Section A: Argument mapping exercise (20 marks)
Read the following article and answer the questions listed in regard to argument mapping. Adapt or perish: Australia Post must embrace digital disruption Most industries are vulnerable to digital disruption of established business models. The question is whether industry should seize the opportunity to reposition themselves in a changing market. Or whether they should wait to be disrupted by external forces, with the prospect of a one-way ticket to oblivion.
A new report by UTS Business School for the McKell Institute shows that the pace of digital transformation is now disrupting one of the government’s largest and most iconic business enterprises – Australia Post.
Traditionally, mail volumes have grown in alignment with GDP growth. But between 2008- 09 and 2013-14, mail volume declined by 25% to 4.5 billion items. This, in turn, has contributed to a major deterioration in financial performance. In the first half of 2014-15, the loss in the mail business was A$151 million and it is expected to be over $300 million for the full year.
The consequence of digital disruption to the long established mail business is that, without significant business realignment, total Australia Post losses could reach $6.6 billion over the next 10 years, with losses in the mail business reaching $12.1 billion. The government’s equity in Australia Post, currently $1.7 billion, would quickly be destroyed.
Price increases and discounter slower deliveries may assist Australia Post to retain its current business model. However, such remedies only offer a short-term solution. Abandoning the letters business on the premise that “the letter is dead” runs counter to community service obligations in rural and remote communities, as well as obligations to employees. But if Australia Post fails to change or expand its services, its continued existence may no longer be viable.
To address the challenge imposed by digital transformation, Australia Post must itself become a “digital enterprise”, where the adoption, application and use of digital technologies is at the forefront of strategy. It must move from a focus on evolution and improvement to one of innovation, co-creation and disruption.
For example, Australia Post retail outlets could be transformed to operate as digital communication hubs, specialising in the marketing and sale of digitally enabled products and services. These hubs could provide digital services and access to people who for various reasons cannot access digital communication devices and services.
This article was adapted from an article published on The Conversation by John Hamilton Howard, Emmanuel Josserand, and Roy Green. Significant parts of the article have been modified from its original form.
- Choose any two of Paul & Elder’s universal standards and evaluate the quality of the argument advanced in article. (8 marks) In answering question 2, you should adopt a critical thinking approach, which demonstrates Paul & Elder’s (2014) universal intellectual standards of:
- Clarity – The presentation of the argument is clear.
- Accuracy – The facts being presented are accurate, and any assumptions have been clearly identified.
- Precision – The information being presented is specific.
- Relevance – The evidence provided is relevant to the conclusion.
- Depth – The information provided reflects the complexity of the issue being discussed.
- Breadth – The argument examines the evidence from multiple perspectives.
- Logic – The supporting premises are logically connected to the conclusion.
- Significance – The supporting evidence is important, and not trivial or superficial.
- Fairness – The viewpoints of others are presented sympathetically and are not distorted, nor oversimplified.
Section B: Evidence based management exercise (30 marks)
Read the following article and answer the questions listed in order to analyse it. You should adopt a critical thinking approach in viewing the case from sensemaking, CSR, evidencebased management and ethical considerations. Italy makes health COVID ‘green pass’ mandatory for big events – and for pizza Rome Italy significantly ramped up pressure on its unvaccinated population, announcing that a digital or printed health pass would be necessary for a range of everyday leisure activities from theatregoing to dining indoors.
The nation is essentially betting that it can revive its slowing vaccination campaign – and avoid future, onerous restrictions – by creating heavy incentives for inoculation.
Though technically the pass can be obtained with proof of antibodies or from a recent negative coronavirus test, those paths are far less straightforward than getting vaccinated.And in an evening news conference, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi made clear that his goal was to encourage vaccinations, which have flagged over the last month. “I invite all Italians to get vaccinated and do it immediately,” Draghi said. Avoiding vaccination, he said, “is an appeal to die”.
The decision comes as the Delta variant spreads across Europe, triggering early warning signs in country after country about an oncoming wave.
In Italy, after nearly two consecutive weeks with fewer than 1000 daily cases, numbers are rising again; on Thursday, the government announced more than 5000 cases. That level is far removed from the horrors of winter and spring, and with 46 per cent of the population vaccinated, many in the country are widely protected from severe sickness and hospitalisation. But it is the rest of the population that is causing concern.
The concern is also economic, as Italy is looking for ways to avoid a new round of closures and curfews. For now, every Italian region is “white” – meaning that life proceeds almost as normal and people can stay out as late as they want. That has made for a joyful Italian summer, punctuated by a European Championship victory that triggered through-the-night partying.
But already, scientists are wondering whether there will be a repeat of 2020, when people dropped their guard in the summer as the virus receded, only to see it come racing back. As part of its announcement on Thursday, Italy laid out new guidelines for when regions might be hit with tightened restrictions, basing the determination around hospitalisation levels, rather than the spread of positive cases.
“We want to avoid a growth in contagions bringing new general closures,” Roberto Speranza, the health minister, said. “The instrument we have is that of vaccinations.” Previously, Italy had mandated use of what is known as its Green Pass only sparingly, for entrance to nursing homes or for travel outside Italy. But from August 6, people will need a vaccination pass to attend sporting events, fairs, conferences, spas and casinos. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a similar set of measures, though slightly more forceful, because the health pass was also required for forms of public transit. Vaccination appointments surged in the aftermath. But hundreds of thousands also took to the streets in protest.
In Italy, the decision to more widely use the Green Pass has been contentious. The leader of the far-right League, Matteo Salvini, said in an Italian newspaper interview several days ago that the pass should be used for stadiums, “but not for a pizza”. There were also many comments from many sections of the Italian community that this pass was also a form of discrimination and an assault on personal freedom. However, Health professionals and academics were also passionate in their support of the pass as a gateway for a future COVID normal.
Salvini, who is part of Draghi’s wide-ranging coalition, noted on Thursday on Twitter that Italy’s hospital situation was “under control”, and he said “freedom” was a guiding principle. There are 158 coronavirus patients in intensive care in Italy, compared with roughly 4000 at the height of previous waves.
1) Considering and discussing two of Clegg’s characteristics of sensemaking, what is your interpretation of this article? (6 marks)
2) Align the leaders of Italy to the justifications of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their response to this situation, how would you advise them? Discus two justifications (6 marks)
3) a). Using the steps of EBM (Evidence Based Management) discuss how the leaders of Italy might support their plan of a `Green pass’.
b). Using and applying two ethical frameworks, discuss how the leaders of Italy might justify their decision-making. (18 marks)
Section C: Case study analysis (30 marks)
Read the following case and answer the questions listed in order to analyse it. You should adopt a critical thinking approach in viewing the case from multiple perspectives and ethical considerations.
You may find that not all aspects apply. You should not worry about this. The quality of your responses will be judged on your ability to present a well- grounded and well-defended analysis and justifications.
Jane has just been hired as the head of the Payroll Department at R&S Electronics Service Company, a firm of 75 employees. She was hired by Eddie, the General Manager of the company, who informed her of the need for maintaining strict confidentiality regarding employee salaries and pay scales. He also informed her that he fired the previous Payroll Department head for breaking that confidentiality by discussing employees’ salaries. She was also formally introduced to Brad, the owner, who told her to see him if she has any questions or problems. Both Brad and Eddie made her feel welcome.
After three months of employment, Jane begins to wonder why Greg makes so much more in commissions than the other service technicians. She assumes that he must be highly qualified and must work rapidly because she has overheard Brad commending Greg on his performance on several occasions. She has also noticed Brad, Eddie, and Greg having lunch together frequently.
One day, Eddie gives Jane the stack of work tickets for the service technicians for the upcoming week. The technicians are to take whatever ticket is on top when they finish the job they were working on. After putting the tickets where they belong, Jane remembers she has a doctor’s appointment the next morning and returns to Eddie’s office to tell him she will be reporting late for work. When she enters Eddie’s office, she sees Eddie give Greg a separate stack of work tickets.
As she stands there, Eddie tells her if she mentions this to anyone, he will fire her. Jane is upset because she understands that Eddie is giving the easier, high-commission work to his brother. Jane also realizes that Eddie does have the authority to hire and fire her. Since she has only been at the company a short time, she is also still on probation. This is her first job since college. She wonders what she should do.
1) What is the main issue being presented in this case study? (3 marks)
2) Who are the key stakeholders in this case, and what impact could the issue have onthem? (4 marks)
3) What approaches could the main character take to resolving this issue? Describe at least two approaches. (8 marks)
4) Which approach do you believe that the main character should adopt? In answering this question, you should draw on information provided in this case study, as well as the ethical frameworks discussed in this course. (15 marks)
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