Week 3

Currrent Business Problems: Case Studies: Lehman Brothers, British Petroleum, Monsanto, Merck, …
This discussion assignment requires you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post.

Prepare: In your first post in this discussion, you will identify and apply one ethical theory of your choosing to a current problem in business, also of your choosing. Start by reviewing your notes on the Week 1 course material and your completed work for Week 1. Then, choose one of the three ethical theories—i.e., utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics—on the basis of your thoughtfully considered preference in general and independent of the business problem that you will select here. Keep in mind that you will employ this ethical theory for supporting your position not only for this discussion, but also for this week’s assignment and the Final Project.
To prepare for your selection of the current problem in business, look at the list of required articles and multimedia which are divided in the six case-categories as follows:

Banking (Lehman Brothers)
Environment (BP)
GMOs (Monsanto)
Pharmaceuticals (Merck)
Gender Discrimination (Goodyear)
Factory Farms (Perdue)

Choose the case-category that you find the most interesting and note that each category also corresponds to one particular case. Please choose carefully because your choice for this discussion will establish the case that will be central to your argumentative essay this week as well as your Final Project in Week 5. It is recommended that you leaf through all the required resources indicated for the possible case-categories that you identify as possible contenders before making your final choice.

Reflect: Once you have selected your ethical theory and your case category, articulate the characteristics of the economic system (or combination of both systems) that serves as the setting for the case presented in the case category sources. Given this context, examine how the nation’s laws affect the operations of the business.
Next, identify the characteristics of your chosen ethical theory and its notion of the moral good. For the latter, you will need to review again the PowerPoint that was introduced in Week 1, which is also listed in this week’s Required Resources and it is titled The Moral Good in Three Traditional Ethical Theories. Then, think how you would apply the ethical theory to the specific problem presented in the case category sources.

Write: Start your post by (a) identifying the issue or problem that you want to address in the case that you have selected and providing an impartial presentation of the controversy, (b) articulating briefly the characteristics of the economic system that serves as the setting, and (c) examining the laws that affect the operations of the business.
The following illustration should help. Consider, for example, the case of Uber that we examined in Week 2. If the California decision establishes a precedent for similar claims, then Uber would have to do business as an employer and not merely as a service that pairs consumers with ride sharing services by means of a unique phone app. Accordingly, the law would require Uber to reimburse its drivers for certain costs and perhaps offer benefits. Take in consideration, then, the legal setting for the case that you have chosen. Does the case take place in the United States or another country? What are the laws that are relevant to the problem under examination? Keep in mind that all laws are constraints on our actions, whether those by individuals or corporations. The relevant laws, then, will be (a) any laws that present not only a constraint on the company’s operations, (b) any laws that are being violated by the corporation, or (c) any laws that unfairly limit the goods and services that can be offered to and are demanded by consumers.
In a second paragraph, formulate a sentence that presents the moral position that you want to defend in regard to the issue or problem introduced in the previous paragraph.
In the same paragraph, present the ethical theory that you choose to employ. Your choices are utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, and the necessary material is included in the required readings and media. Make sure to identify the characteristics of the ethical theory, and include in-text citations and full references in APA form at the end of the post. Once you have done this, apply the ethical theory to your selected case by explaining how it lends itself to the moral position that you are defending.

Revise: Read the feedback provided by your professor to your initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On the basis of what you have learned in this process, post a revision of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have gained.
Remember that your grade depends on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as much as you can through revision. Taking this process seriously will help you develop the skills you need to do well on the final project.

Requirements for Your Initial Post:

Your initial post should be at least 400 words in length and have citations and references in APA notation. It should address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
Please be advised that until you post, you will not see what your fellow students are posting. Once you submit your post, you will be able to view the posts from your other classmates. You can then proceed to reply to at least two different threads based on the required material for this discussion.
Your list of references for your initial post should include the videos and the other required reading material pertaining to your chosen subject heading, as well as the ethics, economic, and law components of Weeks 1 and 2, the Instructor Guidance, and any other announcements presented to you by your professor. In addition, your references should include any other sources that you consult to inform yourself about your chosen case category (but not Wikipedia or similar sources).
Your initial post for this discussion should be submitted no later than the end of Thursday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain time).

Requirements for Replies to Other Threads:

At least two of the four posts required should be in the form of replies to fellow classmates in threads other than your own.
Each of your replies should be at least 200 words and informed by the required course material. As such, the replies must have citations and references in APA notation. Your list of references for each reply should include all of the course material that has informed your reply, in addition to any research that you have obtained on your own.
Your replies should focus on the specific examination presented by your fellow student and these should include an examination of whether or not the characteristics of the ethical theory and/or economic system were identified well, and whether or not their application and analysis were also carried out successfully. Providing such an examination is not an attack on your fellow student but an attempt to work together with your fellow student toward the better understanding of the ethical theories employed, as well as their application.

Requirements for Revising your Initial Post:

Submit a revision of your initial post by either replying to your own post, or to the feedback provided to you by your professor.
There is no minimum word requirement for your revised initial post. But you should always explain the reasons for revising your post so that it is clear what you are doing. If you are revising only a few words, or an ethical theory, you should avoidsubmitting a post with vague language such as: “another ethical theory works better here” or “I now understand how to do the analysis.” It is important to recognize that no one can read your mind so you need to provide the setting for your revision (Why? What prompted it? What course material informed you?).
Your revised initial post is your chance to correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or show your improved understanding of the material and its applications to the case at hand. You may, for example, come to the realization that another ethical theory is better than the one that you initially chose. Accordingly, your revision should indicate that you chose another ethical theory and an explanation why you find the replacement more suitable. You may also find the need to revise any relevant portions of your analysis. Or, you might have realized that your conclusion did not take into account important factors necessary for your evaluation of the situation.
You should maximize the improvement of your initial post by employing your professor’s feedback as a guide. Keep in mind that you may not always receive direct feedback from your professor. But your professor will have submitted feedback in the discussion to other posts. So read your professor’s feedback whether it is addressed to you directly or to other fellow students. This will give you much to think about and apply to your own post.
If your professor or a fellow classmate responds to your revised initial post, and on this basis, you find good reason to submit yet another revision, then by all means do so. The more you improve your initial post, the more you will benefit both in terms of your learning and most likely your grade.

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