Close Reading Exercise Task
This is a close reading exercise. The aim of the exercise is to get you to analyse in detail the specific arguments presented in the selected reading and to answer the questions about the case study in order to better understand one of the central debates in business ethics.• Make sure you answer every part of each question and address the specific details of the questions (i.e. read the questions carefully).
• This is a short answer assignment. You do not need to answer the questions in the form of an essay. Remember to number each question.
• Please include a bibliography with the relevant sources from the question and any additional sources you reference directly. Include relevant citations throughout the assignment. You are not expected to read widely for this assignment. Focus primarily on the Goodpaster article, the radio item and the newspaper articles. You may consult other unit readings relevant to this topic (e.g. narrow view v broader views) to help in understanding the issues raised by Goodpaster.
Read the following article (in Leganto) and answer all the questions below: K. E. Goodpaster, ‘Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis’, Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Jan., 1991), pp. 53-73.
a) What does Goodpaster mean by ‘strategic stakeholder synthesis’? Why does he think that businesses that operate according to the principles of strategic stakeholder synthesis do not really introduce ethical values into business decision making?
(See Strategic Stakeholder Synthesis pp.57-59 and Is the Substance Ethical pp. 59-61)
b) Goodpaster argues that we need an approach to business ethics that avoids business without ethics (strategic stakeholder synthesis) and ethics without business (a multi-fiduciary stakeholder approach). Explain Goodpaster’s nonfiduciary approach to business obligations, making sure you distinguish it from both the multifiduciary stakeholder approach and the strategic stakeholder approach.
c) Does Goodpaster’s nonfiduciary account of business obligations provide sufficient protection for the interests of stakeholders other than shareholders? Does it avoid the problem of treating stakeholders as mere means to corporate ends? Give reasons for your answer.
Question 2 [8 marks]
Listen to the following radio program or read the transcript: ‘Casualties in the Supermarket Wars’ and answer all the following questions: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2013-12- 29/5158628
Goodpaster argues that businesses have significant nonfiduciary duties to stakeholders other than shareholders. These include the duties not to harm, coerce, lie, cheat or steal (p.67).
a) Do you believe, based on the accounts given in the radio program, that the major supermarket chains in Australia violate any of the fundamental moral duties which Goodpaster argues for? Provide details to support your answer.
b) What moral duties, if any, do you believe the large supermarkets owe to their suppliers? Answer this question using your own moral reasoning and examples from the program to illustrate your points.Question 3 [5 marks]
Read the following news items and answer the related questions.
a) Is Woolworths’ request for ‘Mind the Gap’ payments from suppliers consistent with the narrow view of business ethics? Provide reasons to support your conclusion.
b) Is Woolworths’ request for ‘Mind the Gap’ payments from suppliers consistent with a stakeholder approach to business ethics? Provide reasons to support your conclusion.