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Videos Analysis Project

Guidelines for Independent Video Report Project   

The point of the exercise is to demonstrate your understanding of course material by applying the concepts we’ve developed to actions and decisions that arise in the business world or workplace, as depicted in relevant videos.  Students must discuss 4 distinct, particular instances of ethical misconduct in the business world, two from Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room and two from one of the videos list below.  You may not use either of the videos screened in class.  The idea is not to talk about broad trends or general problems in the business world or within any company.  Rather, your focus must be on specific decisions or actions taken and how they arose out of their specific situations.

For each example, you must do the following, labeling each section of your discussion as follows:

(a) Give the source of your example — i.e., simply write down the title of the video you got it from.  (The first two should be Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room.)  That’s it.

(b) Briefly describe the relevant corporate or individual behavior you are claiming is unethical.  Only include as much background as is absolutely necessary for your reader to be able to see what you are talking about.

(c) Be careful to articulate how and why the behavior is ethically blameworthy or questionable, and do so in terms of the principles discussed in the course.  I.e., you need to make use of Utilitarian or Kantian or Rawlsian ideas, or Wendy’s two-sided yardstick, to convince your reader of the unethicality of the behavior in question.

(d)  Identify the factors you think provided the incentives to engage in the unethicality, and suggest what might be done to avoid situations like the ones you discuss arising.  This might take the form of structural or cultural reforms in the business, governmental regulation, or individuals reconsidering their priorities or heightening their sense of ethical propriety. Etc.

Much more time should be spent on each of (c) and (d) than on (b).  These are what your grade will depend on.

This is not an essay assignment, so there should be no Introduction and no Conclusion.  Also do not include a Works Cited section, as part (a) of each example already covers that.  Your submission should be formatted as follows:

Video Project for PHIL 1317            [Your name]

Example 1:

(a)  [as described above]

(b)        “

(c)        “

(d)        “

Example  2:






Your document should be double-spaced or space-and-a-half.  I will not accept single-spaced submissions.  (They are hard to read and will give me a headache.) The minimum length for the assignment is 2000 words. It is due Friday, 12/8. You must upload your report to the Assignments page of Canvas as a Word or pdf document.  Early submissions are most welcome and might relieve you of some of the end-of-semester Finals crush.  You should get started on it now, in any case.

Your work must be solely our own.  This is not a group project.  Use of any outside sources — including, especially, AI services like Chat GPT — will result in you getting a grade of zero for the assignment.  As will any evidence of collaboration with another student, including making use of the work of students from past semesters.

Recommended Sources:

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, available from Netflix and at Links to an external site..  This is a particularly eye-opening video.

The Inventor: Out for Blood In Silicon Valley, available on HBO and Amazon Prime.   

The Big Short, available at

The Corporation, available on YouTube and at the Fondren Library, IDD 02052.

Wall Street, available at Fondren Library, IDD 01473. 

Up in the Air, available from Netflix.

These videos are guaranteed to be good sources of ethical wrongdoing susceptible to the kind of treatment you are asked to give.  Other movies or documentaries may also be acceptable, but you must first run them by me for approval.  I will not approve of films chosen just because you think you’ll find them more fun to watch.

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