See some news stories that have ethical dimensions
Read the Case Study without knowing any ethical analysis techniques Discuss the ethical dilemmas in the Case Study
Take personal notes of initial impressions and feelings about the Case Study Keep the notes for comparison with the analysis of the same case study in Seminar Five.
Preparation for Seminar
Make sure that you attend the seminar with a print out of the Seminar Brief and The Case Study. We want you to be prepared to capture your initial impressions of an ethical dilemma case by writying journal notes. These will include the thoughts and ideas of others in your seminar. This will create a set of baseline notes that you can refer back to during your assignment. You will be able to tell us how working in your seminar teams (from Seminars Two to Six) and using module content has enabled you to be better prepared for future ethical dilemmas that you might encounter in your career.
Seminar Activity: Ethics in the News
You tutor will identify some stories in the media that have interesting ethical dimensions. Try to be on time as this will always be right at the beginning of the seminar. You have to find an ethical issue with a dilemma for the decision-maker(s) as your assignment essay. Ethics in the News can be a very useful start to your search!
SEMINAR ONE: CASE STUDY
The Case of the Holiday (based on actual events)
This case concerns a young medium sized advertising agency in Germany. It had had grown rapidly in the four years since it was founded and had just opened a new office in the US. The company operates in a highly competitive market in which failure to meet customers’ deadlines incurs substantial penalties. Work is almost exclusively project-based, in a high pressure but largely informal environment where teams predominate and hierarchy is little in evidence. The company pays well, and its employees are highly skilled, overwhelmingly graduates and equally overwhelmingly young with over 35 year-olds a rarity.
Employees work an average of 50 hours a week and when deadlines are tight some arrive as early as 5 a.m. and leave as late as 1 a.m. If there is a personnel ‘problem’ it is that turnover is high. Employees tend either to be dismissed quickly after their unsuitability emerges or leave voluntarily after only two or three years. While there however, involvement and ‘ownership’ of tasks is evident and employees enjoy a culture which emphasizes working hard and playing hard. Much of the employees’ social time is spent, unsurprisingly, with other employees and strong bonds of friendship have developed between staff.
The company is privately owned by its two founders who work from their German Head Office. Employees are not represented by a trade union. Unlike publicly limited and/or government organizations where a variety of stakeholder organizations can be identified and corporate governance may be contested (by shareholders, government, regulatory authorities, consumer associations, trade unions, pressure groups and so on), internal relations here are far clearer and the voices that count are those of management and customers.
The incident that forms the focus for this case concerns an Account Executive, Borries, who was due to go on holiday in a month’s time for two weeks at his girlfriend’s home in Hong Kong. This was an important holiday, especially because Borries only took one week’s holiday throughout the previous year and because his girlfriend Swee Lan would be returning to Germany immediately after the holiday to continue her studies. This was therefore an opportunity for Borries to meet Swee Lan’s parents and to experience her environment for the first time.
About a month before the holiday Borries’s manager called him in for a meeting and told him the news that one of Borries’s clients had to bring forward their product launch as they had...
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