Unit Two Assignment

Assignment Requirements


Required Source:

Ciulla, Joanne B. The Ethics of Leadership. (2003). Thompson-Wadsworth Publishers. ISBN-10: 0-15-506317-0, ISBN-13: 978-0155063174.

Additional sources are optional.

Details of assignment in attachment.

Part A Overview

In Part A of Unit Two you will examine the nature of duty in relationship to leadership. First, you will read Kant’s arguments about acting upon the basis of duty and then go on to Williams and Confucius — all who rely in different ways upon a concept of duty as essential to the morality of an action. Kant’s theory differs because he shows how duty comes from the highest level of practical reasoning. On the other hand, Confucius shows that duty is part of the organic unity of a social group.

Part A Objectives

Upon completing Part A of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Kantian concept of the “categorical imperative” and see how it founds modern morality;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various applications of the notion of duty, especially in terms of leaders to their followers or to the values held by society; and
  • Demonstrate the ability to work through various case studies that teach you to apply these concepts to your own life.

Part A Reading Assignments

Read “Chapter Three: Duties of Leaders and Followers” in the Ciulla text.

Ciulla, Joanne B. The Ethics of Leadership. (2003). Thompson-Wadsworth Publishers. ISBN-10: 0-15-506317-0, ISBN-13: 978-0155063174.


Part A Guiding Questions

  • What does Kant mean by duty? What is his notion of the “categorical imperative?” Note: this is one of the most important principles in the history of ethics; make sure that you really understand it.
  • If we cannot always know the outcome of our moral decisions, how important does this make intention as a guide to moral decisions? Does this create problems in the business and political world that judge effectiveness on the basis of outcomes? Why or why not?
  • How does Confucianism differ from Kant’s philosophy of moral duty? How are they similar?

Required Work

Unit 2 – Part A

For each of the following thinkers, write four sentence-long bullet points that describe the thinkers’ main ideas.

  • Kant
  • Williams
  • Arendt
  • Confucius

Then, choose one of the following case studies:

  • “Innocent or Guilty?”
  • “On Women and Girls
  • “Is a Lie always a Lie?”
  • “The Accused and Duties of the Law-Abiding Citizen”

Write a three to five page paper (900-1500 words) in which you examine the case from the perspective of each of the thinkers from this chapter.

  • Start the paper with a brief summary of the case (no more than 300 words).
  • The main portion of the paper will include the application of the various thinkers’ ideas to the facts of the case study.
  • Conclude the paper by describing which thinker (or two) best addresses the issues presented by the case study.


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