To: ENGR 597 Students

From: Elizabeth Fife

Associate Prof., Engineering Writing Program

Date: June 20, 2019

Re: Writing Assignment 1


You are an intern at a large engineering-based technology firm. You’ve been asked by your supervisor, Jane Blackstone to provide your thoughts on the following situation.

A recent article published in the LA Times describes the internal organizing activities of engineers at several well-known companies, including Slack, Google, Microsoft and Facebook to raise ethical issues about these company’s use of its technologies, contracts with other companies and overall policies. See:

Your company has been identified as a leader in the industry and wants to understand the issues surrounding this trend. To better understand the current situation, the company is asking everyone from VPs to lawyers to interns to offer their thoughts. As a result, your supervisor has identified you as a person with a promising future and has asked you to participate by providing a 2-page memo that reviews the growth of employee activism in the tech world, and provides usable recommendations for the company.

What do think are the pros and cons of employee activism surrounding ethical issues in your field? Do your best to avoid generic thoughts on the topic.


In approximately 750-1,000 words, prepare your memo. This is the structure:

· Brief overview of current trends in the area of “employee activism” and its importance

· Analysis supported by some specific examples of ethical initiatives and issues that a specific company (Amazon, Google, etc) or an industry has been involved with. This link, for example describes recent developments at Amazon where shareholders voted down proposals submitted by employees.

· Brief recommendations for your company. To what extent should they support employee activism? How could open discussion between employees and executives within the company be managed?

This is an internal document, not an academic research paper. However, you need to use credible source material that is properly referenced (at least 2 publications: journal articles, newspapers, books). Citations should be included in the paper and listed at the end. You may use any standard system for citing material: APA, MLA, IEEE, etc. Look up one of these formats online to see the proper forms for citing your reference material.


Please note the following specifications for this assignment:

Criteria for Success:

· Opening Summary/Focus

· Clarity and Conciseness

· Thoughtful discussion of the issue, depth of analysis, useful recommendations

· Audience-appropriate tone (professional, not overly informal)

· Proper Citing of Materials

Assignments Specifics:

· Due via the course dropbox (by Friday, 11:59PM, July 12)

· Include Statement of Originality with submission

· 750-1,000 words (this is about 2 pages single-spaced)

· Formatting: single-spaced short paragraphs, double space between paragraphs, use informative headings

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