Ethics Writing Prompt
In the pages below, you’ll see a chain of communication (the case), followed by possible options to help guide your decision making.
Assignment Details: In a brief essay (no more than 1500 words), respond to the case you have been provided in the following manner:
a. Contextualize the events that have taken place but also the position of authority you have in this situation, taking into account the first overview and description of the case (the first two paragraphs at the beginning).
b. Ask yourself: as the CEO, what position and/or action would you take?
c. Analyze this position, taking into account what you information you have been given and what responsibilities you, as the CEO, must complete to address the situation.
d. Write your response as the CEO. Your essay should include a thesis statement that addresses (1) the action you take; (2) the reasons behind that action; and (3) the ethical implications of the action on the situation.

The essay must:
1. provide a clear, coherent, and persuasive/argumentative thesis statement that takes a position on the question.
2. use and integrate relevant evidence that demonstrates understanding of argument and scope of question.
3. follow APA documentation style guidelines, including running head, page numbering, cover page, and reference protocols.
4. be written in a clear and concise style, which includes avoiding nominalizations, passive voice, undefined jargon, text-style language, and other language choices that would obscure meaning. Aim for clear, simple prose.
5. demonstrate understanding of Standard Revised Written English, which means that the essay should be grammatically and mechanically correct.
6. use 12 point Times New Roman font and be double spaced.
Evaluation:
Your essay will be evaluated using UNF Writing Program rubrics, which are provided in the following pages. The rubrics used will be: Thesis, Evidence, Mechanics (Grammar and Punctuation), Clarity, Word Choice, and Ethical Awareness. (See the final pages below for the rubrics.)
The breakdown for scoring is:
Thesis 20%
Paragraph Coherence 15%
Evidence 15%
Grammar 15%
Stylistic Clarity 15%
Ethical Awareness 20%
Case Title: Greening the Message

Overview: You are the Chief Executive Officer. You have been working to stem cost overruns throughout the organization, to improve your product portfolio and to oversee well targeted marketing campaigns for your various customer segments. You feel your plans are progressing in the right direction — and then an industry report, with some disturbing implications, lands on your desk.

Description: A growing concern in business today is how to become environmentally friendly or “Green”. At times a management team may find itself torn between what it perceives as good for the company and what’s good for the environment.

January 12, 2011 – Maintaining Sales

Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors

Subject: Maintaining Sales
An independent consultant recently identified two important factors in an industry study that will affect our company’s competitiveness. In the first place, it was identified that one of our competitors is planning a significant price cut on their sensors. Secondly, it has become clear that we are possibly not keeping up with the competition in terms of product improvements and/or new product development.
To address both problems, I’d like to create a task force with company-wide representation. The mission of this task force will be to analyze our competencies and processes, and identify competitive advantages that we can immediately address in a new marketing campaign.
Sincerely,
Chief Executive Officer

January 27, 2011 – Email: Maintaining Sales
RE: Maintaining Sales
From: Taskforce
Subject: Maintaining Sales
Date: January 27, 2011 8:00AM CDT
To: Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors
________________________________________
Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors,
We have completed our company review and industry competitive analyses. We think our key competitive advantage may be new production processes, which were recently improved to cut production costs.

Most impressive among these innovations was our adoption of a natural chemical compound to wash the raw materials used to make our sensors. This has completely changed the preparation phase of our production cycle, reducing labor and electricity costs and increasing overall productivity.

Our natural chemical process is unique as our competitors do not use a similar process. However, conversion to this process did not reduce our facility’s waste output.

Our marketing representative suggests highlighting the new process as environmentally friendly by focusing on our conversion to this natural compound and the subsequent reduction in energy usage. Marketing proposes using the slogan “Green Sensors from Green Machines!” and forecasts that demand could increase 12 to 16 percent.
________________________________________

February 5, 2011 – FTC Guidelines

Chief Executive Officer, Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors, Task Force

Subject: FTC Guidelines
Please be advised that all environmental advertising and marketing practices must conform to the FTC guidelines for such claims as listed here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/grnrule/guides980427.htm.

Specifically, these guidelines apply to the environmental attributes of a product, package, or service. It is not clear from the information provided that the revamped production process enhances the product itself in any way such that it constitutes a consumer benefit, i.e. it does not make the product any more environmentally safe to use.

Secondly, asserting that the production process is “environmentally friendly” may be too general an environmental benefit, and as such considered deceptive under Section 260.7 (a).

To summarize, the FTC requires the following principles apply to all environmental marketing claims:
a) Qualifications and disclosures should be “sufficiently clear and prominent.” This includes the “clarity of language, relative type size and proximity to the claim being qualified, and an absence of contrary claims.”
b) Distinction between benefits of product, package, and service must be made clear as well as whether the environmental attribute or benefit applies to the entire product, package, or service, or a portion thereof.
c) Overstatement of environmental attribute: “An environmental marketing claim should not be presented in a manner that overstates the environmental attribute or benefit, either expressly or by implication.”
d) Comparative claims: “Environmental marketing claims that include a comparative statement should be presented in a manner that makes the basis for the comparison sufficiently clear to avoid consumer deception.”

Our strong recommendation is that our marketing team consider a corporate-oriented campaign that portrays only our company’s environmental sensitivity.

However, even if the marketing campaign meets the FTC requirements, you should be aware of the following:
• Our plant is more energy efficient, but it still produces the same amount of waste.
• Using the natural chemical compound is irrelevant to the product we make.
• Being the best in our industry on environmental issues doesn’t necessarily mean we are “environmentally friendly.”
• We will need to support our claims with competent and scientific evidence.

Sincerely,
General Counsel

February 6, 2011 – Email: Greening the Message
RE: Greening the Message
From: Taskforce
Subject: Greening the Message
Date: February 6, 2011 8:00AM CDT
To: Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors
________________________________________
Executive Steering Committee of the Board of Directors,
We have reviewed General Counsel’s suggestions, but we are not confident that a corporate-oriented campaign would effectively reach our core customer base in a memorable way.

Secondly, we feel qualifying our message about our use of the natural compound and the reduction in energy usage will dilute its effectiveness. Our focus groups strongly indicated that the slogan “Green Sensors from Green Machines!” will be catchy and memorable.

Options to reduce production waste levels are currently being explored, but we cannot promise when any reduction could be accomplished for the foreseeable future.

For now, we wish to continue with the marketing campaign as planned.
________________________________________

Choices
A Do nothing. (Default)
B Allow Marketing to launch the campaign in an effort to “buy some time” while you implement additional cost controls, and begin to revamp new product development. You believe waste qualifications are not likely to be challenged in the near term.
C Despite protests from the marketing department incorporate the green message into a corporate-oriented campaign, acknowledging improved energy efficiency and honestly stating that production waste has not yet been decreased but that the company is working to achieve it.
D Discard the green message altogether and launch a campaign that focuses on changes that have made the company more energy efficient.

Rubrics

Mechanics
4.0 pts
Exceeds Expectations: Zero mechanical errors and a masterful use of punctuation and syntax to manage evidence and drive home the reasoning. 3.0 pts
Meets Expectations: Zero mechanical errors, or one, per page. 2.0 pts
Below Expectations: Two mechanical errors per page. 1 or zero pts
Mechanical errors occasionally or consistently interfere with effective communication.

Concision
4.0 pts
Exceeds Expectations. Language consistently adheres to standards of plain English: sentences begin with appropriate characters and verbs while avoiding nominalizations and filler. No empty modifiers. 3.0 pts
Meets Expectations. Language minimally adheres to standards of plain English, using appropriate characters in the subject position, along with clear verbs, while avoiding nominalizations and filler. Few or no empty modifiers. 2.0 pts
Below expectations. Writing exhibits minor problems in sentences. For example: Language does not adhere to standards of plain English: writer fails to start sentences with the appropriate characters, has few active verbs, uses nominalizations, or includes filler and/or empty modifiers. 1 or zero pts
Writing occasionally or consistently exhibits at least one major problem in concision. For example, oral rather than written language patterns predominate.

Evidence
4.0 pts
Exceeds Expectations: Evidence and reasoning are in keeping with the level of argumentation in a document from the field. May, for instance, reconcile seemingly contradictory data. 3.0 pts
Meets Expectations: Author incorporates and analyzes pieces of evidence that are significant, sufficient, and appropriate for an audience of professionals. 2.0 pts
Approaches Expectations: Author incorporates evidence, but evidence is limited (insignificant, insufficient, or inappropriate) for an audience of professionals. Evidence may lack analysis. 1 or zero pts
Evidence is almost or entirely absent.

Word Choice
4.0 pts
Exceeds Expectations. Technical terms are anchored to widely known context words for accessible precision. Writer avoids jargon. Plain language for employees/colleagues at all levels of the organization. 3.0 pts
Meets Expectations. Diction is accessible to employees/colleagues at all levels of the organization. Avoids jargon. 2.0 pts
Below expectations. Writing exhibits minor problems in sentences. For example: Diction may be simplistic, immature, or cliché. Writer may rely on jargon. 1 or zero pts
Writing occasionally or consistently exhibits at least one major problem in word choice. For example, the writer uses superficial and stereotypical language.

Thesis
4.0 pts
Exceeds Expectations. The author’s recommendation is “actionable intelligence,” specifying who should do what (or who should rethink what). There is no conflict between the proposed solution and real-world difficulties. The recommendation is practical and sensible. The author may offer nuanced thinking about difficulties or alternatives. 3.0 pts
Meets Expectations. The author’s recommendation is “actionable intelligence,” specifying who should do what (or who should rethink what). There is no conflict between the proposed solution and real-world difficulties. The recommendation is practical. The author may capably consider some difficulties or alternatives. 2.0 pts
Below Expectations. Author specifies what should be done but states it in an impractical or simplistic way. Lacks clarity about how this solution will be implemented. May have missing characters – “something should be done” (failing to say who should do it). May briefly but inadequately consider difficulties or alternatives. Solution may face potential or minor obstacles that the writer has dismissed or ignored. 1 or zero pts
Recommendation is diffuse or missing.

Ethical Awareness and Critical Thinking
Analysis clearly states a an argumentative position based on an ethical choice and succeeds in identifying and effectively addressing (or defending against) others’ ethical objections, assumptions, or concerns.
May demonstrate an innovative or imaginative interpretation of the case study’s issue at hand. 4
Analysis explicitly states an argumentative/persuasive position as well as:
(i) identifying objections to the position
(ii) identifying assumptions and implications of the position
(iii) defending against the objections to, assumptions of different ethical perspectives/concepts.
(iv) demonstrating a complex understanding of the ethical implications at work (includes in thesis the ethical reasoning of choice and evaluates source material critically rather than taking the information as simple fact).
(v) demonstrating an interpretation of the materials at hand in the case study by analyzing own position and others’ positions.
But may fail to: explain connection between ethical stance and the position or fully develop and interpret information and use for analysis. 3
Analysis explicitly states a position as well as succeeds in all of the following:
(i) identifies objections to the position
(ii) identifies assumptions and implications of the position
(iii) demonstrating basic understanding of the ethical implications at work (includes in thesis the ethical reasoning of choice)
(iv) interpreting the materials at hand in the case study by analyzing own position and others’ positions.
But fails to: defend against the objections to, assumptions of different ethical perspectives/concepts. 2
Analysis implies a simplistic position rather than stating it explicitly and succeeds in one of the following:
(i) identifying objections to the position
(ii) identifying assumptions and implications of the position
(iii) defending against the objections to, assumptions of different ethical perspectives/concepts.
(iv) demonstrating basic understanding of the ethical implications at work (includes in thesis the ethical reasoning of choice) 1
Analysis summarizes issues at hand but fails to state a position. 0