EGROUP ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
Taking what we have learned from class, you and your group members should discuss a practice or policy in one of your current (or recent former) organizations that you believe puts the organization at risk of an ethical failure. Provide an analysis of the policy and practice along the following dimensions:
Section 1: Identify the practice and the risk it implies.
- Describe the practice and the reasons why it exists. What purpose does it serve? How does it allow an organizational objective to be met? What benefits does the organization gain as a result of this practice?
- What is the ethical risk to which you see it potentially leading?
Section 2: Practice analysis.
- How are individuals’ behaviour pointed to engage in the particular practice? What individual/team/organizational goals/measures/systems support this practice?
- What type of perspective does the organizational or professional culture encourage one to take about the practice? How does this way of “seeing” facilitate the practice?
- How are individuals in the organization propelled to engage in the practice? Some practices may not be officially condoned, but the informal systems still lead people to engage in it. Does engaging in this practice lead to status, praise, or power? It is hard not to engage in this practice because it is normative?
Section 3: Solution provision.
- What are your recommendations for how to mitigate the ethical risk? What would need to change at what level of the organization in order to do so? What advantage would the organization need to (potentially) relinquish in solving this problem? What potential advantages might be gained by the organization from solving it?
- Think in particular about how goals and outcomes might need to be structured differently, how the practice in question might need to be reframed, and how to harness the fact that individuals believe they are moral and want to be moral to shift understandings of what is/ought to be normative practice.
You do not have to be specific about whose organization this is, and you can strip the write-up of identifying features as you see fit. My interest is in having the group undertake an analysis of a real organizational issue, and to provide some solutions to it—to think creatively about how to solve what is likely a highly intractable problem.
Try to stay away from vague language or solutions. For example, instead of suggesting a canned solution like “Change the tone from the top”, specify the specific behaviours leadership would need to engage in, who the messages should go to, what the message should be, how the audience should be reached, and what would make this a successful part of a solution.
Assignments should be between 5-10 pages (depending on white space/bullets/font size), and will be graded in terms of the quality of the analysis and evaluated effectiveness of the solution.