QAB020X601S Business Ethics And Responsible Management

QAB020X601S Business Ethics And Responsible Management

QAB020X601S Business Ethics and Responsible Management


Gambling can be fun, but it can be destructive too. In 2001 betting shops introduced Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) – super slot machine where punters could win big or lose big. Bets of up to £100 could be made every 20 seconds and stories abounded of people losing their money and sometimes their families as their addiction to gambling took hold. One report called FOBT the crack cocaine of gambling. And so the government stepped in and limited the maximum bet down from £100 to £2. Of course this was a huge loss for betting shops – and this is where our case starts.

In February this year The Guardian reported on how Ladbrokes were planning to react. The company said that some shops would have to close and jobs would be lost (this was the gambling industry’s argument against government legislating against FOBT  – they were, in effect, arguing ‘OK government stop us using these machines, but that means you will be responsible for job losses’).

Ladbrokes put a figure of 5,000 job losses and 1,000 of their 3,500 shops closing. But what also interests us is how they intended to go about choosing which shops to close (see the link below for the story). The plan was to target customer service managers and to see which should be kept and which let go– they would have to do a test, and interview and their past employment record would be checked. But, 30% of their ‘score’ would be made up of how many customers they could persuade to set up new online accounts. Once all staff had been ‘scored’ they would be ranked against each other with the lowest scorers losing their jobs.

You will see in the links below that the immediate concern of many is that problem gamblers would be shifted from the shops to online – what was to stop someone desperate to get more online customers to save their own job targeting people for whom gambling was a problem? And does having a competitive edge like this encourage unethical behaviour? You will see in one story Ladbrokes staff themselves talking of the process being ethically wrong.

This case throws up at least two issues you might want to consider: Would this encourage a disregard for the vulnerability of customers? And, in HR terms, is this a good way to decide which staff should keep their jobs? It should be noted that the story you are looking at is from February this year so not long ago but since the estimate of the number of shops to close had been reduced from 1000 to 900. This is still a good case to examine ethical issues.

Below is the link to the February story outlining the Ladbrokes plan:

Part 1

a)You are now required to write a brief report to senior managers at Ladbrokes from the perspective of an employee who has been asked to write a report for senior managers about the companies approach to problem gamblers and restructuring its workforce by deciding redundancies through the mechanism outlined in the story. You will need to explore and write about a number of factors including – Why should the company be looking at this issue from the perspective of ethics? How might this issue influence the public image of the company? What alternatives ways are there to think about a business’ role in society? Who/what are the stakeholders impacted in the scenario you are reporting on and how are they impacted on? Are there examples of business that act responsibly and ones that do not? You should illustrate this by including research you can find e.g. is there research that shows good choices benefit companies and bad choices have a negative impact? Finally you should conclude with some recommendations for what the company should do (here you may want to look at the Harvard Business Review paper linked above which has some pointers on avoiding ethical crises  -but remember to do your own research and thinking too).

This part of your assessment should be written as a report, but should be referenced in the normal academic way using Harvard citations and referencing.

b)For this part you should again use the case study – but this time choose TWO ethical theories (using ones we have looked at in class) and demonstrate that you can apply these to the case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case. For example, if you applied utilitarian thinking to the gender pay gap question what would you need to consider and how might the issue look from that perspective? Or, what if you apply Rawls idea of social justice? NOTE – you do NOT have to use ‘opposing’ ideas, we are interested most in how you use theory, if, when you apply two theories they seem to give the same answer that is fine, if they seem to give different outcomes that is fine too. This section is written in a more academic style than the report.

Part 2 is NOT related to the case study. This section requires you to discuss what makes an ethical leader and how you would, as an ethical manager, manage your business and/or others to a high ethical standard.

You will need to think about personal ethics, about the conditions that bring about unethical organisations and practices, about organisational values and methods of compliance. This part can be written in a more reflective style, where the first person can be used.

The exact proportions will vary and this is part of your challenge to write informatively and concisely across the required tasks.

How will we support you with your assessment?

Assessment briefing Week 1 (lecture)
Briefing material and guides in addition to the assessment brief (Please make sure that you read these)
Dedicated seminar session on your formative assessment  – see LTAF for the weeks
Prompt feedback session on your formative assessment and tutorial session to support the development of your summative assessment.

How will your work be assessed?

Your work will be assessed by a subject expert who will use the marking grid provided in this assessment brief.  When you access your marked work it is important that you reflect on the feedback so that you can use it to improve future assignments.

Mitigating circumstances/what to do if you cannot submit a piece of work or attend your presentation

The University Mitigating Circumstances Policy can be found on the University website – Mitigating  Circumstances Policy.

Marking and feedback process

Between you handing in your work and then receiving your feedback and marks within 20 days, there are a number of quality assurance processes that we go through to ensure that students receive marks which reflects their work. A brief summary is provided below.

Step One – The module and marking team meet to agree standards, expectations and how feedback will be provided.
Step Two – A subject expert will mark your work using the criteria provided in the assessment brief.
Step Three – A moderation meeting takes place where all members of the teaching and marking team will review the marking of others to confirm whether they agree with the mark and feedback.
Step Four – Work at Levels 5 and 6 then goes to an external examiner who will review a sample of work to confirm that the marking between different staff is consistent and fair.

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