M9 (Fraser)

What, if any, has been your experience with the Hawthorne effect on a job?

I am currently an intern with the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities and have been pleasantly surprised by the way the state treats their employees. During a normal work day, we get two fifteen minute breaks and an hour lunch break. These breaks allow us to refresh our minds and come back focused. Research shows that a 15-20 minute break increases focus and energy levels. The person is more productive, creative, and efficient with breaks throughout the day than not. Even the smallest break away from one’s screen or a moment of distraction can reenergize the brain (Harness, 2013). I have yet to experience a job without breaks, but I do know that I can’t handle a brain overload. When I have long homework days during the weekend, I take a lap around the building every hour. The break gives my brain time to retain the previous information and clear up for more. The breaks on paper may seem unproductive at a corporate level, but humans aren’t machines and they benefit greatly from workplace changes that cater to human needs.

1) Describe a supervisor who inspired and motivated you — what were their characteristics or actions that made such a positive impact?

I haven’t had a great or poor supervisor. Most of my jobs have consisted of independent work and general supervision. I haven’t needed much from them; and as long as I did my job, they didn’t need much from me. So far, the supervisors I have worked under have cared about my needs and have been supportive of my plans. They listen to my ideas and give me a chance to better the workplace. I’ve been given raises due to my work initiative and ability to find something beneficial to do even during down times. I think the greatest supervisors are the ones who have the experience to teach you, but also are able to stand on equal grounds with you. The supervisors who see you more than just a worker and understand that life throws curve balls, are the ones who have employees that want to come back to work everyday and work hard. The jobs I have had so far are seasonal with a lot of turnover. Developing a relationship is hard, but I leave the job on good terms and always receive a great reference from previous employers. I think the relationship is a two way street and you have to give back what you want to receive.


Harness, Jill. “The Importance of Breaks At Work.’ Lifehack, Lifehack, 9 June 2013, www.lifehack.org/articles/work/the-importance-breaks-work.html.

M7 (Fraser)

Research and find an alternative/opposing point of view to Climate Change as proposed in the Introduction.

Most skeptics of climate change agree that the Earth is warming, but for the reason why is where the differences lie. Warming to skeptics may be due to a longer period of solar activity, the end of a “Little Ice Age,” or any other reason than greenhouse gases. Skeptics of climate change argue that the problem has been blown way out of proportion and is a ploy for the environmentalist to pursue an agenda of their own. Skeptics believe they are being attacked by the media and scientists on a subject that lacks solid evidence. In 2009, leaked emails corroborated well known scientists from withholding data that helped skeptics’ arguement. There arose questions of whether the country should trust scientific research and whether scientist’s integrity existed in this world. Lastly, skeptics believe that capping greenhouse-gas emissions may do more economic harm than environmental good; while warming could improve morality rates. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) debunks many of these claims with research and firm evidence (Johnson, 2010).

What environmental responsibilities do we have to the rest of the world?

The effects of pollution is shared among all nations, but developed nations like the US, has produced a better portion of the carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere by humankind. Is it ethical for other nations to have to bare the burden brought upon other nations? And when policymakers from those companies come up with a solution, do they consider those other nations? Richard   Somerville believes policymakers should consider the ethical consequences upon the rest of the world from the policies powerful nations are creating. People must consider how climate change will affect different cultures and economic sectors (2008).

Is our commercial exploitation of animals immoral?

The commercial exploitation of animals is immoral. These animals feel pain and sadness just like we do. When considering moral actions, we must consider the animals suffering and welfare. Experiments and tests, critic Peter Singer contests, are unjustifiable on moral grounds. The largest, most impactful animal production is factory farming. Billions of birds and mammals are killed in the United States each year for food. The environmental impact is astronomical and is shielded from the consumers. The confined spaces, darkness, and drugs these animals experience is shocking when one first realizes the truth. The animals are born in a stressful climate and are never able to roam free and enjoy life. They are raised to be slaughtered and suffer in between (Shaw, 2017).

Who should pay the cost for protecting the environment — those responsible for causing the pollution or those who stand to benefit from protection and restoration. Explain your position.

I believe those who are responsible for causing the pollution should pay the cost for protecting the environment. People and companies who produce pollution should be held accountable for the waste they create and the area they infect. Poor air and water quality can cause serious health effects to people who have no knowledge that they are being polluted. Companies aren’t held accountable for the large amounts of pollution they create and so the people have to fight to protect their environment. William Shaw   points out that people who do pollute benefit from the efforts to reduce pollution yet, do not make an effort themselves. The companies “ride for free” while producing more pollution without paying the cost. The prices of the products companies make do not include the cost to the environment as the natural world is often seen as free and without limits. The tragedy of the commons describes a public land for which people take advantage of and exploit for their own benefit. Leaving a the land worst off and a disparity in equality. It is true that consumers continue to buy these products and produce their own waste and yet do not bare the cost. However, by having companies take ownership for the pollution they create, pushes them to change their manufacturing processes and find better alternatives for their own profit. Europe has initiated pollution permits for companies to take responsibility of the pollution they create (2017). In a perfect world, everyone would take responsibility and pay on a scale based on how much the individual pollutes.


Johnson, Toni. “Alternative Views on Climate Change.’ Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 23 Feb. 2010, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/alternative-views-climate-change.

Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

Somerville, Richard. “The Ethics of Climate Change.’ Yale E360, 2 June 2008, e360.yale.edu/features/the_ethics_of_climate_change.

M6 (Fraser)

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

In 2014, a group of scientist from West Virginia discovered that Volkswagen had cheated on an emission test. It was later revealed by Volkswagen that this effected 11 million vehicles worldwide.   The test made the emissions seem cleaner than they really were; when in reality, the emissions were up to 40 times higher than the legal limits. Volkswagen lied to their customers and the regulators involved. The numbers produced from the test were great, but the program cheated by putting on a performance during the test. Ethically, Volkswagen failed on many accounts. They lied and manipulated to increase profits. Consumers had no way of knowing this was happening and trusted the corporation. These corporations look to cheat the consumers based on their shear size and reach. They believe we are easy to take advantage of and they can get away with things that are ethically wrong. In the end, Volkswagen did the right thing by first giving compensation for lost value and later buying back or fixing the cars. Public image is key and even with all the power a corporation may have, a scandal can break a corporation.

M2 (Fraser)

British philosopher, W.D. Ross, argued for the theory called prima facie obligation. This theory considers the complexities of our moral lives and how they can affect our moral obligations. Moreover, Ross says that promises must be kept, unless a more important obligation arises (Shaw, 2017).   I was on my way to school about three years ago when I witnessed a car-pedestrian accident. I was coming off the bridge turning left, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a vehicle quickly stop on top of the pedestrian island for which two pedestrians stood. As I continued to make my turn, I saw one pedestrian in agony holding her leg and the driver of the car rushing out to help. Once I completed my turn, I stopped, looking to see if someone was taking action. I was the last vehicle out of the green interval and the cars from the other direction were soon going to head my way. I went around the block and parked at the gas station at the far corner of the intersection. By then, the injured pedestrian was getting help and the ambulance was soon to arrive. The traffic was pretty busy by then and there wasn’t any point to overcrowd the group.

I identified this situation as an example of prima facie obligation, because I skipped out on a promise to make sure the pedestrians were okay. At an early age, I made a promise to my parents that I would arrive to school on time and not divert from my path. This may not be a strong ethical duty all follow, but this was a promise I made and was entrusted by my parents for my own safety. As Ross would say, different circumstances create specific obligations, unique to the the people involved. And so, I diverted from this path as I saw that someone was in distress. I decided that it was my moral obligation to break that promise and help the people. No one could have predicted that I would witness an accident, but those who believe in prima facie obligation, would understand my actions from a moral viewpoint.

When reading the chapter, I identified with this theory the most. This specific kind of situation described above may have happened once or twice in my life time, but I still believe that there are so many variables in our lives that can alter our moral decisions. Certain situations, relationships, and conditions can alter what we perceive is right and wrong and what our moral obligations are to them.

Citation: Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

M1 (Fraser)

How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?

William Shaw (2017) says that, “Many things influence what moral principles we accept: our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards of our culture, our own experiences, and our critical reflections on those experiences.” I agree with Shaw that how and where we were raised formed the foundation of our ethics. At an early age, we grasp any knowledge we are able to understand and begin to formulate our ethical bases. This knowledge is fed through us by way of communication, behaviors, and observations. What our parents say is right and wrong becomes law, whether we refuse it at the time or not. We may pick up social behaviors out in public of how to behave and communicate with friends, schoolmates, and strangers. Lastly, we may observe ethical behaviors through books and movies that show a multitude of ethical and unethical situations. Our interpretation of these primary sources and what we choose to accept and adopt into our own beliefs become our ethical position.

Our ethical understanding is always changing and evolving. As we grow up, we experience new things that challenge our ethical views and force us to think about the harder topics. With our foundation built, we face the harder questions and scenarios that don’t have a simple black and white answer. We find ourselves caught in the middle or what is ethical and what benefits us. We begin to travel around and learn that different cultures and religions have different ethical beliefs. We begin to take classes that argue these positions and we continue to evolve our ethical position.

Citation: Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017