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Key Points in Writing Case Studies

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1 Key Points in Writing Case Studies
Here are some key points to keep in mind when writing the required case study analyses. These key points do not take the place of the on- line lectures. Be certain to read over those carefully. There is also a sample case study analysis. Read over that as well.

2 Point 1 Statements of Facts Number all your statements of facts.
Statements of facts must be complete, grammatically proper sentences. Unless there is very good reason to do otherwise, the order of the statements of facts should reflect the order of the information given in the case. Be complete – do not simply repeat in toto what is in the case, but give a complete (full) summary of the relevant information.

3 Point 2 Ethical Issues In Step 1(B) requires you pick out the ethical issues raised by the statements of facts. Include ONLY statements of facts that raise ethical issues. Only 1 statement of fact per row. For each statement of fact you use in Step 1(B) you need BOTH a explanation of WHY the statement of fact raises an ethical issue and WHAT the potential or resulting harms are.

4 Point 2 Ethical Issues Explaining WHY the statement of fact raises an ethical issue requires more than simply repeating the statement of fact. You need to explain clearly what the ethical issue is and why it is an ethical issue. For example, stating that a violation of privacy occurs is not an explanation for why this is an ethical issue. Include all of the potential and resulting harms. For example, if there is a violation of privacy, what are the resulting and potential harms of that violation? Be specific and be certain to mention the stakeholders who are affected.

5 Point 3 Stakeholders Include all of the important stakeholders.
Typically (though not always) if someone (something thing, some group of people) is mentioned by name, that is an important stakeholder. Typically (though not always) you should include families together as a single stakeholder. Often only one member of the family is the principal stakeholder. Identify the PRINCIPAL stakeholders – those most directly and significantly affected.

6 Point 4 Ethical Dilemma The ethical dilemma is your Step II.
The ethical dilemma is ALWAYS a single sentence in the form of a question. If you have more than a single sentence for your Step II, then you have an error. The question always looks forward to something that can happen, NOT BACKWARDS to what has already happened? The general form that your ethical dilemma should take is: “Should X do Y?” where X is a stakeholder and Y is some action that has not occurred but which X can choose.

7 Step IV Ethical Analyses
Point 5 Step IV Ethical Analyses The Step III analyses constitute the greatest part of your case study analysis. In each of Step III (A – F) you always need to refer to at least three separate stakeholders. These stakeholders MUST be mentioned in your Step I(C). If they are not mentioned there, you may not use them in Step III. Step III (A – F) constitute the consequentialist (utilitarian) analyses. You need to be specific in terms of the harms and benefits. For example, writing that someone’s privacy has been violated is NOT specific enough. What is the real or potential harm of the violation of the privacy? Be specific and complete in your answers.

8 Point 5 Step III(G) concerns rights and duties.
Rights and duties ALWAYS come in pairs. Thus, each line of your answer under Step III(G) should be made up of a pair of rights and duties. The rights and duties should be specific to the case – e.g., Unless you believe that you can make a strong case of a generic right to happiness and that right is relevant to the case, do not use such a general right. Be as specific as possible – e.g., if you refer to a right to privacy, clearly delineate the scope of that right. Remember that rights and duties may be applicable for employers, employees, the society in the which the organization operates, and the various stakeholders with which the business organization operates.

9 Point 5 Step III(H – M) concern the Kantian (deontological) analyses of the case. Step III(H – J) deal with disrespect. This is disrespect in the technical Kantian sense, NOT disrespect in the ordinary English language sense. Kantian disrespect has the general form: “Stakeholder A disrespects B if A intends to treat B as only a means to an end”. This means that you MUST clearly identify the stakeholder that is acting with disrespect and the stakeholder that is being treated with disrespect. When doing the Kantian analyses you must focus on the intent of stakeholders, NOT on the consequences of their actions.

10 Point 5 Step III(K – M) deal with “unlike treatment”. This is NOT unlike treatment in the ordinary English language sense of the expression, but is instead the technical, Kantian sense. The general form your answers should take is: “Stakeholder A treats stakeholder B unlike others if A would not, as a rational and reflective agent, agree that B directing the same treatment to A is fair and equitable.” For example, suppose Tom is sexually harassing Sally. This is unlike treatment since Tom, as a rational reflective agent, would not agree that Sally sexually harassing him is fair and equitable.

11 Point 6 Step IV (A) requires that you answer your ethical dilemma (from Step II) and justify that answer referring to the relevant parts of your analyses from Step III. First, answer the ethical dilemma. If the ethical dilemma had the form “Should S do Y?”, then your answer should have the form “S should do Y”. (If you believe that S should not do Y, then it will have the form “S should not do Y”.) You must justify your decision. That requires you refer to EACH and EVERY part of Step III that supports your decision and EXPLAIN why that part of Step III supports your decision.

12 Point 6 Step IV(B) requires that you put your ethical decision into practice. How would you implement your ethical decision? What are the steps needed to implement your ethical decision? Be as specific as possible in terms of the implementation. Step IV(C) asks you to go back to your stakeholders (Step I(C)) and explain HOW your ethical decision will affect your stakeholders. Be as specific as possible.

13 General Points Answers should always (even if you use bullet lists) be in the form of grammatically proper, complete sentences (that means, amongst other things, ending with a period). Always check spelling and grammar. Use the “spell checker” and “grammar checker” that comes with your word-processing software. Do NOT include a cover sheet. Just begin on the first page with Step 1. Your name and other relevant information should occur in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. Number your pages. Be complete in your answers. Both the descriptive and analytic parts of your case studies must be fully completed. Refer to the online lectures for doing the case studies for additional information.

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