George has gone through a lot of challenges trying to make himself and his girlfriend Cathy happy. He is trying to keep his relationship going by doing several menial jobs. Through his previous jobs George has not come in contact with an issue that can make him panic like his current job. He had been looking for better job with good pay so that he could save for their life with Cathy. He found the job that paid him almost twice what he was paid in his previous job; therefore, when he was offered the chance he did not hesitate. At work he met Paul, the man who brought all the problems that George is now experiencing in his new job. Paul is a young man but his entire crew looks up to him for directions. At first, things were normal and smooth with the crew; they enjoyed every moment they were at work. George had started developing relationship with the crew as he found their company enjoyable.
Things started to become difficult one night during their shift when George was faced with a great ethical dilemma. The overall dilemma was whether he could continue following the directions of Paul to remove the filers and produce a contaminated milkshake for many consumers including children or continue to remove the filters and clean them up after few minutes as he did before he realized that all the filters were flocked with maggots. If he chose to clean the filters after few minutes, they would not reach that target for the night of producing 500 gallons the company expected and they would not go home early; however, if he chose to remove the filters as Paul suggested, they would meet their target and also pack for home as usual, but the problem would be the consumers of this milkshake who would consume pulverized maggots. The guilt between the two choices was a great dilemma to George.
Even if he decided to choose any of the choices that we have mentioned above impact would still affect many people. First, if he chose to follow Pauls suggestions and remove the filters more children consuming the milkshake would be greatly affected because they will be taking contaminated milk with pulverized maggots. Secondly, if he chose to clean the filters as he did with the first one they would not meet the required 500 gallons by morning. This means that the companys production will reduce and the management might be upset with them and he can lose his job. Therefore, either choice he made, the impact would still be severe.
Most people would think that ethics is all about following the organizational laws and policies; this is wrong. Someone can be following every single law in the organization but he/she is not ethically right. Again, someone might not be good in following laws but he/she can me able to make ethical choices when he/she is faced with a difficult situation. Ethics involves making morally upright choices to situations. There are various aspects in which ethics can be understood and explained; for example, the utilitarian aspect, the rights aspect, self-interest, deontological and integrative social contrast aspect. In this section we will only discuss two of the aspects related to our case study; Utilitarian and self-interest aspects.
The Utilitarian view
The Utilitarian view examines and tries to understand ethics in terms of the consequences of the actions (Flat World Knowledge, 2013). This aspect tries to examine the outcomes of an action and relate with the ethics. According to the proponents of Utilitarian aspect, people make decisions by evaluating the consequences of their actions. Utilitarian view explains that peoples decisions can be categorized as ethical when the consequences of their actions are more advantageous than detrimental (Flat World Knowledge, 2013). Ethical decisions should be able increase the good and reduce harm to the stakeholders in the organization. This aspect of ethics explains that people should always weigh the consequences of their decisions when they are faced with dilemma situations; if the outcome of that decision will bring harm to many people this aspect of ethics disregards it. However, if the consequence will do more good to the organization and will not bring any harm to people, this aspect of ethics regards it.
Self-Interest Aspect of Ethics
This is where most people end up making wrong choices because they put their egocentric interests ahead of every other thing in the organization. The proponents of this view argue that people who consider self-interest during decision making do not consider making any sacrifices (Granitz & Loewy, 2007); they are motivated by the benefits that they will obtain from the decision. According to Granitz and Loewy (2007), people who make decisions based on the self-interest view majorly focuses on meeting their needs; therefore, they do not consider who gets hurt in the process, as long they achieve their objective or satisfy their needs. Proponents of this theory argue that people are motivated to make decisions depending on the benefits they will obtain at the end; the more beneficial the outcome, the more they will support the decision. This is what most people especially employers do when it comes to making decision concerning the profits of the organization. The more profitable the outcome will be the more they will support such a decision; therefore, they only concentrate on fulfilling their desires at the expense of the consumers interests or needs.
Evaluation of Ethical Dilemma
Many people will always approach a problem based on the benefits they will achieve at the end of it. Georges decision will be supported by the self-interest view. This does not mean that George is a bad person; but the circumstances that follow him will make him chose the direction that sometimes he does not like. This job was well paying and since George needed more cash to support his future life with Cathy, he will most probably want to keep his job because there is no other place he will find a better paying job than where he is now. Therefore, the problems he is going through can significantly influence his decision making. Again, he will make the decision to remove the filters because there is no other person around who will know that they did anything that would contaminate the product. Pauls suggestion can also help convince George otherwise. Paul suggested that even if they remove the filters, the bacteria will still be eliminated because the milk will be passed through a pulverized process that will ensure that it comes out clean. The self-interest tries to support Georges decision based on the benefits he will get; for example, he will maintain his job and probably save for their life with Cathy, he will go home in time as usual, and also they will have achieved the 500 gallons needed per night shift. These benefits might subdue Georges decision to act on self-interest aspect. His decision will have both negative and positive impacts.
Positive impacts: George will maintain his job and he will continue working while saving for his life with Cathy, the company will continue making profits as the expected 500 gallons will be achieved, and the crew will find time to go home in time as they will finish their shift in time as usual. This decision will benefit the night shift crew and the company as well.
Negative impacts: Georges decision might affect the consumers negatively. George explains how he cannot imagine the children consuming the milkshake with pulverized maggots. The decision might cause a great health problem to many people who might consume the product from the restaurants that offer it. On the other hand, if George decided to choose the Utilitarian view of ethics, the implications would have changed and he will have suffered the most. If he made the decision, there would still be positive and negative outcomes recorded.
Positive impacts: Many children would have been saved from consuming unhealthy milkshake with pulverized maggots. Apart from the children, other people from other regions where the product reaches would have been saved as well. George would have saved himself from the guilt that might come out when he imagines that many children would consume unhealthy milkshake because of him.
Negative impacts: George would have been the most affected still if he chose to pick the Utilitarian aspect. He would lose his job because the company will most probably make a loss because they will not have met the required target of producing 500 gallons by sunrise and he will not have enough money to enable him start a life with Cathy; this means that he will not have met his objective. The company will also be affected because it will make a loss out of insufficient production during the night shift.
Flat World Knowledge. (2013). Organizational and Managerial Ethics. Strategic management Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications, Inc. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Hp/Documents/MGT%20305%20Ethics%20Overview.pdf
Granitz, N., & Loewy, D. (2007). Applying ethical theories: Interpreting and responding to student plagiarism. Journal of Business Ethics, 72(3), 293-306. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Hp/Documents/Ethics%20article.pdf
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