Discussion Questions

  1. According to the author, “Organization size generates inconclusive results; both small and large businesses are just as likely to behave ethically or unethically.” Does this surprise you? Are there circumstances where smaller (or larger) organizations might encourage more ethical conduct?
  2. The Volkswagen emissions episode is central to this chapter. Based on this description provided, which of the following factors might have played a contributory role: (a) auto industry, (b) German culture, (c) Volkswagen’s unique history and culture, (d) engineering and design challenges?
  3. This chapter introduces an ethical decision-making model, which contains multiple concepts and variables. Do you think ethical decision making can be improved by learning this model, or is it more, as suggested later, a matter of “gut”?
  4. While the trolley problem (Table 5.5) may seem unrealistic, self-driving cars of the future will need to be programmed to evaluate such trade-offs. If faced with only two alternatives, should a self-driving car always opt for “killing one person instead of five”?
  5. Which “ethical hazard” do you hear students using most often? What does this suggest about your college’s culture or the nature of student responsibilities? What advice could you provide about making students more aware of this (and other) hazards?