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Ethics Assignment
Student Guidelines
Question 1: Is there an Ethical Dilemma?

[9 marks]

Your requirement is to briefly discuss any ethical issues related to all of


the people mentioned in the narrative.
This question focuses on your ability to recognize the existence of
ethical dilemmas. There may be many events that occurred in the
narrative which you feel are ethically suspect however a careful, well
thought-out, impartial, and well-presented outline of the sequence of
events (i.e. the required discussion above) should reveal what the
ethical dilemmas in the narrative are!
Given the luxury of hindsight (by reading the narrative) there may
be a series of events that have contributed to the current situation
however basing your response on emotion (person X was wrong, s/he
should be sacked, , etc. ) or a simple statement such as Yes to the
question will attract no marks.
As part of your answer to this question you will need to identify for
yourself (as you read the narrative):a) The relevant facts contained in the narrative,
b) The stakeholders (or major players) involved in the narrative,
c) Which of these facts raised an ethical issue and by whom need
to briefly identify what each ethical issue raised consisted of.
This question requires you to be impartial, unemotional and factual
stick to the facts, only consider the evidence (as given in the narrative)
and dont be tempted to impose your (emotional) thoughts or judgement
into the answer. You will have plenty of opportunity in the next question
to pass judgement (what should have happened, steps to rectify,
etc.).
Your answer to this question can be thought of as a process of gaining
an accurate and unemotional factual view of the sequence of related
events, then, writing a report on this sequence as a background or
situation brief (say, to your manager) - identifying in your brief any

ethical dilemmas that need to be addressed. Your answer does not


required you to perform an ethical analysis (thats the next question!) of
the narrative rather gain and provide clear and accurate factual
picture or insight into all the related events from an ethical viewpoint.

Question 2: Four-step Ethical Analysis and Decision Making Process


Your requirement is to perform a detailed ethical analysis and
decision making process concerning the narrative.
The steps (and sub-headings) have been clearly enumerated on the
assignment and should be straightforward to follow (the what to do
part). The guidelines presented here will focus on the how to do part.
Understanding the situation:
1. When listing facts do only that - emotions/opinions/, have
no part to play here. Must include all the facts though
2. Identify and list any facts that involve any ethical issues
must include what each ethical issue is raised for each fact
that is included. (Note that an event (fact) may raise more
than one ethical issue each ethical issue raised for that fact
must be identified.)
3. When listing the stakeholders it is important to identify what
part the individual performs in the case study - this is often
done as what position/responsibility that each person
occupies/performs - within the organization.
This step is vital and well worth spending considerable effort on as the
remaining steps are very much dependant on you having a very clear
and accurate understanding of the problem (i.e. the facts and their
related ethical issues). Do not be influenced by emotion, ego, or similar
judgemental feelings while doing this step. The whole basis of doing the
following 2 steps Identifying the major Ethical Dilemma and performing
your Ethical Analysis is dependent on the existence and truth of each
fact (including its related ethical issues)!

Isolating the Major Ethical Dilemma


This step requires you to be able to identify what an ethical
dilemma is and be able to assess their relative importance. It is possible
that many ethical issues/principles have been raised or transgressed in
the narrative. However it is the decision that is being faced NOW that is
the current Major Ethical Dilemma. There may be many decisions made
previously that have contributed to the current situation each of these
have their own ethical issues but a decision has to be made now - and
this itself has its own consequences!!! That is, which is the ethical issue
from which all or most of the issues detected above are caused by or are
a consequence of, and, if dealt with promptly (i.e. NOW) would/could
also solve many of those other issues.
An answer to this step may require a brief discussion (identifying
but NOT JUDGING previous events and decisions made that may have
contributed to the current situation), however your discussion should
make (conclude with) a clear statement identifying exactly what the
Major Ethical Dilemma currently is.

Ethical Analysis
You are required to perform 3 types of analysis (the actual questions are
on the assignment), Consequentialism, Rights and Duties and Kants
Categorical Imperative. Note that to answer each of the questions posed
in each analysis, you must have clearly isolated the major Ethical
Dilemma (which, like most dilemmas consists of 2 (or possibly more)
courses of action (choices) with which to proceed). Performing each of
these analysis steps effectively provides you with the direction or
isolates out the ethical path to follow (which choice is right).
1. Consequentialism addresses harm and benefit issues
2. Rights and Duties addresses abridged rights and/or neglected
duties concerning each possible choice
3. Kants Categorical Imperative addresses respect/disrespect,
equality as well as benefit issues.

Answering many of the posed questions should be straightforward


however it is in the following discussion that you have to draw all your
answers together. It is now that you may find seriously competing or
even contradicting ethical outcomes/results. That is, consequentialism
may indicate one choice while Rights and Duties may clearly indicate the
opposite choice or course of action. Your discussion then should
summarize which analysis favours/indicates which course of action,
which should include the weight (importance) you have attributed to
each result, then, you need (finally!!) to make a judgement as to which
would be the best course of action and, most importantly, WHY. During
this step it is your ethical values that may well be on display and your
ethical reasoning, judgement, ethical argument (not emotive but analytic,
well-reasoned or even compelling) will need to be presented.

Making a Decision
This step requires you make a defensible decision (and in this
scenario the defensible part directly refers to an ethically defensible
decision). The basis of your decision is of course directly derived from
your ethical analysis which you have performed above and from the
discussion that summarizes your ethical analysis step. You should
express your decision in clear, unemotional, succinct terms so that there
is no possibility of being miss-interpretation or confusion Basically it is
the best course of action (of the possibly many courses of action) that
has been previously identified from Isolating the Major Ethical
Dilemma and your Ethical Analysis steps.
{So far we have not addressed any contributing factors such as any
previous ethical decisions (which may not be so well founded as the
one you have just made!!) that may have contributed to your current
dilemma. It is normal in most (ethical) decision making processes to
identify those decisions that placed you in your current predicament
however analysis of each of these is outside the terms of reference
of this assignment (other than their identification). It is normal for either
another more impartial body - to examine these sequence of events (in
which serious/major shortcomings are involved) with a purpose of

rectifying, improving, etc.(again without emotion) , or, a separate (ethical


) decision/planning exercise (in-house) initiated to examine and rectify.}
Your conclusion to this assignment should be the listing of all the steps
needed to actually implement your defensible ethical decision. Again - in
terms of clear, unambiguous steps or actions and normally expressed in
chronological order (if sequence/timing is important).
Summary
It is particularly tempting to make personal judgements early please
resist all temptation to do this in this assignment as it will seriously
mislead and interfere with your ethical analysis. There is also a strong
temptation to re-write the case study, that is ignore some inconvenient
events or simply pretend that such an event or events should not have
happened , such an approach to this assignment is catastrophic
just accept the transcript and its tale of events as a true record of what
has happened in this case/scenario and deal with the ethical problems
that are raised without emotion or favour during your ethical analysis.