Ethical Decision-Making Exercise

In this exercise, you will be applying the concepts that we learned from class to a current business problem.

First, you have the choice of which ethics problem to address.  You may choose form the topics below.  If there is a topic you’d like to address that is not listed below, please e-mail me with your idea at least 3 days in advance of the due date so I can review your proposal and approve it.

Option 1:  You are a middle manager in the Information Technology Department at Volkswagen and you have heard that someone in your department is installing software into the company’s cars that would circumvent the emissions testing equipment that allows autos to pass emissions when they should fail.  Pollution-control systems on cars work normally when being tested for harmful emissions coming out of the tailpipe — but shut off during regular driving.

Option 2: You are a high-level manager at Wells Fargo and you just learned that some of your employees are opening accounts for customers that are not authorized.

Option 3: You are the CEO for Samsung. After the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, how should the company handle the Galaxy Note 8 that is not yet in production?

Option 4:  You are in senior management at Mylan Pharmaceuticals. The company’s main competitor just had a huge recall of its life-saving device and the company is trying to price its Epi-Pen.

  1. Explain whether you have an ethical problem using the Categories of Ethical Dilemmas presented in the course material. Which category or categories does the problem fall into?  [Grading note, if more than one category is applicable and you fail to recognize it, then you will not receive full credit.]


  1. Apply the Steps for Analyzing Ethical Dilemmas.  Be sure to go through each step thoroughly.


Step 1:Gather facts.  Review the article above and any others that you have reviewed on your topic and present a summary of the relevant facts.  You must properly cite any articles that you use, including the one that I provided to you on your topic.  The reason is to avoid any issues relating to defamation or plagiarism.

Step 2: List missing info and assumptions.  No one knows all of the facts.  Think through your topic carefully.  What do you want to know to help you with your decision?

Step 3: List each stakeholder’s interests (concerns) in the dilemma.[Note: You should analyze at least 6 stakeholders and their interests.]

Step 4: Generate list of alternatives.  You should generate several alternatives. The more thought that you put into this, the better the score.  Saying “don’t break the law” or “call a lawyer” is not sufficient analysis.

Step 5: Evaluate resolutions for cost, legality and impact (apply models).

In your analysis of Step 5, you may not use moral relativism, ethical egoism or utilitarianism but use at least two other models (Laura Nash, Blanchard and Peale, Wall Street Journal, or Front Page of the Newspaper).  Be thorough.  If you only answer one question in a model, this is not thorough.

Step 6: Recommend and take action.

Step 7: Make changes to managerial practices to prevent recurrence.

Look to your other courses and LES to think through what you need to do to avoid this problem again.

  1. This may sound obvious, but include your name, class day and time and page number on every page of your paper. Your paper must be stapled before you turn it in.


  1. Grammar, Punctuation, etc. Your work will be evaluated in terms of writing style and professionalism including proper grammar, sentence structure, proper citations, etc. Use the Writing Center if you have trouble with grammar and so forth.


  1. Citation. To avoid a charge of defamation or a case of plagiarism, you should properly cite the sources of the material in your paper. You may use the source that I provided to you and any other reputable sources (not Wikipedia). You are not required to do any additional research. You may use MLA ( or APA ( citation format.