Case Study Ethical Dilemma

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Utilitarianism Pages: 6 (2246 words) Published: November 3, 2012
I. Case Analysis

A. The Situation
As earlier mentioned, the case involves Mr. Romulo Bernas, a staff assistant in Prime Shipping Inc., who earns a salary enough to support his family. He is directly reporting to a manager and has no fixed job description. He also works closely with Mr. Jose Narciso, a former New People’s Army member and is now a bodyguard of a politician connected to the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Mr. Bernas has been given several credits for his work. As such, he was assigned to provide some order and system to the shipments loading and unloading in the pier. As he is performing this task, he saw the intervention of custom officials in the shipments of textiles in the port area. The next day to his surprise, newspaper headlines showed six men who were allegedly involved in this textile smuggling, which he knew were fall guys. After this event, Mr. Narciso offered Mr. Bernas fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000) to remain silent on what he saw and start a new life elsewhere. B. The Ethical Dilemmas

An ethical dilemma exists when there is a conflict between what is perceived as right or wrong. In the situation presented, there are two identified ethical dilemmas. First, is on letting fall guys be victims of injustice on the issue of smuggling and second, is whether to accept the bribe being offered which constitutes remaining silent on what was witnessed and start a new life elsewhere. The ethical dilemmas however are interconnected in such a way that the action taken to address the first will have an effect on the other or vice versa. The dilemmas involved deal with the values of honesty, integrity and citizenship. Honesty in this situation is associated to both telling the truth as best as we know it and honesty in the context of playing by the rules, without cheating or stealing. Integrity is also in question because we should always act based on what we is right and what is expected of us, consistently. Lastly, citizenship because this involves government officials where commitment to public and obedience to laws are highly expected. In addition, this dilemma is highly complicated primarily because the persons involved are bigwigs and due to the fact that money, power, institutional and personal images are at stake. As such, this may give rise to threats among the lives of any of the parties involved (Mr. Bernas, Mr. Narciso, the BOC officers and the fall guys). However, if proper action is taken, then benefit and punishment are given to whom these are rightfully due.

C. Alternative Courses of Action
Upon assessment of the situation, the courses of actions available for Mr. Bernas include but are not limited to the following: 1.) Accept the bribe, voluntary resign and remain silent. (Option 1) 2.) Resist the bribe, voluntary resign and remain silent. (Option 2) 3.) Resist the bribe stay with the company, and escalate the smuggling issue to the management and proper authority. (Option 3) For the purpose of this paper, we will evaluate the best alternative course of action from the options above using the five ethical principles of utilitarianism, categorical imperative, justice and fairness, virtues and care.

II. Evaluation of the alternative courses of actions using five ethical principles Utilitarianism
Utilitarian principle holds that the action is right if that action’s net benefits are greatest by comparison to the net benefits of all other possible alternatives. This follows the cost-benefit analysis. Using this analysis, the following are the identified costs and benefits of the alternative courses of actions available for Mr. Bernas: Option| Costs| Benefits|

1 Accept the bribe, voluntary resign & remain silent.| * Tolerance of illegal practices and abuse of power. * Dishonesty due to the acceptance of bribed money. * Injustice to the fall guys for remaining silent. * Temporary unemployment and no income source.| *...
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