Granted, autonomous cars are not for everyone, however, it is becoming clear that their appeal is increasing.

1. The past decade has witness the ushering in of autonomous automobiles. What was once science fiction, thirty years ago, is now a reality for a burgeoning segment of car buyers. Granted, autonomous cars are not for everyone, however, it is becoming clear that their appeal is increasing. What once was considered a personal luxury for some is transforming into a business opportunity for various industries. For instance, many transportation companies are investigating the business case for autonomous automobiles. Emerging firms such as Uber and Lyft are embracing the financial benefits of the technology.
Personal benefits aside, it’s becoming increasingly more challenging to dismiss the economic and financial benefits of autonomous automobiles. A surfeit of money is currently being invested into the technology and there are a number of Fortune 500 companies such as: a) Apple, b) Intel, c) BMW and d) Google that would like to emerge as the industry leader. At this point, it is unclear which of the major organizations will claim the prize. However, it is no secret that within the coming decade, more autonomous automobiles will be on our highways.
Given the potential market share, software developers in this space are considered classic Stars according to the BCG Matrix. Many aspiring firms are quickly attracting talent in order to secure market share. Your firm, Driveasy, is comprised of 50 employees. Most employers are engineers and computer programmers. The firm has been in existence for nearly three years and finds itself at a pivotal point in its maturation, as sales have been flat for nearly a year. The ethics board, which consist of six individuals, five C-level executives and yourself, the sole outside consultant.
As a member of the ethics board of a new start-up firm that is charged with developing the software that underpins the decision making capabilities of the technology, you are asked to craft the moral guidelines by which the computer programmers will use to construct the next iteration of the rules of engagement (ROE). The ROE has been defined as the protocol that is used to determine how the car will negotiate potential catastrophic collusions. For instance, assume that a car is traveling down a major highway at 70 mph. An unfortunate person 50 feet ahead is attempting to repair a tire and in the process of doing so, slightly steps into the path of your rapidly approaching vehicle. The software underpinning your car’s decision making process must decide whether to hit the unfortunate motorist or attempt to avoid the individual, which may put you and your family at risk.
Given the moral challenges inherent in similar decision making scenarios, and as a member of the ethics board, you are charged with crafting the guidelines by which the firm’s software developers will create the ROE. Moreover, as the board member, you are reminded that your firm is not the only organization in the sector. Given the nature of the industry, there are numerous small start-ups vying for market share with the ultimate goal of product / service differentiation.
In order to ensure that the finished product, ROE, is ethically sound, it is imperative that your protocol is based on scholarly research. Although autonomous cars are in their infancy, the moral dilemmas faced by the industry is not. Therefore, the ROE must consider various ethical frameworks and constructs in order to promote a morally robust protocol with the goal of fostering a socially responsible citizenry. As such, the ROE should address how the software will prioritize the value of the lives of various stakeholders. In the case of autonomous cars, stakeholders include, but are not limited to: a) the diver, b) the passengers, c) pedestrians, d) other drivers / passengers, e) property, f) animals, etc. In short, your ROE is a code of ethics as it pertains to how the software will manage moral dilemmas in the event of possible catastrophic collisions.

2. The City Council of Northville, MN (population 750,000), has decided in secret to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr. effective 1/1/2019. There has been no discussion in the community regarding this matter.
You have been given the opportunity to conduct a research study of the effects of this change. Please review other studies that have examined the effects of raising the minimum wage before planning your study.
You have just over a year before the increase goes into effect. The minimum wage for Minnesota is given below.

Provision Amount until Dec. 31, 2017 Amount as of Jan. 1, 2018
Large employer wage $9.50/hour $9.65/hour
Small employer wage $7.75/hour $7.87/hour

Design a research study to determine the effects of the proposed change in minimum wage. Make sure you have testable hypotheses and identify the appropriate statistical tests you will use.
Consider both qualitative and quantitative methods when designing your study. Think carefully about how you will form your samples.

3. Public ally traded companies are always looking for way to leverage their assets.
Company A is a holding company similar to Berkshire Hathaway. Within this holding company there are many companies that achieve ROE between 8-12%.
In deciding to raise capital and streamline operations the board decided to sell one of the companies. This company was one of the fastest growing and best revenue and earnings generator. Its annual revenue growth was over 20% and consistently was in the top 5% of companies within Company A with the highest earnings after taxes over the last 5 years. This company employs 300 of Company A’s 3000 total employees.
The company wants a smooth transfer and minimum disruption of business. Many of the employees in Company A will be retained by the new company. Unfortunately, about 15% of the employees will be offered separation packages.
You are hired as a consultant hired to manage the smooth transition. From announcement to complete separation the time is expected to be 6 months. Develop a detailed plan as you manage people through this transition.
Using change management model(s) and Organizational Development principles, develop a plan to guide the employees of Company A. You also need to develop a plan for the remaining employees in the holding company.
As you write your plan you are free to make assumptions, projections, etc. However, please reference the academic or business literature where appropriate and justify your assumptions.

4. Your dissertation prospectus has been approved, indicating that your proposed project could provide the basis for a successful dissertation.
a. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your research design?
b. What is the most serious challenge to you successfully completing the proposed project?
c. How do you anticipate meeting this challenge?
d. How will you prove validity and reliability of both your research design and your results?
e. Who will your results benefit?
f. What about this subject and area of literature attracted you as a scholar?
g. How do you intend to make a contribution to this field beyond your dissertation?

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