Ethical Issue Analysis

BMGT 496 – Project 2:  Ethical Issue Analysis

Purpose:  In this project, you will assess how two start up companies have come under scrutiny for their actions in operating in today’s business environment.  How these companies are operating are pushing the limits or have exceeded the limits of what is considered ethical and legal.  In completing this project you will have the opportunity to research the two companies, identify stakeholders influenced by the organization’s decisions and develop and evaluate alternatives, recommend solutions to ensure appropriate business practices and accountability occur

Outcomes met by completing this project:

1. identify ethical issues that arise in domestic and global business environments using an understanding of ethical concepts and of legal and business principles

2. develop and evaluate alternatives to, and recommend solutions for, ethical dilemmas, taking into account ethical and legal requirements and the essential mission of the business enterprise

3. effectively communicate to internal and external business stakeholders the complexities of ethical issues, suggesting and analyzing various solutions in order to ensure appropriate business practices and accountability


Use the following steps to complete the project.  You will demonstrate an understanding of ethical concepts and of legal business principles and are required to use the course material to support the ideas and conclusions presented.

Step 1:  Silicon Valley Startup Companies

Read the following articles about Silicon Valley startup companies (Theranos, Zenefits and Hampton Creek Foods).  Each company discussed in the articles below eventually came under scrutiny for ethical and/or legal issues.  Since embroiled in scandal, Hampton Creek Foods has been repositioned and is now known as Just, Inc.

Griffith, E. (2017, December 16).  The other tech bubble.  Wired.  Retrieved from

Griffith, E. (2017, December 28).  The ugly unethical underside of Silicon Valley.  Fortune.  Retrieved from

Hartmans, A. (2018, September 5).  The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, who started Theranos when she was 19 and became the world’s youngest female billionaire before it all came crashing down.   Business Insider  Retrieved from

Suddath, C. and Newcomer, E. (2016, May 9).  Zenefits was the perfect startup.  Then it self-disrupted.  Bloomberg.  Retrieved from

Step 2: Overview of Companies

Provide a company overview for Zenefits and Theranos.  Describe the purpose(s) for the founding of the company; i.e., what problems was it formed to solve and/or opportunities it was formed to exploit, who are the founders, home country or state, management, etc.

Step 3:  Ethical or Legal Issues

You will research each company to establish the facts of each situation.  Once you have established the facts surrounding the decisions made by Theranos and Zenefits:

· Identify and discuss the ethical issues associated with each company.

· Identify and discuss the legal issues associated with each company.

Step 4:  Stakeholders

· Identify the stakeholders associated with each company and explain the impact of the company’s decisions on the specific stakeholders.

· Discuss how the stakeholders reacted to the decision(s) made by each company.

Step 5:  Generate Alternatives

From what you have read, the startup culture poses a host of temptations creating a never-ending series of ethical choices and dilemmas.  Companies are faced with the challenges of venture investors who expect hyper-growth and quick results.  For privately-held companies, self-reporting, unaudited financials is an option as is not reporting, and the media serves to promote an attractive opportunity.  Lastly, it is easy to rationalize behavior when the expectation is that entrepreneurs set the world on fire with innovative, disruptive technologies that promote overlooking rules and one’s moral compass.

Like many business people, some Silicon Valley decision makers need help in recognizing the ethical dilemmas they face when doing business and understanding the need for following rules and setting ethical standards.  You will:

· Generate and discuss at least three viable alternatives to help Silicon Valley startup companies operate and behave ethically.  In doing so, it is necessary to consider the ethical and legal requirements.

Step 6:  Evaluate Each Alternative

· Examine the benefits and drawbacks of each proposed alternative.  Provide careful consideration to the factors that influence the outcome of each alternative.

Step 7:  Recommend the Best Alternative

· Once you have evaluated each alternative, recommend the best alternative that ensure appropriate business practices and accountability.

· Explain how Silicon Valley startup companies will effectively communicate this change to internal and external business stakeholders.

Step 8:  Review the Paper

Read the paper to ensure all required elements are present.  Use the grading rubric to ensure that you gain the most points possible for this assignment.

Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.

· Read the paper aloud as a first measure;

· Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a second measure;

· Have someone who has excellent English skills proofread the paper;

· Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC).  The EWC will provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement.

Step 9:  Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder (The assignment submitted to the Assignment Folder will be considered the student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor.  It is incumbent upon the student to verify the assignment is the correct submission.  No exceptions will be considered by the instructor).

How to Set Up the Paper

Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point font.  The final product will be between 6-8 pages in length excluding the title page and reference page.  Write clearly and concisely.

Completing the Paper

In order to complete this project, you will want to first read the module, Learn How to Support What You Write, as this assignment requires you to use the course material and research to support what you write.  Also,

· Read and use the grading rubric while completing the exercise to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade.

· Third person writing is required.  Third person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing).  If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:

· Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them.

· Paraphrase and do not use direct quotation marks.  Paraphrase means you do not use more than four consecutive words from a source document.  Instead put a passage from a source document into your own words and attribute the passage to the source document.  Not using direct quotation marks means that there should be no passages with quotation marks and instead the source material is paraphrased as stated above.  Note that a reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.   You may not use more than four consecutive words from a source document, as doing so would require direct quotation marks.  Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks.   If more than four consecutive words are used from source documents, this material will not be included in the grade and could lead to allegations of academic dishonesty.




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