Business Ethics Case Study
Students will write a response to the Case Study 9.16 “Boeing and the Recruiting of the Government Agent” in the course textbook, Marianne Jennings, Business Ethics: Case Study and selected Readings (7th edition). The essay should be written according to the following template:
1. *The Facts – A brief summary of the four or five most important facts in the case should take approximately a paragraph and no more than a page. Only the essential facts (the ones that create the dilemma) should be mentioned.
2. *Defining the Problem – The ethical dilemma or dilemmas should be identified simply by using section 1.4 “The Types of Ethical Dilemmas” in the textbook (Marianne Jennings, Business Ethics, seventh edition). (ethical dilemmas to be used are given below) A brief description of how the ethical dilemma named fits the case should take no less than a few sentences and no more than a paragraph.
3. *Evaluating Alternatives – Two or three alternative courses of action should be identified and briefly described. Each of these alternative courses of action must be evaluated using the virtue, rule, or consequential(see definitions below) approaches that were learned in the lecture on the first week of class. You may also use the simple tests listed in 1.8 of the textbook in order to evaluate to the alternative courses of action that you have identified. This is the most important part of the paper and should be extensive. This will take at least two or three pages if done thoroughly.
4. *Choose and Act – The student will choose the most ethical course of action from the alternatives listed in the above section and explain why this is the most ethical action. Students should also anticipate the outcomes and issues that may result from the alternative course of action chosen. Students should explain what role their faith has in their ethical decision making. Be thorough, be clear, be specific and support your decision. This part of your paper should take about a paragraph.
*Please use the headings above as section headings for your paper.
Ethical dilemmas to be used:
- Taking Unfair Advantage: took unfair advantage of govt. position and contacts
- Buying Influence or Engaging in a Conflict of Interest:
Evaluating Alternatives Section:
- Virtue Definition: Virtue/Character Ethics often suggests that the good is the goal of our existence—it is the end to which we are all striving. The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that when all was said and done we wanted to be truly and deeply happy and that human beings only attain that we when fulfill our purpose of becoming excellent human beings.2 Excellence (translated virtue) was a constant state of being that was lived out in the choices we make. Most virtue (or character) ethicists believe that virtue comes through forming good habits—habits of excellence. These habits are formed through practice or through community—hanging around the right people. So, if your approach to ethics says that good people will make good choices, then you probably follow a virtue approach.
- Consequential Definition: Consequential/Teleological Ethics is the most common approach to ethics in America today and certainly in business. This approach suggests that the good is a future state (telos in Greek, hence the alternative name for this approach–teleological) that is the outcome of the actions we take. The consequence of a decision is what determines its goodness. A common saying that goes with this approach is, “the end justifies the means.” Unfortunately this has been used to justify any means (even bad ones) by suggesting that some good will result from using such means. So, in this approach there is no such thing as the good person—the person doesn’t matter in the least, only the end result.
A. Darlene Druyun, govt. retirement, looking for Boeing job
B. Mr. Sears at Boeing hires Ms. Druyun as Chicago VP
C. 2003 – Internal investigation into hiring began
D. Ms Druyun confesses; Sears served 4 mos, Druyun served 9 mos
A. Hiding Information: Changed her notebook given to prosecutors
B. Taking Unfair Advantage: took unfair advantage of govt. position and contacts
C. Buying Influence or Engaging in a Conflict of Interest: Gave Boeing contracts & pricing breaks for hiring daughter & son-in-law; approved settlement that was too high
III. Evaluating the Alternatives
A. Virtue – Being good is our goal
1. Current: Unethical End – Had bad character flaws, instilled them in her daughter and entrusted wrong people
2. Option: Ethical End – Make right choices in life and govt job decisions, may have led to better retirement career
B. Consequential – End justifies the means
1. Current: Unethical End – Made bad career decisions and served time
2. Option: Ethical End – Had she taken better approaches & been more ethical, end job could have been Boeing
IV. Choose and Act
A. Mixture of Both: Virtue and Consequential – needs to have right character and right end goals