As you sit down in Kates office, Kate lives up to her reputation for being focused and direct and immediately launches into what she has to say. “You must have heard about the expense report scandal at our competitor’s organization. We need to ensure that the same thing is not happening here.” She continues, “I came to this organization because I considered it to be among the bestare we?” She begins reciting a list of questions: “How can we be sure what we believe and say matches what we actually do? How can we be sure we don’t have a culture and climate that are viewed as unethical and unhealthy? Do we put enough emphasis on ethical and caring behavior in our decisions and our actions?”

She pauses before going on. “I’m new to this position and to this sector in general. I’m clearly responsible and accountable for the climate, culture, and ethical behavior in this organization. We need to be concerned about these issues, and I need your help figuring out where we stand and what, if anything, we should be doing differently.” Your help? What does she need? You look at her expectantly.

She answers your implied question, “I read your organizational analysis last night, and given your impressive work on that, think you could handle this particular task. I’m an engineer by training and I’m methodical, thorough, and detailed,” Kate says. “This report needs to reflect myand, more importantly, this organization’scareful and thoughtful approach to these issues. So even though organizational culture, climate, and ethics may seem like soft issues, I expect strong critical thinking and an evidence-based report. I don’t just want opinions. It might help to imagine yourself as an independent consultant we are counting on for both expertise and objectivity.”

She glances at her phone. “I have a meeting in two minutes.” She stands up. “I really need your best thinking and good advice on this in three weeks. Talk to my assistant about making an appointment to see me then, and have a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation ready along with a brief memo summarizing your points,” she says. “Also, I trust you understand this is a matter that needs to be kept between us.” She looks at you squarely. “I don’t want to learn my questions and concerns have become the subject of general discussions in the office.”

“Absolutely!” you say as Kate heads out of her office. “Oh, she says, turning around, and I want to see some of your work in progress as you do this project. Talk to my assistant about that as well.”

You return to your desk thrilled that the COO has shared her concerns and asked you for your input. You have so many ideas and lots of questionsbut you also realize you are going to need to proceed without all the information you would ideally have. You know you will need to rely only on publicly available information and not poke around in confidential work files or ask others in your office for input or advice.

How will you tackle this project? What evidence will you use to inform your understanding and strengthen your analysis? What will you tell Kate when you meet with her?

When you submit your project, your work will be evaluated using the competencies listed below. You can use the list below to self-check your work before submission.

  • 1.3: Provide sufficient, correctly cited support that substantiates the writers ideas.  
  • 1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
  • 2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or problem under critical consideration.
  • 2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate the issue or problem.
  • 2.3: Evaluate the information in a logical and organized manner to determine its value and relevance to the problem.
  • 2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the issue or problem.
  • 2.5: Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions, checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.
  • 5.1: Develop constructive resolutions for ethical dilemmas based on application of ethical theories, principles and models.
  • 9.3: Apply the principles of employment law for ethical practices and risk mitigation.