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Blog, Bucknell, cases, Class, Fun, Philosophy or Ethics

Feeney Finds Out


The TV episode I chose to examine from a business, government, and society perspective is from the show Boy Meets World.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the sitcom comedy-drama, as it aired for seven seasons on ABC from 1993 through 2000, but for those of you who aren’t, I will sum it up.  Basically, the show chronicles the experiences and everyday life lessons in the world of Cory Matthews, your typical teenage boy from Philadelphia as he grows up from a young boy, through middle school, high school, college, and later married life.

In the episode “Life’s Tough, Get a Helmet”, Eric Matthews, the naïve older brother of Cory, engages in unethical behavior by purchasing a term paper from a magazine ad for “Term Papers by Gerard” and trying to pass it off as his own work.  He intentionally attempts to deceive his teacher, Mr. Feeney, going so far as to say to him, “I almost enjoyed writing this paper.”  However, Mr. Feeney easily sees right through Eric’s not so clever ploy because the paper addressed a completely different topic than was assigned.  In fact, Mr. Feeney is even able to identify the original author of the paper as one of his students from the prior year.  When he realizes that he has been caught red-handed, Eric admits to paying for the paper from a term paper writing service.

I saw the episode as relevant to the concepts of business ethics, ethical decision-making, and fraudulent and deceptive activities that we have discussed in class.  Specifically, the financial disaster of 2008 and the Enron case came to mind.

As for the financial crisis, several decision makers’ actions were unethical.  The credit rating agencies and others involved did not focus on the importance of responsibility and honesty to their stakeholders.  They gave biased and misrepresented ratings.

As for Enron, the leadership failed to protect investor interests by recording misleading transactions.  In the business world, accurate reporting of financial statements is absolutely essential as investors should have access to correct and quality information when making investment decisions.  Such fraudulent behavior by Enron was unethical.

I believe that Eric, the credit rating agencies, and Enron’s leadership should have acted with more personal integrity. Professional Codes of Conduct and Academic Codes of Conduct are meant to guide behavior.  These individuals and groups should have adhered to such principles.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Feeney Finds Out

  1. Lauren, I liked how you connected the Enron case to ‘Boy Meets World’. However, I think one big difference between the two situations was Eric’s willingness to admit his fraudulant behavior. On the other hand, Enron’s executives pointed the finger at each other and no one personally took responsibility. Litigation and a Judge’s ruling assigned responsibility for the Enron scandal, so Eric was a better person than those involved in the scandal.

    Posted by Amanda Skonezney | March 6, 2012, 9:06 pm
  2. I agree with Amanda’s evaluation that Eric is the more ethical of the two in this situation because his willingness to admit what he did. However, both Eric and corporations such as Enron possessed a great lack of transparency. They both put up a false front. For example, Enron convinced their shareholders that everything was fine when in reality it wasn’t, and Eric tried to convince Mr. Feeney by claiming that he enjoyed writing the paper. Not only did both parties lie, but both took extra measures to ensure that their lies weren’t uncovered.

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | March 7, 2012, 12:47 pm

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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