Quiz 1: Ethical Reasoning: Implications for Accounting


Cheating means using unfair means to achieve the desired results. Academic cheating is done by students in their exams, homework assignments, college entrance exams etc. Cheating is an unethical practice which is harmful to our society and the future of our young generation. As per the reports, around 50% of the students in the college are engaged in Academic Dishonesty. Cheating, apart from copying from other student's notes or bringing written or printed material in the exam, also includes Plagiarizing. 1. 'J' six pillars of characters provide the foundation for judging the ethical behavior in decision making. It is the duty of the student to behave in an ethical and socially responsible manner. J's six pillars of characteristics focus on six ethical aspects namely Trustworthiness, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Respect. We can use the following character traits to evaluate the 'H' university's cheating scandal: Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness includes honesty, reliability, integrity, and loyalty. A Trustworthy person has the ability to win another person's trust. Responsibility: Under responsibility, we are accountable for what we do. Responsibility can be ethical or moral or legal. Every human has a responsibility as a member of society. So, it is our responsibility to perform ethically. Fairness: Fairness means being unbiased in making a decision and not discriminating on the basis of caste, color, creed, religion, Students, Teaching Assistant and Administration were the stakeholders in the cheating case of 'H' university. J's six pillars of character can be applied in the case of each stakeholders: Students Trustworthiness: The students of 'H' university were expected to give their take-home final exam honestly. They were not allowed to discuss the exam with each other but they discussed with each other. Responsibility: Reasonability states that we are responsible for our own action hence we should perform our work ethically. In case of 'H' university cheating scandal, it was the responsibility of each student involved in that scam that if one student was using an unfair means to complete the test than other should have not have followed him/her. Teaching assistant Responsibility: It was the mistake of the teaching assistants that they gave the students the opportunity to consult them for the test for understanding the test questions clearly. It was clear in the rules of the university that no collaborations were allowed but some teaching assistant and course's instructors encouraged collaborations which became a matter of issue. Administration: Trustworthiness : It was an unethical action done by the administration to the check the email accounts of junior faculty members to track the main source for releasing the news of scandal to media. This act of administration can be classified under integrity of trustworthiness Fairness: The policies set by the administration were contradicting. They mentioned that it was an open book test in which the student can use books, notes or even google the information but they cannot discuss it with each other. Also, the collaboration with the teaching assistant and course's instructor was encouraged as of result of which the answers of some students turn out to be similar. Due to which they were accused of cheating and discussing the test paper. 2. In the cheating scandal of 'H' university, there was not a single person responsible for this situation. Students, as well as the teaching assistant, were both responsible for this scandal. Students were given strict guidelines that they can use books, notes, internet etc. for completing the test but they cannot take any help from resident tutors, writing centers etc. But students ignoring these rules took the help of teaching assistant to discuss their exam papers due to which the matter they wrote in test papers were almost similar. Teaching assistants were also responsible for this scandal as they were not allowed to help students because it was strictly mentioned in the exams instructions that any kind of collaboration is not allowed. These teaching assistant should have resisted students when they were approached for help in the test. 3. The administration of 'H' university was not allowed to search the emails of the junior faculty members to find the main person responsible for disclosing the news of scandal to media. This action was not ethical because it was not mentioned in the university policy. Such kind of action taken by the university is a breach of privacy and trust. 4. Having a mutual set of beliefs, values, and assumptions in an organization which regulates the behavior of the employees in the organization is called organizational culture. The organizational cultures of companies differ from one company to another. Honor Codes are set by the administration of an academic institution to discourage the unethical behavior of people constituting that organization. Yes, an Honor Code in 'H' university can help in establishing the culture of academic integrity among the people within that organization. Such codes will help the students, teachers, and administration of the university to keep a check on their activities and determine on their own whether such a step is ethical or unethical. These codes will reduce the chances of such cheating scandals in near future and can be taken as a warning that ignoring these rules will lead to serious consequences.

This question presents an ethical dilemma known as the "trolley problem". The decider in the trolley is given two choices: • Sacrifice one man, by pushing him off, to save five including the decider. • Do nothing. The one man survives, but five including the decider will die. There are no correct answers for this question. The following parts describe possible justifications for either choice using deontological and teleological approaches. The Deontological approach states that each person is deserving of respects of his rights from others. Deontology also stresses that one must act according to one's duty to others. The approach doesn't consider whether the end goal of the act was moral, only that the act itself must be moral. The choice to do nothing can be considered correct because the man deserves his right to live. If he is pushed off to save the five his right to live is being used. The Deontological approach states that this is immoral because the act, killing, is immoral regardless of the end goal being for a better good. The Teleological Approach considers the whether the ends of an act is morally justified. This approach includes egoism and utilitarianism. Egoism considers acting in one's self interest as an end. Utilitarianism seeks to maximize the benefit, or minimize harms to those involved in an act. By the egoism approach, it's in the decider's self-interest to sacrifice the one man so that the decider can live. Utilitarianism will compel the decider to do the same; the death of one is much less costly than the death of five.

The following summarizes the events in the case: • An accounting firm strictly forbids dating between different rank employees of its firm • The firm's executive, G, and his employee, R, are dating • They are conducting an audit • Another executive suspects their amounts on their billable hours. 1. The Josephson's Six Pillars of character are: • Trustworthiness - need for honesty and integrity. • Respect - treat people with respect and as equals • Responsibility - be accountable for actions, act with a reasonable level of care • Fairness - treat people with an equal, impartial standard • Caring - be understanding of another's issues • Citizenship - obey laws, be involved in community, vote. The characters relevant to G and R is trustworthiness and responsibility. They were not trustworthy by hiding their relationship to the company. They also did not act with responsibility. As professional auditors they should be well aware that their degree of fraternization can be viewed as suspicious. 2. If G was a person of integrity he will admit his relationship to his boss. He will take responsibility for his actions and request to be taken off the audit project. 3. If G is a valuable employee and there's no other reason to question his work capabilities, the firm may decide to keep him. Out of fairness, they will have to request that either G or R resign from the firm or fire both of them. The firm is concerned with conflict of interest between superiors and their employees, so they can only keep one or the other.