Moral Reasoning Exercise

Moral Reasoning Exercise

This is a close reading exercise. The aim of the exercise is to get you to analyze in detail the specific arguments presented in the selected reading in order to

better understand one of the central debates in business ethics.

PHIL 201 Business and Professional Ethics

Read the Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Essays and the Academic Honesty
Policy, both of which can be found under ‘Assessment’ on the iLearn homepage.
Resources:
Please contact the unit convenor if you have questions about how to approach the
assignment: matthew.millar@mq.edu.au
Instructions:
This is a close reading exercise. The aim of the exercise is to get you to analyze in
detail the specific arguments presented in the selected reading in order to better
understand one of the central debates in business ethics.
Make sure you answer every part of each question. This is a short answer assignment.
You do not need to answer the questions in the form of an essay. Please include a
bibliography with the relevant sources from the question and any additional sources
you reference directly.
Read the following article (on e-Reserve) and answer ALL the questions below:
K. E. Goodpaster, ‘Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis’, Business
Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Jan., 1991), pp. 53-73.
1.  Goodpaster  argues  that  stakeholder  analysis  is  morally  neutral  and  does  not
by  itself  introduce  ethical  considerations  into  business  decision-­-making.  Explain
in  your  own  words  the  distinction  Goodpaster  makes  between  stakeholder
analysis  and  stakeholder  synthesis.  Why  does  he  think  that  engaging  in
stakeholder  analysis  is  not  sufficient  to  introduce  ethical  thinking  into  business
decisions?  (Stakeholder  Analysis  and  Stakeholder  Synthesis  pp.  55-­-57)
2.  What  does  Goodpaster  mean  by  ‘strategic  stakeholder  synthesis’?  Why  does  he
think  that  businesses  that  operate  according  to  the  principles  of  strategic
stakeholder  synthesis  do  not  really  introduce  ethical  values  into  business
decision-­-making?
(See  Strategic  Stakeholder  Synthesis  pp.57-­-59  and  Is  the  Substance  Ethical  pp.
59-­-61)
3.  Goodpaster  argues  that  we  need  an  approach  to  business  ethics  that  avoids
business  without  ethics  (strategic  stakeholder  synthesis)  and  ethics  without
business  (a  multi-­-fiduciary  stakeholder  approach).  Explain  Goodpaster’s
nonfiduciary  approach  to  business  obligations,  making  sure  you  distinguish  it
from  both  the  multi-­-fiduciary  stakeholder  approach  and  the  strategic
stakeholder  approach.
4.  Listen  to  the  following  radio  program  or  read  the  transcript:  ‘Casualties
in  the  Supermarket  Wars’:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2013-­-12-­-
29/5158628
a)  Goodpaster  argues  that  businesses  have  significant  nonfiduciary  duties  to
stakeholders  other  than  shareholders.  These  include  the  duties  not  to  harm  or
coerce,  lie,  cheat  or  steal  (p.67).  Do  you  believe,  based  on  the  accounts  given  in
the  radio  program,  that  the  major  supermarket  chains  in  Australia  violate  any  of
these  fundamental  moral  duties?  What  moral  duties,  if  any,  do  you  believe  the
large  supermarkets  owe  to  their  suppliers?  Use  examples  from  the  program  to
illustrate  your  points.
b)  Coles  and  Woolworths  have  recently  agreed  to  a  new  voluntary  code  of
conduct  relating  to  commercial  relations  with  suppliers.  Would  signing  up  to  and
abiding  by  such  a  code  be  required  from  the  perspective  of  Goodpaster’s
nonfiduciary  approach  to  business  ethics?  Why/Why  not?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-­-11-­-18/woolworths-­-coles-­-supermarket-­-
code-­-conduct-­-suppliers/5098198)

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