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Action-based Project

Overview and Rationale

The Final Project is focused on solving an ethical issue that deals with organizational/societal leadership, where students apply course material to a real-world scenario.  The assignment will be conducted in the form of an action project whereby the students will serve as consultants on a topic that is related to Corporate Social Responsibility.  The students will put themselves into the shoes of real-life leaders who deal with an ethical situation that encompasses both organizational and societal levels.  The project includes: (a) data-based comprehensive description of the issue/dilemma and its background; (b) in-depth analysis of options, justified with the use of course materials; and (c) recommendations/solutions/polices for making change.

Assignment Objectives

Students will be able to analyze a real-world organization and determine how its corporate social responsibility program aligns with the information learned to date, citing course readings, lectures, and discussions.
Students will be able to analyze the respective companys CSR program using the ethical lenses learned during the first half of the course.
Students will have an opportunity to offer their ideas on how their ethical leadership styles would impact on real-world organizations by identifying solutions or plans for improving a companys CSR program.
The Project

You are a consultant who specializes in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  Your job is to analyze a specific companys CSR program, determine if it is accomplishing the desired purpose, recommend a CSR start-up program for a company that has not fully embraced this concept, and/or determine if CSR is in the best interest of the respective company.

A few days ago, you were contacted by a company that would like you to evaluate their CSR program and provide specific recommendations on what they are doing well, what areas need improvement, and how CSR aligns with its reputation for ethical behavior and conduct.  You can choose a company from the list below, select the one you work for, or use a company that you are personally or professionally familiar with. If the company you select does not support CSR, your job will be to determine if it would benefit from such a program, and why.

Your contract stipulates that you will analyze the existing CSR program within the company you selected, identify the pros and cons of the program, make recommendations for changes, and determine how effectively CSR aligns with the company’s ethical foundations, its vision and its mission.  If it does not have a CSR program provide a logical plan for why such a program would benefit the company and how it should be implemented.

Assignment Structure

The final assignment for this course is a project that includes two elements: a research paper and presentation.

Paper (6 8 pages) – Serves as the consulting report; an official document that will analyze the companys CSR program, explain your findings about the program, and include detailed recommendations.

Presentation (6 8 Power Point or Prezi slides) – Designed to serve as your presentation to the companys board of directors, where you summarize the information in the consulting report.

The student will work on understanding, analyzing and implementing choices related to an ethics-related situation. In doing this, you are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical foundations of ethical leadership when you reflect on your recommendations for improving the companys CSR efforts.  Using lecture materials, readings, and the various discussions you have had with classmates and the instructor, you will incorporate leadership theories to create a CSR program that will support your ethical leadership style. 

Consider the following points in your report:

– Using the available research and your personal or professional examples – define CSR in your own words.

– Based on your research, what are the arguments both in favor of and against CSR?

– How do your arguments support your analysis of the CSR program for the company you selected?

– Use your personal and professional experiences to guide your ideas and recommendations on how the selected company can and/or should be socially responsible.

– How does the company or organization you researched make a clear link between the concept of CSR and the various ethical theories we discussed during this course?

– Why is CSR a leadership issue?

– Provide no less than six references (not included in the six to eight pages).

Here are a few companies that have a strong record of Corporate Social Responsibility – their information is readily available on-line.  Again, you are free to choose any company you desire.

Coca Cola                                          IKEA

Toms Shoes                                        Microsoft

JPMorgan Chase & Co.                      Burt’s Bees

General Electric                                The Body Shop

Ben & Jerry’s                                      Whole Foods

When:  Final Assignment

Length: Paper – 6 8 pages – page count does not include title page or references (double spaced 12 font APA style)

            Presentation – 6 8 Power Point or Prezi slides – slide count does not include title slide.

Weight: 25 points out of a possible 100 points for the course (20 points for the paper and 5 for the presentation)

Rubrics for grading (the full rubric is located under “Course Material:”

Understand (Rigor): Use of conceptual frameworks for self-awareness and reflection in the area of ethical leadership
Analyze (Depth & critical thinking): Critical evaluation of choices and actions, revealing strengths and weaknesses/areas for development
Implement (Relevance and growth-based):  Focus on personal growth as an ethical leader. Relevance of the action plan/personal polices for strengthening your own ethical leadership capabilities.
Presentation: Clarity of writing.

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