Oregon State University

CS 391: Social and Ethical Issues in Computer Science

Oregon State University, College of Engineering

Chapter 7 ~ Looking at the
Industry through a Cultural Lens

In this chapter, you'll explore the social constructions that create discrimination. In general, the high-tech industry has a diversity problem, which can potentially be remedied by the use of artificial Intelligence, diversity initiatives, and legislation.

You'll share an experience in the discussion as well as write about new concepts.

Then, you'll examine a company through a cultural lens to analyze its diversity in relation to an ethical theory.

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Explore Topics: Discrimination, Leaky Pipeline, Bias in AI

7.1 Introduction to discrimination and inclusive design.

Have you ever been discriminated against in school, at work, or socially, based on your age, gender, culture, race, class, or abilities? Or, has your privilege insulated you from discrimination? Which of the following five problems is your experience most likely due to?

Open the terms in these lenses to review their meaning...is your understanding of them up-to-date?
(Open and close one at a time for best results.)

Continue reading about marginalized groups as well as the concept of inclusive design:

Reading List

Refer to writing instructions under each page of the template provided in step 7.5. Open articles in new tabs and add them to your bibliography tool.

Inclusive Design

7.2 Leaky pipeline.

The Leaky pipeline of women and other minorities leaving STEM jobs has created a shortage of workers in the high-tech industry. In order for these companies to keep up with future demand, our social constructions will need to change. These are typical social constructions that have created bias in education and the workplace:

These social constructions: ...create these consequences:
  • Lack of encouragement from parents from birth onward (forcing children into gendered roles).
  • Patriarchal classrooms and teacher bias (especially towards African American girls and boys).
  • Lack of role models at home, school, and in the media.
  • Digital Divide, such as an early lack of opportunity to experience STEM.
  • Language (pronouns like he and she). Sweden now teaches children to use 'Hen' instead of gendered pronouns (2017).
  • Stores splitting products by gender (toys, tools, electronics, clothes).
  • Lack of fair work scheduling laws.

messageHover over the problems to see their definitions.

  • Inhospitable work cultures
    • Brogramming
    • Manterrupting/mansplaining
    • GamerGate
    • Double jeopordy
    • Prove-it-again
  • Isolation from other women or similar cultures
  • Conflict between preferred work rhythms and the "firefighting" work style, which is generally rewarded.
  • Long hours and travel schedules conflict with women's heavy household management workload (second shift).
  • Lack of advancement in the professions and corporate ladders (glass ceiling)
  • General feeling of inadequacy even though they have the necessary skills (imposter syndrome)
  • Hiring during a crisis which won't end well (glass cliff).

Linda-Eling Lee of MSCI’s ESG Research group, said that "after studying U.S. companies between 2011-2016, companies with at least three women on the board experienced median gains in return on equity (ROE) of 10% points and earnings per share (EPS) of 37%. In contrast, companies that began the 5-year period with no female directors experienced median decrease of -1% in ROE and -8% in EPS over the 5 years. Read more about this in If Investors Really Listened To Data, They’d Be Investing In Women.

Reading List

Refer to writing instructions under each page of the template provided in step 7.5. Open articles in new tabs and add them to your bibliography tool.

7.3 Explore bias in artificial intelligence.

Many major tech companies are now using AI to help hire developers as well as detect and eradicate bias in product development.

Reading List

Refer to writing instructions under each page of the template provided in step 7.5. Open articles in new tabs and add them to your bibliography tool.

7.4 Hiring laws to deter discrimination.

The USA requires government agencies and business that receive government funding to hire according to several laws under the Department of Labor, which may affect you in the future:

Reading List

Refer to writing instructions under each page of the template provided in step 7.5. Open articles in new tabs and add them to your bibliography tool.

Besides laws, many companies offer special programs to train, support, and boost diversity among their employees:

  • Internship
  • Apprenticeship
  • Unions
  • Veterans Preference
  • Diversity initiatives
  • Diversity statements
  • Fair Chance Ordinance (some states)
  • Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement

7.5 Set up the Template and Reading List.

Use the following template link to complete this research and writing assignment.

  1. Login to your OSU Google Account.
  2. Launch this chapter's Explore Topics Template.
  3. Do not request permission to use the file. Login to your OSU Google Account.
  4. Once you have the file open:
    1. FileMake a copy.
    2. Rename the new file so it includes your "First and Last name" in place of "Template".
    3. Move the file into a folder for this course.
  5. Add your name to the cover page.
  6. Read instructions on the cover page. When in doubt about how to write in the templates, refer back to this page for clarification.
  7. Refer to the green instructions below each page to understand what is required.
  8. The last page requires a bibliography.

7.6 Edit, download, and submit the file.

  1. Ctrlc or c Copy the bibliographic entries you made during the Explore Topics reading and research. On the last page of the template, Ctrlv or v paste in the bibliographic entries. Select the list and apply the bullet or numbered list icon. Update the font size to 14 if necessary. Add more pages if necessary.
  2. Check and correct grammar and spelling using the built-in functions.
  3. From the File menu, choose Download as PDF.
  4. Check to confirm that hyperlinks work in the new PDF file. If they do not work, then in the Assignment Commenting Box, leave a note stating which platform, operating system, and browser you used to print or download the PDF file.
  5. Copy of the file to a backup folder on your hard drive.
  6. Submit the PDF file by uploading it in the Canvas Assignment screen.
  7. Confirm that your file has uploaded by looking for the document icon in the Grades area.

Examine a Case Discussion: Company Diversity

Examine a company through a cultural lens to determine its level of diversity. Write/discuss from a factual and critical perspective. Analyze the company in relation to an ethical theory. Counter another student's analysis with more research.

7.7 Participate in the Group Discussion.

  1. Pick a company to study from the list below.
    Scroll through the many choices and hover over logos to read company descriptions:
  2. Four days before the Due date, start writing in a word processing document to synthesize what you learned about the case. Use research, including what you find in the SmartNews feed, library journals, broadcast news, etc.
    • In paragraph 1, describe and cite a company's diversity programs.
    • In paragraph 2, name, describe, and cite at least one hiring or marketing law or regulation that the company says it adheres to.
    • In paragraph 3, describe and cite what journalists and academics say about the company's actual diversity.
    • In paragraph 4, analyze the company's diversity citing one of the ethical theories or approaches ...are they really a diverse company or not? Cite the theory/approach.
    • Insert/embed a product, service, or recruitment advertisement (can be a movie or online ad) that shows diversity (or a lack of diversity) for the company. (Simple photos are not allowed; the image must be an advertisement.) Provide a short analysis in paragraph 5.
      Insert an image from your hard drive to embed it.
    • Check the word count (150+ per paragraph, not counting the author names or article titles).
    • Check the hyperlinks (they must be in article titles, law names, or theory/approach names).
    • Spellcheck, fix grammar, then Ctrlc or c to copy the paragraphs.
    • Click the Chapter 7 Examine a Case Discussion in Canvas.
    • Ctrlv or v to paste the copied text into a Reply thread (click the Reply field to activate the editing box).
    • Save your thread.
  3. Before the Due date, reply to at least one person in your group.
    • In paragraph 1, discuss a counter-argument related to their analysis of the case. Describe and cite an article that supports your argument.
    • Check the word count (150+ not counting the author names or article titles).
    • Save your thread.

Need Help?

Share a Google Slides file with the Instructor.

If you have questions about using the template, the research prompts, or writing conventions, you can share your file with the instructor.

  1. With your file, open, click the Sharing button at the top right of the screen.
  2. Change the settings so that only people at OSU can view the file.
  3. Copy the resulting URL/address.
    Right-click to change sharing settings.
    Change settings so that only OSU people can view. Copy the link.
  4. Paste the resulting URL into a Canvas Inbox message to the instructor (or if you have already submitted your file, provide it in the Assignment Commenting box).

Work offline without Wi-fi

If you will be out of wi-fi range, feel free to work on your files offline.

  1. Click the blue Docs icon (or orange Slides or green Sheets icon).
  2. Select the file(s) to use offline.
  3. Select the 3-dot More menu
  4. Toggle on the Available Until button.
  5. Look at the list of files to view the new Available Offline icon next to the file name.

Writing Tutors

Consult one or more of these resource for a review of the structure of your writing, grammar, and spelling. Provide the tutor with a link to the instructions as well as your project online.

NetTutor's Paper Center
Access online tutoring via Canvas. 48-hour turnaround.
OSU Online Writing Suite
Electronic feedback from home, asynchronous email consultation, or synchronous Skype consultation.
OSU Undergrad Research & Writing Studio
Drop in writing help with no wait times. Standard hours are:
Monday to Thursday → 10:00am to 10:00pm
Friday → 10:00am to 5:00pm, and
Sunday → 2:00pm to 7:00pm.
OSU Academic Integrity Tutorials
Citing sources and using TurnItIn.

Use the Service Desk if you have computer, ONID, or Canvas problems.

But first:

  1. Logout.
  2. Close the browser and relaunch it.
  3. Login to OSU.
  4. Still have problems? Contact Service Desk.

Scoring Criteria

If you have questions about how to use any of the required technologies for this lesson or what these criteria mean, please reread the relevant lessons, then ask the Instructor via the Canvas Inbox.

Check Canvas Home, Assignments, and Calendar for the most current Due date and time. The Available Until date and time constitutes a grace period, which can be used in an emergency or if you are ill.

By the end of chapter 7, these items must be included in the assignments to earn full points:

Explore Topics

  1. Discrimination and Inclusive Design page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  2. Leaky Pipeline page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  3. Bias in Artificial Intelligence (AI) page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  4. Hiring Laws and Special Programs page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  5. Bibliography page includes a list of references (4 or more expected).
  6. Writing is free of plagiarism.
  7. Writing is free of grammar and spelling errors.

Examine a Case Discussion

  1. Discussion thread describes and cites a high-tech company's diversity programs.
  2. Discussion thread names, describes, and cites at least one hiring or marketing law or regulation that the company says it adheres to.
  3. Discussion thread describes and cites what journalists and academics say about the company's actual diversity.
  4. Discussion thread analyzes the company's diversity citing one of the ethical theories or approaches.
  5. Discussion thread includes an inserted/embedded Advertisement that shows diversity/lack of diversity for the company, along with a short analysis.
  6. Discussion includes a reply to another student's thread which counters their analysis and cites a supporting article.