BU113: Foundations of Business Administration
Business Ethics Memo
A. The Case
Think of a situation that raised ethical issues for you because you
were personally involved, or
witnessed the case, or
were personally concerned about the issue you heard about, read about, or saw on TV (or elsewhere).
It must NOT be an imagined case.
The situation must present an ethical dilemma which you should describe and analyze.
In all cases you must show your personal issues with this dilemma and indicate solutions. If you are choosing a case you read or heard about or saw on TV (or elsewhere), you must cite your sources in-text and in reference form (see Citation of Electronic Resources -- <http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/BU113/citation_electr_references.htm>).
B. Framework of Analysis -- Content & Writing Guidelines
Follow guidelines for Memo Form and Content—Business Writing <http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/BU113/memo_guide_citations.htm>), including memo format, headings, layout, and business writing conventions.
In an approximately 2-page, single-spaced memo with headings analyze the ethical issue(s), using the following framework of analysis. These topics should be the headings of your memo.
the situation – State the facts; describe the situation.
ethical dilemma/issue(s) – Discuss the values and norms that are in conflict.
the stakeholders involved – List them. Describe their involvement. Why/In what way are they stakeholders? How are they affected?
the ethical norms (6 Pillars of Character) – Discuss the relevant ethical norms that apply to the case.
alternative courses of action and tradeoffs (benefits/costs, advantages/disadvantages) – Discuss 2-3 alternatives that are available to you to deal with the dilemma/issue(s). What are the tradeoffs of each course of action for the stakeholders involved?
solution – Discuss how the dilemma should have been solved by referring to one or more of the 7 Guidelines for Making Ethical Decisions that should have been used --see below.
personal beliefs or feelings -- State your opinion as to what should have been done to deal with this dilemma.
Begin your memo with an introduction that states the purpose of the memo and previews the points you will discuss (thesis statement). End your memo with a conclusion that summarizes the key points you addressed in the memo.
Proofread your memo for wordiness, sentence fragments or run-on sentences, and mechanics (format, punctuation).
Review the Business Memo Scoring Rubric (http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/BU113/Rubrics/memo_rubric.htm) that will be used to evaluate your memo.
Creating an Ethical Work Place – 7 Guidelines
for making Ethical Decisions
(Choose the appropriate guidelines for your case.)
The Professional Ethic:
Take actions that would be viewed as proper by a disinterested panel of
The TV Test:
Managers should always ask, “Would I feel comfortable explaining to a national
TV audience why I took this action?”
The Legal Test:
Is the proposed action or decision legal/? Established laws are generally
considered minimum standards for ethics.
The Four-way Test
Herb Taylor 1932, Rotary International):
Managers can feel confident that a decision is ethical if they can answer “yes” to the following questions:
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build good will and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Christine Bauer-Ramazani; last updated: July 09, 2017