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108 Conversations: Ethical Considerations in the Workplace is a digital access e-Book of ethics minicases designed for undergraduate introductory business ethics courses or first courses in international business or management. Timely and spanning disciplines from accounting and compliance to human resources to manufacturing and operations, these ethics scenarios are set in countries across the globe. They include situations in purely domestic environments as well as more complex multinational organizations. In fact, this is really a set of mini-cases in workplace ethics as the cases include ethical dilemmas in profit seeking, not-for-profit, and government entities.
Each minicase summarizes salient points of the ethical dilemmas and presents students with short sets of discussion questions to stimulate thinking, classroom conversation, and decision making. Minicases are based on actual business scenarios reported by sources such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and other international newspapers. Radio and television news programs from broadcasters including the BBC (Britain), CBC (Canada), National Public Radio (United States), France24, and DW (Germany) also provide source material for these minicases. Included with each minicase are links to the references serving as source materials. Some minicase topics are adapted from scenarios relayed to me by professionals in business, non-profit organizations, and government. Their names have been changed to respect the privacy of the people and organizations involved.
This minicase book differs from business ethics casebooks in two ways:
The first is level-appropriateness. Ethics cases asking students to play C-suite1 roles and sort through multifaceted strategic problems may not be practical for students who have not taken courses in these upper-level topics. Therefore, a variety of ethical dilemmas ranging from operational through executive management levels and corporate board decision making are included. Students are reminded that people at all organizational levels face workplace ethics dilemmas. All minicases are designed to be brief and they present a topically narrow problem, though your consideration of that problem will be broad-based.
The second way is that it does not prescribe answers to each minicase’s set of discussion questions. Why? According to the author: “To begin with – betraying my approach to ethical decision making – I don’t believe there are universal right or correct ways to resolve an ethical problem. Different national cultures, sub-national cultures, corporate cultures, and individual ethical values make it impossible to create a guide or manual for professors to use alongside this minicase book. Next, even if there were a “right” way to handle a dilemma, inevitably your professor or you would identify a point or perspective I failed to include in a solution guide. And finally, my motivation to create this collection of minicases is to raise your awareness of business ethics dilemmas and get students talking about them. What you bring to the discussions may help you clarify the ethical values underpinning your decision-making processes. It is my hope that some of these minicase discussions will stay with you as you make your way from college to the world of work.”
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