Scenarios are hypothetical case studies that describe realistic instances, mostly situated in the workplace, where there is a concern about what an appropriate course of action might be (even if it is ‘No Action’ or ‘More background details are required’…with an appropriate explanation, of course!) Read and reflect upon the scenario presented below. Provide an in-depth ethical analysis elaborating on the issues involved in the scenario via a well-argued, written discussion.
Suggested framework for an ethical analysis of a scenario
The following framework may assist in your ethical analysis of the scenario but this is only a suggestion and other creative strategies may be adopted if they are justified via valid description and enhance the clarity of what you outline.
The technique of ethical analysis depends upon asking questions like:
• What is going on?
• What are the facts?
• What are the issues?
• Who is affected?
• What are the ethical issues and implications?
• What can be done about it?
• What options are there?
• Which option is best? – and Why?
Using such questions as headings in your responses to scenarios is an option.
The Scenario
A human resources investigator in a large IT company was given the assignment of identifying employees suspected of on-the-job drug use that was resulting in a high percentage of software product failures.
Management expected him to use conventional investigation methods of observation, interrogation and use of undercover informants. Instead, and unknown to management, he developed and used a company program to systematically search the personnel and timekeeping records of employees whose jobs were related to product quality. Using statistical techniques, he was able to identify those employees most likely to be engaged in drug use according to medical leave records, tardiness, poor performance reviews and the results of physical examinations. Employees went voluntarily for a one-time survey performed by an outside medical research group. From these data and analyses, he identified the employees suspected of drug use.
All the suspected employees were put on notice that after a one-month grace period they would be subject to urine analysis to detect the presence of drugs.
Analyse the ethical implications in this scenario and comment on the wisdom of the action. What should happen next? Was there a better way of attacking the drug problem?
• Your written discussion paper containing an ethical analysis of the scenario should be no longer than 1500 words in length. This maximum word count does not include your list of references.
• In your ethical analysis you must refer to appropriate journal articles and/or scholarly books in support of your arguments.
• The prescribed course text-book can help you to find further references BUT it should NOT be cited as a reference itself in this written discussion paper. You should read more widely.
• Web-based references are NOT permitted unless they are online journals and appropriately cited.Wikipedia articles MUST NOT be cited as references.
• Referencing in your ethical analysis discussion paper should be according to the Harvard style.
• You MUST include your full name and student ID number at the beginning of your written submission and on the signed assignment coversheet which you should ATTACH to your work when you submit.
• Your ethical analysis MUST use at least some of the philosophical concepts and theories featured in weeks 2 and 3 of the ISYS3300 course in the justification and support of your positional arguments.
Grading details
Please refer to the Marking Criteria listed in the ISYS3300 course guide for generic grading details. To meet satisfactory standards and beyond, it is expected that a completed assessment task will demonstrate self-directed critical interpretation of course content, aligned with depth in scholarship where appropriate through consultation of supporting journal articles, books and/or other relevant references that are engaged in independent research. Clarity in expression of well-reasoned verbal arguments in defending a position or outlining a conceptual description is of particular significance in this regard. In particular, your presentation should seek to succinctly apply philosophical ideas in ethics with explanatory reference to practical situations and/or hypothetical scenarios: To excel, theory should inform practice and vice-versa. This can be done by using ethical concepts and theories from weeks 2 and 3 of the course to support your explanations. It can also be achieved through wide reading.
Assessment criteria
• Clarity of written expression, logical flow and attention to detail. (Do your arguments make sense?)
• The written submission should contain clear and effective introduction and conclusion sections that open and close the discussion.
• Inclusion of any ISYS3300 course content from weeks 2 and 3 dealing with ethical concepts and/or theories (NOTE: These are usually associated with a particular philosopher and/or philosophical movement.)
• As a rough guide, submissions that include at least THREE different applications of relevant ethical concepts and/or theories can expect a HD grade or less depending also on the overall quality of the work. An understanding of the meaning and application of the ethical concepts used in context should be made clearly evident.
• Ethical theories and related philosophical ideas used in discussion should be clearly indicated via stylistic techniques (eg. bold or italic text) and/or sub-headings. Use of signposting sentences to explain the logic of an argument in an essay is another strategy. (What is signposting? – http://tinyurl.com/k6lzx27 )
• Evidence of research through wide reading for those seeking high grades. Is there clear evidence of academic scholarship to suggest that more than just the course text-book and Wikipedia or web-sites were used as references in support of arguments?
• As a rough guide, submissions that include at least THREE references (books and/or scholarly journal articles ONLY) can expect a HD grade or less depending also on the overall quality of the work. (NOTE: These cited references DO NOT include the prescribed course textbook.)
• NO Wikipedia articles or websites should be used as references, except in cases where you are obviously referring to online journals. References must be used to support what you say and not included as mere filler. These should be formatted according to the Harvard referencing style.
• Overall presentation of written work (including appropriate use of headings, layout of text into sections, formatting of text into readable short paragraphs and other creative aspects of document production. AVOID long slabs of text in your work because this makes it more difficult to read.)

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