Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Ethics Test

Last night in my Introduction to Technical Communications class out at the West Jordan fire station, we covered the chapter on ethics. As part of the lesson, inspired by a test case provided at the end of the chapter, I conducted a brief ethics test, which is posted below:

1. Your boss has put your co-worker in charge of the company Christmas Party. At the last minute, this co-worker takes you aside and tells you he forgot to buy everyone Christmas presents, and asks you to download a list of twenty songs off the Internet and make copies for everyone at the station. Do you:
A. Follow his instructions
B. Refuse, telling him you think downloading music is a copyright infringement
C. Rock him like a hurricane
D. Quickly assemble your old band Rubber Spleen from high school, record some Christmas-flavored demos in your garage, and distribute them to your coworkers.

2. You have been patiently waiting for a rumored promotion for six months, and today the boss took you in his office and indicated that you should be getting the good news by the end of the week. After thanking him, the boss calmly mentions that his eighteen-year-old daughter, who is a compulsive gambler and bears a striking resemblance to Richard Simmons, needs a good man in her life, specifically one that can take her to prom on Friday night. Do you:
A. Accept the promotion and begin dating his daughter
B. Accept the promotion and stand her up on Friday after the paperwork is already signed
C. Turn down the date, thus risking your promotion
D. Rock him like a hurricane

3. T/F: Under “Fair Use” law, you can photocopy entire chapters out of “Impaling for Dummies” book so your students don’t have to buy it for your EMT class.

4. Excited to try out your new digital video camera, you record footage of yourself bowling wearing only your official Utah Jazz boxer shorts and post it on your personal web site. Two weeks later you discover that a Jazz employee has used the footage in a promotional TV spot for the team. Do you have copyright protection?

5. Rolling out of bed at 11am, wiped out after a wild evening in Wendover, you suddenly remember that you are scheduled to turn in a research report to the boss by the end of the workday. You would ask him for an extension, were it not for the fact that you missed the last three reports he requested because of similar circumstances. Do you:
A. Hastily write the best report you can possibly construct in six hours, even though you haven’t even started the research yet
B. Patch together a report from material taken from the web, other reports around the office, and the ingredient list on the wrapper of a Hostess Fruit Pie
C. Plead for an extension and offer to take the boss’s daughter to prom
D. Head back to Wendover and go out in a Blaze of Glory

6. In question #5, you opted to turn in a vastly plagiarized report, and the boss didn’t mention a thing. In fact, his plan was to immediately turn it over to a group of legislators who have a tremendous influence on how much money your department gets next year, and he didn’t even look at it. Do you:
A. Tell the boss what you did, knowing that the plagiarized report will likely cost him his job and yours
B. Throw your boss under the bus and claim he ordered you to fake the report
C. Call your third-cousin Stan, who is a state legislator, and beg him to give your department the money anyway. You also ask him if he has any daughters you can take to prom.
D. Head back to Wendover and go out in a Blaze of Glory

7. While working on a research paper for an English class, you find an article that perfectly matches the argument you are trying to make. Do you:
A. Choose another topic, since there’s no point writing your paper if someone’s already made your argument
B. Use key quotes from the article to provide external support for your thesis
C. Build your paper on the same framework as the other paper, quoting lengthy passages from the other article and periodically throwing in a line or two on your own for context.
D. Just turn in the other article with your name on it, because you suspect your instructor isn’t even reading your papers, anyway.

8. T/F: It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

9. While heading out on a fire call in a brand new residential neighborhood, you accidentally punch in the wrong address in Mapquest while getting directions, and Andrei Kirilenko’s new 14 million dollar home is completely destroyed. Fortunately no one is in the home when it goes, but the blaze manages to destroy Mrs. Kirilenko’s entire collection of autographed 1980’s Russian pop records, as well as documented evidence that Andrei has been regularly exceeding his marital infidelity allotment. As you stand in shame, watching the blaze, do you:
A. Take full responsibility for the accident
B. Blame Mapquest for being a crappy program, and Al Gore for inventing the stupid Internet in the first place
C. Tell Andrei it was your fault and try to blackmail him with the infidelity stuff
D. Cover your guilt while you doggedly try to discover evidence that implicates Laker coach Phil “Zen Master” Jackson in the incident.

10. For the last five years, you have been responsible for monitoring the emissions levels of a manufacturing plant to make sure they don’t exceed federal limits. In a push to increase production of your specialty product—rubber chickens, your boss has modified operations to the point that even though you are producing a record number of units, your pollution output is dangerously close to breaking the legal limit. You have already brought this to your supervisor’s attention, but instead of show concern or attention to the threat, he instead told you to order take-out from Beto’s for the entire 7,500 employee staff, who are staying late tonight to push for a new unit record. You are positive that if the entire staff has Beto’s for dinner, the emissions level will exceed legal limits and your factory will risk federal prosecution and sanctions. Do you:
A. Convince your boss to opt for BLT’s
B. Break into your network system and alter the numbers to hide the violation
C. Enter the Federal Witness Protection Program and look forward to your new life as Gary Gee, humble accountant and part-time fly fishing instructor in Fairbanks, Alaska
D. Stay late with the crew and succumb to a slow toxic suicide, wondering how on earth you ever wound up in the rubber chicken industry in the first place