What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.

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business ethics case studies high school

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Find ethics case studies on bribery, sourcing, intellectual property, downsizing, and other topics in business ethics, corporate governance, and ethical leadership. (For permission to reprint articles, submit requests to [email protected] .)

In this business ethics case study, Swedish multinational company IKEA faced accusations relating to child labor abuses in the rug industry in Pakistan which posed a serious challenge for the company and its supply chain management goals.

A dog may be humanity’s best friend. But that may not always be the case in the workplace.

A recent college graduate works in the finance and analytics department of a large publicly traded software company and discovers an alarming discrepancy in sales records, raising concerns about the company’s commitment to truthful reporting to investors. 

What responsibility does an employee have when information they obtained in confidence from a coworker friend may be in conflict with the needs of the company or raises legal and ethical questions.

A manager at a prominent multinational company is ethically challenged by a thin line between opportunity for economic expansion in a deeply underserved community, awareness of child labor practices, and cultural relativism.

A volunteer providing service in the Dominican Republic discovered that the non-profit he had partnered with was exchanging his donor money on the black market, prompting him to navigate a series of complex decisions with significant ethical implications.

The CFO of a family business faces difficult decisions about how to proceed when the COVID-19 pandemic changes the business revenue models, and one family shareholder wants a full buyout.

An employee at an after-school learning institution must balance a decision to accept or decline an offered gift, while considering the cultural norms of the client, upholding the best interests of all stakeholders, and following the operational rules of his employer. 

A senior vice president for a Fortune 500 savings and loan company is tasked with the crucial responsibility of representing the buyer in a multi-million dollar loan purchase deal and faces several ethical challenges from his counterpart representing the seller.

Extensive teaching note based on interviews with Theranos whistleblower Tyler Shultz. The teaching note can be used to explore issues around whistleblowing, leadership, the blocks to ethical behavior inside organizations, and board governance.

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Videos Concepts Unwrapped View All 36 short illustrated videos explain behavioral ethics concepts and basic ethics principles. Concepts Unwrapped: Sports Edition View All 10 short videos introduce athletes to behavioral ethics concepts. Ethics Defined (Glossary) View All 58 animated videos - 1 to 2 minutes each - define key ethics terms and concepts. Ethics in Focus View All One-of-a-kind videos highlight the ethical aspects of current and historical subjects. Giving Voice To Values View All Eight short videos present the 7 principles of values-driven leadership from Gentile's Giving Voice to Values. In It To Win View All A documentary and six short videos reveal the behavioral ethics biases in super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's story. Scandals Illustrated View All 30 videos - one minute each - introduce newsworthy scandals with ethical insights and case studies. Video Series

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Case Studies

More than 70 cases pair ethics concepts with real world situations. From journalism, performing arts, and scientific research to sports, law, and business, these case studies explore current and historic ethical dilemmas, their motivating biases, and their consequences. Each case includes discussion questions, related videos, and a bibliography.

A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little Pieces

James Frey’s popular memoir stirred controversy and media attention after it was revealed to contain numerous exaggerations and fabrications.

Abramoff: Lobbying Congress

Abramoff: Lobbying Congress

Super-lobbyist Abramoff was caught in a scheme to lobby against his own clients. Was a corrupt individual or a corrupt system – or both – to blame?

Apple Suppliers & Labor Practices

Apple Suppliers & Labor Practices

Is tech company Apple, Inc. ethically obligated to oversee the questionable working conditions of other companies further down their supply chain?

Approaching the Presidency: Roosevelt & Taft

Approaching the Presidency: Roosevelt & Taft

Some presidents view their responsibilities in strictly legal terms, others according to duty. Roosevelt and Taft took two extreme approaches.

Appropriating “Hope”

Appropriating “Hope”

Fairey’s portrait of Barack Obama raised debate over the extent to which an artist can use and modify another’s artistic work, yet still call it one’s own.

Arctic Offshore Drilling

Arctic Offshore Drilling

Competing groups frame the debate over oil drilling off Alaska’s coast in varying ways depending on their environmental and economic interests.

Banning Burkas: Freedom or Discrimination?

Banning Burkas: Freedom or Discrimination?

The French law banning women from wearing burkas in public sparked debate about discrimination and freedom of religion.

Birthing Vaccine Skepticism

Birthing Vaccine Skepticism

Wakefield published an article riddled with inaccuracies and conflicts of interest that created significant vaccine hesitancy regarding the MMR vaccine.

Blurred Lines of Copyright

Blurred Lines of Copyright

Marvin Gaye’s Estate won a lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for the hit song “Blurred Lines,” which had a similar feel to one of his songs.

Bullfighting: Art or Not?

Bullfighting: Art or Not?

Bullfighting has been a prominent cultural and artistic event for centuries, but in recent decades it has faced increasing criticism for animal rights’ abuse.

Buying Green: Consumer Behavior

Buying Green: Consumer Behavior

Do purchasing green products, such as organic foods and electric cars, give consumers the moral license to indulge in unethical behavior?

Cadavers in Car Safety Research

Cadavers in Car Safety Research

Engineers at Heidelberg University insist that the use of human cadavers in car safety research is ethical because their research can save lives.

Cardinals’ Computer Hacking

Cardinals’ Computer Hacking

St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa hacked into the Houston Astros’ webmail system, leading to legal repercussions and a lifetime ban from MLB.

Cheating: Atlanta’s School Scandal

Cheating: Atlanta’s School Scandal

Teachers and administrators at Parks Middle School adjust struggling students’ test scores in an effort to save their school from closure.

Cheating: Sign-Stealing in MLB

Cheating: Sign-Stealing in MLB

The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme rocked the baseball world, leading to a game-changing MLB investigation and fallout.

Cheating: UNC’s Academic Fraud

Cheating: UNC’s Academic Fraud

UNC’s academic fraud scandal uncovered an 18-year scheme of unchecked coursework and fraudulent classes that enabled student-athletes to play sports.

Cheney v. U.S. District Court

Cheney v. U.S. District Court

A controversial case focuses on Justice Scalia’s personal friendship with Vice President Cheney and the possible conflict of interest it poses to the case.

Christina Fallin: “Appropriate Culturation?”

Christina Fallin: “Appropriate Culturation?”

After Fallin posted a picture of herself wearing a Plain’s headdress on social media, uproar emerged over cultural appropriation and Fallin’s intentions.

Climate Change & the Paris Deal

Climate Change & the Paris Deal

While climate change poses many abstract problems, the actions (or inactions) of today’s populations will have tangible effects on future generations.

Cover-Up on Campus

Cover-Up on Campus

While the Baylor University football team was winning on the field, university officials failed to take action when allegations of sexual assault by student athletes emerged.

Covering Female Athletes

Covering Female Athletes

Sports Illustrated stirs controversy when their cover photo of an Olympic skier seems to focus more on her physical appearance than her athletic abilities.

Covering Yourself? Journalists and the Bowl Championship

Covering Yourself? Journalists and the Bowl Championship

Can news outlets covering the Bowl Championship Series fairly report sports news if their own polls were used to create the news?

Cyber Harassment

Cyber Harassment

After a student defames a middle school teacher on social media, the teacher confronts the student in class and posts a video of the confrontation online.

Defending Freedom of Tweets?

Defending Freedom of Tweets?

Running back Rashard Mendenhall receives backlash from fans after criticizing the celebration of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in a tweet.

Dennis Kozlowski: Living Large

Dennis Kozlowski: Living Large

Dennis Kozlowski was an effective leader for Tyco in his first few years as CEO, but eventually faced criminal charges over his use of company assets.

Digital Downloads

Digital Downloads

File-sharing program Napster sparked debate over the legal and ethical dimensions of downloading unauthorized copies of copyrighted music.

Dr. V’s Magical Putter

Dr. V’s Magical Putter

Journalist Caleb Hannan outed Dr. V as a trans woman, sparking debate over the ethics of Hannan’s reporting, as well its role in Dr. V’s suicide.

East Germany’s Doping Machine

East Germany’s Doping Machine

From 1968 to the late 1980s, East Germany (GDR) doped some 9,000 athletes to gain success in international athletic competitions despite being aware of the unfortunate side effects.

Ebola & American Intervention

Ebola & American Intervention

Did the dispatch of U.S. military units to Liberia to aid in humanitarian relief during the Ebola epidemic help or hinder the process?

Edward Snowden: Traitor or Hero?

Edward Snowden: Traitor or Hero?

Was Edward Snowden’s release of confidential government documents ethically justifiable?

Ethical Pitfalls in Action

Ethical Pitfalls in Action

Why do good people do bad things? Behavioral ethics is the science of moral decision-making, which explores why and how people make the ethical (and unethical) decisions that they do.

Ethical Use of Home DNA Testing

Ethical Use of Home DNA Testing

The rising popularity of at-home DNA testing kits raises questions about privacy and consumer rights.

Flying the Confederate Flag

Flying the Confederate Flag

A heated debate ensues over whether or not the Confederate flag should be removed from the South Carolina State House grounds.

Freedom of Speech on Campus

Freedom of Speech on Campus

In the wake of racially motivated offenses, student protests sparked debate over the roles of free speech, deliberation, and tolerance on campus.

Freedom vs. Duty in Clinical Social Work

Freedom vs. Duty in Clinical Social Work

What should social workers do when their personal values come in conflict with the clients they are meant to serve?

Full Disclosure: Manipulating Donors

Full Disclosure: Manipulating Donors

When an intern witnesses a donor making a large gift to a non-profit organization under misleading circumstances, she struggles with what to do.

Gaming the System: The VA Scandal

Gaming the System: The VA Scandal

The Veterans Administration’s incentives were meant to spur more efficient and productive healthcare, but not all administrators complied as intended.

German Police Battalion 101

German Police Battalion 101

During the Holocaust, ordinary Germans became willing killers even though they could have opted out from murdering their Jewish neighbors.

Head Injuries & American Football

Head Injuries & American Football

Many studies have linked traumatic brain injuries and related conditions to American football, creating controversy around the safety of the sport.

Head Injuries & the NFL

Head Injuries & the NFL

American football is a rough and dangerous game and its impact on the players’ brain health has sparked a hotly contested debate.

Healthcare Obligations: Personal vs. Institutional

Healthcare Obligations: Personal vs. Institutional

A medical doctor must make a difficult decision when informing patients of the effectiveness of flu shots while upholding institutional recommendations.

High Stakes Testing

High Stakes Testing

In the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act, parents, teachers, and school administrators take different positions on how to assess student achievement.

In-FUR-mercials: Advertising & Adoption

In-FUR-mercials: Advertising & Adoption

When the Lied Animal Shelter faces a spike in animal intake, an advertising agency uses its moral imagination to increase pet adoptions.

Krogh & the Watergate Scandal

Krogh & the Watergate Scandal

Egil Krogh was a young lawyer working for the Nixon Administration whose ethics faded from view when asked to play a part in the Watergate break-in.

Limbaugh on Drug Addiction

Limbaugh on Drug Addiction

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh argued that drug abuse was a choice, not a disease. He later became addicted to painkillers.


U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “over-exaggeration” of an incident at the 2016 Rio Olympics led to very real consequences.

Meet Me at Starbucks

Meet Me at Starbucks

Two black men were arrested after an employee called the police on them, prompting Starbucks to implement “racial-bias” training across all its stores.

Myanmar Amber

Myanmar Amber

Buying amber could potentially fund an ethnic civil war, but refraining allows collectors to acquire important specimens that could be used for research.

Negotiating Bankruptcy

Negotiating Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy lawyer Gellene successfully represented a mining company during a major reorganization, but failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest.

Pao & Gender Bias

Pao & Gender Bias

Ellen Pao stirred debate in the venture capital and tech industries when she filed a lawsuit against her employer on grounds of gender discrimination.

Pardoning Nixon

Pardoning Nixon

One month after Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency, Gerald Ford made the controversial decision to issue Nixon a full pardon.

Patient Autonomy & Informed Consent

Patient Autonomy & Informed Consent

Nursing staff and family members struggle with informed consent when taking care of a patient who has been deemed legally incompetent.

Prenatal Diagnosis & Parental Choice

Prenatal Diagnosis & Parental Choice

Debate has emerged over the ethics of prenatal diagnosis and reproductive freedom in instances where testing has revealed genetic abnormalities.

Reporting on Robin Williams

Reporting on Robin Williams

After Robin Williams took his own life, news media covered the story in great detail, leading many to argue that such reporting violated the family’s privacy.

Responding to Child Migration

Responding to Child Migration

An influx of children migrants posed logistical and ethical dilemmas for U.S. authorities while intensifying ongoing debate about immigration.

Retracting Research: The Case of Chandok v. Klessig

Retracting Research: The Case of Chandok v. Klessig

A researcher makes the difficult decision to retract a published, peer-reviewed article after the original research results cannot be reproduced.

Sacking Social Media in College Sports

Sacking Social Media in College Sports

In the wake of questionable social media use by college athletes, the head coach at University of South Carolina bans his players from using Twitter.

Selling Enron

Selling Enron

Following the deregulation of electricity markets in California, private energy company Enron profited greatly, but at a dire cost.

Snyder v. Phelps

Snyder v. Phelps

Freedom of speech was put on trial in a case involving the Westboro Baptist Church and their protesting at the funeral of U.S. Marine Matthew Snyder.

Something Fishy at the Paralympics

Something Fishy at the Paralympics

Rampant cheating has plagued the Paralympics over the years, compromising the credibility and sportsmanship of Paralympian athletes.

Sports Blogs: The Wild West of Sports Journalism?

Sports Blogs: The Wild West of Sports Journalism?

Deadspin pays an anonymous source for information related to NFL star Brett Favre, sparking debate over the ethics of “checkbook journalism.”

Stangl & the Holocaust

Stangl & the Holocaust

Franz Stangl was the most effective Nazi administrator in Poland, killing nearly one million Jews at Treblinka, but he claimed he was simply following orders.

Teaching Blackface: A Lesson on Stereotypes

Teaching Blackface: A Lesson on Stereotypes

A teacher was put on leave for showing a blackface video during a lesson on racial segregation, sparking discussion over how to teach about stereotypes.

The Astros’ Sign-Stealing Scandal

The Astros’ Sign-Stealing Scandal

The Houston Astros rode a wave of success, culminating in a World Series win, but it all came crashing down when their sign-stealing scheme was revealed.

The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five

Despite the indisputable and overwhelming evidence of the innocence of the Central Park Five, some involved in the case refuse to believe it.

The CIA Leak

The CIA Leak

Legal and political fallout follows from the leak of classified information that led to the identification of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

The Collapse of Barings Bank

The Collapse of Barings Bank

When faced with growing losses, investment banker Nick Leeson took big risks in an attempt to get out from under the losses. He lost.

The Costco Model

The Costco Model

How can companies promote positive treatment of employees and benefit from leading with the best practices? Costco offers a model.

The FBI & Apple Security vs. Privacy

The FBI & Apple Security vs. Privacy

How can tech companies and government organizations strike a balance between maintaining national security and protecting user privacy?

The Miss Saigon Controversy

The Miss Saigon Controversy

When a white actor was cast for the half-French, half-Vietnamese character in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon , debate ensued.

The Sandusky Scandal

The Sandusky Scandal

Following the conviction of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for sexual abuse, debate continues on how much university officials and head coach Joe Paterno knew of the crimes.

The Varsity Blues Scandal

The Varsity Blues Scandal

A college admissions prep advisor told wealthy parents that while there were front doors into universities and back doors, he had created a side door that was worth exploring.


Providing radiation therapy to cancer patients, Therac-25 had malfunctions that resulted in 6 deaths. Who is accountable when technology causes harm?

Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform

The Welfare Reform Act changed how welfare operated, intensifying debate over the government’s role in supporting the poor through direct aid.

Wells Fargo and Moral Emotions

Wells Fargo and Moral Emotions

In a settlement with regulators, Wells Fargo Bank admitted that it had created as many as two million accounts for customers without their permission.

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  • 1. Concept, Values and Origin of Restorative Justice
  • 2. Overview of Restorative Justice Processes
  • 3. How Cost Effective is Restorative Justice?
  • 4. Issues in Implementing Restorative Justice
  • 1. Gender-Based Discrimination & Women in Conflict with the Law
  • 2. Vulnerabilities of Girls in Conflict with the Law
  • 3. Discrimination and Violence against LGBTI Individuals
  • 4. Gender Diversity in Criminal Justice Workforce
  • 1. Ending Violence against Women
  • 2. Human Rights Approaches to Violence against Women
  • 3. Who Has Rights in this Situation?
  • 4. What about the Men?
  • 5. Local, Regional & Global Solutions to Violence against Women & Girls
  • 1. Understanding the Concept of Victims of Crime
  • 2. Impact of Crime, including Trauma
  • 3. Right of Victims to Adequate Response to their Needs
  • 4. Collecting Victim Data
  • 5. Victims and their Participation in Criminal Justice Process
  • 6. Victim Services: Institutional and Non-Governmental Organizations
  • 7. Outlook on Current Developments Regarding Victims
  • 8. Victims of Crime and International Law
  • 1. The Many Forms of Violence against Children
  • 2. The Impact of Violence on Children
  • 3. States' Obligations to Prevent VAC and Protect Child Victims
  • 4. Improving the Prevention of Violence against Children
  • 5. Improving the Criminal Justice Response to VAC
  • 6. Addressing Violence against Children within the Justice System
  • 1. The Role of the Justice System
  • 2. Convention on the Rights of the Child & International Legal Framework on Children's Rights
  • 3. Justice for Children
  • 4. Justice for Children in Conflict with the Law
  • 5. Realizing Justice for Children
  • 1a. Judicial Independence as Fundamental Value of Rule of Law & of Constitutionalism
  • 1b. Main Factors Aimed at Securing Judicial Independence
  • 2a. Public Prosecutors as ‘Gate Keepers’ of Criminal Justice
  • 2b. Institutional and Functional Role of Prosecutors
  • 2c. Other Factors Affecting the Role of Prosecutors
  • Basics of Computing
  • Global Connectivity and Technology Usage Trends
  • Cybercrime in Brief
  • Cybercrime Trends
  • Cybercrime Prevention
  • Offences against computer data and systems
  • Computer-related offences
  • Content-related offences
  • The Role of Cybercrime Law
  • Harmonization of Laws
  • International and Regional Instruments
  • International Human Rights and Cybercrime Law
  • Digital Evidence
  • Digital Forensics
  • Standards and Best Practices for Digital Forensics
  • Reporting Cybercrime
  • Who Conducts Cybercrime Investigations?
  • Obstacles to Cybercrime Investigations
  • Knowledge Management
  • Legal and Ethical Obligations
  • Handling of Digital Evidence
  • Digital Evidence Admissibility
  • Sovereignty and Jurisdiction
  • Formal International Cooperation Mechanisms
  • Informal International Cooperation Mechanisms
  • Data Retention, Preservation and Access
  • Challenges Relating to Extraterritorial Evidence
  • National Capacity and International Cooperation
  • Internet Governance
  • Cybersecurity Strategies: Basic Features
  • National Cybersecurity Strategies
  • International Cooperation on Cybersecurity Matters
  • Cybersecurity Posture
  • Assets, Vulnerabilities and Threats
  • Vulnerability Disclosure
  • Cybersecurity Measures and Usability
  • Situational Crime Prevention
  • Incident Detection, Response, Recovery & Preparedness
  • Privacy: What it is and Why it is Important
  • Privacy and Security
  • Cybercrime that Compromises Privacy
  • Data Protection Legislation
  • Data Breach Notification Laws
  • Enforcement of Privacy and Data Protection Laws
  • Intellectual Property: What it is
  • Types of Intellectual Property
  • Causes for Cyber-Enabled Copyright & Trademark Offences
  • Protection & Prevention Efforts
  • Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
  • Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment
  • Cyberbullying
  • Gender-Based Interpersonal Cybercrime
  • Interpersonal Cybercrime Prevention
  • Cyber Organized Crime: What is it?
  • Conceptualizing Organized Crime & Defining Actors Involved
  • Criminal Groups Engaging in Cyber Organized Crime
  • Cyber Organized Crime Activities
  • Preventing & Countering Cyber Organized Crime
  • Cyberespionage
  • Cyberterrorism
  • Cyberwarfare
  • Information Warfare, Disinformation & Electoral Fraud
  • Responses to Cyberinterventions
  • Framing the Issue of Firearms
  • Direct Impact of Firearms
  • Indirect Impacts of Firearms on States or Communities
  • International and National Responses
  • Typology and Classification of Firearms
  • Common Firearms Types
  • 'Other' Types of Firearms
  • Parts and Components
  • History of the Legitimate Arms Market
  • Need for a Legitimate Market
  • Key Actors in the Legitimate Market
  • Authorized & Unauthorized Arms Transfers
  • Illegal Firearms in Social, Cultural & Political Context
  • Supply, Demand & Criminal Motivations
  • Larger Scale Firearms Trafficking Activities
  • Smaller Scale Trafficking Activities
  • Sources of Illicit Firearms
  • Consequences of Illicit Markets
  • International Public Law & Transnational Law
  • International Instruments with Global Outreach
  • Commonalities, Differences & Complementarity between Global Instruments
  • Tools to Support Implementation of Global Instruments
  • Other United Nations Processes
  • The Sustainable Development Goals
  • Multilateral & Regional Instruments
  • Scope of National Firearms Regulations
  • National Firearms Strategies & Action Plans
  • Harmonization of National Legislation with International Firearms Instruments
  • Assistance for Development of National Firearms Legislation
  • Firearms Trafficking as a Cross-Cutting Element
  • Organized Crime and Organized Criminal Groups
  • Criminal Gangs
  • Terrorist Groups
  • Interconnections between Organized Criminal Groups & Terrorist Groups
  • Gangs - Organized Crime & Terrorism: An Evolving Continuum
  • International Response
  • International and National Legal Framework
  • Firearms Related Offences
  • Role of Law Enforcement
  • Firearms as Evidence
  • Use of Special Investigative Techniques
  • International Cooperation and Information Exchange
  • Prosecution and Adjudication of Firearms Trafficking
  • Teaching Methods & Principles
  • Ethical Learning Environments
  • Overview of Modules
  • Module Adaption & Design Guidelines
  • Table of Exercises
  • Basic Terms
  • Forms of Gender Discrimination
  • Ethics of Care
  • Case Studies for Professional Ethics
  • Case Studies for Role Morality
  • Additional Exercises
  • Defining Organized Crime
  • Definition in Convention
  • Similarities & Differences
  • Activities, Organization, Composition
  • Thinking Critically Through Fiction
  • Excerpts of Legislation
  • Research & Independent Study Questions
  • Legal Definitions of Organized Crimes
  • Criminal Association
  • Definitions in the Organized Crime Convention
  • Criminal Organizations and Enterprise Laws
  • Enabling Offence: Obstruction of Justice
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Wildlife & Forest Crime
  • Counterfeit Products Trafficking
  • Falsified Medical Products
  • Trafficking in Cultural Property
  • Trafficking in Persons
  • Case Studies & Exercises
  • Extortion Racketeering
  • Loansharking
  • Links to Corruption
  • Bribery versus Extortion
  • Money-Laundering
  • Liability of Legal Persons
  • How much Organized Crime is there?
  • Alternative Ways for Measuring
  • Measuring Product Markets
  • Risk Assessment
  • Key Concepts of Risk Assessment
  • Risk Assessment of Organized Crime Groups
  • Risk Assessment of Product Markets
  • Risk Assessment in Practice
  • Positivism: Environmental Influences
  • Classical: Pain-Pleasure Decisions
  • Structural Factors
  • Ethical Perspective
  • Crime Causes & Facilitating Factors
  • Models and Structure
  • Hierarchical Model
  • Local, Cultural Model
  • Enterprise or Business Model
  • Groups vs Activities
  • Networked Structure
  • Jurisdiction
  • Investigators of Organized Crime
  • Controlled Deliveries
  • Physical & Electronic Surveillance
  • Undercover Operations
  • Financial Analysis
  • Use of Informants
  • Rights of Victims & Witnesses
  • Role of Prosecutors
  • Adversarial vs Inquisitorial Legal Systems
  • Mitigating Punishment
  • Granting Immunity from Prosecution
  • Witness Protection
  • Aggravating & Mitigating Factors
  • Sentencing Options
  • Alternatives to Imprisonment
  • Death Penalty & Organized Crime
  • Backgrounds of Convicted Offenders
  • Confiscation
  • Confiscation in Practice
  • Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA)
  • Extradition
  • Transfer of Criminal Proceedings
  • Transfer of Sentenced Persons
  • Module 12: Prevention of Organized Crime
  • Adoption of Organized Crime Convention
  • Historical Context
  • Features of the Convention
  • Related international instruments
  • Conference of the Parties
  • Roles of Participants
  • Structure and Flow
  • Recommended Topics
  • Background Materials
  • What is Sex / Gender / Intersectionality?
  • Knowledge about Gender in Organized Crime
  • Gender and Organized Crime
  • Gender and Different Types of Organized Crime
  • Definitions and Terminology
  • Organized crime and Terrorism - International Legal Framework
  • International Terrorism-related Conventions
  • UNSC Resolutions on Terrorism
  • Organized Crime Convention and its Protocols
  • Theoretical Frameworks on Linkages between Organized Crime and Terrorism
  • Typologies of Criminal Behaviour Associated with Terrorism
  • Terrorism and Drug Trafficking
  • Terrorism and Trafficking in Weapons
  • Terrorism, Crime and Trafficking in Cultural Property
  • Trafficking in Persons and Terrorism
  • Intellectual Property Crime and Terrorism
  • Kidnapping for Ransom and Terrorism
  • Exploitation of Natural Resources and Terrorism
  • Review and Assessment Questions
  • Research and Independent Study Questions
  • Criminalization of Smuggling of Migrants
  • UNTOC & the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants
  • Offences under the Protocol
  • Financial & Other Material Benefits
  • Aggravating Circumstances
  • Criminal Liability
  • Non-Criminalization of Smuggled Migrants
  • Scope of the Protocol
  • Humanitarian Exemption
  • Migrant Smuggling v. Irregular Migration
  • Migrant Smuggling vis-a-vis Other Crime Types
  • Other Resources
  • Assistance and Protection in the Protocol
  • International Human Rights and Refugee Law
  • Vulnerable groups
  • Positive and Negative Obligations of the State
  • Identification of Smuggled Migrants
  • Participation in Legal Proceedings
  • Role of Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Smuggled Migrants & Other Categories of Migrants
  • Short-, Mid- and Long-Term Measures
  • Criminal Justice Reponse: Scope
  • Investigative & Prosecutorial Approaches
  • Different Relevant Actors & Their Roles
  • Testimonial Evidence
  • Financial Investigations
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • ‘Outside the Box’ Methodologies
  • Intra- and Inter-Agency Coordination
  • Admissibility of Evidence
  • International Cooperation
  • Exchange of Information
  • Non-Criminal Law Relevant to Smuggling of Migrants
  • Administrative Approach
  • Complementary Activities & Role of Non-criminal Justice Actors
  • Macro-Perspective in Addressing Smuggling of Migrants
  • Human Security
  • International Aid and Cooperation
  • Migration & Migrant Smuggling
  • Mixed Migration Flows
  • Social Politics of Migrant Smuggling
  • Vulnerability
  • Profile of Smugglers
  • Role of Organized Criminal Groups
  • Humanitarianism, Security and Migrant Smuggling
  • Crime of Trafficking in Persons
  • The Issue of Consent
  • The Purpose of Exploitation
  • The abuse of a position of vulnerability
  • Indicators of Trafficking in Persons
  • Distinction between Trafficking in Persons and Other Crimes
  • Misconceptions Regarding Trafficking in Persons
  • Root Causes
  • Supply Side Prevention Strategies
  • Demand Side Prevention Strategies
  • Role of the Media
  • Safe Migration Channels
  • Crime Prevention Strategies
  • Monitoring, Evaluating & Reporting on Effectiveness of Prevention
  • Trafficked Persons as Victims
  • Protection under the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons
  • Broader International Framework
  • State Responsibility for Trafficking in Persons
  • Identification of Victims
  • Principle of Non-Criminalization of Victims
  • Criminal Justice Duties Imposed on States
  • Role of the Criminal Justice System
  • Current Low Levels of Prosecutions and Convictions
  • Challenges to an Effective Criminal Justice Response
  • Rights of Victims to Justice and Protection
  • Potential Strategies to “Turn the Tide”
  • State Cooperation with Civil Society
  • Civil Society Actors
  • The Private Sector
  • Comparing SOM and TIP
  • Differences and Commonalities
  • Vulnerability and Continuum between SOM & TIP
  • Labour Exploitation
  • Forced Marriage
  • Other Examples
  • Children on the Move
  • Protecting Smuggled and Trafficked Children
  • Protection in Practice
  • Children Alleged as Having Committed Smuggling or Trafficking Offences
  • Basic Terms - Gender and Gender Stereotypes
  • International Legal Frameworks and Definitions of TIP and SOM
  • Global Overview on TIP and SOM
  • Gender and Migration
  • Key Debates in the Scholarship on TIP and SOM
  • Gender and TIP and SOM Offenders
  • Responses to TIP and SOM
  • Use of Technology to Facilitate TIP and SOM
  • Technology Facilitating Trafficking in Persons
  • Technology in Smuggling of Migrants
  • Using Technology to Prevent and Combat TIP and SOM
  • Privacy and Data Concerns
  • Emerging Trends
  • Demand and Consumption
  • Supply and Demand
  • Implications of Wildlife Trafficking
  • Legal and Illegal Markets
  • Perpetrators and their Networks
  • Locations and Activities relating to Wildlife Trafficking
  • Environmental Protection & Conservation
  • CITES & the International Trade in Endangered Species
  • Organized Crime & Corruption
  • Animal Welfare
  • Criminal Justice Actors and Agencies
  • Criminalization of Wildlife Trafficking
  • Challenges for Law Enforcement
  • Investigation Measures and Detection Methods
  • Prosecution and Judiciary
  • Wild Flora as the Target of Illegal Trafficking
  • Purposes for which Wild Flora is Illegally Targeted
  • How is it Done and Who is Involved?
  • Consequences of Harms to Wild Flora
  • Terminology
  • Background: Communities and conservation: A history of disenfranchisement
  • Incentives for communities to get involved in illegal wildlife trafficking: the cost of conservation
  • Incentives to participate in illegal wildlife, logging and fishing economies
  • International and regional responses that fight wildlife trafficking while supporting IPLCs
  • Mechanisms for incentivizing community conservation and reducing wildlife trafficking
  • Critiques of community engagement
  • Other challenges posed by wildlife trafficking that affect local populations
  • Global Podcast Series
  • Apr. 2021: Call for Expressions of Interest: Online training for academics from francophone Africa
  • Feb. 2021: Series of Seminars for Universities of Central Asia
  • Dec. 2020: UNODC and TISS Conference on Access to Justice to End Violence
  • Nov. 2020: Expert Workshop for University Lecturers and Trainers from the Commonwealth of Independent States
  • Oct. 2020: E4J Webinar Series: Youth Empowerment through Education for Justice
  • Interview: How to use E4J's tool in teaching on TIP and SOM
  • E4J-Open University Online Training-of-Trainers Course
  • Teaching Integrity and Ethics Modules: Survey Results
  • Grants Programmes
  • E4J MUN Resource Guide
  • Library of Resources
  • Integrity & Ethics
  • Module 12: Integrity, Ethics & Law
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University Module Series: Integrity & Ethics

Module 12: integrity, ethics and law.

business ethics case studies high school

  This module is a resource for lecturers  

Case studies.

Choose one or more of the following case studies and lead a discussion which allows students to address and debate issues of integrity, ethics and law. If time allows, let the students vote on which case studies they want to discuss.

For lecturers teaching large classes, case studies with multiple parts and different methods of solution lend themselves well to the group size and energy in such an environment. Lecturers can begin by having students vote on which case study they prefer. Lecturers could break down analysis of the chosen case study into steps which appear to students in sequential order, thereby ensuring that larger groups stay on track. Lecturers may instruct students to discuss questions in a small group without moving from their seat, and nominate one person to speak for the group if called upon. There is no need to provide excessive amounts of time for group discussion, as ideas can be developed further with the class as a whole. Lecturers can vary the group they call upon to encourage responsive participation.

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Supported by the state of qatar, 60 years crime congress.


2016 Michigan High School Ethics Bowl Case Studies

The amazing schools and student teams in the 2016 Michigan High School Ethics Bowl have the opportunity to advance the dialogue on a range of complex and important ethical issues presented in this year's cases.

A distinguishing feature of the Michigan Bowl is that many of the case studies are contributed by people from different fields whose work regularly involves ethical dilemmas. In 2016,  eight of the twelve cases are written by community members, all of whom are working in Michigan or have a long-standing Michigan affiliation. Among the topics: environmental decision-making, workplace predicaments, medical dilemmas and personal relationship quandaries.

As always, each case is accompanied by some study questions to fire up the neurons and jumpstart discussions. And don't forget to take a look at the author bios and the helpful links highlighting their current work and interests. You may share some interests with the case writers.    

So...here they are...the Class of 2016 Case Studies.  

Case 1: The Wink

You’ve been looking forward to this party. It’s going to be a good time to let loose and forget the stresses of the week.

You arrive a little after eight and see your friend Mia, who is talking with some people you haven’t met before. You’ve known Mia since middle school.  You also know she never misses a party and enjoys having a good time. But then again, you enjoy a good time too.

You begin to mingle. And soon find this party has a limitless supply of alcohol and drugs. You have one beer and join in the dancing. You see that Mia has moved on; she is talking to a young man. You know he is an athlete at your school, but you can’t remember which sport. Mia seems to be enjoying herself as she puts down a cup that he immediately refills.

A stranger next to you comments: “There he goes again. If he gives her the right stuff to drink, he’s sure to get lucky!” You turn to see that the stranger is one of the athlete’s friends. He gives you a wink and walks away.

An hour later, you notice Mia again. This time she is sitting on the couch and doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself.. She looks as though she isn’t feeling well or has had a little too much to drink. You watch her as the same man helps Mia up from the couch and begins guiding her up the stairs. She doesn’t seem to be resisting, but then again, she doesn’t seem to be standing on her own two feet. You think to yourself that either he is taking her upstairs to lie down or Mia is playing helpless to be alone with him.

You decide it isn’t your business and rejoin the party. The next day, Facebook is abuzz with Mia’s accusations that she was raped last night.

Study questions:

1. What kind of relationship do you have with Mia? How does this relationship bear on your ethical responsibilities to her?

2. When you are uncertain of the consequences your actions will bring about, how should they affect the conclusions you draw? For instance, if you think there is a 75% chance Mia is safe and a 25% chance she is in danger, what should you do?

3. Does the fact that alcohol may have impaired your judgment make you more or less blameworthy for your failure to look out for Mia than you would have been if you were sober?

4. You mistakenly believed that Mia was safe when she was led up the stairs. To what extent does your ignorance excuse you from blame for the consequences of your failure to act?

Author :   Amos N. Guiora is currently professor of law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. He is a Research Associate/Fellow at several centers: the University of Oxford, Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict ; the International Institute on Counter-Terrorism,  The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzylia, Israel ; and the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research , University of Utrecht School of Law. Amos has written several books on issues related to national security, limits of interrogation, religion and terrorism, multiculturalism and human rights.  He is currently writing a book on the legal issues involving bystanders.  Amos hails from Ann Arbor and returns in the fall of each year to attend all University of Michigan football games at the Big House.  

Case 2: The Nudge

Steve is in charge of employee wellness at his company. The flu vaccination policy at his company is an “opt-in”: employees are required to schedule their own appointment to receive a flu vaccine. Knowing that people have a tendency to stick with default options and choices, Steve changes the company flu vaccination policy to require employees to “opt-out.” Employees now receive an email from the occupational health department informing them about when and where their vaccination is scheduled. They have the option of calling to cancel or rescheduling their appointment. After implementing the new opt-out policy, Steve finds out that employee vaccination rates have gone from 30% last year to 45% this year.

Steve’s decision to change the flu vaccination policy is an example of “nudging.” Nudging is typically a reference to evidence-based insights, usually from the behavioral sciences, about how people make decisions. The nudge insight is used to design how a given choice is presented in a policy to make certain choices or behavior more likely. Steve used the evidence for “the status quo bias” to try to make it more likely that employees would get their annual flu vaccinations.

Nudges can be used in different contexts. Examples include: changing product placements to influence purchasing decisions; making retirement savings opt-out rather than opt-in to increase them; and etching the image of a housefly onto urinals to improve sanitation by improving “the aim” of men using the restroom. Nudging has been used by a variety of organizations, including businesses and nonprofits as well as the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Nudging can be motivated by any number of reasons: a government might use it to increase the number of organ donors, while businesses might use nudging to increase sales and profits.

Proponents argue that nudges are relatively nonintrusive, keeping a person’s ability to freely make a decision intact. Opponents, however, argue that nudges usually work because they are intrusive in some way. An example of an intrusive nudge often cited by opponents is “Toxic Release Inventories,” used to reduce polluting by companies. Such Inventories are government-mandated public records of what hazardous chemicals a company is storing or releasing into the environment. For nudging advocates, the government simply requires companies to publish Toxic Release Inventories, and as a result is relatively nonintrusive. Opponents counter that this nudge only works because the media and environmental groups use these reports to create “environmental blacklists” to put intense public pressure on a blacklisted company to reduce their pollution, making this nudge quite intrusive.   

1. Was it ethical for Steve to change the flu vaccination policy from opt-in to opt-out? Explain why or why not.

2. Does nudging wrongfully violate individuals’ autonomy? Explain how it does or does not.

3. Under what conditions is it appropriate to use nudging? Under what conditions is it inappropriate? Does who is doing the nudging (e.g., government, business, or nonprofit) affect whether nudging is appropriate or not? Give justifications for your responses.

4. Does nudging have to be intentional, or does anyone who creates a decision context (e.g., Steve’s flu vaccination policy) become a “nudger” whether they mean to or not? Justify your response.

Author :   Aaron Scherer, PhD , earned his PhD in Psychology from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan. Aaron is a social psychologist who utilizes a variety of methodologies to study the antecedents and consequences of biased beliefs, focusing on beliefs related to health and politics. He has published on a variety of topics among them: political stereotypes about psychological differences between conservatives and liberals; the use of metaphors to influence vaccination intentions; and confirmatory information seeking  following arbitrary decisions. Every once in a while, Aaron tries to be cool and post about politics, medicine or research on Twitter . 

Case 3: Transgender Health Coverage and Medicaid

Transgender people self-identify with a gender different from the one society assigns to them at birth. For example, a transgender person might self-identify as male despite having been raised female. Cisgender people, in contrast, self-identify with the same gender society assigns to them at birth. Some transgender people suffer greatly from the discontinuity between their gender identity and their physical features. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , Fifth Edition (2013) refers to this condition as “gender dysphoria.” Treatments include surgery and hormone therapies, which may help a transgender person’s outward appearance to match their internal identity.

New York State recently added coverage for transgender care under Medicare and Medicaid.1  The coverage includes psychological counseling and hormone therapy as well as some surgical procedures. However, the limits of this coverage are uncertain; for example, it is unclear if procedures such as breast augmentation and hair removal are covered.

Proponents of this change consider it a major victory for transgender inclusion, enabling especially vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community to access services that they would otherwise be unable to afford. Moreover, proponents hope that providing treatment will help transgender people feel less distress, thereby reducing the unusually high rate of suicide attempts in this community.2

Those who oppose this change argue that these procedures, like other cosmetic procedures, are all elective, and should not be paid for with tax dollars.3 For example, cisgender women may experience relief after undergoing breast augmentation, but this procedure is not covered by Medicaid. Moreover, including transgender care will raise the cost for Medicaid in NY by an estimated $6,737,000.4  Instead of expanding coverage for these procedures, opponents argue that the state should use scarce medical resources to treat more serious medical problems and diseases.

1  http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-proposed-regula...

2 http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/28/local/la-me-ln-suicide-attempts-...

3 http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/12/8558382/insurers-ra...

4   https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/recently_adopted/docs/2015-03-11_t...

1. Should gender dysphoria be considered a psychological problem or a physical problem? Does your answer to this question change your views on the medical treatment it requires?

2. Is there a morally relevant difference between a cisgender and a transgender woman’s desires to have breast augmentation? What if both desire the procedure in order to better conform to society’s (problematic) expectations surrounding women’s physical appearance?

3. Which kinds of medical treatment should be paid for using tax dollars? Should only life-saving treatments be included, or should we also include treatments that merely enhance people’s wellbeing?

Authors: Written by the 2015-2016 National High School Ethics Bowl Regional Case Set Committee Members .

Case 4: Paying A Ransom to Save Your Family

In 2014, ISIS posted a video of its adherents beheading James Foley, a captured American journalist. Although the United States attempted to rescue Foley and others, it maintains a strict policy of not paying ransoms for hostages.1 One of the main arguments supporting this policy is that paying ransom not only incentivizes the taking of hostages, but also funds future heinous acts undertaken by the hostage-takers. An argument against this policy is that it fails to respect the value of innocent lives taken by groups like ISIS.

Recently, it was revealed that the American government not only refuses to pay ransoms for hostages, but also legally threatens those who might try to do so, including the Foley family.2 The rationale for this policy is that, if private citizens paid ransoms, then they would bring about many of the same harms as public officials, albeit to a lesser degree. However, not everybody is in favor of applying this policy to public officials and private citizens alike. For example, Diane Foley said, “I was surprised there was so little compassion.” According to Michael Foley, this policy hampered the Foley family’s efforts to save James. “It slowed my parents down quite a bit. They didn’t want to do anything that could get them in trouble. It slowed them down for months in raising money. Who knows what might have happened?” In other words, some argue, even if the U.S. government has a policy against paying ransom for hostages, this restriction should not apply to private individuals.

More recently, the government announced that it will not threaten to prosecute families who try to pay ransoms for family members who are taken hostage.3 As President Obama said, “These families have suffered enough, and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government.”4

1 https://news.yahoo.com/officials-us-rescue-mission-syria-failed-22315793...

2 http://abcnews.go.com/International/government-threatened-foley-family-r...

3 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/06/23/u-s-gove... could-face-criminal-prosecution-for-paying-ransom/

4 http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/24/417160008/u-s-clarifie...

1. Is it morally justifiable for the government to refuse to pay ransoms when doing so would save the lives of hostages?

2. Assuming it has a policy against paying ransoms for hostages, is it morally justifiable for the government to enforce this policy on its own citizens when they try to pay ransoms?

3. Does the fact that ransom payments will likely contribute to further violence by hostage-takers make it morally impermissible for families to pay for the release of family members taken hostage? Why or why not?

4. If a public official or private citizen were confident that he or she could pay a ransom secretly, so that the money would secretly but not openly support violence by hostage-takers, would that change your view about the morality of paying the ransom? Justify your answer.

Authors: Written by the 2015-2016 National High School Ethics Bowl Regional Case Set Committee Members .

Case 5: Lolita the Lonely Whale

On August 8, 1970, a capture team outfitted with speedboats and rifles drove more than 80 Southern Resident killer whales into Penn Cove, located in Washington State’s Puget Sound. Seven young orcas were separated from the group, netted, and removed from the ocean. The team’s leaders — Ted Griffin and Don Goldsberry — eventually sold the orcas into the billion-dollar marine park industry. An additional four juveniles and one female adult orca died during the struggle. Griffin and Goldsberry attempted to cover up the deaths by weighing down and sinking the bodies, but they eventually washed up on shore. The public outcry regarding the incident led to a law banning the capture of marine wildlife in Puget Sound.

Lolita is the only surviving orca taken from Puget Sound. She has spent over three decades performing, seven days a week, at Miami Seaquarium. Her home is about the size of a hotel swimming pool, which prevents her from engaging in many normal activities such as hunting for food, swimming 75-100 miles per day, using sonar, and living in community with other orcas. Lolita originally had another Southern Resident killer whale named Hugo as a tank mate, but Hugo died of an aneurysm in 1980. Lolita’s isolation has led many to call her “the loneliest orca on the planet.” Indeed, her tank does not meet USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service requirements stipulated by law. The Seaquarium has been promising to build a new tank since 1979.

A global coalition of activists, including marine biologists, has long advocated for Lolita’s retirement and release back into Puget Sound, where she can rejoin her family. Killer whales have extremely strong family bonds. Offspring stay with their mothers for life. It is likely, although not guaranteed, that Lolita’s family would allow her to rejoin the group. The Washington State-based Center for Whale Research has developed a plan that would prepare Lolita to return to the wild. She would spend time in a protected, netted-off cove in Puget Sound while being taught how to hunt for food, experiencing the rhythms of the sea, and listening to the vocalizations of her family. Orcas are actually large dolphins, and many captive dolphins have been successfully released back into the wild.

Seaquarium staff say that Lolita is happy and healthy and believe that releasing her back into the ocean would be cruel. They caution that she may encounter the same fate as Keiko, the orca who starred in the movie "Free Willy." Keiko was reportedly rejected by other wild killer whales, although he was never able to reunite with his biological family. Seaquarium subsequently filed a permit to re-capture Keiko, allegedly for breeding purposes with Lolita. Keiko died of pneumonia about a year after his release.

1. Should Lolita be released back to the wild? Does the fact that we cannot be certain she will be accepted by her family affect your judgment about this?

2. Is it ethical for humans to capture wild animals for the purpose of making money? Is there an ethical difference between capturing wild animals and raising animals in captivity?

3. Some people claim that theme parks like Seaquarium and SeaWorld are good because they educate the public about wildlife. Do you find this argument convincing?

Author: Mary Hubl lives in Ann Arbor. She telecommutes from her home office to Omaha, Nebraska-based company Vic Gutman & Associates , where Mary is vice president, nonprofit services . She assists nonprofit organizations with grant writing and developing/implementing fundraising programs. Mary has a BA in French and international relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in international politics and economics and modern European history from George Washington University. She also enjoys yoga, reading, traveling and competing in triathlons, as well as spending time with her two teenage sons and husband. Mary is a passionate animal advocate and volunteers as a cat comforter at the Humane Society of Huron Valley .

Case 6: Visiting Mr. X

Mr. X is a 75-year-old white male with lung cancer that has spread to his bones and spine.  He is living in his own home and his wife of 50 years is trying to provide care for him. Because he is expected to die within six months, he has begun to receive hospice care. The hospice team — which includes a nurse, a social worker, a chaplain,  and a hospice aide — have all met him and are working to try to keep him as comfortable as possible.  He is a man of few words and has very little to say to the nurse or social worker, and he has told the chaplain that he really doesn’t need any spiritual help.

The hospice aide on the team is assigned to visit Mr. X three times per week to assist him with showering. When the aide first arrives, Mr. X is rude and uncooperative. After the aide leaves, the supervisor receives a call from Mr. X’s wife. She requests a different aide for future home visits, as it seems to Mr. X and his wife that the aide does not understand their needs. The supervisor listens, agreeing to make a change; sometimes, personalities clash and an arrangement just isn’t a good fit.

The second aide makes a visit. Again the patient is very rude, this time directing racial slurs toward the aide.  This aide completes her work and goes home. She dreads the next visit, but decides not to say anything to her supervisor. Two days later, the aide finds Mr. X even more vocal. He asks her why the agency is sending such horrible people to care for him, and he continues to use racial slurs and other inappropriate language.

After this visit, the aide calls her supervisor and explains the situation from her perspective.  At almost the same time, Mr. X’s wife calls and again requests a different aide.  The supervisor asks why they are making this request. The wife repeatedly says that the aides sent so far did not seem to understand her husband.

Both aides assigned to the home of Mr. X are African-American.  The supervisor suspects, especially after hearing from the second aide, that the patient is racist. Through further investigation, the supervisor finds that Mr. X had used the same language with his first aide, but the aide was afraid that if she complained, she might lose her job.

The supervisor does not want to condone such abusive behavior toward staff, but she also does not want to change aide assignments because of race.  She is also concerned that such behavior may be tolerated because of fears over job security.

1. What is the appropriate thing for the supervisor to do?

2. How tolerant should healthcare workers be of patients’ disrespectful or offensive speech or behavior? Does the fact that a patient is elderly or dying make a difference here?

3. Suppose Mr. X is in fact racist. Would it be ethical to assign a white aide to him for this reason?

Author: Teri Turner, RN, MS, CHPN is currently Director of Clinical Services at Arbor Hospice . She has been involved in the specialty of hospice care for 23 years. Teri has wide-ranging experience in international health care and a special interest in the impact of culture on health. After graduating from the University of Michigan with an MS in Health Services Administration , she accepted a post in the Middle East and worked there for almost a decade. She routinely serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Schools of Social Work and Public Health; as a presenter at clinical and volunteer service conferences for the Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Association ; and as an invited speaker to international hospice seminars, most recently in Yokohama, Japan. She has also been a member of Ethics Committees, including St. Joseph Mercy Hospital as well as Arbor Hospice. Along with her colleagues from Arbor Hospice, Teri has been an early supporter of A2Ethics initiatives, among them the annual Big Ethical Question Slam , in which the Arbor Hospice Ethics team has appeared four times. In 2015, Arbor Hospice Ethics won the Slam, going on to represent the United States in the first (and probably only) International Big Ethical Question Slam-Off with the champion Slammers from Winnipeg, Canada.  

Case 7: In Confidence

Danilo has been unhappy in his current job. He feels that advancement opportunities are very limited and, if they exist at all, will be too far in the future. Over the past year, he has thought very hard about alternatives. Three months ago, Danilo made the decision to actively look for better opportunities, though he has kept this secret from his employer. In the meantime, he has continued to perform well in his current position.

Danilo’s manager, Cindy, thinks highly of Danilo and believes he has great potential to develop as a colleague and future manager. Both to recognize Danilo’s potential and to enrich his skills, Cindy signs him up for an out-of-town, weeklong seminar at substantial cost to the company.

Danilo has had several interviews with a high-performing company for a position that closely fits with his career aspirations.  A recent phone discussion with this company indicated a very strong interest in hiring Danilo. While no formal offer has yet been made, based upon this conversation he is highly confident that a formal offer will be extended within the next 48 hours. However, the details of the offer are unknown.

The seminar is in two days. Travel, lodging and some meals are all part of the cost of sending Danilo to the seminar. Theoretically, another colleague could be sent in Danilo’s place, and such a colleague would be available. While the cost of the seminar is non-refundable, there is still time to cancel the plane tickets and lodging arrangements. Danilo is trying to decide whether to confide in Cindy so that other arrangements can be made.

Study Questions:

1. Should Danilo tell Cindy about his other job prospects? Does the fact that he isn’t sure he will be offered the new job — and that he isn’t sure how Cindy would respond to the news — ethically relevant here?

2. If Danilo does tell Cindy about his new job prospects, how should Cindy respond?

3. Is it ethical for employers to treat their employees differently because they know they are looking for other jobs? Is it ethical for employees to look for other jobs without informing their current employers? How do these two questions relate to one another?

Author: Michael L. Michon is the Plymouth District President of the Bank of Ann Arbor . He has worked in the banking industry for thirty-three years. He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Michigan . His MBA is from Central Michigan University. Mike enjoys hiking and golf. 

Case 8: Superior Knowledge

Manifex Saltmarsh is a dealer in used books and has been for many years, affording him an expertise in his field that his customers often lack. Unlike some of his competitors, he usually tries to be fair in his dealings with people who bring him their books to sell. As a businessman, however, he is often forced to disappoint them. Most people believe that their books are more valuable than they are, and he cannot pay them the retail price and hope to make a profit for himself. Sometimes, however, customers underestimate the value of what they are selling.

One day an elderly widow appeared at Saltmarsh Rare and Unusual Books with several boxes of books. The books had belonged to her husband, who had died several years earlier. The majority of his books had been donated to the university library or sold at a yard sale. The widow was a longtime customer and, after a cursory examination showed the books to be unremarkable, Saltmarsh accepted them in trade for a copy of The Joy of Cooking . He did this mostly as a way to help the widow rid herself of the last of her husband’s collection rather than from any hope of material gain.

That night, however, as he readied the volumes for sale on his dollar cart, one of them caught his eye. As he priced a battered copy of The New York Times Guide to the Bars of Moscow , he dimly remember having read something about this title some time ago. Hours later, he finally found a reference in Bookman’s Digest to an embarrassing misprint in the first edition that caused the touchy Times publisher to destroy most of the first printing. As a result, the few copies that survived were immensely valuable.

With trembling hands, Saltmarsh examined page 407, realizing that there was little chance that his copy was one of the valuable ones. But there it was: a reference to a cartoon character painted on the wall of a Russian speakeasy as “Porky the Pig” rather than “Porky Pig.” The value of the book had been conservatively estimated in Bookman’s Digest at several million dollars and would no doubt have increased greatly over time.

The widow of the philosophy professor was a wealthy woman, having collected a tidy sum in insurance and a legal settlement when her husband died. Saltmarsh, however, was practically destitute and in danger of losing his business. Selling the book would allow him to keep the bookstore open and would make him financially secure for the rest of his life.

1. Is it ethical for Saltmarsh to keep all the proceeds from the sale of the book, or should he share with the widow?  Does the fact that Saltmarsh needs the money more than the widow make a difference here?

2. Would it have been ethical for Saltmarsh to make the trade if he had known the value of the book at the time of the transaction? Does the fact that Saltmarsh needs the money more than the widow make a difference here?

3. Do buyers with superior knowledge have an ethical obligation to share that knowledge with sellers when doing so is not in the buyers’ financial interest?

Author: Jamie Agnew is the co-owner, with his wife Robin, of the award -winning Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop in Ann Arbor. Jamie and Robin are also strong supporters and contributors to the popular annual Kerrytown Bookfest . 

Case 9: The Modern Debtors’ Prison

In colonial times, people who were unable to pay court-ordered fines went to debtors’ prison. In 1833, a federal law ended the practice of jailing people who failed to pay off debts. Recently, the term “debtors’ prison” has resurfaced, referring to the punishment for people, often from underprivileged backgrounds, who are arrested and jailed for failure to pay their legal fees after being convicted of a crime; who have unpaid fines and fees for traffic violations and other low-level offenses; or who fall behind on payments.1

Civil rights activists claim that these people are being “locked up for being poor.” They say that impoverished people face harsher treatment than others who commit the same crimes but can afford to pay. In addition, defendants and offenders are charged for many government services that were once free, including those that are constitutionally required.2  For example, defendants can be charged for using a public defender, for room and board while imprisoned, for probation and parole supervision, and for the electronic monitoring devices they are forced to wear. Some courts charge extra fees such as penalties for missed payments, which can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Although there are sometimes alternatives to paying fines, like community service or limited jail time, even these alternatives can cost up to $500.

Alexes Harris, a sociologist at the University of Washington, says the people mostly likely to face arrest and go through the courts “tend to be people of color, African-Americans and Latinos, they tend to be high school dropouts, they tend to be people with mental illness, with substance abuse. So these are already very poor and marginalized people in our society.”3  When people miss payments, they violate the terms of their probation. Penalties can include losing their driver’s licenses, food stamps, housing, or the right to vote, imposing a new set of hardships. People who need to drive to their jobs, for example, risk getting stopped for driving without a license, going back to jail, and getting slammed with more fines. Those who don’t risk driving without a license find it harder to get to their jobs or public assistance programs.

Some communities argue that the collected fees and fines pay for public services for disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, some argue that no one should break the law in the first place–especially those who cannot pay the fines. Others claim that all those who break the law should be treated equally, and that penalties should be imposed regardless of financial status. It would be unfair to let some criminals get away with their behavior while others are punished. The system of imposing fines and penalties can also be viewed as a deterrent, meaning that it discourages people from committing crimes in the future.

1 https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/deb...

2 http://www.npr.org/2014/05/19/312158516/increasing-court-fees-punish-the...

3 http://www.npr.org/2014/05/19/312158516/increasing-court-fees-punish-the...

1. What are the circumstances, if any, under which it would be morally permissible to put people in jail for failing to pay their debts?

2. The case states that people imprisoned for failing to pay these sorts of fees tend to be undereducated minorities who are sometimes mentally ill. Do these factors influence whether it is morally acceptable to imprison people for failing to pay these sorts of fees? Explain your reasoning.

3. How should we balance considerations that justify imposing fines with concerns about the unjust treatment of poor and marginalized people?

Authors: Written by the 2015-2016 National High School Ethics Bowl Regional Case Set Committee Members .

Case 10: Earning Real Paper

Until last year, you were a math teacher at a Michigan public school. Because of budget cuts, you were laid off. You took a job at a “virtual school,” resulting in a fifty percent pay cut. Your new position also requires spending two hours each weeknight online in case a student needs to reach you.

You often find it difficult to connect with students, but you have formed a relationship with Luis. Luis is a friendly student who emails you often. He struggles with math, and he has shared his frustrations about how his older sister gets excellent math grades at her traditional public school. He also has divulged some of his frustrations with his home life, hinting that his father is in jail and his mother a drug abuser.

Eager to connect with students, you always reply to his emails, offering advice and friendly encouragement. You also accept his Facebook friend request. Luis gives you his number and the two of you text, mostly about math homework.

In October, you give an assessment designed to measure student progress. Luis performs very poorly. The next day is the chapter test. To your surprise, Luis scores 100%. Over the next two weeks, Luis’ grades are all above 95%.  Around the same time, Luis posts an odd Facebook status, saying “school is for punks” and he is “earning real paper.”

Luis’ grades continue to be in the “A” range. He has stopped emailing you. You believe his sister is taking his tests for him. From some Facebook posts, you suspect that he is involved in a gang and that his mother has disappeared from the home.

1. What is your responsibility to Luis? Do you try to contact his home? Do you contact your supervisor? Protective Services? The police?

2. Should teachers engage with their students on social media? Is it ever appropriate for a teacher to text or become Facebook friends with students?

3. What is your duty to your school? Is it up to you to prove that enrolled students are turning in their own work rather than getting other people to do the work for them?

4. How might a large pay cut affect a person’s sense of professional obligation? Should this consideration be taken into account when employers are deciding whether to save money by cutting wages?

Author: Patti Smith is a former lawyer and a special education teacher. She has been a public speaker her whole adult life--in debate, in moot court, as a storyteller and has recently begun dabbling in improv. Last year, Patti's first (and hopefully not last) book was published by Arcadia Publishers, Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor. She has also finished a young adult series about three kids who live in Detroit. Patti is on the board of A2Geeks , writes for Concentrate and Mittenbrew, works with the People's Food Co-op , and volunteers with 826Michigan . Patti lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and their cats. Recently, she finished a young adult book series about three kids who live in Detroit. 

Case 11: The Gold King Mine Disaster

Legal authority and responsibility for managing environmental hazards lies with the Environmental Protection Agency. Beginning in the 1990s, the EPA sought to address the toxic leaking of water contaminated with heavy metals from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. The contaminated water was flowing into the Animas River, putting the health of humans and wildlife at risk. The EPA suggested naming the mine a site of the EPA’s Superfund program, which funds long-term projects to address environmental hazards that local communities and corporations cannot handle on their own.1

The community around the river refused the Superfund designation because the local economy is based on outdoor recreation tourism, and they did not want to discourage visitors and mine developers. However, since toxins were continuing to leak and had already killed all the fish in a tributary of the Animas, the EPA decided to address the issue without the additional funding and authority provided by a Superfund designation.

The EPA hired a professional group specializing in mine cleanup to assess the site, including the clay dam plug holding back water contaminated with metal tailings from the mine. Given the poor condition of the dam, one of the recommendations from this assessment was to build a retention pond to capture any tailings in case the dam were to break. Because the mine was not a Superfund site, the EPA asked the State of Colorado to fund this construction. However, the funding was not approved.

As a result, on August 5, 2015, the dam burst, releasing three million gallons of contaminated water.2 A dramatic orange plume laced with arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals made its way down the Animas River into the San Juan River and eventually into Lake Powell, part of the Colorado River system. Local residents, recreation seekers, ranchers, and businesses were told to avoid touching, drinking, or using the water until weeks later, when testing showed the dangerous chemicals had dissipated. Bottled water had to be trucked in. Businesses closed temporarily or permanently. There is now concern that contaminated sediment settled at the bottom of the Animas River may cause long-term health problems for fish, other wildlife, and the people who depend on it for drinking water. The EPA has accepted responsibility for this incident.

In addition to the clay plug in the Gold King Mine, there are several other plugged mines in the same mountain or the same water system that are considered likely to burst at some point in the future. There are 22,000 abandoned mines in Colorado and over 500,000 nationwide. Not all are immediate public health and environmental threats, but it is unclear how many and how significant the threats are.

1  http://www.epa.gov/superfund/about.htm

2 http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/08/11/officials-downstream-f...

1. Was it morally permissible for community members to lobby against Superfund status, delaying efforts to stop the leakage of contaminated water from the Gold King Mine?

2. Should the EPA have gone ahead in establishing the Gold King Mine as a Superfund site twenty years ago in spite of the local community’s lack of support?

3. Should the EPA require local approval for Superfund designations when the environmental and public health impact of the hazard reaches far beyond the local community (i.e. downstream)?

Author: Inger Schultz is a writer with a background in chemical and environmental engineering. She has worked in the corporate world and has served as a consultant in the field of public water supply systems. Inger has a longstanding concern for preserving access to clean water. She has also been an early advocate for environmental education. In her role as development officer, she helped raise monies for the University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum's Reader Urban Environmental Education Center . Further, she co-founded the popular Shakespeare in the Arb  theatre program and the Youth Strings Ensembles at the Community Music School of Ann Arbor . Her interest in the arts extends to her work in fundraising for the  Arthur Miller Theatre at the U-M School for Music, Theater and Dance . 

Case 12: Selecting for Deafness

Andre and Leslie want to have a child. They decide to use a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In a 2006 story, the New York Times explained PGD as a process in which “embryos are created in a test tube and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman’s uterus. In this manner, embryos destined to have, for example, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease can be excluded, and only healthy embryos implanted.”1 Andre and Leslie, however, wish to use PGD to select for a disability: Andre and Leslie are deaf and want to have a child who will grow up immersed in Deaf culture, who understands the experience of Deafness, and who communicates using sign language.

Some of their friends strongly object to their plan but find it hard to explain exactly what is wrong with selecting for deafness. Others argue that Andre and Leslie are compromising their child’s future by trying to engineer their deafness and that knowingly and willingly bringing someone into the world under these conditions is wrong. But Andre and Leslie respond that no child is born with a perfect future, and yet very few people think that having children is wrong in general. Many children are born into families whose circumstances are challenging and in which opportunities may be limited, yet few would claim that these parents acted immorally by having children.

In fact, Andre and Leslie argue that their child would have a better life if born deaf because they would be in a better position to parent this child, and because the family would experience the world in similar ways. Andre and Leslie also explain that they are not harming anyone by creating a deaf child. After all, since they are choosing which of several frozen embryos to bring to term, a different person will come into existence depending on which choice they make. How could they be harming their deaf child when the alternative is that the embryo remains frozen and the child is never born at all?

1 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/health/05essa.html?_r=0  

1. Can we harm or benefit a child by bringing him or her into existence? Why or why not?

2. If parents have the power to decide which of two people will come into existence, and if they know that one of these people will have a better life than the other, do they have a moral obligation to choose the person who will have a better life? Why or why not?

3. What is the relationship between disability and wellbeing? All else equal, is it better to be born without a disability than with one? Why or why not? How do we define which traits count as disabilities?

4. In the case above, the parents are selecting an embryo with naturally occurring deafness. Compare the ethics of this situation with the ethics of a situation where parents want to make non-deaf embryo deaf.

Business Case Studies: Sources for Free Case Studies

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Introduction to Business Case Studies

Free case studies, these sites provide free access to business case studies..

Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business - Arthur Andersen Case Studies in Business Ethics

During the period 1987-94 Arthur Andersen funded a $5 million joint project with  525 universities  to raise  awareness of ethical issues in business.  This collection of 90 case studies is one product of that effort.

All  participating universities , including Carnegie Mellon, have license to use these materials and reproduce them as needed for instructional purposes. 

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The Case Centre Most Popular Free Cases  

As part of The Case Centre's commitment to promoting the case method and supporting case teachers, we offer a growing range of free cases produced by a number of prominent schools and organisations across the globe. 

McCombs School of Business - Ethics Unwrapped

More than 50 case studies match ethics concepts to real world situations. From journalism to performing arts to foreign policy to scientific research to social work, these cases explore a range of current and historic ethical dilemmas, their motivating biases, and their consequences.

Each case includes discussion questions, related videos, and a bibliography for further reading.

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MIT Sloan School of Management Open Case Studies Database  

The teaching business case studies available here are narratives that facilitate class discussion about a particular business or management issue. Teaching cases are meant to spur debate among students rather than promote a particular point of view or steer students in a specific direction.  Some of the case studies in this collection highlight the decision-making process in a business or management setting. Other cases are descriptive or demonstrative in nature, showcasing something that has happened or is happening in a particular business or management environment.

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Yale School of Management Free Case Studies      

At the Yale School of Management cases come in two “flavors”: cooked and raw. Cooked cases are the traditional paper-based cases (transmitted in the form of a .pdf), consisting of about 2,500 to 7,000 words of text and variety of exhibits at the end of the case. Raw cases are online cases. In addition to text, raw cases present information in a variety of formats – reports, articles, interviews, videos, photographs, original documents, and links to other websites.

Article for Faculty: Simulations vs. Case Studies

  • Simulations Versus Case Studies: Efectively Teaching the Premises of Sustainable Development in the Classroom Prado, A. M., Arce, R., Lopez, L. E., García, J., & Pearson, A. A. (2020). Simulations Versus Case Studies: Effectively Teaching the Premises of Sustainable Development in the Classroom. Journal of Business Ethics, 161(2), 303–327. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04217-5 Over the past decade, business schools have participated in a pivotal discussion on how to integrate sustainable development into their curricula. Scholarly research, as well as current social and environmental challenges, support the need to incorporate sustainable development in management training.

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Business Ethics Case Studies Samples For Students

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Part A 1a. Sims, R. (2002). Teaching business ethics for effective learning (1st ed.). Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books.

1b. Reflection through Debriefing in Teaching Business Ethics

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There are set of standards and policies that guide how people behave in the places of work. These form workplace or business ethics. The ethical viewpoints include utilitarian view, deontology ethics, virtue ethics and intuitionism. From the case in accounting department, there are various considerations in the analysis of the case. This paper looks at the viewpoints mentioned and analyze them in relation to the case where Mr. Jones is reported to be developing a workplace relationship with Ms. Smith.

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Major Issues faced by the Ethical Steering Committee The major issues faced by the ethics steering committee were as follows: Fear of RetributionFear of retribution existed among employees, which inhibited employees from sharing their ethical concerns with the management . Measuring Effectiveness of Ethics Programs It was challenging to measure the effectiveness of ethics programs for organizations . Recommendations for Ethical Steering Committee I would advise the ethical steering committee to adopt the following initiatives in collaboration with the organizations:

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There have been increased awareness on ethical business and environmental degradation within the recent decades. Just like human, organizations are held responsible for their actions. This paper explores the ethical theories and concepts as they apply to the case study of the OK Tedi Copper Mine. The new CEO of BHP, Paul Anderson had just come in office and faced with the task of managing what people had referred to as the world’s greatest ongoing “environmental disaster” (Velasquez, 2012).


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Many multinational corporations have a problem balancing ethics and value maximization. However, Starbucks does not have a very large problem with it because the ethics and moral responsibility is apparent in their decision making. According to their Business Ethics and compliance statement, Starbucks believes that conducting business ethically and striving to do the right thing are vital to the success of the company . Since Starbucks is traditionally known for their overpriced coffee the consumer is paying for their moral choices nonetheless. However there are some examples of questionable decisions that have been reported.

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Plumply’nut has been well received since its release. So far, it has been successfully serving its purpose of combating the worldwide problem of malnutrition. Most notably, it has started to affect one of the less industrialized countries and considered desperately poor in the world, Nigeria. Anderson Cooper from CBS News, together with the Nobel Prize awardee relief group Doctors Without Borders, featured the region. They stated that it was the worst and most rampant site of malnutrition. Two years later, it was claimed to have the lowest malnutrition rate (CBS, 2007).

The American Red Cross Case Study Samples

Free ethics case case study sample.

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Case Study On Poverty And Pollution

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Business ethics is at present a very important business topic, and debates and dilemmas surrounding business ethics have drawn a lot of concentration from assorted quarters. This is Business misconducts have the potential to cause enormous damage on individuals, on society and on the environment. Through aiding people to comprehend more about the grounds and penalties of these malpractices, business ethics seeks, to improve the human condition.

Case Study On The Use Of Business Ethics To Assess Business Conduct In BP

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Heinz’ wife is dying of cancer. He learned about the new drug that might save his wife but was unable to raise enough money despite tremendous effort. He asked the inventor of the drug to sell it for a cheaper price to which the latter declined. This prompted Heinz to break in to the inventor’s drugstore in an attempt to steal the drug. Should Heinz steal the drug or not?

International and Domestic Ethical Norms for Multinational Organisation Case Study Sample

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In the analysis carried out on the MAD mining business, there were assumptions made.

The growth projected during the 2012-2013 year is assumed to take a more or less non variation trend over the period over of study. Hence the growth of variables under consideration changes at the same rate.

There has been a general assumption that there were no credit lines at the start of the 2012-2013 periods. This means that all the financing arrangements are made for assets that require heavy financial cost.

Example Of Business Ethics Case Study

Example of case study on corporate social responsibility, something about frank case study, case study on countrywide financial: the subprime meltdown, are subprime loans an unethical financial instrument, or are they ethical but misused in a way that created ethical issues.

Subprime loans are not considered to be an unethical financial instrument. However, their misuse results in both ethical and legal issues. Original goal of subprime lending is helping borrowers with low credit ratings or those who cannot maintain their repayment schedule to receive loans at a rate above prime loans.

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Ethics Cases & Debates

Ethics cases and debates.

Finding an ethics case or debate relevant to the students can be challenging. We provide original ethics cases and debates from our faculty and student generated cases and debates for use in the classroom.

Original Cases

  • Topic: Sales Ethics  "For the Eight Consecutive Month, Our Top Seller is......." 
  • Topic: Mystery Shopping Ethics  "You've Been Shopped" 
  • Topic: Green vs. Traditional Stocks  "Is it Worth it To Invest in "Green" Companies?" 
  • Topic: Northern Indiana State College Football Case  "Underage Drinking or Just a Stadium That is Too Small?"
  • Topic: Ethics Case Study " Murder in the Mountains: An Ethics Case Study "
  • Topic: "Cultural Residue' a Case Study by Martin Key, Ph.D."

Student-Generated Cases

  • Topic: Responsible Business Ethics:   "Crafted Wood - Revival of a Dying Art" 
  • Topic: Clothing Production Ethics:  "Patagonia Clothing"
  • Topic: International Finance Ethics:  "Goldman Sachs: The Greek Situation"   
  • Topic: Medical Ethics:  "Legalizing the Sale of Human Organs" 

Student-Generated Debates

  • Issue: Should the government regulate and cap the amount of compensation that CEO's receive, or leave it for the market to determine?  Executive Compensation: Set by the Market or the Government? 
  • Issue: Is Facebook violating user privacy with its new policy changes as a result of going public?  Facebook: A Change for the Good or Hanging Users Out to Dry? 
  • Issue: Should the government be able to regulate the products that gun manufacturers and retailers?  Government Vs. Guns? 
  • Issue: Should the NFL be responsible to pay for retired players' healthcare costs?  NFL and Retirement Benefits? 
  • Issue: Have labor unions become counterproductive "political" instruments who have outlived their value to the long-term detriment of U.S. labor and the economy?  Labor Unions? 
  • Issue: ERA Shields Real Estate has set a high standard for their community involvement. Are voluntary actions outside of profitability and mandated government and civil regulation a necessary part of a successful business?  Corporate Social Responsibility: ERA Shields Real Estate Sets an Impeccable Standard 
  • Issue:  Should BlackBerry have provided countries access to its encryption system?  Blackberry's Encryption System  

Ethics Links Ethics Links Helpful ethics links and resources to expand your ethical curricula beyond the classroom. Links include simulations, real-world examples, videos, competitions and more. EXPLORE ETHICS

Curricula Curricula Teaching materials that can enhance ethics education across the curriculum. VIEW CURRICULA

Workshops Workshops Faculty Opportunities include ethics education workshops, seminars and online courses from academic and professional associations. View examples of past workshops and roundtables. LEARN MORE

  • Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS Home
  • Focus Areas
  • Student Opportunities
  • Teaching Ethics
  • Video Resources
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business ethics case studies high school

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Ethics and Business Ethics Mini Case Studies

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I feel great pleasure in introducing the work “ETHICS & BUSINESS ETHICS”---Mini Case Studies. This humble effort expects to raise great hope for individuals in all fields especially Management Sciences. The case studies on ETHICS & BUSINESS ETHICS” is based on the practices (ethical or unethical) in business and our daily life. These case studies have also been presented in the course Business Ethics of MBA program and can also be presented in other courses of Management Sciences.

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Business Ethics

A team of two students are challenged with analyzing a business situation containing an ethical dilemma and then presenting a resolution of the dilemma. For the purpose of this event, an ethical dilemma will be defined as a situation where competing values are being weighed and can reasonably be argued both for and against. Case situations will not involve a question of whether a certain action (or lack of action) constitutes a violation of law (i.e., stealing), nor will the situation have a seemingly simple answer (i.e., taking credit for a co-worker’s idea).


Written entry page limit, appear before a judge, 1 case study, 2nd for finalists, interview time, sponsored by:.

Essential Elements

Related resources.

You are the chair of the board of directors and the executive director for JEFFREY JONES FOUNDATION, an organization that raises funds and awareness for heart disease.

You are the director of operations and the senior vice president for CONTOUR, a leader in liposuction procedures and body contouring. CONTOUR has sixty locations nationwide. Each location has board-certified surgeons on staff that are specialized in the procedures.

You are the director of merchandising and the director of public relations for GIANT MART, a big box discount retailer with over 11,000 locations. GIANT MART is consistently ranked as the top discount retailer year after year in number of locations, number of employees and sales.

You are marketing research consultants hired by MAIDEN FABRICS, a store that specializes in fabrics, sewing equipment, and tools. MAIDEN FABRICS is a unique business that began with one location in a metropolitan area. The founder of MAIDEN FABRICS was a single mother passionate about sewing who wanted to start a business that helps other single mothers.

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business ethics case studies high school

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