Module 2 Assignment Instructions – The Case of the Sole Remaining Supplier
In the Module 2 Case, we will apply utilitarian ethics to an organizational problem. Read the excerpt concerning the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the father of utilitarian ethics:
Please read the following case study from the Markkala Center for Applied Ethics: The Case of the Sole Remaining Supplier and the actual outcome.
Please write a 5- to 6-page paper in which you address the following:
Drawing upon utilitarian ethics, discuss what you believe the supplier/transistor company should do.
Keys to the Assignment
The key aspects of this assignment that should be covered in your paper include the following:
- What do you believe is/are the key utilitarian ethical problem(s) confronting the supplier/transistor company in this Case?
- What advice do you believe Jeremy Bentham would have given the supplier company?
- Apply Steps A through D of the Utility Test to the above case. Be sure that you carefully document each step in the process.
- Choose one of the following five tests: Rights Test, Exceptions Test, Choices Test, Justice Test, or the Common Good Test. Click here: http://ethicsops.com/EthicsTestsLinks.php . Now, apply the test you’ve chosen to the above case. In your paper, be sure that you have fully discussed your decisions at each step.
- Compare and contrast the results you have obtained from the Utility Test with the additional test you have selected. Which of the two tests is most informative, and why?
Application of Utilitarian Ethics to an Organizational Problem Sample Paper – The Case of the Sole Remaining Supplier
Utilitarianism is based on a rather
interesting view of ethical behavior, suggesting that it is one that takes into
consideration the common interest of humanity as the top priority when making
any moral decisions. When a business is conceived as a way of transforming the
culture and society as a whole, utilitarianism can be best applied. This is
because it is an ethical perspective that can easily assist in addressing any
ethical relationships between the business and the society. There is no doubt
that businesses play an important role in shaping cities, work environments,
playing environments, as well as people’s values, desires and even hope. The
society benefits as a result of the services and job opportunities presented by
businesses. Stakeholders, on the other hand, can benefit from so much more by
being part of the business. Unfortunately, a business is constantly challenged
by the question of “how to do business in such a way that it contributes
to the greater good?” This is because at times it because difficult to
identify the right course of actions when doing good to stakeholders may mean
doing harm to consumers, and vice versa. This paper takes into consideration a
case study that is presently being challenged by a similar question. It draws
upon the utilitarian ethics, and champions the thesis that the best way for the
supplier company to act is by taking the right actions which will eventually
lead to the greatest good for the most individuals.
Ethical Problem Confronting The Supplier/Transistor Company
From the case study, all the members
of the board who had an argument for and against the continued supply of
transistors to the heart pacemaker company had some reason ground (Shanks, 2014). Unfortunately, they
all could not be considered, especially since the company is one that applies
utilitarianism. The major utilitarian ethical problem is the fact that their
supply of transistors to the pacemaker company may not be leading to the
greater good of the individuals involved. First, the company is creating heart
pacemakers that are still life threatening, as is proved by the man who yawned
deeply only to pull a wire and disrupt the function of the product. The company
is feared not to be strict on testing their products before distributing them
to hospitals (Gustafson, 2013). As a result, the supplier company is worried
that it is only contributing to products that are far more risky than
beneficial to consumers (Shanks, 2014). Second, the
dysfunction of the pacemakers places the stakeholders of the company at risk.
This is because they will be considered liable in case any individual or group
seeks to sue for the damages caused by a failed pacemaker.
Both consumers and stakeholders are
important individuals for the company, as the resulting actions will either
lead to their greater good or bad. This is where the third problem arises, as
both parties seem to be on the opposing side. If the company decides to keep
selling the transistors to the pacemaker company, the stakeholders will benefit
while consumers will be at risk. On the contrary, stopping the sale will mean
less profits for stakeholders. Both actions have risks involved as the
stakeholders will risk being sued, while consumers will risk their lives (Kortenkamp
& Moore, 2014).
Possible Advice to the Supplier Company
Jeremy Bentham strongly advocates
for utilitarianism. He believes that people’s actions are guided by pleasure
and pain (Zalta, 2014). Therefore, in the
case study, he would have considered where all respondents were coming from. From
his belief, some would be advocating for the action that would give them the
most pleasure, while others would be trying to escape from possible pain. Aside
from this, he also believes that actions should be evaluated, and the results
are what will determine the morality of the decision made (Zalta, 2014).
Instead of simply acting on their
feelings, fears and the action agreed upon by the majority, Bentham would
advice the supplier company to take a different approach. First, all the
arguments of people do not really matter, as much as they are free to air their
concerns. This is because taking these into consideration will lead to biased
results, due to the pleasure and pain response generally used by individuals
(Gustafson, 2013). Second, both actions must be considered individually. It is
important to identify the benefits and risks associated with each one of them. Before
the greater good of the highest number of people can be identified, the risks
and benefits must all be weighed. If the risks outweigh the benefits, then the action
is not a moral one (Zalta, 2014). Third, since the
company’s situation features different parties, both of which are entitled to
the greater good, it will be ethical to consider a common ground. Here, the
leaders of the supplier company need to decide which direction will lead to the
greater good of both sides (Kortenkamp & Moore, 2014). The steps that will
benefit both sides to the maximum is the best one to take.
The Utility Test
The utility test is basically focused
on measuring whether the good has been maximized while the harm has been minimized.
In the case study, the best action to take will be one that will create the
most beneficial outcome. Utility is a valid way to decide right and wrong
actions in that everyone is considered equal and everyone has a desire to be
happy and avoid unhappiness (Gustafson, 2013).
The actions taken by the group will
affect the user of the pacemaker product, the pacemaker company and also the stakeholders
of the supplier company. If the company decides to stop its supply of
transistors, the product users may end up losing their lives as they will lack
the medical equipment that would offer them the support they need. The
pacemaker company will not have any transistors to use in the production of the
pacemakers, thus they will run out of business. Due to the reduction of companies
supplied to, the stakeholders of the supplier company will also suffer from
reduced returns. Therefore, it will be better to chose an action that will
benefit majority of the people involved (Kortenkamp & Moore, 2014).
The Common Good
The common good has been defined
variously by many groups and individuals. Generally, it means the general
conditions that are set in a way that everyone will benefit equally. Therefore,
the common good test is designed to help identify if the actions taken are
designed to promote the common good for all people involved. This test is a
valid way of deciding right from wrong as it not only considers individual
good, but the common good of others as well. In the present situation, the
company is torn between two groups; the stakeholders and the consumers. This is
why the common good test is effective in determining the right moral action to
In the present situation, the
healthcare system and a flourishing economic system are the two major systems
that could be advanced or damaged by the actions this supplier company chooses
to take (Hurtado, 2008). To strengthen these systems, the actions that should
be taken must be those that will ensure their functioning is not disrupted
(Gustafson, 2013). Therefore, the company must take any necessary steps that
will ensure they improve the quality of the heart pacemakers. With the presence
of better products, consumers will be presented with a minimized risk of
product malfunction. Therefore, the system will be improved as the pacemakers
will be a game changer for the big number of individuals who need them. The
economic system should also be considered. This supplier must take all the
required steps to ensure that they encourage the supply of the transistors,
which will eventually be used for the making of pacemakers whose sales will
boost the economy.
Certain actions that may be taken
will lead to a weakening of the systems. For instance, if this only remaining
supplier opts to back out just like the rest, for fear of being liable in case
of a lawsuit, the result will be a poor healthcare system and economy. This is
because many people who rely on pacemakers for life improvement will not be
able to get the aid they need. Similarly, due to the failure of the pacemaker
company, the economy will not be able to flourish as much as it would have, if
the products were also being exchanged and taxes were being collected. The
economy will also fail due to the increase in number of unemployed individuals,
who will have to lose their jobs due to the failure of the pacemaker company. Therefore,
the common good will be achieved only when these systems are promoted, since
this will also lead to the benefit of the other members of the society (Kortenkamp
& Moore, 2014).
Considering the two tests, the best
one is the utility test in that it does not consider a generalized approach. Instead,
it focuses more on the groups of people involved, rather than institutions and
systems. Therefore, it is easier for the company to base its decisions on
people who will be directly affected, rather than those who may not even note a
certain change after a decision is made.
Order Unique Answer Now