The Evolution of Business Ethics

The Evolution of Business Ethics

One thing nice about this course is that you will find your background reading page rather short… but there will still be a respectable amount of reading to do. The reason for this is because will be using a text book for your case assignments. Well, it’s actually more of a narrative of the history of Lockheed Martin’s (LM) ethics program than an actual text book.

The first part of the text provides a general history of the company and also provides the setting for the creation of the company’s ethics program. Military contractors like LM tend to find themselves in the unique position of manufacturing weapons of war which they sell for a profit. But those weapons also provide a military superiority that helps to protect our troops in the field.

With this said, please read pages 1-48 for this module of the following book in our e-library.

Terris, Daniel. (2005) Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue at an American Corporation. Brandeis University Press. Waltham, MA. Retrieved from ProQuest ebrary.

For your SLP assignment you will be asked to spend some time reviewing an article on stakeholder management. Stakeholder management is foundational to the practice of business ethics. This is because typically when a company player does something unethical, stakeholders are the ones impacted. As always, some stakeholders may benefit and others may lose, but stakeholders will always be involved. Balancing stakeholder concerns is subsequently an important aspect of ethical decision making. This article provides a good overview of stakeholder management.

Howitt, M., & McManus, J. (2012). Stakeholder management: An instrument for decision making. Management Services, 56(3), 29-34. Retrieved from Trident University Library (ProQuest).

Harrison, J. S., & Wicks, A. C. (2013). Stakeholder Theory, Value, and Firm Performance. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(1), 97-124. Retrieved from the Trident Online Library.

The following Pearson learning tools should be reviewed to help you prepare for your discussion board postings:

Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015) Ethics and Emotions.  Interactive Tutorial.  Retrieved from: http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22558

Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015).  Ethics and Emotions. Podcast.  Retrieved from: http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22560

Module 1 – Case 1

The History of Business Ethics and Stakeholder Theory in America

Assignment Overview

The first part of your reading in Daniel Terris’ book will include an overview of Lockheed Martin’s organization and will lay out the research plan that Terris used to obtain information necessary for his work. This will be followed by a general overview of the evolution of business ethics in America.

Case Assignment

  1. Based on your readings, describe what you consider to be the responsibility of top leadership in a large organization with respect to reaching a balance between profits and stakeholder concerns.  Please support your position by giving some examples from the text or from other sources where CEOs did a good or poor job of finding this balance.
  2. Terris discusses the history of business ethics in America since the late 1800s with respect to anti-competitive practices, seeking unfair advantage through immoral arrangements with suppliers and public officials, failing to adhere to laws and regulations, and lack of transparency.  Discuss to what extent you believe things to be better or worse in the present day for businesses in general.
  3. Describe welfare capitalism and its role as a forerunner of the contemporary business ethics movement.
  4. On page 41, Terris discusses the ideas of Howard Bowen regarding the evolution of social responsibility of businesses.  To what extent do you think his predictions held true since 1953?

Assignment Expectations

Your paper should be double-spaced and in 12-point type size.

Your paper should have a separate cover page and a separate reference page containing the full citations corresponding to the in-text citations you choose to use in the body of your paper. So in addition to the 4- to 5-page body of your paper you will have a title page and a reference page. So overall, you will be submitting a 6- to 7-page document.

Use APA style, and proofread your paper.

Module 1 – SLP 1

The History of Business Ethics and Stakeholder Theory in America

Business Ethics and Stakeholder Management

For your SLP this session you will be asked to review articles on business ethics from the Trident Online Library. You will review one or more articles each in Modules 1 through 4 dealing with different ethical concepts.

In this SLP we will be reviewing articles that cover the concept of stakeholder management. Stakeholders are important to consider in significant business related decisions. This is because organizational decisions – especially substantial decisions involving significant resource allocations/re-allocations – tend to impact various stakeholder groups as you will be reminded in your reading. These stakeholders may have the power to impact the organization’s success.

Assignment Instructions:

In this assignment you will be asked to apply stakeholder management theory to the following scenario:

A public corporation of 980 employees manufactures a popular brand of garments (mostly jeans) that are primarily made and sold in America nation-wide. It has a large contingent of employees in several small rural communities in the Eastern US and is the primary employer in all of those communities. Two if its 5 shops are unionized but the union and management have a good working relationship. The company has traditionally marketed its clothing line as “Made in the USA” and attracted a bit of a “cult like” following as a result, but an outside consulting firm has suggested that significantly greater profits are possible if a different strategy is employed. The corporation is subsequently considering whether to off-shore its manufacturing facilities to a poor nation to save money on labor. It would also discretely discontinue its “Made in the USA” marketing ads and hopefully ride the wave of its previous marketing campaigns for a while. It is estimated that total cost per unit of production will be decreased by one third which equates to tens of millions of dollars.

Please write a 3-page paper in which you respond to the following:

1. Provide a paragraph summarizing the concept of stakeholder management based on your readings.

2. How do you think the following stakeholder groups in the above scenario will be impacted?

  • Employees/unions
  • Communities
  • Stockholders

3. What would you recommend the employer described above should do?

SLP Assignment Expectations

Your 3 (or more) page paper should be double-spaced and in 12-point type.

Your paper should have a separate cover page and if you are using any in-text citations then a separate reference page.

Use APA style, and proofread your paper.

Module 2 – Background

Ethical Decision Making in Difficult Situations

Required Reading

For your Case Assignment, please read pages 49-75 for this module of the following book in our e-library.

Terris, Daniel. (2005) Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue at an American Corporation. Brandeis University Press. Waltham, MA. Retrieved from ProQuest ebrary.

For your SLP assignment, please read the following article.

De Cremer, D., & de Bettignies, H. (2013). Pragmatic business ethics. Business Strategy Review, 24(2), 64-67. Retrieved from Trident University Library.

Also, please spend some time researching other sources to help you develop your key arguments.

Snell, R. (2013). Teaching rules-based and values-based ethics. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 15(1), 29-32. Retrieved from the Trident Online Library.

The following Pearson learning tools should be reviewed to help you prepare for your discussion board postings:

Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015). Utilitarian Theory.  Interactive Tutorial.  Retrieved from: http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22537

Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015) Utilitarian Theory.  Podcast.  Retrieved from: http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22539

Module 2 – Case 2

Ethical Decision Making in Difficult Situations

Assignment Overview

Moving Toward an Ethical Workplace

As you can see from your reading for the case assignment Lockheed Martin has a very interesting history and this history has had an impact on where the company is today with respect to its existing ethics program.

Case Assignment

After reading Chapter 2 of the text, please write a 4-5 page essay that addresses the following:

Lockheed has an interesting history that seemed innocent enough up until around the 1950s. You’ll note on p. 56 of Terris’ book that the company began to engage in some questionable sales strategies with other nations in an effort sell the F-104 Starfighter so as to recoup costs when their US sales strategy failed.

  1. Describe some of the unorthodox strategies covered by Terris during this era that made Lockheed become “…a byword for the shady practices of American multi-national corporations, and a major impetus for new legislation…”.
  2. On the issue of overseas bribes, Terris asks the questions, “Who was hurt by the [overseas bribes to secure sales of aircraft]? The competitors, of course, but what was unethical about beating out the competition that was playing by the same rules?” (p.59). What do you think about a situation where underhanded and back door deals are the way the game is played if everybody is on the same playing field? That is to say, if everybody is playing by the same shady rules, is it unethical to compete?

    In your reading you will note that defense contractors continued to find themselves in hot water well into the 1970s as a result of overpricing and additional charges of bribery. In the late 70s Lockheed established its first code of ethics and later the major defense contractors came to the table to level the playing field with the Defense Industry Initiative (DII), by agreeing on a set of ethical principles. This was an important turning point as was bringing Norman Augustine on board.

  3. Why was the DII so important to the eventual success of Lockheed Martin’s ethics program?
  4. Discuss Norman Augustine’s and Dilbert’s contribution in helping Lockheed Martin turn the corner with its ethics program.

Assignment Expectations

Your paper should be 4 to 5 pages, should be double-spaced and in 12-point type size.

Your paper should have a separate cover page and a separate reference page. Make sure you cite your sources.

Use APA style, and proofread your paper.

Module 2 – SLP 2

Ethical Decision Making in Difficult Situations

Ethical Decisions in the Workplace

After reading your background readings, please review the following scenario and address the questions at the end.

Jerry Stevens heads up an excavation crew for the municipal utilities district in a city in Nebraska. A sewer line needs to be replaced and it has been excavated with a back-hoe. The trench is 7 feet deep. The municipality’s safety rules indicate that employees should not go into the trench without a trench box. This rule is to prevent employees from being buried if the trench walls collapse. People die every year from trench cave-ins.

The trench box won’t arrive on site for another 6 hours and the city promised residents that the sewer would be fixed by the end of the day, which now seems impossible. The City Administrator called Jerry on his cell phone and indicated that it was imperative that the sewer be fixed as soon as conceivably possible because a City Council member is served by that sewer line and will raise a fuss if it’s not fixed by the promised time.

One of the more experienced workers states, “It’s only going to take 30 minutes to dig under the pipe and loosen the fittings. We don’t need the trench box. We used to do this all the time before we were required to use one of those darn things.”

Jerry knows he’s right. He used to do it himself before the rule was put in place. Also, the soil is clearly a cohesive soil and it’s highly unlikely that it will collapse. And although there is an organizational policy to use a trench box for trenches deeper than 5 feet, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have

Jurisdiction over municipalities in Nebraska because municipalities are political subdivisions of the State. The only entity regulating safety policies is the City’s Safety Director and he took the day off.

  1. In this scenario, to what extent do you think allowing the crew into the trench without a trench box would be pushing (or exceeding) the limit?
  2. Discuss any ethical grey areas in this scenario?
  3. What in your mind is the right thing to do?
  4. What is the value of having an ethics program (and related programs like safety programs) and what are the responsibilities of front line leaders/supervisors and the workers when they face dilemmas such as the one described?

SLP Assignment Expectations

Please take some time to review the materials and take a position on the issue. Write a 2- to 3-page assessment of the authors’ claims, and your assessment of what might be done in a place of business to prevent the “moral amnesia” phenomenon from taking a foothold in a place of business.

Your paper should be double-spaced and in 12-point type size.

Your paper should have a separate cover page and a separate reference page.  Make sure you cite your sources.

Use APA style, and proofread your paper

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