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The Task

Acting as an Ethics/CSR consultant working for Greenleaf consultants, you will be acting on behalf of a major housebuilding company whereby you will research and assess contemporary ethical and corporate social responsibility issues (examples outlined below) for your client. Having chosen a subject to explore you will research what your chosen company’s current position and policy is, you will examine for the company the pros and cons of corporate social responsibility, research how the company can be informed of their practice through reports and research on the issue, comparison to other companies approaches to the issue and what academic research says can tell us about the issue.


You will be expected to inform the company about how ethical principles and theory and values can guide how the company’s approach to moral decision making.


From this you will make recommendations to the company on how a responsible management approach to the issue you are investigating.



You should choose as your ‘client’ one of the following companies which regularly appear in the Top 10 UK Housebuilders:




For your chosen company you should focus on one of the following three important areas for a company to consider when thinking about how to act responsibly:


  • Environmental sustainability
  • Responsible Human Resources
  • Ethical Supply Chains


These areas (and others) are important to all businesses, but you should choose one and think about issues within these that will be impact housebuilders. Some examples are (these are NOT exhaustive and while you could use one of these as third year students you can, and should, think and research widely to focus in issues that interest you):


Environment sustainability

What are the issues, ethics and responsible management implications of building on floodplains? (for example see )


What responsibility do builders have to lead low carbon build? (for example see )



Responsible Human Resources


How should companies respect and diversify their workforces? (For example what are the issues for women in construction?


What responsibility do employers have for checking the employment practices of sub-contractors? (for example see


Ethical Supply Chains

The last issue in the above section could also apply here – how should a firm manage its sub-contracted work force to stop this?


Or it could be about sourcing materials for your company



Writing the Report

Having chosen a company and issue that interests you, you will act as a consultant to write a report advising the company you have chosen. You will be analysing the current position and policy of the company on the issue, you will outline for the company the advantages of taking a corporate social responsibility approach to the issue, and any downsides of taking that approach that you may identify. You will produce a stakeholder map identifying stakeholders interests in the issue you have chosen, you will research for your company how the issue is reported in the media, how other companies approach the issue (these need not be in the construction sector) and what academic research can tell the company about the issue. You will outline for the company how ethical theory can direct their ethos towards responsible management.


Your report layout and contents will look something like the outline below (This is a guide only, it is NOT mandatory to write your submission like this. Sometimes the subject matter dictates structure. It is important that you use your seminar time with your tutor to shape the report and that you participate in the formative assessment in week X. You will not receive marks for this but you will get feedback (see formative assessment outline at the end of this brief) which will enable you to check basic structure and content before your start to write your final submission).


As this is a report you can use subheadings.

You should also use academic references and cite them in the Harvard style. While this may not be the case if this were an actual report for a client – for the purposes of this assessment report you must use Harvard Referencing.



  1. Title page


  1. Introduction


The introduction should set out what your report is about. It is here that you identify that you are from the ethical and CSR consultancy Greenleaf  – and have been commissioned by [your chosen company] to explore your company’s actions and responses in relation to [the issue you are looking at].


You should make reference here to the approach of your chosen company to the issue referencing their CSR/Sustainability plan


  1. Responsible Management and CSR

This section outlines a reminder for the company of why business should manage responsibility and the benefits of CSR. You should refer to academic studies on defining CSR and its benefits. You should also critique these by pointing out the downsides/costs of CSR if any.



  1. Values Underpinned by Ethics

You should have a section where you outline for your client how they may draw on ethical theory in order to inform their responsible management. How can ethical theory help them think through how they can make responsible management decisions and how they can explain their values as an organization. You should choose to outline and critique TWO ethical theories covered in class. You will briefly outline what the theory is and how it helps guide ethical thinking; you should then cover how the theory suggests managers should behave and what implication that has for your client.


  1. Exploring your issue


You will need a section where you outline in more depth what the issue is you are covering for your client. Why is it important? Where is the evidence it is important? You should research where other companies have approached the issue you are looking at, the challenges this issue had for them and how they responded. Bear in mind your examples need not come from the construction industry but you will need to justify how they are relevant to the industry.


Which stakeholders are affected by this issue and how? You should produce a stakeholder map that outlines for the company this information.


  1. Advising your company

Having researched and analysed the issue you now have to advise your company on what they should do in order to be an ethical and responsible company.

Given the issues outlined, the advice on why CSR is important, the ethical under-pinning you have identified (i.e. how to view choices of action from an ethical standpoint, who is affected and how – what in your assessment is the best course of action for your company and why?)  You should look to make some key recommendations for the management team you are reporting to.







Table of Contents



    • Context issue
    • Purpose
    • Scope
    • Research and Methodology


  • Introduction






Context – give a brief general background to your chosen issue (which is about LEASEHOLD versus FREEHOLD CONTRACT) and identify your key research questions you are going to address from a manager’s perspective (be clear at what level management this is, e.g. CEO, DIRECTOR, HOD, etc.); the ethical theories that you are applying within your analysis of the problem; and the examples/cases that you are using to explore the problem. Include a stakeholder map to identify those key players involved with the problem.

Purpose – the aim of the report should be quite clearly and briefly articulated

Scope-the terms of reference should be stated, including the limitations of the report.

Research and methodology – outline briefly the methods used to gather the information (e.g. predominantly secondary research)


    • Pros and cons of CSR issues in BOVIS HOMES GROUP PLC
    • CSR issues at BOVIS HOMES GROUP PLC company with constraints (which are the CSR factors causing problems in the company, stakeholder identification and their relevance)


    • Basic issues of the problem
    • Kantian theory
    • Utilitarianism theory
    • Virtue ethics

(If there is a Human Resource issue then Human Right Theory needs to be used as well along with Justice Theory).

  • Findings – this should include detailed findings in your analysis of the problem from a manager’s perspective. It is in this section of the report that you should and apply and address and synthesise appropriate academic and ethics theories in your critical analysis of the issue and debate the key findings from the different stakeholders’ perspective.
  • Develop your ideas logically
  • Consider the different aspects of the problem but keep an appropriate balance
  • Your reasoning should be clear to the reader
  • Explain and justify the points made, presenting supporting evidence where appropriate
  • Keep focused by constantly referring back to the problem




Conclusions and recommendations- the material presented in the main body of the report should lead the reader logically go the conclusions. The purpose of the conclusions is to summarise the main findings and offer some evaluation and opinion of them. Conclusions should be: concise, consistent, considered, coherent. In the recommendations you should indicate the actions and decisions required to deal with and potentially resolve the problem. These should be based solely on the material presented in the findings and conclusion. Do not introduce any new issues or arguments that have not been dealt with in the main body.





Focus more on CTITICAL ANALYSIS and linking the theory to the issue/problemfound in the company.













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