Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Ethics Articles



Workplace Issues

The Pitfalls of Performance-Based Pay
A recent U.K. court ruling on an incentive structure that led to illegal sales tactics and numerous conflicts of interest sparks a discussion on the pitfalls of performance-based pay.
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Using Fines to Enforce Gender Equality in the Workplace
A recent trend in Australia has Boards fining their executives for not promoting enough women to senior positions.
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Twitter IPO: Where are the Women?
After filing for its IPO, Twitter came under heavy scrutiny for the lack of diversity in its senior leadership team.
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Rethinking Corporate Policy Toward Whistleblowers
In light of Edward Snowden's NSA revelations: should companies leave room for principled whistleblowing on specific issues?
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Internship Swapping
Executives and managers alike often "trade internships" to secure positions for their children. Is this practice ethically problematic?
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Incentivizing Employees to be Healthier
Corporations are increasingly turning to incentive programs to get employees to be more health conscious, and in turn bring down medical costs.
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Should Labor Policy Adhere to Local or Home Country Standards?
Amazon is quickly becoming despised for personifying the qualities of American-style management that Germans despise. Should Amazon operate by more generous worker policies than it does in the US to appease local protestors?
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
Employee Theft, Coercion, and False Confessions
Retailers are increasingly using police interrogation tactics in investigations of employee theft, but reports of false confessions and coercion are on the rise. Should retailers abandon this practice?
Kirk Hanson and Patrick Coutermarsh
The Ethics of Working from Home
A panel discussion, "Economic, Ethical, and Legal Attributes of Working from Home," explores this growing trend.
Margaret Steen
Working From Home: Ethical Concerns
Video interview with Patty Woolcock, executive director of the California Strategic Human Resources Partnership
LittleBrother is Watching You
New technologies allow employers to check whether employees are wasting time at recreational Web sites or sending unprofessional e-mails. But when do an employer's legitimate business interests become an unacceptable invasion of worker privacy?
Miriam Schulman
E-mania: Ethical Approaches to E-mail Overload
E-mail behavior raises questions about how we treat each other and how we treat common resources.
Miriam Schulman
Risks of Multi-tasking - Governance, Integrity, and Effectiveness

F. Daniel Siciliano, Stanford School of Law and Di
Workplace Faith--Synergy and Conflict (video)
Does faith have a role in business? An interview with the director of the Faith and Work Initiative at Princeton
David Miller
24/7 Workplace Connectivity: A Hidden Ethical Dilemma
An exploration of the effect of digital technology on workers' health and relationships
Charles F. Piazza
Spiritual Ministry to the Business Community
Background and proposals on providing spiritual support in the workplace.
Max Oliva, S.J.
Transformation of Work
Summary of a presentation by Edward Lawler highlighting findings from his book "The New American Workplace."
Anne Federwisch
Fiddling With the Free Market
Are there ethical reasons to try to guide the invisible hand?
William Sundstrom
Unocal in Burma
Background to a suit in federal court alleging that members of a minority Burmese group had been subjected to relocation, forced labor, torture, murder, and rape on the Yadana pipeline project
Manuel Velasquez
Global Labor Rights and the End of the Multifiber Arrangement
Universities must decide whether to allow logo items to be made in countries that don't protect workers.
Miriam Schulman
Is It Ethical to Shop at Wal-Mart?
Wal-Mart is frequently the target of criticism for its employment practices and its effect on the larger economy and community. How should consumers evaluate these issues?
Bob Brownstein, Jeffrey Seglin
The Case of the Underwater Options
An acquisition raises questions about fairness and an employee's right to know in this fictionalized case about a biotech start-up.
Miriam Schulman
Work-Life Balance
Providing time for family at a start-up company.
an interview with Warren Anderson
Blurred Lines
What is company time?
an interview with a Young Entrepreneur
Hurry, Hurry
The role of rushing in ethical lapses.
an interview with Gina Pastega
Who is a Customer?
Hyping vs. lying at a start-up company.
an interview with Umang Gupta
Time to Go Home
Long work hours have ethical ramifications.
Miriam Schulman
Treatment of Emplolyees in High-Tech Start-Ups
Weakness rather than evil accounts for many instances of unethical behavior.
Denis J. Moberg