The General Studies IV paper of the UPSC Mains Exams mainly focuses on the three parts, i.e. Integrity, Aptitude, and Ethics. GS IV paper has two sections, Section A and Section B. Section B is based on an ethics case study and holds a weightage of 125 marks.
As a UPSC aspirant, you must write appropriate ethical answers to all the case studies asked. It is of utmost importance that you focus on some of the frequently appearing case studies on ethical issues, as this is a major category.
Business Ethics Case Studies
CASE STUDY 1
XYZ Limited is a multinational company which carries out a variety of businesses. This company is generating multiple jobs and also holds a large share base. To grow its branches, it has decided to develop a business in an undeveloped area. Being energy adept this project will save 15% of the production costs.
The government policy of no payment of tax for 5 years for those who invest in undeveloped areas goes hand in hand. But this project will disturb the natural habitat as well. So the residential people started protests. The company tried to manage the issue by making them understand the importance and benefits of this project. Despite all efforts of the company, the people residing in this area opted for the judiciary.
- What are the problems involved in this situation?
- What steps can be taken to satisfy the demands of the company and people who stay there?
Engineering Ethics Cases
CASE STUDY 2
An engineer gets employment in the prestigious chemical industry. The pay from this company is also decent. Within a short span, he discovers a kind of waste that has a high amount of toxicity, is dismissed in the nearby river illegally. This is causing many health-related issues for the people consuming this river water nearby.
He informs his fellow workers about this issue, but they suggest to be quiet. On one hand, he is the only working man in his family and can’t risk his job. On the other, his fellow mates’ suggestion feels wrong as the people are suffering from the consumption of toxic water. You seem an advisable person to him, so he asks for your help.
- What conflicts can you bring up for making him understand that being silent is not a correct option?
- What type of conduct will you suggest to him and why?
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Ethical Case Studies in Education
CASE STUDY 3
Currently, you are a Development Officer at a district level. Recently there has been a dispute in one of the villages of your district. The senior groups in this village do not want girls to go out of their houses to study, as it is unsafe. As per them, girls should marry at an early age with less education. The competition is increasing, and male employment is declining due to young girls thinking about their individuality, taking steps for education and freedom.
The situation is heated. Everyday discussions are around these issues. One day you are informed that girls were molested while returning from schools. This led to another huge argument. After fighting their guts, the seniors decided not to send girls to schools and avoid other families who send their girls to study.
- What action would you take to ensure safety and assure the education of these girls?
- How would you handle the patriarchal approach of the senior generation and spread a word of peace in the village? How would you deal with the senior generation’s patriarchal approach, and spread a word of peace in the village?
Professional Ethics Case Study
CASE STUDY 4
A staff member junior to you took a leave on account of her mother’s illness. She joined again a few days ago. Her mother is old as well as very sick. She has been handling both her mothers’ care adjustments and her job at the same time. At times she has to leave the workplace early or arrive late. This created extra pressure on her co-workers as well. You are the manager of this company.
One of her male co-workers stated that she is a female and should stay at home rather than work, which added more stress on her shoulders.
- As a manager, how would you handle the workload suspended on other co-workers?
- How would you use your professional integrity to correct the male co-worker?
Ethics in Finance Case Study
CASE STUDY 5
You are a chief officer in a ministry. As a result, you are allowed to take all the important decisions related to construction and road development. The ministry is all set to announce a huge road consignment. Ample care was taken by the officials to use government land majorly and to make less usage of private land. Also, with minimum deforestation, the road plan was finalized.
At the same time, one of the related ministers insisted that you must change the roadways in such a way that comes closer to his huge farmhouse. He also promises to buy a plot legally in your name after this realignment of this road. But this realignment project will cause a burden on government finances. Many agricultural lands fall under this realignment of the road. Also, hundreds of trees would be demolished for the same.
- What would you do in such a situation?
- What are the areas of arguments and improvements in this situation?
- What is your responsibility as a servant of the public?
The format in the above case studies is usually what is asked in Section B of the GS IV paper in the UPSC Exams. These case studies are of great significance and carry huge weightage in the civil service exams. Along with these case studies, many case studies like nonprofit ethics case study and administration ethics case study also have a good amount of weightage.
You must focus intensively on case studies on ethical issues to score brilliantly in your UPSC exams. Your answers should contain ethical terms and an appropriate approach. Practising various kinds of ethics case studies regularly for IAS will keep you intact with the approach you have to maintain. It will also develop a useful skill to write productive and efficient case study answers.
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These different ethics case studies have helped me a lot for my preparation, will try to answer these questions in an ethical manner.