Greg and Natalie have been in business classes together since freshman year. While they’re not close friends, they have always enjoyed each other’s company in class and have been in the same social circle as they’ve moved from lower division courses to where they are now: senior capstone. Greg and a few of his friends invite Natalie to join their group at the start of the term, and they begin to work on their project.
Fairly quickly, though, Greg realizes that Natalie isn’t pulling her weight[endnoteRef:1]. Any aspect of the project that’s assigned to her has to be redone by other members of the group, she doesn’t pay attention in meetings, and she consistently shows up late or hungover. Greg and his other groupmates think that Natalie needs to step it up[endnoteRef:2] and take this project seriously, but they ultimately agree it would be more trouble than it’s worth to confront her about it. They decide to just push through and let her do her own thing. Natalie continues to participate marginally in discussions, planning, and writing, but makes it clear through her actions that their final presentation is not her biggest priority. [1: To pull one’s weight means to do your fair share of work or to work as hard as other people in a group] [2: To step it up means to increase or to make more active]
After Greg’s group gives its final presentation, the members are asked to write an evaluation on their teammates that the professor will use to determine individual grades. When it comes to most of his teammates, Greg easily gives them all A’s and B’s for their participation and contributions to the project. However, when Greg comes to Natalie’s evaluation, he is faced with a dilemma. It’s their last big project before graduation, and if he were to evaluate her in a harsh way, it could negatively affect her cumulative GPA. He doesn’t want to throw her under the bus[endnoteRef:3]; however, her apathy and poor work ethic put a huge burden on everyone else’s shoulders[endnoteRef:4], and Greg had to personally sacrifice a lot of time and effort to make up for her mistakes or tasks that she left undone. [3: To throw someone under the bus means to avoid blame, trouble, or criticism by allowing someone else to take responsibility.] [4: To be a burden on everyone’s shoulders means to put the responsibility for completing the work on everyone else Definitions provided by thefreedictionary.com (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com)]
Ethical Question: What should Greg do? Is it worth giving her an honest evaluation, just so the professor will give her the grade she deserves? Or is giving her a bad evaluation petty and unnecessary, considering that they are all about to graduate and their group received an A, regardless of her performance?
Case Study Page 1