Government, Business and Society 1

Please follow the provided assignment instructions carefully because each one of them is very important in guiding you to write what is needed.

What you must do
What s the point of this assignment?
1. Choose a major corporation to investigate
2. Find some political criticism of the corporation
3. Choose one political criticism to research
4. Do research to find out if that criticism is valid
5. Evaluate the criticism in light of the evidence
How to write the assignment
How your assignment will be assessed
Resources to help with your assignment

Total length: 900 “ 1100 word

This task asks you to find criticism of a major corporation, and evaluate the validity of one of the most significant criticisms.
What you must do
1. Choose a major corporation (e.g. Microsoft, Rio Tinto, Coles).
2. Find some political criticism of the corporation. Outline and summarise three to five different criticisms, with some evidence.
3. Choose one serious, political criticism of the corporation
4. Do research to find factual evidence to determine whether or not the criticism is justified. This is called proposition-testing, and is the core task here.
5. Evaluate the criticism you have chosen in the light of the evidence you find.

What s the point of this assignment?
This task aims to develop your research and critical thinking skills.
Imagine you are working for a major bank. One of your largest corporate clients asks the bank to raise funds for a controversial new pulp mill. Your managers want you to make an assessment of the proposal. Your assessment will have to include your judgement on the public criticisms being made of the company. This scenario actually happened, and the bank refused the loan.
Critical thinking and proposition-testing are vital skills in life, business and government. Thinking critically means constantly asking yourself; is this proposition true?

Proposition-testing involves research to find evidence that tells you whether or not a proposition (an argument, a criticism) is true, or how valid it is. This is also one of the core tasks for the third assignment.
Proposition testing means that the opinions you form are based on evidence, and not simply on your existing beliefs or common sense . It s easy to do critical research into arguments we disagree with; the challenge is to think critically about ideas we agree with.
1. Choose a major corporation to investigate

You are free to choose any company that suit you and have knowledge in it. So you can chosen to write about companies in the US and UK
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has a list of the top 100 companies at: .
It doesn t have to be Australian; you can find the 2009 Forbes 500 at
2. Find some political criticism of the corporation
Find about three to five different criticisms. Summarise these criticisms very clearly, and a little evidence for them, in 200“300 words.
The best political criticisms are those that:
criticise the general behaviour of the corporation, rather than its specific actions.¨For example: BP endangered the environment by putting profits first (general); rather than BP was responsible for the worst environmental disaster in America (specific).
threaten the reputation of the corporation.
have the most impact on society or the political system.¨
A few examples of criticisms that fit those criteria are:
the corporation s activities are damaging the environment;
the corporation is engaged in abusive treatment of its employees;
the corporation is engaged in predatory behaviour towards customers or suppliers;
the corporation is using its resources to manipulate public opinion or politics.¨
You should use search engines like Google and Google Scholar. The key is to think of productive search terms. One will be the corporation s name. Combine that with words like unfair, exploit, damage, union, monopoly, pressure, environment. You may also find NGO websites useful. Here are a few:
LaborNet (Australia): This brings together a range of trade union websites, and includes an older, inactive website, BossWatch: .
Mineral Policy Institute (Australia):
Multinational Monitor (US) founded by Ralph Nader: .
Friends of the Earth (FOE) (Australia): .¨
3. Choose one political criticism to research
Choose a serious criticism; one that has an impact on the corporation s reputation.

The criticism must focus on the general behaviour of the corporation, not on an event.
The criticism must be something that is in dispute.¨There would be no point, for instance, in investigating the criticism that Qantas caused inconvenience to passengers by grounding its fleet in 2011. Who disagrees with this?¨You could, however, investigate the criticism that Qantas is anti-union. That is something the company rejects.
The criticism should be carefully and precisely worded.
4. Do research to find out if that criticism is valid
Look for concrete evidence (facts and figures) that is the product of research, because that is more convincing than someone s opinion. Summaries this in 300“600 words.

You re not looking for background material; eg, on why the criticism matters.
Use evidence from the corporation itself, but keep in mind that a self-interested organisation is going to present information to its own advantage.
We don t want recommendations on what the company should do.
Don t look for material to justify your own opinion. If you find evidence that disagrees with your personal opinion, you must include it.
When you write this up, it is essential that you present the evidence you have found as the result of an investigation, rather than as an argument for (or against) the criticism. Your opinion, based on this research, should come out in your evaluation.
5. Evaluate the criticism in light of the evidence
You ve found some evidence. What conclusion should we now draw about the criticism of the corporation? Why should we draw that conclusion? 100“200 words.

Just because someone criticises a corporation, that doesn t mean their criticism is true, or reasonable. You need to ask yourself:
Does the evidence confirm the criticism?
Does the evidence contradict the criticism?
Oris there evidence both ways that you have to weigh up?
Your evaluation can be:
Black/white (The criticism is fully justified by all the evidence I found ).
Qualified (There is evidence that some of the corporation s factories have been bad polluters, but there is also evidence that they took steps to reduce the pollution).¨
Make sure you give reasons for your evaluation. You should include a comment on the nature and quality of the evidence you found, because this affects your evaluation. We ve included an evidence analysis table to help you do this.
How to write the assignment
Here s how to present your assignment. You don t need an introduction or a conclusion.
Heading: Summary of criticisms of (name of corporation)¨Your summary of the criticisms you found of the corporation. This should include the most significant factual details (about 200“300 words).
Heading: Evaluation of the criticism that (name of corporation) (the specific criticism you are investigating). Make sure this is as clearly expressed as possible.¨A summary of the evidence regarding that criticism, including the most significant concrete evidence (about 300“600 words).¨Your evaluation of that corporate criticism in light of the evidence (100“200 words).
Heading: List of references¨A correctly formatted list of the sources you used in your assignment.
Reference your assignment
Referencing must be in Harvard AGPS style (i.e. in-text referencing .
How your assignment will be assessed
Quality of your summary of criticisms of the corporation
Relevance and clarity of the criticism chosen to be tested
Quality and quantity of the evidence you found on the criticism you investigated
Quality of your evaluation of the criticism in the light of the evidence
Clarity of your writing
The extent to which your assignment was written in your own words
Quality of your referencing
Academic integrity of your assignment

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