Ethical Case Assignment

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Paper must be 3-5 pages, double-spaced, typed, and in 12pt. Times New Roman font and in proper essay format (M.L.A or A.P.A.)

Directions: Applications of Utilitarianism: Act & Rule

  • Please select one case to write about.
  • In concise and complete sentences (using essay format), explain your ethical reasoning!

1. What might an act utilitarian advise you to do in one of the following case scenarios?

2. What might a rule utilitarian advise you to do in the same case scenario?

3. What would you do in the same case scenario based on your personal code of ethics?

4. Give specific reasons to support your answers.

1. You are the environmental compliance manager for a profitable, small plastics manufacturing company here in Maryland. Previous reports indicate that the factory’s emission levels are just within the legal limits. Your office has conducted a new scientific study that predicts the next report will show that the emissions levels have surpassed the legal limit. You have some choices to make. The new technology to control emission levels is expensive and could cost your corporation a lot of money – thus resulting in some job cuts for some of your coworkers. One of your staff members said you should fudge the report until a cheaper alternative is found within the next year. What do you do? Apply the principles of utilitarianism in your assessment.

2. You are a Director of Customer Services at YourFace. YourFace is the number one social networking site. The company has recently instituted a new policy that allows third party companies to access all private data of the entire subscriber base of YourFace. Some savvy customers have started contacting your office regarding what they are calling a breach of privacy. You are aware that these privacy breaches are real. Customer addresses, phone numbers and personal information are being given to thousands of companies in exchange for large profits to your company. What do you advise your staff to do in terms of alerting your users about this breach of privacy? Do you send out a mass message to all users on how to access their privacy settings or do you leave things as they are? Apply the principles of utilitarianism in your assessment.

3. You are the number one car manufacturer in the country. You have just discovered that your latest model (The Hipster-which hasn’t been shipped yet) has major brake defects that can cause deadly accidents. The requirement is to submit a report and let consumers know that there is a recall after the government department has given its OK. However, you know from industry contacts that this would cost more money than just pretending you didn’t know about the defect. Products have been held at customs in this country, and you ask a local agent to investigate. Later you hear the products were released without any changes and without certification. Should you look further into this event? Why or why not? Apply the principles of utilitarianism in your assessment.

One last important note: In all cases listed, if you violate a company policy – you will be fired!

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