United States owned, publicly traded for-profit business, either facing an ethical dilemma or in the midst of a crisis related to an ethical issue.

United States owned, publicly traded for-profit business

Overview of Research Project

After some class discussion, I will be providing you with a short list of business ethical issues for you to choose from for your homework/paper. These organizations will be United States owned, publicly traded for-profit business, either facing an ethical dilemma or in the midst of a crisis related to an ethical issue. You will write the paper from the perspective of the business actually facing the current issue or crisis. You will not be writing from the perspective of an outside consumer advocate looking to “bring the company down” or “pay for its potential transgressions”.

You will write your homework from the perspective of the CEO, or other key decision maker, as he/she reviews the issues and determines a course of action for the company. You will research the issue and the company so you can provide data and logical rationale for the course of action you plan to take. You’ll need to follow your issue in the news as the term progresses and take into consideration any progress that company has made along the way to resolve the issue. In addition, I am more interested in the quality and comprehensiveness of your work and thinking than the actual length of these assignments.

Essentially you will be writing a research paper that is broken up into sections, and you’ll receive feedback from me along the way. Your writing style should be managerial and reflective of a business professional. That means your writing is purposeful, detailed yet concise, clearly understood and persuasive and supported by facts, data and expert opinions. Put yourself in the role of a manager and I’m your busy boss who wants you to get to the point quickly while providing additional details to support your position that I can dive into later on in your writing. You should use bullet points, graphs, charts, etc. to increase the effectiveness of your writing; however, if I cannot understand what you are trying to convey, and these materials are not supported with detailed narrative and explanations, I will deduct points accordingly. To further develop your business writing skills, I recommend “Guide to Managerial Communication”, Tenth Edition, by Mary Munter and Lynn Hamilton.

Beginning with the first homework assignment, you will need to cite the sources used in your research efforts. Helpful information on how to research, cite sources, as well as links to business news and articles, can be found on the library resource webpage link, which is located on the D2L course home page as well as APA guidelines which are posted on D2L. Present as much research as you can, data and statistics are much more convincing to the reader than speculation.

Please submit all homework/research paper assignments to the course D2L drop box to be reviewed by Turnitin. Deadline to submit your assignments to the drop box is no later than the start of class (5:15 pm) the day they are due.

Homework #1: Issue Identification

· Identify your issue: Clearly define the issue(s) and or crisis the company is facing.

· Identify the “triggering event:” This is a recent occurrence (or series of occurrences) that brought the issue to the public’s attention, putting the company in the spotlight and forcing them to reevaluate their current business practices. Some examples of triggers are: injury or death of a stakeholder, a lawsuit, or a news report.

· Clearly and concisely (using bullet points or similar good business writing practices) describe the events leading up to the triggering event and what’s happened since then. This should be written in the form of a timeline and an accompanying summary of the key events. This will also explain how various stakeholder groups have reacted to the issue and triggering event. Relevance and importance of the issue to the company must be clearly established. This will require some research, and you will want to stay current with the issue as the term progresses so you know what stakeholders are involved and how the company is responding. Cite your sources.

· Tell me whose perspective you will be taking: Consider who is in a position to make decisions for the company in response to the ethical issue. I’ll need to know the name of the company, and more specifically, the name and title of the person(s) whose perspective you’ll be taking as you write the paper. This is usually the CEO, another executive manager, or even the board of directors. Please remember that your analysis and recommendations need to be objective and practical to implement.

· Present the issue as a question(s) that you will then be answering in the final section of this research project. Here are a couple of examples of issues stated as questions. “Is the use of euthanasia an ethical choice considering we are an organization supporting animal rights?” “What obligations do we have to consumer stakeholders in light of recent injuries associated with product x?” You will notice that I used “we” in the previous examples. Since you are putting yourself in the shoes of the CEO (or other primary decision maker), you can write in first person.

Homework #2: Issue Significance…How big a deal is this? What is the risk?

· Not a problem/no worries We could go to jail or be out of business

· Provide an introductory paragraph bridging Homework #1 with Homework #2 by framing the purpose of this section.

· Discuss and quantify where applicable the social, economic, cultural, moral, safety and legal significance of your issue. In this section, you will discuss the actual or future potential fallout from this issue. What are the social concerns related to this issue? What are the economic concerns related to the issue? And so on… Examining the significance, including the financial, punitive, brand reputation, employee (e.g. firings), etc. implications , will help you identify stakeholders as you think about who is currently involved, and who could be involved in the future. It will also help you to establish urgency as you think about how big of an impact this issue is (or potentially could be) if not addressed, which will be important when you consider the impact of your decisions in your final recommendations. You will have an opportunity to practice the “significance” in our in-class and case discussions.

· It’s important to present some data and statistics to support your ideas. Be sure to cite your sources.

Homework #3: Stakeholder Identification and Prioritization

· Provide an introductory paragraph bridging Homework #2 with Homework #3 by framing the purpose of this section.

· Identify stakeholders and their stakes: The first step toward effectively managing stakeholders and resolving an ethical issue is stakeholder identification.

· Clearly and concisely re-state your ethical issue (see Homework #1: Issue Identification) in your introductory paragraph of this section.

· Identify 10 or more of your company’s most relevant stakeholders, making sure you identify some from each of the five basic stakeholder groups. Be as specific as possible when you describe the stakeholders; specific names, companies, agencies, and titles are best. Remember, you can’t begin to address stakeholder needs until you clearly understand who they are and how they may be affected.

· Then identify your stakeholders’ stakes. Clearly state and quantify what each stakeholder group stands to gain or lose by your company’s decisions. This is easier if you “put yourself in their shoes” and consider their viewpoints, not just what your company stands to gain or lose.

· Put your stakeholders into a table like this.

Stakeholder Stake
1.
2.
3.
8.
9.
10.

· Prioritize your stakeholders using one of the methods as described in Chapter 3.

· Option 1: Determine which stakeholders (top 2 or 3) are the most legitimate, which stakeholders (top 2-3) are the most urgent, and which stakeholders (top 2-3) are the most powerful. You can easily color-code them in your table by shading the box or by using different colors or style fonts. After creating your stakeholder table, provide a summary analysis explaining why you categorized stakeholders the way you did. Your explanation should tie back to your sections on issue significance and lead to your recommendations.

· Option 2: Place each of the stakeholders into one of the following categories: supportive, mixed-blessing, non-supportive, or marginal. Use a table like the one in Chapter 3. We know that stakeholders can move from one category to another as the issue evolves; consider which category the stakeholder belongs in right now. See Figure 3-8 for reference.

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