Analytical Ethical Problem-Solving
Ethical dilemmas make us question out moral beliefs and theories, search for an understanding of what is going on below the surface.1 Klempner, G., (2008). Scenario: ‘Sally has spent the last six months working as part of a team that has developed a piece of software to control a widget grinding machine. The software is due to me completed with one week but Sally knows that it will take at least one month to fully test the software.
Sally accompanies her boss, Liz, at a meeting with the client who commissioned the software. The client has just landed an important order, and s anxious that the software is delivered and installed on time. At the meeting, Sally’s boss says to the client, “Sally and the rest of the team have done an excellent job on the software. It has all of the functionality you asked for and it will be delivers and installed next week. Isn’t that right sally?”
Sally knows that the software may still contain bugs that could cause the machine to malfunction and be dangerous to its operators.
If Sally contradicts her boss, in form to the client she knows it will be the end of her career with that company – a well paid job that she enjoys. What should she do?’2 University of Ulster (2009).
In the scenario sally face an ethical dilemma between principle and consequence. In a matter of principle the ethical theory of deontology can be used, where Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in an essay stated that it is one’s moral duty to tell the truth regardless of consequence. Deontology also uses the golden rule; therefore as a deontology rule Sally should defy her boss and tell the client the truth despite possibly losing her job. However in a matter of consequence the ethical theory of utilitarianism coined by John Stuart Mills (1808-73) is used where the general act will promote the greatest happiness. In telling the truth Sally is morally happy with herself but runs the risk of losing her job. However Liz is unhappy...
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