Hawthorne Effect (Luebke)

My experience with the Hawthrone effect I can most closely recall is from when I started as an assistant store manager for a Wal-Mart supercenter. I started working at a store where the management staff was severely understaffed – we did not have a store manager and a team of 4 managers were supervising a team of over 200 people. Management was stretched thin due to being overworked and the workers were frustrated because they felt like any concerns they communicated went unnoticed or did not result in action. Workers had very little one-on-one time with management and felt like they had a low level of communication and direction. With the philosophy that “if you take care of your workers, they will take care of the customer,” I made my co-workers my number one priority. I took the time to learn a little about them individually, and understand what challenges, training opportunities, or conflicts needed to be resolved in their area. I held myself to the sundown rule: if someone came to me about a problem, I told them I would have an answer before sundown – even if the answer was something pending like, “I submitted a request to fix this freezer, I’m still waiting on a response.” I took some time but I was able to have a strong positive impact on retention, morale, and help reestablish the trust between associates and management by making.

  1. I have my fair share of bad managers. Unfortunately even people with good character and who mean well can be a bad manager. According to a 2015 Gallup study, 50% of Americans have quit a job because of poor management (Lighthouse, ND). The best manager I have had the pleasure of working had several qualities I learned a lot from:
  • Empowering leadership. This manger encouraged sharing ownership and giving individuals the freedom to accomplish objectives however they liked- as long as the requirements and deadline was met. She   would follow up as needed but avoided micromanaging unless the situation made it essential.
  • High level of social intelligence: She was extremely adept in reading people’s intentions, the subtext of the conversation, and was excellent at communicating effectively. At the time I had a style of being emotionally distanced from employees and having a very dry, formal, and direct method of communication. She did not shy away form tough conversations and in fact welcomed them, and was not afraid to let coworkers freely discuss emotional issues.
  • Recognizing strengths and weaknesses. She also gave very sincere compliments: she took the time to understand what skills people were good at and how these contributions could be used to accomplish certain tasks. She encouraged people to praise each other and give recognition of success in team meetings.



Works cited

No Author. No date. Why people leave managers, not companies. Lighthouse. https://getlighthouse.com/blog/people-leave-managers-not-companies/

M7: Environment (Luebke)

An Argument Against Climate Change

Climate Depot, a climate change denial website founded by a former Republican political aid, released a report featuring over 1000 scientists who disagree that human activity is the primary cause of global climate change. Furthermore, in a review of 11,944 peer-reviewed climate change studies, 66% found no stated position on human caused climate change, and while 33% of the studies implied that humans were contributing to climate change, only .5% explicitly stated that “Humans are the primary cause of recent global warming (procon.org, no date).’


  1. The moral issues underlying business’s abuse of the

 environment–in particular, the question of externalities, the problem of free riders, and the right to a livable environment


Traditionally, businesses have considered the environment to be a free, unlimited, pubic good to be used as they see fit. The tragedy of the commons states that businesses are at a disadvantage if they do consume or pollute as much as they are able to without penalty, and within their own self- interest. A third party that must pay a cost of doing business is known as an externality or spillover. Attitudes of many businesses are changing, as an increasing number of environmentally conscious companies are shifting their social responsibility to be integral to their business culture. The free-rider problem states that many companies rationalize their actions because they are one of many using resources, a tactic to avoid personal responsibility. Moral theorists like William T Blackstone argue that each person has the right to a livable environment as a basic human right. Recognizing and acknowledging this right strengthens the ethical grounds that the environment should be protected from degradation and that corporations must take ownership of the parts they play in it.


  1. Some of the deeper and not fully resolved questions of environmental ethics: What environmental responsibilities  do we have to the rest of the world? What obligations  do we have to future generations? Does nature have value in itself? Is our commercial exploitation of animals immoral?


Philosophy Professor Joel Fienburg argues that we have a direct impact on the interests of future generations, and that we have an opportunity to change and shape their interests in undoing the environmental harm that has been caused. It can be difficult to quantify the balance of needs between the current and future generations. Annette Baier argues that we should focus on the rights and interests of future generations as individuals and not a collective group. We should recognize our utilitarian obligation to continuing and improving human communities. John Rawls suggests that we should treat all generations equally, and balance what we are willing to sacrifice from their descendants versus how much we wish to inherit from our previous generation.

Holms Rolston III advocates for the naturalistic ethic, which states that animals and lands have value in their own right, apart from human interests. While lands are a public good that can be enjoyed by all, by boating, hiking, skiing, their value is intrinsic and separate from the human need to enjoy that land. I am a strong supporter of the naturalistic ethic, many people often see humanity and nature as separate entities, but our connections to each other are strongly linked, and valuing our planet beyond fulfilling our immediate desires will have a strong impact how humanity views it’s moral obligation to the environment.

On the topic of animal testing, most utilitarians would argue that animal testing is morally reasonable so long as the results, ie the pain and death it is able to prevent, is able to justify the suffering of the animals, and that the animals are not intelligent enough to experience complex emotional suffering. The conditions of animals in factory farms is unequivocally unethical, which has no doubt increased the requests from consumers and demand to restaurants for farm-to-table dinning options. According the National Restarunt Association, the increase in farm-to-table options for newer generations is “four of the top ten trends” related to local foods (Harvard, 2016).


Who pays the cost of pollution?


The responsibility of paying the costs of protecting the environment rests on the individuals responsible for causing the pollution — not the those who stand to benefit from protection and restoration. The quality of public goods and shared common of nature is something everyone benefits from. Paying restitution for a crime should be done by the perpetrators of the crime, not the victims. Cap and trade pollution permits are a good start in collecting payment for environmental damage, and has a strong potential for utilitarian payoff if it is reinvested in climate-friendly programs, such as renewable energy, recycling centers, and environmental cleanup programs.





No Author. No date. Procon.org. https://climatechange.procon.org/

 Harvard University,  Culinary Institute of America  (2016).  “Menus of Change: The Business of Healthy, Sustainable, Delicious Food Choices”  (PDF).  Menus of Change. Retrieved  April 15,  2017. https://www.menusofchange.org/images/uploads/pdf/CIA-Harvard_MenusOfChangeAnnualReport2016_(7-1)1.pdf

M6: Bayer (Arthur Luebke)

Between the 1970s and 1985, Bayer sold blood products to hemophiliacs and unknowingly infected between 6,000 and 10,000 customers in the United States with HIV and hepatitis C. When the company laboratories realized that the blood products were contaminated, the financial investment in the products was considered too high to destroy the inventory. The company misrepresented the results of their own research and “dumped” the contaminated products to overseas markets in Asia and Latin America. Bayer paid out 600 million dollars to settle lawsuits brought by thousands of American victims.

Goldberg, Suzanne. May 23rd 2003. The Guardian. Bayer Division ‘knowingly sold’ HIV-infected Protien.


M2 – Arthur Luebke

We’ve all had to make some serious ethical choices in our lives so I wanted to draw from a recent life experience that is fairly light in terms of how ethically important it was. A few weeks ago, I went out of town to meet up with friend of mine for lunch who I had not seen in a long time, he recommended a great place to eat. Later he casually mentioned how a few members of his office would go out to lunch once a week, and after the group seemed unanimous on selecting a place to eat, he would say something to the effect of: “I really don’t want to eat there, but I’m willing to go because everyone else seems so keen on it, as long as I get to pick the next lunch location.’ His co-workers found this to be a fair Unitarian compromise that allows everyone to experience the most good. However, he would use this technique only when they were selecting a place he already wanted to eat at, giving him an Egoist two for one value for picking lunch spots.

I laughed because it seemed clever and relatively harmless. After all, getting extra sway on where co-workers get to meet up for lunch does not inflict harm on them, and they were free to decline if it did not meet their dietary needs or tastes. My girlfriend and I have different tastes which has allowed both of us to open each other up to new foods and experiences, but can sometimes we go back and forth on picking a place to eat when we choose to eat out. I strongly considered stealing my friend’s technique of being able to double down on restaurant choice selection. While I love my girlfriend and value trust in relationships, this is a super low stakes ethical choice with low moral ramifications: picking where we get to eat lunch twice. After careful consideration, I chose against it. The largest reason being that I would not appreciate it being done to me. While I was not thinking of it in these terms at the time, I goes against Kant’s categorical imperative: the moral law did not hold true in all circumstances. It was also a maxim that could not be applied with universal acceptability. Finally, it was held individuals as an end, and not a means.

M1 – Arthur

Development of ethics can be drawn for a number of sources:


Laws, which punish bad behavior.

Religion/philosophy, which provides a set of principals and governing moral code.

Ethical Relativism, which states that ethics are determined by social norms.

Conscience, an internal moral compass.


I believe the primary source of ethics are individual integrity and personal responsibilities from our life experiences. We develop our ethics as soon as we learn how our actions impact others. Our ethics evolve and truly take shape when we are presented with difficult situations, life-changing events, and complex decisions. If you tell yourself you believe something is right or wrong but are not able to follow through when your convictions are tested, your true ethics are being decided in those moments.