ACCG 8048 2021 – Case Study Essay
Due: The case study essay is to be submitted via iLearn by 5pm Friday 29th May.
One essay of 2000 words, excluding references. Submissions may be up to 10% over the word limit but there will be a 5% penalty of the total available marks for up to each 5% beyond that limit e.g. Exceeding word limit by 11% to 15% = 2 mark penalty; exceeding word limit by 16% to 20% = 4 mark penalty. And so on.
You should use an essay structure, which includes an introduction, body and conclusion, organised into paragraphs. Your conclusion should summarise your essay’s main argument, which should critically evaluate the different ideas your essay covers.
Research quality will be evaluated on both the quality of sources and how well these sources are applied to the case. For each question, you must incorporate and reference at least two peer-reviewed academic sources. Although it is not mandatory to use more than two academic sources, as a guide you should refer in total to three to seven additional sources, at least half of which should come from peer-reviewed academic journals. Useful starting points for identifying appropriate sources are the recommended readings for each topic, Macquarie University Library’s online search function and relevant databases like Academic Search Premier (access via the Library Multi-search) and Google Scholar.
Ensure you reference all sources you use in your assignment, including online sources. Direct quotes (i.e. statements not in your own words) should be included in quote marks in addition to being referenced. You should use the APA 7th referencing system. The Library has set up an institutional account for APA’s ‘Academic Writer’, which includes tools for using this system. There are also numerous web resources on APA referencing, and popular referencing software (e.g. Endnote – free to students) can be set up to insert your references automatically in the correct style.
Extensions and Penalties
There will be a deduction of 10% of the total awarded marks made from the awarded mark for each 24-hour period or part thereof that the submission is late (for example, 25 hours late in submission = 20% penalty). This penalty does not apply for cases in which an application for Special Consideration is made and approved.
See the detailed marking rubric on iLearn.
Choose ONE of the following questions for your essay. To answer this question you will need to draw on readings covered in the course as well as your own research.
Question 1: Should businesses support Warragamba Dam being raised?
As the ABC analyses in detail, the economic and social impact of the floods in New South Wales (NSW) in early 2021 re-focused attention on a controversial proposal by the NSW State Government to raise the height of Warragamba Dam wall. Proponents claim a higher wall will prevent future damage to businesses and homes. Critics highlight social and environmental costs of this project, and the Insurance Council of Australia has recently withdrawn its support. Critically assess whether businesses should support proposals to raise the dam wall in this case. Your answer should begin by explaining at least one anthropocentric and one non-anthropocentric ethics theory relevant to this case and the main arguments for each perspective. Then apply these ethics theories, and your own detailed case research, to outline the key ethical arguments for and against raising the dam wall. Finally, critically analyse which perspective or perspectives are most convincing, and so determine whether businesses like the Insurance Council of Australia are right to withdraw their support in favour of “the exploration of alternative mitigation options to reduce flood risks”. Your answer must incorporate and reference ideas from at least two peer-reviewed academic journal articles from either the course readings or your own research.
Question 2: Should restaurants require customer vaccinations before entry?
Safe Work Australia (SWA) recently issued advice that while businesses are not legally obliged to require their customers to be vaccinated, business owners “might still want to require this as a condition of entry to [their] premises”. In a follow-up article, the Sydney Morning Herald advised that shops, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to make diners demonstrate vaccination before entry. Critically assess how restaurants owners should respond to SWA’s advice to “consider” requiring customers to have a COVID-19 vaccination before entering. Your answer should begin by outlining the main ethical obligations businesses have to keep workers safe in light of at least two relevant ethics theories, including arguments for each view. Then explain the obligations restaurants have to create a safe workplace under the NSW WHS Act (2011), including the respective duties organisations (PCBUs), officers and workers have in managing the risk of COVID-19 infections in restaurants. Finally, draw on these frameworks to critically assess whether restaurant owners should require customers to be vaccinated as a condition of entry into their store to best meet their ethical obligations, their WHS obligations, or both. Your answer must incorporate and reference ideas from at least two peer-reviewed academic journal articles from either course readings or your own research.
Question 3: Which trade certifications should fashion customers and retailers adopt?
Recent research by academics at the University of Melbourne shows consumers of fashion products are uncertain about how to buy clothes that have been produced ethically, and are increasingly sceptical about whether ethical codes and standards in fact denote or ensure such ethical production. This research accompanied a 2020 report by Oxfam, conducted with Monash University, which found even Australian clothes manufacturers who state a commitment to sustainable sourcing were complicit in aggressive pricing that could drive down supply chain pay and/or conditions. Using relevant theory and your own research, critically assess which certifications of ethical fashion, if any, clothing customers and retailers in Australia should endorse. Your analysis should consider at least three initiatives: the Fair Trade Cotton scheme, used by Etiko and Macpac; the Fair Share Scheme, used by Mountain Designs; and Ethical Clothing Australia. Begin by critically assessing to what extent Fair Trade certifications of Cotton guarantee fair production, drawing on relevant academic theories and analysis of the ethics of Fair Trade schemes. Then assess to what extent, or in which respects, the “Fair Share” and “Ethical Clothing” schemes are either more or less ethical than the Fair Trade approach. Finally, use relevant ethics theory to assess which scheme, if any, customers and retailers should endorse. Your answer must incorporate and reference ideas from at least two peer-reviewed academic journal articles from either course readings or your own research.
Question 4: Should disclosure be used to make companies more diverse?
In March 2020 Commissioner Allison Herren Lee of the United States (US) Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) delivered a speech calling for the SEC to do more to encourage diversity and inclusion in major US companies, including requirements for companies to disclose workplace diversity data for all levels of seniority. The SEC is now formally considering this approach. Critically assess Commissioner’s Lee’s arguments and proposal for US companies to provide mandatory diversity disclosures in light of alternative arguments and measures to promote workplace diversity. You answer should begin by explaining the main ethical arguments and / or theories Commissioner Lee uses (explicitly or implicitly) in her speech to argue for US companies to adopt a more diverse workforce, and her subsequent arguments for the SEC to use compulsory diversity disclosure to achieve this end. Then critically assess both Commissioner Lee’s ethical arguments and proposals. Your analysis should consider at least one alternative ethics theory Commissioner Lee might have considered and at least one alternative strategy (e.g. quotas) she might have proposed. Conclude by assessing to what extent Commissioner Lee’s proposal is ethically justified and effective to achieve a diverse workforce. Your answer must incorporate and reference ideas from at least two peer-reviewed academic journal articles from either course readings or your own research.