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2.5 Chapter Exercises

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.

Real World Case Study

In the February 6–12, 2012, edition of the business magazine Business Week the editors decided on a shocking cover. The cover story for the magazine was about the merger of United and Continental Airlines. In an interesting twist, the cover of the magazine had a United Airlines plane being mounted by a Continental Airlines plane with the tag line “Let’s Get it On” ( Sexual overtones of this cover shocked many readers. In the following weeks, many readers wrote into Business Week conveying their dismay at the organization’s choice run this cover.

One reader put it this way, “Offensive … displeasing … indecent … abominable … obscene … objectionable … that’s what I have to say about your Feb. 6–12 cover. You should be ashamed.”Feedback: Out cover story on United-Continental merger draws some pationate reactions. (2012, February 20). Business Week. iPad version. Another subscriber had this to say, “Your cover page is so subtle it should have a condom over the dominant top plane (should be United) and a diaphragm shield inside the tail of the submissive bottom one (should be Continental) You will lose several subscriptions … Who was the genius who sent this around legal without thinking?” Furthermore, Joseph T. Cirillo, VP for reporting and planning at Blyth, had this to say about the cover “Your Feb 6–12 cover page was in extremely poor taste. You made it even worse with the headline ‘Let’s Get It On.’ Surely you could have described the business events going on between Continental and United in a better fashion, and not by showing two planes having sex with each other on the cover of an important business magazine.” While there were some people who found the cover humorous, the negative reactions to the cover clearly outnumbered the positive.

  1. Why do you think so many people reacted so negatively to the sexual portrayal of a merger of two major airlines? Was this move unethical or just in bad taste on the part of the editors of Business Week?
  2. Using Andersen’s (2007) three audiences f or ethics (sender, receiver, and society-at-large), analyze this cover from an ethical perspective.
  3. Would this cover have received as many negative responses if it had been on the cover of a fitness magazine, comic book, etc...?

End-of-Chapter Assessment Head

  1. Paul is preparing to deliver an address to his board of directors. He knows that if he explains the full costs of a new project, the board will block the project. However, Paul realizes that the project will have a huge return on its investment. As such, Paul decides not to disclose the actual cost of the project. Which of the types of ethics discussed in the Ethical Matrix is Paul representing?

    1. Ethical Behavior
    2. Unethical Behavior
    3. Machiavellian Ethic
    4. Subjective Ethic
    5. Rejective Ethic
  2. When Maxine interacts with various stakeholders in her company, she is always very even handed and treats everyone the same. In fact, people often remark at how consistent her communicative behavior is with all people. What philosophical perspective most closely resembles Maxine’s approach to communication?

    1. Communitarianism
    2. Altruism
    3. Ethical Egoism
    4. Justice
    5. Social Relativism
  3. Hiro knows that his coworker is stealing from the petty cash fund at work. However, reporting this behavior to his superiors will only result in increased paperwork and decreased trust from his peers around the office. As such, Hiro decides not to tell anyone and instead just wait for his coworker to get caught. Hiro’s behavior is an example of which of J.O. Cherrington and D. J. Cherrington’s (1992) typology of 12 ethical lapses common in modern business?

    1. accessory to unethical acts
    2. rule violations
    3. stealing
    4. false impressions
    5. unfair advantage
  4. As a CEO, Danna believes everyone under her is an idiot. As such, her primary mode of leadership involves manipulating people to do her bidding by exploiting her followers’ fears, prejudices, or areas of ignorance. Which of Redding’s (1996) typology of unethical organizational communication is Danna illustrating?

    1. coercive
    2. destructive
    3. deceptive
    4. intrusive
    5. manipulative-exploitative
  5. Which of the three values described by Mattson and Buzzanell (1999) refers to the ability to both construct and articulate knowledge?

    1. community
    2. fairness
    3. hope
    4. voice
    5. wisdom

Answer Key

  1. c
  2. d
  3. a
  4. e
  5. d