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BSBLDR402 Complex Ethical Decision Making Situation: Case Analysis Assessment Answer

STUDENT - PRODUCT ASSESSMENT TASK

National unit/s code: BSBLDR402

Task Name: Group Case Analysis

National qualification title: Diploma of Accounting

National qualification code: FNS50217

National Unit Code: BSBLDR402/ FNSINC503

Unit Title: Lead effective workplace relationships/ Identify situations requiring complex ethical decision making

RMIT Course code: BUSM8844C & EMPL7084C

RMIT Program code: C5390

Section A - Assessment Information

Task Instructions
Summary and Purpose of Assessment
The purpose of the assessment is to give you the opportunity to critically investigate, evaluate and critique a range of situations that require ethical decisions to be made within the accountancy and/or bookkeeping context. This may include instances of unethical and/or unlawful organisational behaviour. Further details can be found below.
Through a written report and presentation, the assessment provides an opportunity for yto engage in verbal exchanges, using language and concepts appropriate to their audience and adopting active listening and critical questioning techniques.
Assessment Instructions What
This assessment contains three (3) parts:
Part A: Research Plan Part B: Written Report Part C: Presentation

During the scheduled class time in Week 5, the facilitator will divide the class into 8 teams. If you are not present during this activity, you will be randomly assigned to a group at the end of the week 5. Once groups are formed, you cannot change groups.
This assessment will require you to work in teams to identify and critically investigate, undertake analysis and present on three (3) situations that require ethical decisions to be made within a SINGLE organisation. You must report your findings and this part is to be done individually. You will need to choose your organisation and situations. Situations chosen must be based on typical work practices related to accounting or bookkeeping activities. Situations must involve unethical accounting issues or associated behaviours.
As part of this assessment, you are expected to:


  • Outline a clear plan that you will use to perform research that will inform the report, including strategies to manage gaps in knowledge regarding changes and developments in ethical practice (considerations and situations) which relate to own professional practice.
  • Undertake research to identify an organisation (within the accountancy and bookkeeping industry) to evaluate that undertakes work activities in which ethical decisions need to be made.
  • Apply knowledge of these work practices to think of situations where ethical practice and associated issues may occur, i.e. unethical or legal behaviours, and use this as the basis for the groups’ case study.
  • Develop the case by identifying and discussing three (3) unique workplace situations where ethical decision- making needs to take place, e.g. unethical or illegal behaviours in relation to accounting or bookkeeping practices.
  • Prepare a written report (no more than 2000 words), along with a presentation of the findings (between 15-20 mins long) that details the 3 situations including (for each situation) the ethical frameworks that apply, the legal requirements and ethical dimensions, factors that could inhibit the ethical decision-making process and the legal and organisational protections available when responding.

Selecting the organisation and situations

You can research and identify your own organisations to focus on or apply a case of interest that was discussed during the class time (up to week 5). Once you have selected your organisation, you must provide the facilitator with a one- page document listing the organisations they have reviewed, along with the organisation the group has decided to pursue and the three workplace situations identified.

Tips when selecting a case:

  • The case must be related to situations that require ethical decisions to be made (e.g. unethical or illegal practices in accounting and bookkeeping activities)
  • The case will need to be large enough for the group to identify 3 unique situations

Special Note regarding the connection to Assessment Task 2:

A peer review of the presentation will be undertaken by a nominated team. The reviewing team will offer challenges to the contents of the presentation (critical analysis, concepts applied, and recommendations presented). The aim of the peer review is to deepen the conversation and to bring greater insight and discussion around further relevant strategies.

You will be required to work in the team to develop the case (Assessment Task 1) and develop a peer review of another team’s case study (Assessment Task 2).

Where

You will be provided some class time to work on this assessment, however, it is expected that most of the research and preparation for the assessment will be completed outside of the scheduled class time. The presentation will be during the allocated week between Week 12 and 15.

How

Part A – Research Plan

In this section you will need to set out a brief plan on how you will tackle your report, given the information requirements above and in part B (see below).

  • Outline all of the information you will need to research and the proposed sources you will use (also see: Part B, sections 4&5).
  • Detail at least two (2) strategies you will use to manage gaps in your own knowledge that will enable you to comprehensively address all key elements in the report (see sections 1-3 below).
  • Include details of how you will keep up-to-date with changes and developments in relation to ethical considerations and situations in the workplace. This should consider your own responsibilities, as well as any implications when negotiating, planning and undertaking work.

Note: This Plan is dynamic and so any additional research you undertake when completing your report should be noted so that you are able to monitor your progress.

Part B – Report

When compiling your report, you will need to research and look over the facts and details of the case you have agreed upon. As part of your research to develop your knowledge and inform your report, you should access a range of complex and abstract texts and available information, including applicable ethical frameworks and organisational and industry policies and procedures. You should state all sources of information used. Ensure all sources are reliable by evaluating and critiquing the ideas and information presented and checking for currency, author credentials, target audience etc.

Note, information sources could include:

  • individual and team performance data
  • marketing and customer related data
  • planning and organisational documents including the outcomes of continuous improvement and quality assurance
  • organisational ethical standards, e.g. codes of conduct for accounting and bookkeeping, protocols for decision-making etc.
  • organisational social and business standards, e.g. dress code, vision and mission statement, values etc.
  • rewards and recognition for high performing staff
  • specific policies and procedures related to performance, e.g. SOP’s, MSDS, sample KPI’s etc.
  • APES Standards, NOCLAR activities, ASIC, ATO and Whistle blower legislation

The report should follow the structure below and cover all information as outlined. The report should be no more than 2000 words.

The Situations - Background and Circumstances

This section should contain a summary of the chosen organisation chosen along with the key ethical principles associated with the work. You will need to provide a summary of the three (3) ethical situations identified with a brief analysis of the circumstances that surround it.

Ensure you include all of the following information in this section of your report:

  1. State the organisation and summarise the key aims and activities in undertakes within the bookkeeping/accountancy context, including the typical job roles and specific tasks practised by staff.
  2. Outline the key ethical principles associated with this type of work, including those specific to your own role. Provide examples of both personal and professional ethical principles (including those related to industry legislation, regulations, codes, and other instruments) and discuss their effect on any actions and behaviours in the workplace.
  3. Describe three (3) different workplace situations within the organisation where complex ethical decisions are required. For each one, state why it requires this level of decision-making and include details of any specific unethical behaviours or actions that may occur. In discussing the situations, consider the following questions:
    • How would the situation come about?
    • Who would be involved?
    • How would the employees cross the line? In what instances would illegal behaviour be evident?
    • What would be the circumstances that would lead to the unethical and/or illegal behaviour and how would this this impact on the employee’s decision making, e.g. financial rewards and other incentives?
    • What aspects of the organisation’s culture would play a part?

Frameworks and Protections

This section should contain a comprehensive account of the facts and details of the case, in particular, in relation to the frameworks and organisational and legal protections that would apply in each situation identified above. In this section of the report, you will need to undertake individual research specific to the organisation chosen.

Ensure you include all of the following information in this section of your report for each workplace situation identified:

  1. Research the applicable ethical framework(s) that can be applied to ensure effective ethical decision-making, problem-solving and policy setting in each situation. Identify, assess and evaluate at least two (2) factors that may prevent these frameworks from being used.
  2. Outline the key legal requirements and ethical dimensions of each situation. In your answer, consider the variances between the two and evaluate the impact of these variances in terms of how it impacts decision making.
  3. Using your situations as examples, analyse the difference between ‘ethical’ conduct and ‘compliant/legal’ conduct.
  4. What internal and legal protections are available to the organisation that facilitate ethical actions and decision-making? Consider the APES Standards, Codes of Conduct for accounting and bookkeeping, NOCLAR activities, ASIC, ATO and Whistle blower legislation, providing examples as to how these protections can be applied in response to each situation (where applicable).
  5. Describe two (2) other artefacts the organisation uses to support ethical practice, promote its values and maintain ethical standard.
  6. What policies, protocols and procedures are currently in place to identify, address and escalate ethical issues that may result from the three situations identified? Discuss at least one (1) example of internal organisational policies and procedures used by your chosen organisation as well as at least one (1) example from industry. How do these policies and procedures help to address changes and developments like these when negotiating, planning and undertaking work?
  7. What other sources of advice and guidance can you/your organisation use to keep up-to-date with changes and developments in ethical decision-making and apply ethical frameworks in the workplace? Give at least two (2) examples/recommendations and describe how they help provide protection for the organisation and address unethical conduct of staff, in terms of individual responsibilities.

Clarification and Reflection of Ethical Principles

This requires a more thorough investigation that goes beyond the mere facts of your case and requires you to think analytically about the reasons for and implications of the identified situations (and associated behaviours of the people and organisation/s involved) and the overarching ethical principles that apply.

Here, you will need to think carefully about the likely causes and motivations of carrying out certain unethical actions and what could have been the influencing factors from an organisational and individual perspective. Whilst this is a more generic task, you may refer to examples from your case study to help inform your answers.

Ensure you include all of the following information in this section of your report:

  1. Explain generally why people may respond and make decisions when confronted with an ethical situation in ways that are inconsistent with their values. What are the motivating factors in these cases?
  2. In what ways could offers of incentives and remuneration impact an individual’s actions and behaviours in the workplace? Provide two (2) examples to analyse the impact of this type of ethical issue on an individual’s actions.
  3. Analyse the context of a given situation and describe how it could affect individual conduct and behaviour, that is, how might one person potentially act differently if the circumstances surrounding the situation altered?
  4. Consider the effects of group dynamics on individual actions. Discuss the influence that others’ opinions and behaviours can have on the wider team, and how it could potentially lead to unethical practice. Refer to the classic theory of group dynamics and social exchange theory in your analysis.
  5. Describe the cognitive biases that could be present amongst members of a team and why this could compromise ethical conduct amongst other staff.
  6. Why might some individuals be unable to perceive ethical situations/issues (i.e. provision of financial reward and/or other incentives) in the same way as others? Examine and analyse examples of individual psychological tendencies and decision-making biases that could be present. Provide at least two (2) examples of each

Sources of information

State all sources of information used to complete your report. Provide details of how you ensured each source was reliable (see Part B – Report instructions).

Further hints and requirements for writing the report:

You must demonstrate:

  • The group and individuals have a thorough understanding of the case developed
  • Make recommendations relevant and professional, drawing extensively from a range of texts and sources
  • Appropriate use of quotes and citation
  • Present complex information with graphics, statistics, and other visuals
  • P

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