Ethical thinking

Your assessment will take the form of a 3,000 word (you are allowed to go over by 10% making it a maximum of 3,300 words) submission consisting of three parts in total.

You will be expected to show that you understand the importance of individual and organisational ethical thinking and practice and that you can apply ethical decision making. You will also need to show that you can think critically about the role of business in society. Further, you will need to show that you have understood the way in which theory can underpin how ethical issues are viewed. It is also expected that you have gained, and can show an understanding that theory offers a guide, but not necessarily the answer, to practice. The assessment also requires you to show that you have reflected on what makes an ethical leader and manager and what that means in the context of organisational culture.

An extensive rubric is provided which will show you how the work is marked and what is required to achieve high marks.

Your assessment into two parts with part 1 being further split into two. Read the requirements below and attempt all three parts. You will submit all three parts together in the same submission.


You should look at the following cases of businesses that have attracted attention due to some aspect of practice – each has a briefing on Moodle with readings linked. You should choose the ONE of these that interests you and complete the following:

Part 1


  1. You are required to write a brief report for senior managers at the case of your choosing. This report is written from the perspective of an employee of the company at the centre of the story (or as indicated in the briefing) who has been tasked by senior managers to outline the ethical challenges arising from the case. You will need to explore a number of factors (look at the marking guide, you will see these are the aspects that you will be marked on) including – Why is the subject of the story posing an ethical question for the company? What does the story say about how the company may be perceived in society and how might the company want to think about the role of business in society? You will also need to outline who you think are the key stakeholders are and in what way they are affected. You should indicate to your managers the benefits of an ethical approach and some of the dangers when that is not considered. You will do this but using your research skills to find examples of how ethical choices impact on other companies (e.g where is there research that shows good choices benefit companies and bad choices have a negative impact? These can be newspaper stories, but academic research should be explored too). Finally you should conclude with some recommendations for what the company could/should do to be a more ethically aware and responsible organisation.

This part of your assessment should be written as a report, but should be referenced in the normal academic way using Harvard citations and referencing.


  1. For this part you should again use your chosen case study – but this time choose TWO ethical theories and demonstrate that you can apply these to the case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case.

Your choices for cases are:

  1. EA Games: Fifa, Loot boxes and whales
  2. The gender pay gap: what the median pay gap says about your company
  3. Ladbrokes: The online way to save your job
  4. Johnson and Johnson: Taking the pain away?
  5. Supply chains and human rights abuses: This doesn’t smell right- warnings to tuna companies

There is a briefing paper for each of these on moodle and each has an article related to the story, or a report and other back ground material linked.

 Part 2

Part 2 is NOT related to the case study. This section requires you to discuss what makes an ethical leader and how you would, as an ethical manager, manage your business and/or others to a high ethical standard.

You will need to think about personal ethics, about the conditions that bring about unethical organisations and practices, about organisational values and methods of compliance. We will use material from the seminar in week 6 where we explored how we, and others, see us as ethical leaders.  This part can be written in a more reflective style. 

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