Ethics in Management

Topics: Coal mining, Mining, Coal Pages: 5 (1749 words) Published: March 28, 2014
Management 100 (10848) – Assignment 1: Final Essay
Word count: 1470
Mangers throughout the corporate world are faced with a multitude of decision making situations on a daily basis. Many of the resulting decisions are considered insignificant and relatively unimportant, while some due to their nature can result in situations where a net benefit or harm may be distributed or imposed upon the various stakeholders of a given organisation. These decisions often cause an ethical dilemma to arise and as such a great deal of consideration must be given to the course of action adopted by an organisation so as to insure an ethical and morally reconciled outcome is achieved. Ethics by definition are the “inner-guiding moral principles, values and beliefs that people use to analyse and interpret a situation” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 145) before deciding “what is the ‘right’ or appropriate way to behave” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 145). This broad definition of ethics lends itself interpretation as such “no absolute or unvarying standard exists” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 145) to determine how a person should behave in any given situation. In the absence of clearly defined rules; managers must base their decisions on sound philosophical principles which are intended to promote and guide ethical decision making. There are three primary philosophical approaches to ethical decision making and each provides a slightly different yet complementary view in terms of defining the parameters of an ethical decision. The utilitarian approach for example defines an ethical decision as one which “produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 148). The moral rights model on the other hand places a significant deal of importance on human rights and as such defines an ethical decision as one which “protects the fundamental rights and privileges of people affected by it” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 148). This is further supported and complemented by the justice model which recognises the need for an ethical decision to “distribute benefits and harms among stakeholders in a fair, equitable or impartial way” (Waddell, Jones and George 2010, 148). The utilitarian model as previously described is a popular philosophical approach to ethical decision-making. The model relies on the principle that an ethical decision is one, which “provides the greatest good for the greatest number” (Velasquez et al). In the case of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek project this method is most appropriate as one must weigh up the economic benefits of the project going ahead with the possible negative social and environmental impacts, which could result. In this particular case the social and environmental risks are too great and as such expansion of the project should be considered ethically questionable. Due to the current market conditions it is clear that the “mining of black coal is one of Australia's most important industries, creating significant employment in regional Australia, fuel for low-cost electricity generation and steel-making, and is a vital source of export revenue”(Australian Coal Association 2012). It is however also clear that many social and environmental impacts would ensue from a major project such as that at Maules Creek. Firstly the health and wellbeing of the miners and their families must be considered. Coal dust is released during the extraction process and as such “miners’ lungs can become contaminated”(Castleden et al. 2010, 3). The air quality of areas surrounding coal mines is also significantly lowered and as such this can significantly affect the health of people who do not partake in the extraction process. The health effects on people outside of the extraction process are widely varied but can include serious health issues such as “increased rates of cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease”(Beyond Zero Emissions 2012). These conditions can be attributed to the inhalation of...

References: Beyond Zero Emissions. 2012. “Health and Social harms of coal mining in local communities – research report.” Accessed 20th March 2013,
Maules Creek Community Council.2012
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). 2013.Particulate Matter (PM).
Australian Coal Association. 2012.“Coal and the Community”.
Maher, Kris. 2010. “ Mining Project Aims to Capture Methane.” Wall Street Journal. June 2010.
The Irish Times, “Poorest ‘Hardest Hit’ by Climate Change”
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