Business Ethics and Consequentialism


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.

Key Utilitarian 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.

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