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Springer 2011 Journal of Business Ethics (2010) 94:311-322 DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-0759-3 Beyond the Manager's Moral Dilemma: Rethinking the...

Task: Evaluate Ethical Behavior
Using the Folole Muliaga case study provided in Bridgeman (2010) and Eweje and Wu (2010), evaluate alternative actions and consequences to Mercury Energy. In your paper, be certain to specifically address the following:
• Briefly summarize the Folole Muliaga scenario
• Assess the consequences/outcome
• Determine if what Mercury Energy did was illegal
• Are you in agreement with the police and coroner decisions? Why or why not?
• What reforms/guidelines were adopted as a result of this tragedy?
Support your paper with a minimum of five (5) scholarly resources in addition to required resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.

Length: 5-7 pages not including title and reference pages

Beyond the Manager’s Moral Dilemma: Rethinking the ‘Ideal-Type’ Business Ethics Case Todd Bridgman ABSTRACT. Case teaching occupies a central place in the history of business education and in recognition of its significance, the Journal of Business Ethics recently created a new section for cases. Typically, business ethics cases are used to teach moral reasoning by exposing students to real-life situations which puts them in the position of a decision-maker faced with a moral dilemma. Drawing on a critical management studies’ (CMS) critique of main- stream business ethics, this article argues that this ‘ideal- type’ decision-focused case underplays the social, political and economic factors which shape managerial decisions. An alternative ‘dark side’ case approach is presented, which highlights the structural features of capitalism and the role of government in regulating the market. The ‘dark side’ approach is illustrated with the case of a New Zealand woman, dependent on an oxygen machine, who died when her power was disconnected by her State- owned electricity supplier because of an unpaid bill. The case considers the actions of both the company and the industry regulator within the context of a ‘light-handed’ approach to government regulation. The article con- cludes with a discussion of how this approach to the case method, which moves beyond managers and their moral dilemmas, can provide students with a deeper under- standing of the complexity of business ethics. KEY WORDS: business ethics, case teaching, critical management studies, management education, profes- sionalisation Introduction: ethics teaching in the spotlight The crisis which swept Fnancial markets in 2008 has prompted another round of questioning over the role played by business schools. ±ollowing the post-Enron introspection over the state of busi- ness education (Ghoshal, 2005 ), this latest bout of soul-searching has intensiFed concerns about the moral shortcoming of today’s business school grad- uates. Labelled the ‘academies of the apocalypse’ (James, 2009 ), business schools are blamed for pro- ducing ‘wannabe Gordon Geckos’ 1 (Chibber, 2009 ) who believe that is greed is a virtue which holds the key to economic prosperity (Walker, 2009 ). The global Fnancial crisis (G±C) has re-ignited interest in the idea of management as a profession. The professionalisation project was prominent in the founding of business schools in the United States (Khurana, 2007 ), but it gave way in the 1960s to an emphasis on technical expertise following criticisms of poor quality research and low quality students (Gordon and Howell, 1959 ; Pierson, 1959 ) and was further undermined in the 1980s when economic theories, such as agency theory, came to dominate the curriculum, framing the task of management as the narrow pursuit of shareholder interests (Ghoshal, 2005 ). The idea of the corporate statesperson was in danger of becoming ‘increasingly obsolete and embarrassingly irrelevant’ (Danley, 1998 , p. 21) – the lofty view of management as a profession with ‘higher aims’ abandoned in favour of a view which sees managers as ‘hired hands’ serving shareholder interests (Khurana, 2007 ). The G±C has led to attempts to resuscitate the Fgure of the management professional. Khurana and Nohria ( 2008 ) outline a Hippocratic Oath for Managers, based on that undertaken by medical professionals, in which managers pledge to serve the public’s interest. At their own institution, Harvard Business School, half of the graduating class of 2009 pledged to honour the values of the man- agement profession ( Economist , 2009 ). 2 At the heart of professionalisation is the issue of trust. The legitimation of management as a profession Journal of Business Ethics (2010) 94:311–322 Ó Springer 2011 DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-0759-3
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rests on an ethos of service where managers serve society’s interests, rather than the narrower interest of the corporation. Professionalisation offers the promise of a self-disciplinary mechanism, with its shared knowledge, standards and norms of conduct allowing a form of self-regulation to compensate for the imperfections of more formalised regulatory processes (Khurana, 2007 ). If organisations are run by moral managers, then the implication is that they can be trusted to govern themselves, rather than being sub- jected to heavy oversight from state-based regulatory mechanisms. The stakes are high, with accreditation agency Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB, 2004 , p. 7) warning that ‘at issue is no less than the future of the free market system, which depends on honest and open enterprise to survive and Fourish’. As the response of governments to the G±C demonstrates, if managers cannot be trusted to act in the interests of society, then the freedoms extended to business will be curtailed. Where does this leave the teaching of business ethics? It is widely accepted that more ethics teaching is needed, but how should we teach ethics? A recent meta-analysis of business ethics programmes con- cluded pessimistically that such programmes have little impact on students’ perceptions, behaviour or awareness, although it did note that ‘the instructional approach that is most fruitful for ethics is a case- based approach’ (Waples et al., 2009 , p. 147). The case-based approach has nearly 100 years of history within business schools and has been an integral part of ethics education by endeavouring to assist the development of students’ moral reasoning. This article identi²es an ‘ideal-type’ business ethics case, based on analysis of submission requirements to leading case journals, where students encounter managers who are faced with moral dilemmas and must balance the needs of multiple stakeholders in making ethical decisions. Underpinning this approach is an assumption that the moral de²ciencies of managers are the solution to the problem of repugnant corporate conduct. This article explores that assumption by drawing on a critique of main- stream business ethics by critical management studies (CMS), which encourages us to attend to systemic inFuences. ±rom this perspective, unethical behav- iour by corporate managers might alternatively be viewed as the rational pursuit of pro²t within a capitalist system. In considering ways to improve corporate behaviour, this critique prompts us to look beyond the narrow concern with the ethical char- acter of managers to consider the rules of the system and those who create and administer those rules – government and its agencies. Instead of suggesting that we abandon the case method, this article proposes an alternative ‘dark side’ approach to case writing and teaching, which encourages students to attend to structural con- straints on managerial decision-making. In order to illustrate this alternative approach, a case is presented which tells the story of a New Zealand woman, dependent on an oxygen machine, who died when her power was disconnected by her State-owned electricity supplier because of an unpaid bill. Rather than place students in the position of a manager who is faced with an ethical dilemma, students are encouraged to analyse the interaction between a pro²t-seeking organisation and an industry regulator within a capitalist system. This is not an ‘ideal-type’ business ethics case, but it is argued that the teaching of business ethics would bene²t from its expanded de²nition of business ethics. The contribution of CMS to a critique of business ethics’ The CMS questions the authority of mainstream management thinking. It is a pluralistic movement informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, but common to each is a view of management as a pervasive institution within capitalism (Alvesson et al., 2009 ). Critical management scholars have been active in the ²eld of business ethics, con- fronting ‘taboos’ (Kallio, 2007 ) avoided by main- stream theorists. Whilst a unitary CMS critique of mainstream business ethics does not exist, a recurrent theme is the mainstream’s construction of ‘business ethics’ as the solution to the problem of undesirable corporate behaviour. This illusion is maintained by a focus on the individual as the unit of analysis, underpinned by a view of the manager as an autonomous agent, and by an exclusion of politics which turns attention away from the role of gov- ernment and the inter-organisational dynamics of the regulatory environment. Critical management scholars have highlighted the separation of ‘ethics’ from ‘politics’ within the 312 Todd Bridgman
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Task: Evaluate Ethical Behavior
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