Example #1 – The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis
A story of professional ethics and moral responsibility was publicized in an article appearing in the May 29th, 1995 issue of The New Yorker magazine. The article entitled The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis focuses on the ethical and moral obligations of individuals and companies involved in the construction of a skyscraper in downtown New York during 1977.
In the early 1970 s, Citibank Corporation had begun to undertake the planning for a new corporate headquarters that would symbolize the strength and longevity of the company. In the planning phase of the construction, an engineering consulting firm headed by a Mr. William LeMessurier was employed to develop a design for the building. LeMessurier was a highly respected civil engineer with a talent for new and innovative designs. He was also a respected professor at Harvard University in the civil engineering field.
The design of the new Citibank offices was unique in that it had to be built on a plot of land with an existing Church structure. The Church agreed to grant air rights to Citibank if Citibank would rebuild the Church in its current location. Citibank agreed, and LeMessurier was challenged with the task of designing a structure that would be elevated nine stories above the Church on four structural stilts. The 59-story skyscraper would be suspended above the Church and would represent an engineering challenge that remains unprecedented even by today s standards.
As the design progressed, LeMessurier s design utilized welded joints between all of the structural members of the building in order to protect the strength of the structure. An innovative diagonal bracing, tuned mass damper system and welded joints would allow the structure to exceed the New York building codes in existence at the time of construction.
The building was completed in 1977 and a year later, another professor questioned LeMessurier on the design rationale. LeMessurier concluded that this design was sound, but decided to investigate, on his own, the effect of quartering winds (winds that hit two sides of the structure at the same time). New York building codes did not require quartering winds design criteria, but LeMessurier thought that it would be an interesting study.
A few weeks prior to the study, LeMessurier also found out that the construction contractor for the Citibank building had substituted bolts for the welded joints in the original design. This substitution was driven by cost reductions and the time schedules of the general contractor.
The results of LeMessurier s quartering wind calculations resulted in projections of a 160 percent increase in the load placed on the structural members of the building. LeMessurier also discovered that the construction company had not taken this into consideration when substituting the bolts for the welded joints. Subsequent analysis showed that if a severe storm were to hit the Citibank building, a total structural failure could occur. The devastation of such an accident would be horrific.
LeMessurier decided to take the discovery to Citibank and the construction company to plead for structural repairs. He proposed welded band-aids to increase the structural integrity of the building. LeMessurier feared his own loss of credibility in his profession for being associated with such significant defects but continued forward with the presentation of the findings. Ultimately, Citibank and the construction company agreed without any hesitation in the implementation of the corrective actions. Possibly, one of the greatest civil disasters in the world was averted.
Moral Issues and Ethical Theory
Several moral issues are brought to the surface during this potential disaster. The first of which relates to the issue of individual moral responsibility versus that of organizational or corporate responsibility. In this particular case, LeMessurier had completed his job designing the building and specifying the appropriate welded joints. What responsibility did he have just to investigate his design further?
Morally, LeMessurier had an obligation to investigate any harm that could reasonably occur relative to the skyscraper. The utilitarian theory would justify this obligation based upon the fact that the morality of the decision would be determined by the severity of the possible negative consequences of his inaction (Beauchamp & Bowie 1997, p. 21). Had LeMessurier chose to shift the responsibility to the construction company and believe that it was not his problem, the consequences of his inaction could have been severe, and subsequently immoral. The ethical challenge in this situation is to take personal ownership in decisions that are made by corporate or other outside decision-makers.
Another issue surrounding this case is that of the shareholder versus the stakeholder purpose of a company. The construction company (and possibly Citibank) made a judgment to replace the welded joints with less expensive and less time-consuming bolts. The change was made to benefit the shareholders through reduced costs and increased profitability. But the expense to the other Stakeholders could have possibly been incalculable.
The building s occupants and the people in the surrounding neighborhoods would have paid a significant price had there been any disaster caused by the decision made by the construction company. The appropriate ethical theory for this and other cases involving potential harm is the stakeholder theory. The balance of positive benefits for all stakeholders should be maximized against the disadvantages to the stakeholders (Beauchamp & Bowie 1997, p.54).
A final ethical/moral theory exhibited in this case concerns that of the liability for harm. While LeMessurier was certainly not negligent in the design, and the construction company may have had good reason to believe the bolts were more than sufficient, who would bear the responsibility for any harm that may come had a disaster occurred?
Legally, as another party changed the original design without his knowledge, LeMessurier may have not been liable for the harm resulting from an accident. However, morally, once he had knowledge of a possible design problem, there was an obligation to divulge its existence.
The construction company should be held to the same moral standard as LeMessurier. However, a higher legal standard should be imposed. The idea of strict liability should be utilized as the construction company was in the best position to prevent harm. Despite its construction to the current building codes of the day, the construction company had the best chance to foresee and prevent harm from occurring as a result of the design change.
Our group does believe that LeMessurier had a moral obligation to investigate the possibility of a defect. Fortunately, LeMessurier took the personal responsibility to investigate the changes in his design and to take action upon his discovery of the structural issues. If this investigation had not occurred or was swept under the rug, the defect would possibly still exist and the potential for significant harm would remain.
Additionally, both moral and legal obligations to divulge and resolve the problem fell with the construction company and Citibank Corporation. This duty was owed to both company stakeholders.
Overall, all parties involved in this incident acted in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards possible. These facts lead to the aversion of a major disaster that could have harmed thousands of people.
Example #2 – Ethical Dilemma in a Personal Case
Ethics is the result of human interpretation of right and wrong. One’s ethical outlook will drive their behavior in a multitude of different situations. However, not everyone forms an ethical scheme in the same ways. Various viewpoints about religion, society, and good and evil itself will directly impact the creation of ethics in an individual. (Heinrichs, Oser, and Lovat, 2013)
Sometimes, the situation will help dictate what kind of ethical theory should be employed. Considering all of this information, the following essay will examine a personal ethical dilemma before explaining how it was resolved, and how the resolution may have been impacted by the application of different ethical theories.
The ethical dilemma I will be focusing on for this paper occurred to me about one year ago. I was in Atlanta visiting family for the weekend. Late at night, I was walking down a mostly deserted street with my sister, when we heard a rustling noise in an alley. We looked down the alley and saw a large man repeatedly punching and kicking a woman, simultaneously calling her several terrible names.
While my first instinct was to go help her, my sister held my arm and encouraged me to call the police instead. I knew that if we called the police, it would take the time to arrive at our location, and from the intensity at which this woman was being assaulted, she might be dead by that time. I was immediately torn, wanting to help this woman, but also wanting to not put myself, or more importantly, my sister, in any serious danger.
Ultimately, I told my sister to call the police, while I approached the individuals in the alley quickly. When I was about 30 feet away from the duo, I shouted at the man to stop. The man looked up, saw me standing there, and saw my sister near the street calling the police, and ran down the alley, leaving the woman on the ground. When police arrived, the woman was taken to the hospital, but not before thanking my sister and me profusely.
While I made the decision to approach them directly in a short amount of time, I did consider the consequences of my various options. I thought about protecting my sister, should the man decide to assault us as well, and I thought about the other people in my family who rely on me for support who would be devastated if something were to happen to me.
However, these thoughts of preservation were drowned out by the notion that this woman likely had family and friends that loved her as well.
Furthermore, I thought if this was my sister being beaten, I would certainly want someone to step in and help her. I did consider briefly what was ethically right and ethically wrong action to do in this scenario, but I did not apply any ethical theory or moral rule, nor think about what a person that I admire would do in this situation. I may have had these thoughts if I had longer to assess the situation.
Virtue Ethics and My Response
I believe the ethical approach that most resembled how I handled this situation would be virtue ethics. (Heinrichs, Oser, and Lovat, 2013) I stepped into the situation because I believed it was the right thing to do and I wanted to protect this woman’s safety. Was I to walk on by, or simply wait for the police to arrive, I would be directly conflicting with the virtues that I hold very high in my own life, such as courage, bravery, and compassion.
By stepping into the situation, I was exemplifying my personal values. (Holmes, 2013) If I behaved differently, I would likely feel cognitive dissonance and might even be forced to change my virtues as I did not live up to them.
Application of Different Ethical Theories
If I had applied a different ethical theory or moral rule, I may have behaved differently. For instance, I believe if I had applied utilitarianism I may have resisted getting involved further than calling the police. If I was trying to maximize the good and minimize the bad, I may have considered the risks of this man hurting me and my sister as too great to maximize the good in this situation. (Heinrichs, Oser, and Lovat, 2013)
If I followed this line of thinking, were I to step in and the man brutally beat not only the victim, but also my sister and me, this would be increasing the amount of violence, and minimizing the positive outcomes. As it turns out, however, by actually stepping in, I probably maximized the good in this situation and minimized the harm, aligning my behavior and the outcomes with utilitarianism in away. (Heinrichs, Oser, and Lovat, 2013)
In the same vein, if I had applied deontological ethics, the outcome may not have been the same. Deontological ethics says that the most ethical decision is the one that follows the set rules and regulations in place. (Heinrichs, Oser, and Lovat, 2013)
Thus, applying deontological ethics to this situation would have left me without a clear direction, as there is no law saying that you must try to defend a victim of violent crime. (Holmes, 2013) Considering this, I believe that applying virtue ethics was the best way to go in this situation, and it resulted in the best outcomes.
It is difficult to assess whether or not one’s ethics are what they should be. Because of all the differing viewpoints on the nature of our existence, and one’s role in society, there are numerous ethical perspectives that one can take on.
It is important, in my opinion, that when one does decide on an ethical basis, that they stick to it in every situation and do what is most ethical, as this is what defines us as free-thinking and compassionate humans.
A patient comes into the hospital to see his results from an AIDS test: his results are positive. The patient nervously confesses to the doctor that he s been cheating on his wife. His wife and the doctor are friends, they’ve been friends throughout school but later drifted apart.
However, they still maintain a good friendship, occasionally get together call each other for advice, or simply share their problems since they’ve been friends for so long. The doctor never actually met her friend s husband in person but after looking at his file she notices his last name and phone number are the same as her dear friend s. The doctor then informs the client of her friendship with his wife.
Should she tell the wife because he could pass this incurable disease to her? Or should she keep this information confidential because of her duty as a doctor?
This situation creates an ethical dilemma because no matter what decision the doctor takes it will oppose a belief. In this scenario, the patient is the client seeking the service of a doctor. Therefore, the doctor must take a course of action based on mutual agreement that will not violate their relationship.
As a professional, her primary duty is to serve the client, which in this scenario is the patient with AIDS. In order to better serve the client, she will persuade and convince him to tell his wife in an effort to maintain his autonomy and confidentiality.
She will let him know that she must report this to government health authorities, and other health professionals working with him. These health professionals need to be forewarned so that they can take extra precautions. AIDS is now a reportable communicable disease in every state Physicians and hospitals must report every case of AIDS- with the patient’s name to government public health authorities (Pozar 384).
The doctor is not removing the patient s autonomy, however by giving him advice (persuading him) she is not respecting his autonomy to the fullest extent. In Clinical Ethics it is stated:
Patient preferences are ethically significant because they make the explicit value of personal autonomy that is deeply rooted in the ethics of our culture. Moral philosophers emphasize the principle of autonomy, the moral right to choose and follow one s own path of life and action. Respect for autonomy is the moral attitude that disposes one to refrain from interference with other autonomous beliefs and actions in the pursuit of their goals.
The constraint of a person s free choices and actions seriously infringe on another s rights and welfare. The recognition of patient preferences respects the value of personal autonomy in medical care. In practice, however, many forces obstruct limit the expression and appreciation of patient preferences. These forces such as compromised competence of the patient, disparity between practitioner s knowledge and that of the patient, the psychodynamics of the patient-physician relationship, the stress of illness-often make difficult the realization of respect for the autonomy of the patient (Jonsen, Siegler, Winslade 50).
In other words, based on the value of autonomy the doctor should respect the patient s preferences. If the doctor were to tell her patient s wife she would completely remove the patient s autonomy since the patient would no longer be able to choose or have any influence on the reaction his wife takes. This could lead to consequences such as divorce, which would change his path of life.
By influencing the patient to tell his wife the doctor is not removing the patient s autonomy, however, she is reducing it by convincing the patient to tell his wife. The patient was planning on not saying anything, so if he tells his wife this action will not be his choice of action but one that the doctor influenced him to do.
According to Jonsen, Siegler and Winslade:
A patient s right to privacy and confidentiality has one of the highest priorities in our legal system. Statutes and court decisions proclaim the duty to provide, maintain, and enforce a patient s right to privacy and confidentiality, and also the perils of failing to do so. The Supreme Court has recognized it as a constitutional right.
No longer is privacy and confidentiality merely a moral, ethical, professional obligation; it is a legal duty. The duty of medical confidentiality is an ancient one. The Hippocratic oath states: what I see or hear in or outside the course of treatment, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to speak about (Jonsen, Siegler, and Winslade 166).
In essence, professional ethics require that the doctor maintain patient confidentiality; that is one of the highest values in the health care profession. In the event that the doctor divulges this information, respective malpractice insurance policies might not cover the institution for a breach of confidentiality if the patient sued. The doctor s livelihood and professional reputation be at stake. She would be viewed as unprofessional for not upholding her duties she would develop a bad reputation that would reflect on the institution as well. After weighing the factors the realizes that if she breaks the confidentiality she could be dismissed from her job immediately and be liable for charges laid, and fines upon conviction.
Disregarding this duty of confidentiality also affects medical care in the long run in a much worse way: this would destroy the doctor to patient relationship. Patients, in general, need to feel they can trust doctors, that they can confide in them in an effort to achieve better health together.
The relationship ought to be one in which the patient and doctor work together. For example, the patient helps the doctor by telling the doctor he is ill, the doctor then prescribes medicine to cure the illness. Physicians, then, who bear the responsibility to protect their patient s confidentiality, must be as vigilant as possible and must advocate for better control of information and better policies to safeguard it.
Neglecting this duty will have an adverse effect on society. It is important for patients to view medicine positively, or it will have a negative influence on them and others. Those who have AIDS will hide and not seek medical treatment, and those who suspect they have AIDS will not get tested for fear of being disclosed and will continue to spread the disease. Future patients or clients will be less likely to share such sensitive information with their doctors. The long-term consequences will present even bigger chaos.
Confidentiality is astringent, but not an absolute obligation; there are exceptions to the duty. The ethical issue then is determining what principles and circumstances justify the exception to the rule. This is perhaps one of the most difficult problems in medical ethics: the value of confidentiality requires the physician who considers breaching it to have the most serious justification. Among these exceptions is to report a communicable disease:
The obligation to safeguard the patient s confidences is subject to certain exceptions, which are ethically and legally justified because of overriding social considerations. Where a patient threatens to employ bodily harm to another person, there is a reasonable probability that the patient may carry out the threat; the physician should take reasonable precautions for the protection of the intended victim, including notification of law enforcement authorities. Also, communicable diseases, gunshots, and knife wounds should be reported as required by applicable statutes or ordinances (Hirsh 318).
In this case, both communicable diseases and bodily harm could be reported.
Confidentiality is prima facie to these exceptions. They are worded as: justify or you may whereas, confidentiality is a doctor s duty. As an example, If the patient refuses to do so, a physician may, without the patient s consent, notify a sexual partner known to be at risk.
Therefore, the doctor could tell her because of the exception since he is putting her at risk of bodily harm, which is contaminating her with the communicable disease, AIDS. Another factor is the doctor s friendship, if the doctor does not say anything it will perhaps ruin the relationship she once had with the patient s wife. Informing the wife would not be a sure way to prevent spreading the disease because his wife probably already has the disease.
The dominant motivator to tell in this scenario would be the friendship between the doctor and her client s wife. In defense of the patient s rights, the doctor should not mix her personal life with her professional life. Furthermore, due to the setting and nature of the situation the patient to doctor relationship comes first, the patient is the doctor s client so the doctor should seek his benefits before anyone else.
In conclusion, because of the doctor s profession, she would not tell the patient s wife, nonetheless, leave this to the patient. In the end result, the doctor will feel that she has dealt with the situation to the best of her ability without compromising her patient.
An ethical dilemma is an incident that causes us to question how we should react based on our beliefs. A decision needs to be made between right and wrong. I have experienced many ethical dilemmas in my lifetime, so I know that there is no such thing as an ethical dilemma that only affects one person. I also know that some ethical dilemmas are easier to resolve than others are.
The easy ones are the ones in which we can make decisions on the spot. For example, if a cashier gives me too much change, I can immediately make a decision to either return the money or keep it. Based on Kant’s, categorical imperative there are two criteria for determining moral right and wrong. First, there is universalizability, which states, “the person’s
My moral character was being tested and because it could have a negative effect on other people’s lives, I wrestled with my own beliefs. I needed a 2 plan that worked best for all involved, and one that would not cause me to compromise my morals. I will discuss the dilemma, how it affected me, and how I made a decision I could live with.
In my profession as a technology consultant, one of my responsibilities were to work with the sales team to assist in the architecture of Information Technology solutions to solve customer problems. I worked with the salespeople throughout the sales process to ensure that customers purchased all products necessary for a successful implementation.
One of my responsibilities was to make a final review of sales quotes to verify no mistakes were made. When I traveled outside of my territory to work with customers, the sales quotes were reviewed by consultants from that area. The dilemma occurred at a customer site outside of my territory. I had never met the salesperson or the customer.
The only information I had was a scope of work for the implementation. When I arrived at the customer site, I was given a copy of the purchase order and directed to the computer room. I performed an inventory to verify that all products on the purchase order were onsite. As I reviewed the scope of work, I noticed there were quite a few items on the purchase order that was not necessary for this…
Example #5 – Business Ethics – Ethical Decision Making and Cases
After three years with the company, Sandy was promoted to assistant plant manager. This was a big step for Unity Welding and Construction, as well as for the industry; Sandy was one of only a handful of women who had broken through the “glass ceiling” and made their way into management.
She had proved to the men around her that she deserved the job, and she was now being toasted by assistant managers from other plants across the country John, her boss, had been her advocate with the company. He had personally lobbied upper management on her behalf.
Unity Welding and Construction is a national firm with twenty fabrication plants, primarily in the South. The company does contract work for other companies that require welding or fabrication of metals into items used in the construction of aircraft, ships, bridges, and component parts for consumer durables. Each plant caters to specific industries. Sandy’s plant produces parts primarily for the automotive industry and is located in Arizona.
Arizona is perfect for Sandy because of her acute asthma problems. As a teenager, she once visited relatives in Atlanta and had to be hospitalized because of her reactions to the different plants and foliage. Sandy’s doctor told her at the time that she would have fewer problems with her asthma if she resided in one of the arid regions of the United States.
Six months had passed since Sandy’s promotion, and her first performance rating from John was excellent. John told her that if she continued this type of performance, she would probably be a plant manager in three to six years.
Sandy developed some innovative ways to increase productivity during her six months on the job. For example, she successfully implemented a “team concept,” which gave responsibility for certain projects to the workers on the plant floor. She offered incentives if they could decrease job times and increase profitability. John gave Sandy his full support and the pro-
gram was working well. Worker salaries on these special projects jumped from an average of $15 per hour to $24 per hour, yet the company’s bottom line continued to improve. Workers in the plant began competing to get on special projects.
With the increasing competition, Sandy noticed that the workers were starting to cut corners. Minor worker injuries began to increase, and Sandy was concerned about how some of the workers were disposing of toxic wastes. She informed John about her concerns, and he said he would write the following memo:
Attention: Workers on Special Projects
It has come to management’s attention that minor injuries are on the rise. Please review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines to make sure you are in compliance. In addition, there are rumors of improper disposal of wastes. Please read again the statement from the Environmental Protection Agency. Finally, congrats to Special Project Team Wolf. Profitability on your job increased 8 percent with an increase of $4.50 an hour for each member of the group. Great job!!
Shortly after John sent out his memo, the recession started to hit the automobile industry hard. Some of Sandy’s workers were to be laid off. Sandy went through the records and found that her most productive workers had been selected for termination. She went to John with the problem, and he said he’d take care of it. By calling in some favors, John was able to save the workers’ jobs, and no pink slips were issued at the plant. Within a week the workers knew John and Sandy had saved them.
Two months later, in November, the special project teams were working especially hard. Sandy noticed that the teams with the highest hourly wages were also the ones that we’re cutting corners the most. Sandy ran a spot inspection and found major quality problems with the products, as well as pollution problems. Additionally, she learned that several teams had “procured” software from the competition to reduce their production times. Sandy realized that something needed to be done quickly, so she went to John.
“John, we’ve got some major problems,” she told him. “Quality has decreased below our contract’s specifications. I’ve got workers cutting so many corners that it’s just a matter of time before someone really gets hurt. And to top it all off, some of the special project teams have gotten a hold of our competitor’s software. What are we going to do?”
John looked at Sandy and said, “Nothing.”
“What do you mean, nothing!?” asked Sandy. “Let me explain something to you,” John answered calmly. “We’re in a recession. The only reason 20 percent of our workers still have jobs is that our costs are down and our production is way up. I know quality is down; I’ve doctored some of the quality report forms myself. I also know about the software.
Sandy, the only reason we’re still working is because of the special project concept you implemented. And I’ve got news for you — production orders are going down in December. If we lay off the productive workers, we cut out the lean and save only the lazy workers we can’t fire because of their seniority. Plus, have you ever fired someone around Christmas time? It’s not a pretty sight.
“So I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. Sandy, you’re going to forget about OSHA, the EPA, and the software, and you’re going to doctor up the quality-control reports — because if you don’t, we’re both out of jobs. Have you ever tried getting a job during a recession? With your health problems, even if you did get a job, insurance would never cover your asthma treatments. You owe me, Sandy. Don’t worry. When the recession goes away, we will straighten things out,” said John.
Sandy left John’s office and thought about her options.
“Moral philosophies refer to the set of principles or rules that people use to decide what is right or wrong.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 61) In this essay, I will discuss the different moral philosophies and explain how one dilemma could have so many possible outcomes. By examining these various moral philosophies, we could see how Sandy weighs her options between what is ethically correct or what she believes is morally wrong and why.
The first philosophy I would like to discuss is Teleological; this philosophy stipulates that acts are morally right or acceptable if the outcome is beneficial for the good of one, or the good of many. Two such philosophies are Egoism and Utilitarianism.
Using the Teleology philosophy, I will first look at the Dilemma in the Utilitarianism perspective. If Sandy were a Utilitarian, she would do exactly what John said to do which is nothing. A person with a Utilitarianism perspective “is concerned with maximizing total utility, or providing the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people”(Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 61).
By doing nothing, Sandy will have to overlook the increase in injuries and the improper disposal of toxic wastes. If you were to look at this dilemma in this viewpoint you will have to say that overlooking everything would benefit almost everyone involved. Sandy will have to doctor up the quality-control reports, but this is considered acceptable in the Utilitarianism viewpoint because she will save many people’s jobs.
If Sandy does modify the quality-control reports, she will be supporting John who has helped and supported her career when no one else believed in her. This decision would also benefit the good of the company because they would not have to layoff their most productive workers around the Christmas holidays. If they did lay off their most productive workers, the company would be left with the least productive and lazy workers because they have the most seniority. Sandy acted out this way because it benefited nearly everyone involved.
Using the Teleology philosophy, I will now look at this dilemma from the Egoism perspective. An Egoist “believes that they should make decisions that maximize their own self-interest”; egoists are naturally unethical. (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 54)
Sandy would again, overlook the increase in injuries and the improper disposal of toxic wastes. She would also have no problem with changing the figures on quality-control reports, or with the fact, there were teams using “procured” software from a competitor to reduce their production time.
She would overlook all of these things, but for a different reason; As an Egoist, Sandy is out for herself and is really not worried about John or the production workers’ jobs. She is worried that if she loses her job, she will not be able to find another one because of how hard it is to find work during a recession.
Plus, with Sandy’s acute asthma problems, she does not want to leave Arizona to find work. Even if she were able to find a job in Arizona, it is possible she would not find medical insurance that would cover her asthma treatments. Even though Sandy has come to the same decision as to the previous perspective, Sandy is acting out this way only because it is in her best interest.
Looking at this dilemma in an Enlightened Egoist perspective, Sandy would have to overlook the increase in injuries and the improper disposal of toxic wastes. An Enlightened Egoist “takes a long-range perspective and allows for the well being of others, although their own self-interest remains paramount.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 54) As an Enlightened Egoist, she does not want anyone to lose his or her job but more importantly, she wants to keep hers. Plus, Sandy does not want to look bad.
Up until now she has had an excellent performance record, and you heard John, he said:” if she continued this type of performance, she would probably be a plant manager in three to six years.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 62) If she does not modify the figures on the quality-control reports she will look bad as a supervisor, and the last thing Sandy would want to do is ruin those chances for a promotion. So an Enlightened Egoist, Sandy will do what is good for everyone, but more importantly, she will do what will benefit her career.
Looking at this dilemma in a Deontological philosophy, which focuses “on the rights of individuals and on the intentions associated with a particular behavior rather than on its consequences” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 61); things would turn out much differently than in the previous three perspectives.
Sandy being a Deontologist has very high moral standards, and cannot overlook the workers cutting corners, or the special project teams stealing the competition software. She can’t overlook the fact that workers are disposing of toxic waste improperly, nor does she like the fact that the employees are producing an inferior product because they are cutting so many corners.
Even if this means that she will be one of many, losing their jobs. As a Deontologist, she has to do what is morally right, even if it means that the outcome will hurt almost everyone involved including herself. Sandy will have to go against Johns’s wishes. She cannot forget about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
She will report her findings to the proper authorities. She will tell John that she cannot lie on company documents because it is unethical. Sandy will do what is morally right, even if it means she will lose her job and her health insurance.
Looking at this dilemma in the Ethical Relativist perspective, Sandy would modify figures on the quality-control reports because this is considered common practice at her firm. “According to the Relativist perspective, definitions of ethical behavior are derived subjectively from the experiences of individuals and groups.
Relativists use themselves or the people around them as their basis for defining ethical standards.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 59) In order for John to have saved the production workers’ jobs in the first place, someone had to change the figures on the sales reports to show that sales have not gone down. It is also common practice for company’s to take competitors’ software and use parts of it as their own. If this wasn’t true, do you think you would have ever heard of a company called Microsoft?
As an Ethical Relativist, Sandy followed what she considered to be ethically acceptable behavior since modifying figures is common practice at her firm, she did not find it to be immoral.
The last theory I would like to discuss is Rule Utilitarianism. “Rule Utilitarianism determines behavior on the basis of principles, or rules, designed to promote the greatest utility, rather than on an examination of each particular situation.” (Ferrel & Fraedrich, 1997, p. 56) As a Rule Utilitarian, Sandy must follow the rules, which means she could not change the figures on the quality-control reports.
Even though it may be considered common practice at Sandy’s firm, it is still considered unethical behavior. Sandy cannot modify the quality control statistics even if it means she will lose her job, and she cannot overlook the workers disposing of toxic waste improperly. Even if this means that she will be one of many, losing their jobs. As a Rule Utilitarian Sandy cannot forget about OSHA or the EPA. She will tell John that she cannot change the information on company documents because it is unethical. Sandy will do what is morally right, even if it means she will lose her job and her health insurance along with many other employees.
Looking at these various outcomes from just one dilemma shows how differently a situation can turn out because of someone’s ethical and moral philosophies. We all must make ethical decisions, and some decisions are much harder to decide than others because of what is at stake. By looking at these different philosophies, I was not trying to judge or decide what is morally right or morally wrong, instead, I was just trying to bring to light how a decision can have an effect on everyone around them.
In this paper, I will address the ethical dilemmas one faces when dealing with life and death. I will likewise clarify my perspectives and apply metaethical speculations to a genuine circumstance to close on the theme. My own moral hypothesis incorporates a half and half of Revelation Christian Ethics, Divine Nature Theory, and Virtue Ethics.
I will initially portray my own moral hypothesis and the application procedure. At that point, I will apply the hypotheses to the genuine situation of the current inquiry. I understand that not every person will have similar emotions or viewpoints and may arrive at an alternate conclusion on the subject. It is alright to have contrasts in suppositions.
Revelation Christian Ethics
Revelational Christian Ethics applies to my own hypothesis since I trust that what is in the Bible ought to basically be list metaethics that Christians should live by, despite the fact that it isn’t that basic. Numerous people trust that the Bible is an effortlessly translated rundown of principles, yet that isn’t the situation. “The Bible isn’t some center school bit of writing: it is an accumulation of works that were made over a long span of time by individuals with an assortment of foundations who were imparting some quite propelled religious and philosophical thoughts.”
Also, the Ten Commandments are moral rules that I trust we should all live by. The world would be a significantly more serene place if everybody put stock in the Lord our God, on the off chance that we respected our dad and mom, if there was no murder or infidelity, and so on, despite the fact that it is inconceivable for everybody to concur on these standards. The other piece of the Revelational Christian Ethics Theory that I have to construct my existence with respect to since a tyke is the Golden Rule. I treat others the way I might want to be dealt with.
Despite the fact that this standard has its issues as well, in light of the fact that the way “I” need to be dealt with will be translated in numerous ways. The key establishment of Revelational Christian Ethics is the Bible, strengthened via watchful reasoning and comprehension of the heart and soul.2This moral hypothesis mulls over something beyond the words however the genuine application to the circumstances or “hermeneutics” and the investigation of the rationality behind the Bible. This way to deal with morals permits us the mull over something other than the words, and apply it to ending up better Christians and better individuals.
I already felt that I could identify with Divine Command Theory, too, however in the wake of perusing Chapter Eight of Moral Reasoning it has influenced my feeling marginally. When I was acquainted with a Modified Divine Command Theory, towards the finish of the part, more normally alluded to as Divine Nature Theory, I thought I identified with this hypothesis more so than Divine Command Theory. This influenced me to scrutinize my past considerations with respect to Divine Command Theory. In this way, if I somehow managed to add yet another hypothesis to my own hypothesis, it would be Divine Nature Theory.
As characterized in the content exhibited to us, “it rejects the recommendation that there is a standard of profound quality outside of God to which God’s orders adjust, for the time being, the standard is inside to God as a result, God is the Standard.”
And despite the fact that not every person has confidence in God, I do. Divine Nature Theory can be summed up as a way to deal with morals to decipher moral standards as an impression of the conclusive ethics that are basic to God himself.4This hypothesis additionally denies the proposal that there is no other standard outside of God. It discloses to us that God is the standard.
Initially, I will address virtue ethics. Basically, this way to deal with morals says, “Great moral choices will be made by great individuals.” The piece of good morals that best portrays my own moral hypothesis is the way that excellence morals are basically in light of how you are raised and the ethical qualities you hone. “Aristotle watched that there is a purpose behind everything that exists.”
Aristotle alludes to excellences as being character qualities that convince you to act and respond ethically. He likewise alludes to excellence morals as harmony between two extremes or also called, the “Golden Mean.” Virtue morals to me imply that on the off chance that you work on being straightforward, liberal, or just (or rehearse activities that continue a decent good character) at that point you, as a man, will create and turn into a respectable good character.
Thus, when you keep on practicing these moral propensities, you will recognize the correct decisions to make when gone up against moral difficulties. In spite of the fact that my issue with the hypothesis is that the all mighty isn’t present.
Life & Death
Part of my ethical theory that I am going to apply to this topic is Revelation Christian Ethics and Divine Nature Theory. This is a most fascinating inquiry, and one that huge numbers of us have needed to manage every so often as friends and family confronted demise. The morphine cure is, as they say, a twofold edged sword. The plan of the prescription is to give the disease casualty, for example, with some help from torment in the horrifying last periods of a terminal sickness. In the cases with which I’ve been familiar, there is no expectation of recuperation.
While beyond any doubt the morphine completes having a tendency to limit certain substantial capacities, as a side-effect of the alleviation of anguish, it isn’t the plan of the controlling doctor, and the family, to end the life of the patient. In the judgment of most ethically touchy individuals, it is vastly improved to give some easement from the agonizing torment—regardless of whether life is abridged somewhat—then it is to enable the casualty to mope in distress as the inescapable methodologies. This may not be the best circumstance comprehensible, but rather until the point that something better is produced; most minding individuals see no moral issue in the accommodating help of misery.
There are various medicinal methods that are dangerous. In any case, much of the time the doctors, working together with the patient and his or her family, will pick a system, knowing very well indeed that such could bring about death. Now and again, we battle in knowing exactly what to do in endeavoring to spare life or to give comfort. We attempt to do the plain best that we can for the patient. There is an unmistakable contrast, however, in endeavoring to spare life, or to give easement from torment, and in a ponder expectation to end a man’s life. The last isn’t a moral alternative.
As my uncle lay in pain I thought about physician-assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia and one of the real speculations against willful extermination is the Divine Command Theory, which accentuates upon Christian ethical quality and holiness of life. As indicated by this hypothesis, killing in neither structure (dynamic and inactive) are attainable or allowable.
This depends on the ground that life is an endowment of God. Hence under any conditions, it is corrupt to end a man’s life regardless of whether it is to end his agony. Indeed, even in the event of deliberate killing, i.e., when the patient gives endorsement or makes wills it is required to test somewhat further and find when of time or in what express the patient had influenced his will too with respect to end-of-life choices.
Frequently the reality of the situation may prove that his mark is taken by his family and relatives at the weakest snapshot of his wellbeing and things are controlled as needs be. Indeed, even the patient won’t be in a judicious and sensible perspective to practice his entitlement to kick the bucket. This is regularly the situation when the individual is in his seniority and might experience the ill effects of a sort of amnesia or different shortcomings.
Virtue ethics resonate with my experience of life in which the idea of our character is of basic significance. Moral rules that disclose to us what move to make don’t consider the idea of the ethical specialist. In spite of the fact that we should settle on moral choices with much care and thought, I don’t think of it as astute to strip this procedure of effect or state of mind and spotlight on reason alone. People are advanced animals with a capacity to reason that is tempered by our enthusiastic responses.
These responses are a basic piece of how we see and evaluate our general surroundings however they likewise impact our judgments. Prudence morals perceive this imperative segment of our ethical experience. It investigates how moral operators can learn by routine practice how to grow great attributes that will empower us to carry on well. I discovered it an invigorating and energizing disclosure that the character of the ethical specialist could be of urgent significance.
In the event that the patient is esteemed equipped to settle on choices about his wellbeing, he is in this way capable to settle on choices about his otherworldly faith. I think in the case of my uncle he knew it was his time and didn’t want to prolong the inevitable.
In summary, the virtue ethicist, after completely investigating the actualities and thinking about the moral sensitivities, would infer that a sympathetic, dependable, and observing specialist or family member would typically regard this current patient’s’ desires in this circumstance. This does not be that as it may, amount to a rule
This topic has several elements. The first part that I want to make a conclusion would be, my aunt took my uncle’s wishes into consideration. In my mind, he trusted her to make his wishes a reality by allowing him to be done with this life. Doing so I felt she showed compassion and approached these ethical dilemmas by stripping away emotional responses and she didn’t try to reason out a solution, but it showed her feelings are fundamental to the human experience.
Knowing, it must be noticed that demise is the most genuine occasion that an individual will involvement—ever! Demise isn’t the discontinuance of human presence. It is a change from the earth of this world to a district that obliges a simply otherworldly presence.
Passing does not bring a man into a condition of “nothingness;” rather, it is a domain of “some thingness”—and the nature of that some thingness is controlled by how the individual has reacted to the will of his Creator. It is never past the point where it is possible to surrender to God as long as one holds his capacity to settle on capable decisions.
Furthermore, no individual ought to be denied that opportunity. Confronting demise furnishes one with the chance of displaying a portion of the best characteristics of which the person is capable. We may terribly belittle a man when we expect that familiarity with his moving toward death will bring just fear.
An ethical dilemma is a situation where people are forced to make a choice between two options available to them. It is necessary to explain that regardless of the option an individual takes both options have negative consequences.
However, the individual chooses an option that have few negative impacts on the event or people involved (Adair 2013). This essay uses an ethical dilemma case study to illustrate the issues involved in this context and how they are managed without causing a lot of harm to all the parties involved.
Example of an Ethical Dilemma
Engrave Computers is a technology-based company that specializes in producing software that enables managers to monitor the performance of employees and predicts their productivity. This software also gives companies opportunities to explore various issues that affect the performance of employees and propose solutions to these challenges. I am the manager of this company and Ben has been very influential in developing this software.
The company does not demand that employees should hand over their production rights and other patent requirements to it; in fact, it encourages its workers to be creative and invent software that will boost its sales and retain the right to distribute, sell, share or change the particulars of their inventions (Thomas 2010).
The company gives workers this privilege to motivate them to continue rendering their services without feeling the company or managers are misusing their talents.
The company is registered to take part in an international exhibition where the winner is awarded a quarter of its working capital and offered free one-year advertising space in an international broadcasting channel. I am confident that Ben will make the company proud since he has always won this contest.
On the other hand, this company experienced significant losses last year because most employees reported working late or were absent without seeking permission from the human resource management (Pollock 2011).
As a result, an urgent meeting was convened and it was agreed that absenteeism and lateness will not be tolerated and anyone culpable will be suspended for three months. Workers were requested to read the new regulation and append their signatures to show that they agreed on the terms stated by the human resource department.
Last week the company secretary was suspended since she failed to observe this regulation and this was a warning that no one will be spared. Ben reported to work yesterday after being absent for four days and claims that he was not feeling well. Everybody is keen to watch what will happen to him as pressure continues to pile on the human resource department to take corrective measures against him (Saaty 2011).
However, this department felt that this case was beyond its abilities and forwarded the matter to my department. I forwarded the issue to the board of directors but I was directed to solve it within 24 hours.
This situation was not as easy as it looked due to the considerations that I had to observe before taking any step. There were challenges regarding all alternatives available to me at that moment. First, being a manager means I had to a stake step that would ensure the operations if the company would not be affected. This means that the operations of the company would go on despite the measures I would have taken.
Secondly, I was supposed to show other employees that no one is above the policies of this company and if anyone commits a mistake the individual must be punished. Thirdly, it was necessary to show employees that I was committed to implementing the policies regarding lateness and absenteeism (Arthur 2009).
The human resource department had suspended the secretary and thus I was supposed to follow the same path. Lastly, I was supposed to ensure that the company participates in the oncoming exhibition since it had already confirmed its participation.
The policies of this company were changed to ensure that an employee who comes late is suspended for three months. This was motivated by the poor performance witnessed in the last financial year and no one was willing to experience another financial crisis. Therefore, I suspended Ben for three months to ensure other workers become obedient and follow the regulations provided to them.
The following are ethical considerations that guided me to take this step. This decision was motivated by the need to ensure that no one commits this mistake against regardless of the position of an individual in the company (Haberfeld 2012). Ben was an indispensable employee but his actions were considered to have economic, legal, and social impacts on the company and other workers.
First, the suspended secretary would have complained of double standards if I would have ignored suspending Ben. This would have led to a legal tussle between her and the company. Secondly, other workers would have noticed that Ben was not punished and this could crate differences among them (McCarthy 2011).
Thirdly, I knew that we were going to miss the prestigious prize in the scheduled event; however, this was not as important as other activities of this company. In addition, the occasion is held every five years and this means that it would have significant impacts on this company.
Therefore, my decision was economically responsible since it focused on the long term gains the company will make if employees are punctual and attend all activities as the company directed them (Baaske 2009).
The company will never make losses due to absenteeism or lateness even though it was going to miss the award. In addition, it was ethical since it showed that I was promoting professional discipline in the company. It is advisable to follow the rules and policies regarding work to ensure that workers respect them without favoring some workers (Farrell 2012).
The decision also promoted respect for the rule of justice and equality at the company. It is necessary to explain that the secretary was suspended after failing to meet the requirements of the company; therefore, it would have been very unfair to exempt Ben from punishments yet they are all employees of this company.
Even though, I had the option of punishing him after his presentation this was not a logical alternative since it was bound to affect him during that period (Harrison 2010). Therefore, my decision was appropriate and I will hot hesitate to suspend another worker in case the individual violates the policies of this company.
Ethical dilemmas are common in life but individuals must make wise choices that will not affect their relationships or work. It is necessary to ensure that they make informed choices and if possible they should consult their friends before taking any step. These dilemmas put our faith and commitments to test; therefore, they should be approached very carefully.