Students to compete in the Business Ethics Case Competition

October 31, 2016

Rachel Librach

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     Every day we make ethical decisions that keep our eyes on our paper during a test or on the road while we drive. These decisions are important and could have detrimental effects on the lives of others.

     Preparing students for ethical dilemmas, the UCCS College of Business is hosting its fifth annual Business Ethics Case Competition on Nov. 3 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

     Students from UCCS, Pueblo Community College, Air Force Academy, Fort Lewis and Western State, which are all part of the Southern Colorado Education Consortium (SCHEC), will strategically approach a fictitious ethics case.

     This case was written by Matthew Whitaker, who is an alumnus for the Master of Business Administration program at UCCS and the marketing director for Image Owl Inc.

     The winner of the competition will work with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS so they can teach students at their respective campus.

     Based on true events from 2005, the case depicts a hospital’s radiation department, which implemented new technology into its facility. During therapy treatment, a patient overdosed on radiation absorption. One of the objectives of the case is to determine who holds responsibility for the patient.

     “There are no obvious good guys or bad guys. As I was writing it, I could have empathy for each one of the parties involved, and I could see some of the challenges they were all facing,” said Whitaker.

     The student teams will act as consultants to the hospital and advise the corporation on how they should ethically proceed with the case.

     Students will be judged based on how well they considered the different elements of the case and how they applied the Daniels Fund Ethics principals.

     The teams will also need to present their solutions to a panel of judges to demonstrate their ethical reasoning and their assessment of the case.

     The judges have not been selected, but the panel will be made up of alumni, medical field professionals and other community members, according to Tracy Gonzalez-Pardon, director of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative.

     This is the first time these five colleges will compete together as part of the SCHEC, which was established in August, said Gonzalez-Pardon.

     The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS expanded their program to include other campuses because it offers greater intellectual diversity, said Gonzalez-Pardon.

     “The reason why we host this competition is so that students can apply their business knowledge and critical thinking outside of classroom,” said Gonzalez-Pardon said.

     Program manager of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS, Elizabeth Moore, explained that there are a total of 15 teams registered so far with two people per team. The competitors range from freshmen to seniors, with a diverse assortment of student majors.

     According to Gonzalez-Pardon, this will be the first time a student-written case is used, mainly because it has never been seen before. It is important for ethics to stand in every part of an organization, according to Whitaker.

     “In a business culture that encourages ethical behavior all the way through, the challenge is to determine where there is personal and professional responsibility and how that compares to responsibility on a corporate, manufacturing and organizational level,” said Whitaker.

     According to Whitaker, who wrote the case in 2012, most classes in the UCCS MBA program emphasize ethical competence to prepare students to recognize and effectively approach realistic situations.

     “In my current job, I’ve run across situations I wouldn’t have recognized as being ethically questionable if I hadn’t received the training I did in the MBA program,” he said.

     Whitaker will be at the event to speak with students and give his own personal thoughts on the case.

     More information on the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS can be found at business/community-resources/ ethics-initiative.html.