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What is Your Ethics IQ?


The concept of an “Ethics IQ” has been discussed by Bruce Weinstein, The Ethics Guy. Your Ethics IQ measures your level of ethics intelligence. This is not an exact science but does provide insight into your ability to reason through ethical dilemmas and make the right choice. Answer these questions honestly. Otherwise, you will not know where you stand at the beginning of this course. Each question below has three possible answers. Each question is scored from 1 (least appropriate) to 3 (most appropriate). The scores are totaled and an Ethics IQ will be provided by your instructor.

Grab a pen and paper and let’s get started!


Choose the “best” answer for each question.                                                        




1. You are on line to check out at your favorite bagel store when the customer in front of you reaches for cream cheese in a container in a refrigerated area. You notice she drops a $20 bill. She just paid for her food and left the store. You’re late for work already and although you suspect it isn’t likely that you would be penalized for being extra late, you do not want to disappoint your boss. What would you do assuming you can catch up with the customer?


A.) Pocket the $20.

B.) Tell the cashier and give him the $20 to return to the customer who is a regular.

C.) Chase down the customer and return the $20.


 2. You are a student in Government 101 and are scheduled to take an essay final at 2:00 pm. While online, you notice a friend of yours in the 9:00 am section shared an Instagram photo of the essay questions. You are spending the time between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm in your study group. You need to ace this class to graduate with honors. What would you do?


A.) Use the posting to prepare for the exam but don’t tell the group members about it.

B.) Inform the group members and use the posted information to prepare for the exam.

C.) Ignore the posting.


3. You have discovered through a reliable third party that your best friend is cheating on his wife. Your wife asks whether you know anything about it after seeing your friend with another woman at a restaurant. What would you do?


A.) Confide in her that the cheating is going on.

B.) Deny you know anything about it.

C.) Tell her your friend hasn’t said anything to you about it.

4.  Your boss comes on to you at work. He constantly asks about your dating life and if you’re seeing anyone regularly. He regularly stares at you. His behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. But, you are up for a promotion and he has the final say. What would you do?

A.) Ignore it, at least until you get the promotion.

B.) Tell him his behavior is unwanted and you feel uncomfortable.

C.) Inform the Human Resources Department.

5.  Your best friend was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. You have seen him deteriorate and deal with excruciating pain since then. His doctor can’t prescribe marijuana, which might alleviate the pain, because it is illegal to do so in your state. You are thinking about crossing state lines and buying marijuana in a state that has medical and recreational-use marijuana laws even though it is illegal to do so under the federal Controlled Substances Act. What would you do?

A.) Cross state lines where buying and using marijuana is permitted and give it to your friend.

B.) Don’t cross state lines because it is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

C.) Tell your friend to move to a state that has medical marijuana laws.

6. You work for a small business and do a lot of travel and entertaining of potential clients. The company issues a credit card for all employees to simplify the accounting function. The card is to be used solely for business expenses. One day while on an out-of-town trip and after business hours, you use the business card to go to the spa to get a massage to alleviate painful arthritis, a problem you have been dealing with for years. What would you do when questioned about this charge by the Accounting Department?

 A.) Explain that the out-of-town trip included a five-hour flight that created stress for your osteoarthritis condition. The massage is a   legitimate business expense and should be reimbursed.                                                                                                                                       B.) Explain to the responsible person in the Accounting Department that you know it is a personal expense but ask that it be   reimbursed this one time since you have a cash flow problem.                                                                                                                               C.) Offer to reimburse the company for the massage.

7. You have just been fired from your job. On the way out, you contemplate downloading some proprietary information about a new R&D project of your employer. You worked on the project so figure you had a right to do so. What would you do?

 A.) Don’t download the information.                                                                                                                                                                           B.) Download the information about the project.                                                                                                                                                     C.) Ask your employer for permission to download the information.

8. You are one of five workers on a team that performs financial calculations for your company. In advance of a meeting between the team and your supervisor, you discover a member of the team, who is your boyfriend, made a mistake in a calculation. The mistake made it look like the company was making more money than it was. What would you do assuming you are convinced the mistake was an honest one?


A.) Ignore it.

B.) Speak with your friend about it.

C.) Inform the supervisor.


9. You manage a group of six employees. One day one of those employees calls in sick. Later that day you notice the employee posted photos at a restaurant to Instagram. What would you do?


A.) Speak to the employee the next day when she comes to work.

B.) Let it go and say nothing.

C.) Fire the employee. 


10. You are a manager at a fast food restaurant and monitor your employee’s social media posts on company equipment. You just read a Facebook post by an employee who commented that the working conditions were oppressive. Other employees commented; some agreeing and others disagreeing. Assuming you work in an “at will” employment state (either the employer or the employee may terminate employment at any time). What would you do?


A.) Fire the employee who posted the critical comments.

B.) Ignore the comments.

C.) Meet with the employee(s) to discuss the comments.

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