Explores A Key Issue In Business And Society In A Changing World.

II. Suggested Topics

You are expected to select and develop a topic that is related to the themes below, both of which have been covered primarily (though not exclusively) in the Winter term of our course. In some cases, the questions assigned for tutorial assignments can be taken as a useful foundation for developing these topics.

The list of topic areas below is provided as a general guideline for developing your topic but you are expected to further define the research question and line of inquiry that will form the basis of your paper. While you should use the relevant course readings please be advised that the key goal of this assignment is to utilize outside research materials – primarily scholarly articles and books -  to develop your proposal and bibliography and eventually your final paper.

A.    The Climate Crisis. Discuss the social, economic, ethical and/or political challenges related to the climate crisis. To what degree will dealing with the climate crisis require new business and policy models? What are the prospects and obstacles for making the necessary social and economic adjustments? Are the best models for change also consistent with economic growth or do they require consideration of “post-growth pathways,” as Hickel argues? Finally, what are the political conditions for effective approaches to the climate crisis? 

B.     The Digital Platform Economy: Social and Regulatory Challenges. Many of the “corporate transformations” in the early 21st century have been linked to the rise of digital platforms, which have brought innovations and convenience to our lives, but have also raised concerns about their excessive market (and political) power as well as a variety of social issues. Two examples have been featured in this course. In the first case the rise of dominant information and social media platforms have raised concerns about the way their business models are linked to social harms such as the spreading of misinformation. Secondly, labour and service platforms have highlighted new challenges for workers. Choosing one of these areas, how should we characterize the key challenges for regulation or reform in these digital industries?

III. General Guidance

After defining your topic or arriving at the key question that will drive your analysis, you will want to think about how to structure your research essay. As a preliminary guide, we can say that a good research paper in this course should integrate different levels of analysis as follows:

A. Positive Analysis (why and how are things changing?)

Explores A Key Issue In Business And Society In A Changing World.

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Positive analysis explains and analyzes how the world works and, in the context of our course, why and how things are changing. In our course this might involve explaining and analyzing phenomena like new forms of corporate power and the kinds of issues these developments have raised for our economy, business organizations, political institutions and social relations.  Theories, academic debates, models, data, examples and other research findings from your readings should be used to develop a “positive” analysis (examining what’s happening and why). It is typically useful to evaluate or compare the different ideas or theories of scholars/researchers who have studied the issue you have chosen. Which researchers have given the most persuasive analysis of the key factors at play?

B. Critical and/or Normative Analysis (what difference does it make?)

In connection with discussing the debates and different approaches for understanding the issue, you should try to draw conclusions from your analysis and demonstrate its implications, the problems highlighted by the analysis and how we should respond to them. Here you might want to demonstrate how the positive analysis above might provide a foundation for evaluating, comparing, proposing and defending policy solutions, ethical evaluations or political perspectives.

C. Strategic Analysis (how can the need and the pressure to find solutions be addressed?)

Show how your analysis creates a better understanding of the need for change – or the need to defend or extend current approaches as well as the strategies or policies that might support them. You do not need to portray one approach or strategy as categorically the best, but you should discuss – at least in general terms - the policy options and strategic directions that could be adopted by government or business, or by other parties. How would any new policy, model or reform overcome the shortcomings of existing or old approaches?

IV. Research Requirements 

Each of the general topic frameworks outlined in section II above are covered in course readings. Hence, you should use material from those readings in developing your paper. Yet this is a research paper which requires you to rely primarily on outside sources. We will provide guidance on how to find and use materials such as academic journal articles and academic books. You may also use journalistic materials and other sources of information as well, so long as you follow the guideline (explained below) of primarily using academic articles and books.

IV. Submission Requirements 

This assignment requires you to make the following two submissions, in each case as one file upload on Turnitin.:

1. Proposal and Annotated Bibliography - February 18 [value: 5% of  Final Mark]

(a)   Write a one page proposal (250-350 words) describing the topic you have chosen and the expected direction of your research. Outline the working thesis you will try to develop and defend. The submission must be made using Turnitin.

(b)   Submit an annotated bibliography which lists three sources you have found (using APA style) and one paragraph for each source which explains how the reading relates to your proposed paper topic and a preliminary evaluation of the argument or evidence presented. At least two sources must be scholarly writing (peer-reviewed academic journal articles, books or book chapters). Government reports written in a scholarly format may also be used.

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