Virtue – Given that this tries to outline what a decision maker would do if they were virtuous, does it appear that the case suggests that the decision was made from a virtuous perspective or not?

Feminist ethics – can you see where this theory might suggest that relationships between the various stakeholders have been characterized by communication and understanding, or maybe where it should?

Social Justice - have decisions been made fairly do you think? Have any stakeholders’ rights been ignored? How might applying this suggest that a different course of action might be taken?

Please provide a reference list for this part.

Part 2 (suggested 850-950 words)

Part 2 is NOT related to the case study. This section requires you to discuss what makes an ethical leader and how you would, as an ethical manager, manage your business and/or others to a high ethical standard.

You will need to think about personal ethics, about the conditions that bring about unethical organisations and practices, about organisational values and methods of compliance. This part will be written in a reflective essay style.

Details TO DO:

- As it is reflective it is OK to use the first person when writing. Prove engagement with the qualities of ethical leadership. You are required to think about what the relationship is between an ethical leader and an ethical manager. If it is about an ethical person, what is needed to transfer that into being an ethical leader? And so, the next step is how might that help develop an ethical organisation? One way of examining this may also be to imagine what would stop this. Discuss the idea of the toxic triangle. Finally, you would need to draw that into how you would bring about the best environment for ethical practice – which may include values and tools for compliance.

show appreciation and discussion of what makes an ethical leader and an ethical manager by showing an outstanding appreciation of the relationship between the moral person and the moral manager - qualities of an ethical leadership and the connection to personal morals - and how this translates into organisational values. Prove ability to articulate the roles of reward, compliance, ethical codes of practice and organisational values in creating ethical organisations. Genuinely explore to a very high standard the place of personal values and organisational values in creating an ethical environment. Use concepts like the toxic triangle to show how managers can use tools and strategies such as compliance, ethical codes of practice and organisational values to create an ethical environment.

Hints: Do you think that you are ethical? What would you need to do to be an ethical leader – of course to do that you will have to say something about what YOU think an ethical leader is? Look at how an organization can foster a culture where being ethical is hard – look at the toxic triangle material – what do you think YOU could do as a manager to avoid this?

This part should include four sections:

1. You need to discuss what is an ethical leadership management is in an un/ethical organisational culture.

2. You need to analyse how to maintain integrity and compliance in an un/ethical business environment.

3. You need to reflect (hence reflective essay) on your own experience and knowledge. You may wish to provide examples from your own experience.

4. You need to provide a conclusion.

Argument is supported by excellent sources which include academic and professional sources evidencing wide reading.

Theories for Assignment

- see powerpoint slides attached

Ethical Absolutism

Ethical Relativism

Contemporary Ethical theories

Consequentialist theories

Theory of Egoism – self -interest;

Utilitarianism – it is based on a cost -benefit analysis, also called “greatest happiness principle”. Complications: subjectivity, quantification, distribution of utility; what are the relative gains and losses.

Non consequentialist theories

Emanuel Kant – Ethics of duty - Deontology– consistency, human dignity, universality; how might we apply the Kant notions that our decisions should be applicable to all, treat people with dignity and could become universal.

Alternative perspective to theories

Virtue ethics

Ethics of care aka feminist ethics (care for each other). Carol Gilligan

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