Week 4 – Discussion
Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
The Effects of Business on Consumers and the Environment: Case Study: Perdue Farms
This discussion assignment requires you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post.
Prepare: In preparation for your first post in this discussion, you will become familiar with the case of Perdue Farms by means of the material listed under Required Resources (Generally). You will also find more material under Required Resources (Per Subject Heading) because the specific task for this discussion is to examine this case with an eye for any one of the following four subject headings in business ethics: (1) the environment, (2) advertising, (3) consumer safety and (4) moral responsibility. You must select one of these subject headings and your selection will be the specific focus of your work for your discussion. Accordingly, you will be responsible to complete the readings and videos listed under your chosen subject heading.
Reflect: If you choose the environment subject heading, reflect on the sheer density of chickens raised at any given time in the Perdue facilities. The disposal of their discarded remains and their processing for distribution, either individually and most definitely together, pose a number of environmental concerns.
If you choose the advertising subject heading, reflect on how the two videos on Perdue farms present the sharp contrast between the way the company presents its product and the way in which it has been discovered to run its chicken farms. Consider whether this is an example of failure to provide truth in advertising and how you would support such a stance.
If you choose the consumer safety subject heading, reflect on the way in which chickens raised in factory farms risks consumer safety. These might include (a) bacterial contamination, (b) the effects of antibiotics on the meat that is consumed, or (c) the release of adrenaline, cortisone, and other chemicals resulting from the acute stress endured by factory farm animals, which then becomes part of the meat that is later consumed by humans.
If you choose the moral responsibility heading, reflect on the stewardship role that may fall upon humans toward non-human animals. Can we utilize them as mere means to an end (for entertainment, companionship, or food)? Or do we have special obligations toward them (e.g., not to mistreat or torture them and to slaughter them quickly and without stress) because they are sentient beings?
Once you have completed the indicated readings and videos, reflect on the ethical theories that we have covered in the discussions thus far and identify one that you want to apply for your analysis in your discussion post.
Also, reflect on the regulations (or lack thereof) in the factory farming industry in order to be able to examine how our nation’s laws affect the operations of the business. You will need to research the applicable laws on the factory farming industry.
Finally, since Perdue Farms is an American corporation, reflect on the mixed economic system in the United States in order to articulate the setting for the operations of factory farming, and then, be able to analyze the ethical actions of Perdue given this setting.
Write: In the first part of your initial post, you will need to introduce the Perdue case within the particular subject heading that you have chosen. In this introduction, you will also need to (1) articulate the relevant characteristics of our mixed economic system and (2) present the regulations for the factory farming industry. These will provide the setting for you to be able to examine how the nation’s laws affect its operations.
In the second part of your initial post, present your analysis of the problem in a way that identifies which entities (Perdue as a corporation, the economic system in the USA, the regulatory control of the state, or all of these) have a role in the problem that you have presented. In your analysis, you must assess the negative effects of the interplay between business activity and one of the following: the environment, advertising, consumer safety, or corporate social responsibility. Your focus must be an ethical analysis of this interplay, and it must be well supported by reliable and/or scholarly sources by clearly identifying the ethical theory that you are applying in your analysis.
Revise: Read the feedback provided by your professor to your initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On the basis of what you have learned in this process, post an improved revision of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have gained.
Remember that your grade depends on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as much as you can through revision. Taking this process seriously will help you develop the skills you need to do well on the Final Project.
Requirements for Your Initial Post:
- Your initial post should be at least 400 words in length and have citations and references in APA notation. It should address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
- Please be advised that until you post, you will not see what your fellow students are posting. Once you submit your post, you will be able to view the posts from your other classmates. You can then proceed to reply to at least two different threads based on the required material for this discussion.
- Your list of references for your initial post should include the videos and the other required reading material for this discussion, the Instructor Guidance, and any other announcements presented to you by your professor. List all the course material that informed your work in the list of references and cite these too where appropriate. In addition, your references should include any other sources that you consult to inform yourself (but not Wikipedia or similar sources).
- Your initial post for this discussion should be submitted no later than the end of Thursday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain time).
Requirements for Replies to Other Threads:
- At least two of the four posts required should be in the form of replies to fellow classmates in threads other than your own.
- Each of your replies should be at least 200 words and informed by the course material. As such, the replies must have citations and references in APA notation. Your list of references for each reply should include all of the course material that has informed your reply, in addition to any research that you have obtained on your own.
- Your replies should focus on the specific examination presented by your fellow student, and these should include an examination of whether or not the characteristics of the ethical theory and/or economic system were identified well, and whether or not their application and analysis was also carried out successfully. Providing such an examination is not an attack on your fellow student but an attempt to work together with your fellow student toward the better understanding of the ethical theories employed, as well as their application.
Requirements for Revising Your Initial Post:
- Submit a revision of your initial post by either replying to your own post, or to the feedback provided to you by your professor.
- There is no minimum word requirement for your revised initial post. But you should always explain the reasons for revising your post so that it is clear what you are doing. If you are revising only a few words, or an ethical theory, you should not just submit a post with vague language such as: “duty ethics works better here” or “I did not consider the economic system.” It is important to recognize that no one can read your mind so you need to provide the setting for your revision (Why? What prompted it? What course material informed you?) , and it is important to write in clear language and complete sentences.
- Your revised initial post is your chance to correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or show your improved understanding of the material and its applications to the case at hand. You may, for example, come to the realization that another ethical theory is better than the one that you initially chose. Accordingly, your revision should indicate that you chose another ethical theory and an explanation why you find the replacement more suitable. You may also find the need to revise any relevant portions of your analysis. Or, you might have realized that your conclusion did not take into account important factors necessary for your evaluation of the situation.
- You should maximize the improvement of your initial post by employing your professor’s feedback as a guide. Keep in mind that you may not always receive direct feedback from your professor. But your professor will have submitted feedback in the discussion to other posts. So read your professor’s feedback whether it is addressed to you directlyor to other fellow students. This will give you much to think about and apply to your own post.
- If your professor or a fellow classmate responds to your revised initial post, and on this basis, you find good reason to submit yet another revision, then by all means do so. The more you improve your initial post, the more you will benefit both in terms of your learning and most likely your grade.