Paper #1 Instructions
• Address all of the bullet points in the ‘Description and questions’ section below.
• Submit your paper via Blackboard by Tuesday, January 30th by 7:59 am.
• Your written paper submission must be individual work. You may discuss this assignment with classmates, co-workers, friends, etc. You also may meet with me during office hours.
• Limit your report to 5 pages or fewer, excluding references and exhibits.
• Your submission must be a single Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx). Please name your document using the convention: “last name-first name-306-p1-section number”. For example, my file would be named “Carniol-Michael-306-p1-XX”.
• Cite your sources. See the Writing and Citation Formatting Guides on the Rutgers University Libraries website. I suggest using Microsoft Word’s built-in Reference tools. Any bibliography format is acceptable as long as you are consistent.
• Use primary sources whenever possible. For example, if you find a newspaper article (a secondary source) that quotes a company press release (a primary source), try to access and use that company press release as your source.
• This paper comprises three percent of your raw course grade.
Description and questions
In March 2011, David L. Sokol resigned from Berkshire-Hathaway.
Describe the circumstances under which Mr. Sokol resigned. First, present the facts, by addressing the following questions:
• Who were the key players? Describe their public reputations before Mr. Sokol resigned.
• Describe the timeline of events of surrounding Mr. Sokol’s resignation, both chronologically and in terms of when information revealed publicly.
• Describe Berkshire-Hathaway’s unofficial ethics policy.
After compiling the facts, consider the counterfactual – what could have happened but didn’t. Address the following questions:
• Explain why Mr. Sokol’s actions did or did not violate Berkshire-Hathaway’s unofficial ethics policy.
• Define a generic standard for what would have been “the right thing to do.” This standard is your opinion. For example, you might state, “I believe the company should have required its officers to do the following: …”
• Explain what behavior by Mr. Sokol and other key players either fell short of or met your standard.
• If these individuals’ behavior fell short of your standard, conjecture what they could have done differently that would have satisfied your standard. If these individuals’ behavior met your standard, conjecture what they could have done differently that would have fallen short of you
Paper #1 Instructions