Business and society

read each question very carefully and respond to all the key aspects of each of the questions as written.

You are free to use all the resources at your command in answering these questions, with the caveat that everything that you turn in must be written in your own words (no copying directly from any source without proper citations, attributions and quotation marks, etc.). If and when you use internet sources, please make sure that you identify these, along with the proper URLs, in your answers.

So, please answer all of the following 5 questions IN 250 WORDS EACH:

Question 1:

Write a short essay outlining and critically evaluating the key practical applications of Dan Ariely’s suggestions on the different steps that firms can take to minimize dishonesty in the workplace.

Question 2:

Different economic systems provide different kinds of incentives for economic behavior. Niskanen, in his essay on “The Undemanding Ethics of Capitalism,” argues that through free exchange, capitalistic economies tend to provide us with direct monetary rewards for activities that benefit other people. As a result, according to Niskanen, capitalistic systems are less reliant than other economic systems are on the existence of benevolence, or general good will towards our fellow humans, for overall decency and behavior that benefits everyone. Niskanen’s point is that, since these other systems are less likely to provide direct rewards for simply providing others with the things that they want and value, those systems are also less likely to see behavior specifically designed to provide others with such things. Adam Smith famously put it thus: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Others, for example Marx, Proudhon, Engels, and Polanyi, have argued that capitalism reduces some human interactions to formal exchange and that in the process something of value has been lost.

In this context, your assignment is to write a short essay critically evaluating Niskanen’s arguments on this issue.

Question 3:

As outlined in a recent Deloitte Insights report (see ), the US workforce is changing: It is growing older, becoming more diverse, and for the most part it is also becoming better educated. At the same time, due to subcontracting, special arrangements, and increasing labor turnover, the relationship between employees and employers keeps changing.

These developments have a variety of different social and strategic implications for both employers and employees. Your assignment is to write a short essay outlining what you believe the most important of those might be.

Question 4:

Recently, it was discovered that Facebook has been harvesting email directories from the computers of its users without their permission. The company claims that this was unintentional, but journalists at both Business Insider and Forbes seem to be skeptical of that claim.

(see: and )

In short, on the one hand the company claims that this was just a mistake that was made in the context of trying to improve the user experiences with Facebook. On the other hand, harvesting email directories without permission seems quite brazen, and this may end up having serious long term consequences for the company and its shareholders. This information also comes at a sensitive time for the company, since, according to a recent article in the New York Times, a variety of different of regulatory agencies across the world “are preparing for a long-awaited showdown with Facebook, after years of disinterest and half-steps.”

(see: )

In this context, your assignment is to write a short essay about what you see as the ethical issues associated with the alleged directory harvesting and privacy violations committed by Facebook. As part of your answer, make sure you also discuss what you believe the long term consequences of this may be for the company and its relationship with its users.

Question 5:

In 2015, the EPA charged Volkswagen with deliberately installing software designed to cheat on emissions tests for about eleven million diesel cars worldwide and about half a million in the US. (see: )

The resulting scandal, which has sometimes been referred to as dieselgate, has seriously harmed the company and its stockholders. By now, Volkswagen has already paid out close to US $33 billion in a variety of fines and settlements due to this issue. And yet, Volkswagen’s problems are far from over. The company and its key officers face a variety of indictments in different countries, including both in the US and in Germany. Last year, the US Department of Justice charged the company’s CEO with wire fraud. (see: ).

More recently, based on ongoing investigations, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) has launched a lawsuit claiming that some of the company’s bond and securities sales in the US were fraudulently based on misleading information, since the company’s officers knew about the fraudulent emission tests and failed to disclose those. (see: )

In Germany, the company’s top officers are now being sued for fraudulently manipulating information in order to generate bonuses which ranged from about $340,000 to $12.45 million for each of them. (see:

In this context, your assignment is to write a short essay about what you see as the key incentive conflicts and ethical lapses that eventually led to dieselgate and its aftermath. As part of your answer, also make sure to discuss what, if anything, you believe that the company and its shareholders could have done to prevent the tremendous losses that they have suffered due to this scandal.

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