by James Brusseau

Video Case Studies in Business Ethics and Ethics (Details)



What do employers owe fired employees? Compassion and dignity when a company is hired to terminate positions.


The son of the Ponzi schemer lives well and donates to charity. What about the bilked investors?


Apple under Steve Jobs ascended corporate ranks in profits, while dropping philanthropic giving. Do successful companies have a responsibility to give back? What does "give back" mean?


NYC Mayor Bloomberg fights obesity by banning sugary drinks (Starbucks’ Frappuccino, 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp…). The industry accuses him of running a nanny state and infringing on individual freedom.


Bogus Job Offer

A science professor wants to award a raise to one of her postdoc workers, but her boss isn’t approving the request. Should she arrange a fake job offer to apply some pressure?


Branding and Facts and Creating Desires (Mobile Phones v. Toilets in India)

Advertisers persuading people that they need to spend money on a cell phone, even while they lack proper sanitation. In a world where no one has everything they want, is there anything wrong with shaping what people do want?


Bribery in International Business: Ethics & The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Investigating the ethics of bribery in places where the practice is common. Walmart in Mexico.


Buying Coke and Friends

Questions about consumerism provoked by Coke’s international marketing campaign of random beverage gifting.


Cancel AOL

A dissatisfied consumer responds to AOL by posting a recorded phone call online. The ethics of consumer vengeance.


Captive Customers

A required textbook is customized, extra-expensive, and a kickback strategy for a university English department.


  High school students in a SAT prep class unwittingly benefit from stolen test booklets revealing questions on the college entrance exam. After receiving their scores and applying to colleges, the cheating is discovered. Should the scores be cancelled?

Conflict of Interest Aboard the Highlander

A young marketer lives the high life in NYC on Steve Forbes’s tab. What is he expected to give back?


Conflict of Interest in North Carolina

A prosecutor charged with investigating the Governor's election campaign is married to a woman whose job and impressive salary depends on the Governor.


Cooking a Résumé

Television chef Robert Irvine embellished his résumé to land his job. Later, he was caught and fired. Then he was rehired. Is there any ethical limit to misrepresentation on the résumé?


Daisey & Foxconn

Mike Daisey fabricated his story on Foxconn for "This American Life." But, perhaps due to the attention generated, the Chinese factory is undergoing a labor audit and plans to raise wages. Is exaggeration acceptable when raising awareness?


Dirty Tricks at Work

Exploiting and concealing information to win a promotion over co-workers.


Drugs in Coke and at Work

Cocaine in the original Coca-Cola provokes questions about drugs at work, and in order to work.


The End of Destiny's Child

Beyoncé pursues a solo career. Does she remain obligated to the members of Destiny's Child who helped make her famous?


Derelicts are kidnapped and sacrificed for a medical breakthrough. From the movie Extreme Measures, two medical researchers debate how far to go to cure a disease.


Facebook Firing

Fired for abusing the boss on Facebook.


Fake Music

Samuragochi, a celebrated Japanese composer, conducted orchestras playing real music that he faked having written. At the Super Bowl halftime, the Red Hot Chili Peppers faked playing music that they really had written. Are any listeners defrauded?


Farmed Fish Sold as Wild

A fish dealer suspects competitors are selling farmed salmon as more expensive wild salmon, and pocketing the price difference. The situation is difficult because consumers find the two varieties virtually indistinguishable.


Vulnerable to fire in a collision, but also the key element of the company's business strategy, should the Ford Pinto go into mass production?


Collective welfare, rights, freedom and free markets; snippets of a debate about the Ford Pinto.


Apple is criticized for working conditions at Foxconn & similar offshore suppliers. Critics focus on low pay (relative to US), long hours, and suicides (nets surrounding the Foxconn facility now catch jumpers). On the other hand, locals wait hours in lines to apply for the jobs that pay well by their standards.


A woman walks into a bar wearing Google Glass and begins filming. Ethical issues follow.


The Greyhound bus driver strike of 1983 spun multiple conflicts between individuals and collectives.


In 1960, psychology professor Leary began exploring psychotropic substances affecting the mind. By 1963 the experiments had spun out of control. What ethical issues intersect with employers and employees engaged in questionable enterprises?


A woman spills hot coffee, and burns herself. How liable is McDonald’s?


Torture employed to save a kidnapped child. Can that square with Kant’s ethics of human dignity?


Libertarian Eddy Lepp demands that police leave his land, his church, and his medicinal marijuana fields.


State run lotteries are a kind of regressive tax. Are they ethically justifiable? Are compelling marketing efforts justifiable?


Money for the intentionally unemployed?


Muslim workers fired after leaving the line in the middle of the day to pray. Religious versus economic freedom.


Blocking Broadway for an economic cause. Social justice and the limits of civil disobedience.


Peeping Art

A photographer’s telescopic lens – along with the gaping windows of a neighboring apartment building – allow him to snap pictures of people in their daily lives. They’re sold in an art gallery for thousands of dollars. The unwitting subjects protest.


Rank and Yank and Ethics

In rank and yank management, employees are ranked, and the bottom 10 percent fired, even if they’re performing satisfactorily. The purpose is to open slots for new employees who may perform better. The practice is controversial.


Rawls’ Difference Principle & Straight Equality as Responses to Wealth Inequality

John Rawls’ difference principle is compared with straight equality as responses to wealth inequality.


Rawls – Nozick Wealth Distribution Debate

John Rawls and Robert Nozick promote distinct values for governing wealth distribution: freedom and equality. The difference between the two perspectives is investigated.


Profit and Social Value

An interview with Kevin Williamson on applications and limitations of ethics joined to bottom lines. Corporate philanthropy, Apple computer, and TOMS Shoes: Does corporate profit equal produced social value?


Single Parent in the Army

A single mother receives a deployment order, but she has no one to care for her toddler.


Skin and Money

Chippendales and brutal competition: who owns a business concept, and how far should they go to protect it from copycat enterprises?


When mortgage borrowers are manipulated, where should ethical accusations be pointed? Toward local loan reps who misled the borrowers? Toward corporate executives who oversaw the loan operations?


In Seattle, Surveillance Camera Man goes around sticking his camera in peoples’ faces to find out what they will do. He ends up shedding light on surveillance society. (30 Mins)


Teachers come forward with information regarding forging test scores.


An entrepreneur gets rich with a business that gives to those in need.


A prank marketing ploy generates consumer awareness, but leaves a woman traumatized.


How much dignity and privacy will airline travelers surrender for a safe flight?


UFC is brutal. Fighters sign up for the events and spectators pay to watch. When the only rule is that there are no rules, and an iron cage blocks any escape, what ethical dilemmas intercede?


Hedonistic versus idealistic happiness: which way should the utilitarian go?


A city invites people to come to town and lie about who they are.


Nietzsche’s concept of the eternal return is defined, and then exemplified through the life of Wallace Souza. Does his ethically startling existence exemplify an eternal return kind of life?


A hyper-competitive and imbalanced compensation structure generates questions about hiring and retaining employees.


Workers Legal and Illegal at American Apparel and Forcine

Both American Apparel and Forcine Concrete hire illegal immigrants. Their distinct strategies for the practice provide two levels of ethical debate.


1070 page visits from 18 November 2012 to 29 November 2015