Italian Tax mores
Most short case analysis write-ups will be at least 3-5 double spaced pages.
Please use the following format (including headings) for writing up cases (There is also an example write-up provided in the Workbook… but not in the preferred sequence, nor with as much thoroughness as will be expected).
Following is how a case write-up is organized:
I. History, circumstances, possible ethical issues. (I really don’t grade this part of the paper…so feel free to make it short, but it may help you organize your thoughts on what is happening, or has happened, in the case). Be sure to identify the ethical issue(s). In some cases, a decision is left hanging in a case. Your job is to identify the ethical issues and options of every player or position in the case.
The Ethical Model:
II. Absolutes (the first ethical test). This should never include items that are “relatives”, such as “It is wrong to quench the human condition” (what in the world does that mean?). Keep a list of absolutes…the things you view as always right or wrong, such as: Murder, lying, bribery, etc. These are a few of my personal absolutes. By defining them as absolutes, we recognize that they never change. (Note: Absolutes are usually one or two words). Always define your terms. Murder is the taking of an innocent life (thus, self defense is not murder). Be very careful in selecting and defining your absolutes.
III. Legal (the second ethical test). In this situation, you simply ask (and answer the question): Is this act, or my proposed solution, legal?
IV. Moral Philosophies (these are essentially relativistic by definition) (Use all tests applying the philosophies):
A. Teleological (outcome): What are the possible outcomes or what was done or could be done? Are those outcomes good or bad, and for whom?
B. Utilitarian (a subset of the teleological): Is the expected outcome the most good for the most people?
C. Egoistic (not “egotistic”; egoism is a subset of utilitarian ethics): Is the act or proposed action good for the individual actor/decision-maker? This may not apply in all cases, since it is based on personal (selfish) motives. Be careful. Stealing may appear to be good, but in the long run, is not good for an individual who does not get to keep what they stole and spends time in prison.
D. Deontological (Duty or Intent): Rights create duties, which in many cases can point back to absolutes. Under a traditional view of natural law there are three absolute rights that people have:
1. Right to Life (unless they give up that right by trying to murder another)
2. Right to Liberty
3. Right to own property
In some cases, you will find that there are life issues in the cases. For example, if someone takes an action that could disable or kill another, that is a “life issue.” In that case, the Deontological test pushes you back into an absolute.
E. Public Relations: This test simply asks whether or not the act, or your solution would be good for the public image of the firm.
F. Reasonable Person Test: If all of our other tests do not lead us to a solution, we may be required to simply ask, “What would a reasonable person do?”
V. Conclusions – What are your conclusions from your analysis of the case?
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