philosophy business ethics
Using the two cases of individual responsibility we have been discussing thus far ("Truth or Confidences" and "Working for Evil"). For each of the two, do the following:
Put yourself in that person’s position, and describe the details of each case in no more than two paragraphs.
step 1: Then, for each case, itemize the ethical pro’s and con’s, and explain each one. Then explain which of these ethical considerations should take priority, in your judgment, and why.
step 2: Then, for each case, taking your own self-interest into consideration, would you choose to do the ethical thing, as you have defined it in this case? Why or why not? Be sure to include an explanation of your approach to the idea of integrity as part of your answer here.
?devote one class to discussing the following three examples of individual ethical dilemmas (having distinguished ethical dilemmas from “why should I do the moral thing when it will cost me?” dilemmas):
Truth or confidences (acquaintance at work confides to you that he/she has been stealing/padding expense account at work)
Working for evil (use Zyklon B)
Selling disaster (selling sub-prime mortgages that you know will likely be defaulted on, when your company plans to bundle them and sell them in turn)
For each case, there are two steps:
A.) Ethics versus ethics: What in your opinion is the right thing to do in this case
Answer this question by identifying which obligations are relevant to this case. Then explain which of the obligations you have identified should take priority in this case, in your opinion, and why.
B.) Ethics versus self-interest: How would you resolve any conflicts between ethics and self-interest in this case?(Step B. branches, so you have to choose which of the two paths you want to follow.)
(i) Option 1: Weighing and balancing ethical values versus self-interested values. (Leave any thoughts you may have about integrity out of your answer here.) Perhaps the way to approach it is through a calculus (cost-benefit analysis) like the one utilitarianism operates with, but focused only on you as an individual instead of on the costs & benefits for everyone. So the question is a matter of which you prefer in this particular case (“which is more important to you” in the particular case), and why: ethical values over self-interested values, or vice versa?
(ii) Option 2: Disregarding self-interested values entirely. Explain the idea of integrity, as we have defined it in class. How does the value of integrity say to resolve the conflict between ethics and self-interest? Do you think this idea of integrity should define how you live your life? Why or why not? Here the idea is that it is not a matter of personal preference or the comparison of costs and benefits, but instead of a value that trumps all others.
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