Table of Contents
Chapter Summary and Learning Outcomes
Frontline Focus: Doing the Right Thing Questions
Progress Check Questions
Ethical Dilemma Case 1.1 – Peer Pressure
Ethical Dilemma Case 1.2 – The Overcrowded Lifeboat
Frontline Focus: Doing the Right Thing—Megan Makes a Decision Questions
15 Key Terms
This chapter begins by defining ethics and how people decipher between “right” and “wrong” or “good” and “bad” behavior. It explores how people live their lives according to a standard of “right” or “wrong” behavior and how their personal set of morals are formed. Society plays a role in the traditions and customs that shape the standards or moral set that people adopt. Common standards shared among individuals can be called values or a values system. Some people have different definitions of ethics such as, personal integrity, rules of appropriate individual behavior, rules of appropriate behavior for a community or society, and some define ethics as simply “doing the right thing.” The Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you—is also a goal of living an ethical life by some. There are also some ethical theories discussed, which are divided into three categories: virtue ethics, ethics for the greater good, and universal ethics. The chapter is concluded with a discussion on ethical relativism, applied ethics, ethical dilemmas, and how to resolve these situations.
After studying this chapter, the student should be able to:
1. Define ethics.
2. Explain the role of values in ethical decision-making.
3. Understand opposing ethical theories and their limitations. 4. Discuss ethical relativism.
5. Explain an ethical dilemma and apply a process to resolve it.
Extended Chapter Outline
Note: Key terms are in boldface.
Doing the Right Thing Questions
1. What would be “the right thing” to do here? How would the “Golden Rule” on page 6 relate to Megan’s decision? The “right thing” to do here would be to run the Wilson’s application through the standard procedure and approve their application, pending everything in the background check returns as acceptable. The Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you—applies to Megan’s decision because she wouldn’t want someone to deny or purposely delay her application because of her ethnicity.
2. How would you resolve this ethical dilemma? Review the three-step process on page 9 for more details. Megan first needs to analyze the consequences. If she listens to Kate, she will hinder the Wilson’s chances of getting an apartment. If she goes against Kate, she will jeopardize her job, but will do the “right thing” with respect to the Golden Rule by not discriminating. Second, Megan should analyze possible actions. Listening to Kate would be unethical, whereas disobeying Kate would be the honest, fair, and “right thing” to do. Finally, Megan must make a decision.
3. What should Megan do now?
Megan needs to make a decision. She needs to approach Kate in a professional manner and have a discussion on her ethical point of view. The ethical decision would be to follow through with the Wilson’s application in the standard procedure just the same as any other family.
Learning Outcome 1: Define Ethics.
The opening Frontline Focus case shows how a rental agent faces an ethical decision with her new boss. The field of ethics is the study of how people try to live their lives according to a standard of “right” or “wrong” behavior. Many people define what’s right and wrong as a result of many factors, such as how they were raised, their religion, and the traditions and beliefs of their society. Society is a structured community of people bound together by similar traditions...
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