Ethics Case Study

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Ethics Case Study

Part A


Utilitarianism would not qualify Tom falsifying data as unethical, as it would have the greatest benefits to the larger quantity of stakeholders whilst only bringing a limited amount of harm. This can be seen through the stakeholders who benefit from Tom gaining full-time employment such as; his parents, the child receiving the life-saving sponsorship, the charity and the government, as Tom could start paying his HECS debt. One stakeholder who would be harmed by Toms dilemma is the small accounting firm in Milton. Ultimately the risk of this actually harming the business due to his lack of experience would be minimised due to Tom being tightly supervised for the first year of work. Egoism also maintains that the agent should do whatever they ought to do if it benefits themselves. In Toms moral dilemma, if he falsifies his CV in order to achieve full time work, he is acting on the natural instinct of self promotion that egoism sees as ethical.


Kantian ethics
Kantian ethics maintains that there are some things that are deemed wrong in themselves, apart from their consequences. This means that Tom should regard the act of lying as wrong; regardless whether it brings about good results. Kants categorical imperative states "I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal good” (Kant, 1996). In universalising a law that is not in relation to specific circumstances, it allows moral issues to be solved by pure rationality. When applying Toms situation to Kants universalisation theory, a maxim for Toms situation could be “one should falsify data if it benefits them”. This could not be accepted as a law universally as falsifying data could not be consistent, as eventually all data would be deemed tainted and therefore unusable, leading to the act of giving information to its own demise. If it were ethical for Tom to falsify data, Tom would have to accept that it would therefore be ethical for everyone to do so. If everyone was free to fake data, universal lying would weaken trust in communication. Kant also states “act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply means” (Kant, 1996). If Tom falsified his CV, it would result in disrespect as the owners of the accounting firm are basing crucial business decisions on inaccurate data, which is unethical. 

Virtue ethics
Applying virtue ethics is based on evaluating how virtuous Tom is, not just the actions or consequences of his moral situation. A virtue that can be applied from Aristotle's Doctrine of the Mean is ‘indifference’ meaning good deeds are done for their own sake and not for personal recognition. The two vices of indifference are false modesty (deficiency) and careerist


(excess). Assuming Tom decided to fake his CV he would display characteristics in the vice of excess meaning he is a careerist and would not be classified as virtuous, and therefore unethical.

Ranking of Ethical Theories


1. Utilitarianism/Egoism

Utilitarianism is in line with many fundamental morals that society intends for us to adopt. For example, two fundamental ethical principles are that we must avoid doing harm to others and aim to do good. When I consider certain actions or decisions, I usually evaluate them in terms of their consequences. Although it disregards the ethical element of an action, it looks at the benefits it can cause in solving my moral dilemmas. Egoism also usually takes part in most of my moral decision making. I usually base many of my decisions on the consequences I can achieve, therefore find this most useful.


2. Virtue Ethics

I use virtue ethics to solve some moral issues due to the benefit of gaining insight into emotional and personal values in relation to the action. I believe people are emotionally involved in ethical...
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