Ethical Dilemma

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Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a subdivision of philosophy, dealing with questions about morality. Societies, religions, professional groups all around the globe have their own principles or standards of conduct, which are followed by their members (Davis, Fowler, & Aroskar, 1997). Ethics is concerned with what is right, and what is wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair, responsible or irresponsible, it relates to what we ought to do in terms of rights, obligations, and benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. It is not just about what the case is or what is most acceptable or convenient (Preston, 1996). In the case study The Typo, writer is placed in a head of marketing position in a small, struggling, pharmaceutical company, which is introducing very promising drug to the market. The future existence of the company depends on successful placement of that drug. However, there is a typographical error in all print material about site effects of that drug. Marketing manager has an ethical dilemma, stop the marketing campaign and correct the “typo”, consequently future existence of his company will be in jeopardy, or to take a risk and go ahead with campaign without letting anyone know about the “typo”. This essay will describe ethical dilemmas and their characteristics, continuing by ethical dilemma marketing manager are confronted with. Discussion on defensible moral judgements after that will be followed by introduction of two consequentialist theories namely egoism and utilitarianism and Kant’s ethics as one of non-consequentialist theory, which should assist marketing manager in making a justifiable moral judgement. Ethical dilemmas are placing individuals in complex situations were no obvious solution is clear (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury, 2007). When we are confronted with two or more moral principles, and we are equally dedicated to all of them then we are dealing with moral dilemma. MacNiven (1993, p. 3) identify, ’If both alternatives did not have an equally strong claim for someone, he or she would not see the situation as a moral dilemma.’ Person, who has to solve ethical dilemma, can be left displeased, as there may have been another alternative that was evenly as satisfactory as one taken. Respond on ethical dilemmas by people depend on the ethical systems which controlled their thinking. Everyone approaches moral dilemmas from different point of view, making society’s compromise impossible. MacNiven (1993) concluded that the presence of moral dilemmas in our lives is confirming that the moral systems which are controlling our judgments and behaviour have stopped working and are no longer in a leading position. With respect to Ghillyer (2010) who has introduced four characteristics of an ethical dilemma; these which are having an equally right choice but haven’t been taken, followed by characteristics where rest of the people involved may suffer as a result of the choices haven’t been made, the choice you have made is challenging your personal ethical principles and lastly, the choice you have made has disregard an ethical value of your community or society. Marketing manager is confronted with ethical dilemma of should he stop the marketing campaign for very promising drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and correct typographical error in the print material which is misleading doctors and their patients or ignore typographical error by not stopping the marketing campaign and not informing family doctors about ten times higher risk on bad side effects of promoted drug. On one hand, by not informing family doctors about real risk for patients, he is placing patients’ trust to their family doctors at risk. On the other hand, by informing doctors about typographical error, he is putting his employer and his own employment in danger situation. Delay in placement of new drug on the market and more costs involved for marketing promotion can be crucial for coming existence of the...
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