Case study Kantian ethics is a duty based (deontological) ethical theory, which is concerned with what people do, rather than the consequences of their actions (Spade, 2013). Universal acceptability could be applied to this issue using the maxim of keeping your word and respecting your employers. Ming is an immigrant who has recently changed countries in the hope to start a new life. In order to maintain his job Ming must follow his duty. Ming has been told that he should sell Mondoxolin. Ming would not be lying to any customers when they ask for advice and he would not put the health and well being of the customers in danger as both products have the same affects on arthritis. Following Kantian ethics and respecting and keeping his word, Ming should follow Rodger’s demand and sell the product. However, if in the event a customer asks for advice on an alternative product than Ming would advice that patient on the cheaper alternative.
The relevant virtue associated with this scenario is patience in the context of minor irritants. As we know, the customers that are purchasing these products require the medication to resolve or mitigate the damage of arthritis. From the facts provided majority of customers are elderly and we would assume they have retired. Ming has been told to sell this product for the three month period and then after he may sell both products. The virtue of patience would be highly relevant to Ming. If Ming is patient and can refrain from selling the cheaper alternative as best he can then after the three months he will have no issues. As stated the products provide the same results so Ming would not be putting any customers at risk. The corresponding vice is defeatism. Defeatism in regards to this scenario would be Ming not having patience and deciding to advise customers on the cheaper alternative without the permission of Rodger.
Using the facts within question one, utilitarianism would be the most useful, followed by Kantian ethics and lastly virtue ethics. Utilitarianism would be the most useful theory as it looks at the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The only negative of utilitarianism would be on a larger scale. This is because the majority groups would benefit where as the minorities would be disadvantaged. However, for a smaller scenario like the one presented within question one, it would prove most useful. Kantian ethics was ranked next as it is concerned with what you do rather than the consequences for your actions. With this outlook a person would just follow their duty and do what they were told, without thinking of the consequences of what they do. The problem with this is the lack of concern with who is giving the orders and what the orders actually are. As for Aristotle’s virtue ethics I feel the virtues are not broad enough to cover all possible scenarios.
An ethical dilemma I have experienced in my life is with regards to working for a boss who wasn’t paying employees correctly. I was working at a pizza store that was managed and owned by a good friend. The job was given to me on the basis that we were friends and I needed the money to support my personal expenses.
This was an ethical dilemma because the employees had no idea that they had been incorrectly paid by their boss and were entitled to the correct amounts. The ethical dilemma which occurred was; should I tell the employees what my friend was doing, should I talk my boss and ask whether he should change what he is doing or would it be best if I did not mention anything?
To resolve this issue I decided which option would have the best outcome for myself and the others involved. The first option as stated above was to inform the employees on what was happening. If I had informed the employees as to what was happening, they would have been unhappy, and an issue would form between the employees and my friend. The other issue with this decision was the fact that I would betray the loyalty of my friend, which could ultimately harm the relationship and I could potentially lose my job. However, the benefits of this option would be the loyalty shown to my fellow employees. The second option was to talk to my friend and understand his side. The benefits of this option was that I could understand my friend's side and see if there was any reason as to why he wasn’t paying the employees the correct amounts. The only issue with this option would be the actions taken by myself if he did not begin paying the employees correctly. The final option was to not mention anything at all. The issue with this would be that things wouldn’t change and I would have the personal guilt of not informing the employees.
The stage of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development that I was in when resolving the ethical dilemma would be level 2, stage 4: Maintaining the social order. Stage 4 states that the person becomes aware of the wider rules of society and so their judgments and concerned are based on upholding the law and avoiding guilt (McLeod, 2013). This is most relevant to my scenario, as I had chosen the second option of talking to my friend in to find out what was wrong. If my boss knew what he was doing and didn’t change then I would uphold the rules of society and inform either higher management or the employees themselves.
In order to decide which stage was most appropriate to my scenario, the surrounding stages were examined. The closest relatable stage was stage 3: Good Interpersonal Relationships. This stage states that the individual is good in order to be seen as being good by others. This means people within the stage would do things that would be accepted by others in order to have a “good” or respectable image. Although this stage was the closest to stage 4, it was not the most relevant to my scenario.