For this analysis paper you first need to identify a suitable topic/case to analyze. To develop a topic/case, you should think about unethical decisions and/or actions that you’ve experienced or witnessed at work. Choose one of these for this analysis. If you haven’t worked or can’t identify a suitable one, ask friends or relatives if they’ve experienced an unethical decision at work, and consider using one of those. Many of you may be able to use your Reflection Paper #1 as a topic/case for this paper. If none of these sources work out, consider an unethical decision/action that has been in the news, and about which a lot has been written. You are free to use outside resources for AP#2 to research your case topic, if applicable. If you’re really stuck let me know and I may be able to suggest a topic.
[note: do not analyze the Penn State pedophile or the BP oil spill scandals – too many papers have been done on these already.]
The decision/action that you analyze should be (in your judgment) unethical, meaning that at least one, and possibly all three, of the ethical decision bases we’ve discussed would say that it was wrong. If you are unable to identify a topic, email me and I may be able to suggest one.
The critical difference between this analysis paper and analysis paper #1 is that in this paper you should analyze the ethical problem from the perspective of the moral awareness and decision biases of the perpetrator(s) of the unethical decision/action.
Therefore, choose a decision/action where the person or people involved committed an unethical decision/action due decision biases and/or impairments that you can identify and are at least somewhat complex. For example, accounting fraud is unethical. However, if all you know about the case is that the perpetrator committed the fraud, but not why, and why it wasn’t prevented, then this action may not be ideal for this paper. However, if you are aware of various personal, situational, or organizational factors (as you discussed in the Parable of the Sadhu video case) that facilitated the fraud, and you can apply a lot of the material on moral awareness and decision bias from class, then the accounting fraud would be a good topic for the paper, because you will have a lot class material to work with.
You will be graded on how much and how well you apply the material on moral awareness and decision bias. That is why it’s important to choose a good case – i.e., one that allows you to apply a lot of the course material.
You are free to present your decision/action to me ahead of time for feedback. If it isn’t appropriate for this paper, it would be better to find out before the paper is written and graded.
Paper Write-up (please divide your paper into these sections)
Section I: Describe the decision/action that you are analyzing. Provide as much detail as necessary for me to understand what happened.
Section II. Next, analyze why you think that the person or people involved did what they did. What biases or other causes of decision impairment led to the unethical decision/action? Apply material from the course to address these issues, and please be detailed and thorough. Specifically, apply in depth the article by Anand et al. Be sure to apply as well the articles written by Bazerman & Tenbrunsel, Mullainathan, and Carter if they relate to the decision/action you are analyzing. Also apply cases/movies including End Game, Obedience/Basic Instincts, and the Parable of the Sadhu to the extent you can. These resources are contained on Canvas in the modules Part 1 and Part 2B of the course.
Note that the Anand et al. article contains both personal/situational tactics for rationalizing corruption (in the first half of the article) that you can apply, as well as various organizational characteristics that also facilitate corruption (in the second half of the article). Again, you should apply both halves of this article in depth.
Section III. Indicate, to the extent possible, how this unethical action could have been prevented by the organization, specific people within the organization, or perhaps law/regulation from outside the organization. If applicable, apply the Bloxham article on whistleblowing.
There is no page limit. I suggest that your paper be approximately 5-7 double-spaced pages though more than this is fine. Please put your last name in the document title when submitting. Also, please don’t submit your paper in PDF form. Please submit in Word or something compatible with Word.
Grading Rubric: Your paper will be evaluated as follows:
A) Section II (20 points or 67% of your grade). You will be graded on how much, and how well, you apply the material on moral awareness and decision bias. With respect to how much: all things equal, the more you apply, the better your grade. This is why it is important for you to choose a case for which you have a lot of background information. To assess this you could evaluate how much of Anand et al. applies to your case. If you see numerous connections from both halves of the article, then it’s probably a good topic, and you’ll find lots of course material to apply. If not, it probably isn’t.
B) Section III and the Writing/Organization of the paper (10 points, or 33% of your grade).