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Ethics Case Study

Essay by   •  April 13, 2016  •  Case Study  •  1,366 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,113 Views

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Part (A)


To aid Ted’s teleological decision, the ethical theory of utilitarianism will be implemented (Low, 2014). Six major stakeholders will be analyzed, based on the total pleasure each receive. Jeremy Bentham suggests pleasure is determined by intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity and extent. Table one systematically presents how benefits outweigh consequences or contrariwise, of selected stakeholders. Intensity and duration (Bentham’s characteristics) are relevant, as although Ted has an opportunity to fix the problem when not taking the $500, Ted would continue to have this opportunity whilst trading. There is limited certainty in many benefits when not taking the $500, such as: Ted may not fix the problem, staff may not stay if trade continues, consumers health may not be effected and competition may not be reduced due to current market reputation. There is certainty (when taking the $500) that Ted will continue to trade with suppliers and if things remain constant, make revenue. If Ted takes the $500, services will be available, providing fecundity. However, job security and health may provide greater fecundity, as there is strong propinquity compared to assuming the business will function for a long period of time. There is limited purity for stakeholders. For example, although the suppliers have a benefit of continued business, they may not be aware of a transportation issue that is causing the infestation of rats. The decision that results in most purity is when Ted takes the $500. Utilitarianism therefore suggests it would be ethical for Ted to take the $500, as more stakeholders prove to benefit (3:2).


Consequences (taking $500)

Consequences (not taking $500)

Benefits (taking $500)

Benefits (not taking $500)



  • Unawareness  
  • Less business
  • Continued business

Take $500



  • Job loss
  • Job security

Take $500


  • Health risks
  • No service
  • Service
  • Health security


Communities (competitors)

  • Unfair competition
  • Second-guess market


  • Less competition

Do not take $500

Health inspector

  • Job loss


  • Paid for no labor
  • Job security

Do not take $500


  • Consumer trust
  • Reputation
  • Revenue
  • Staff security
  • Reputation security
  • Fix problem

Take $500

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Maxims will be used when approaching Ted’s scenario through Kantian Ethics. The maxim used will be… “I am to lie to stakeholders when my business is at risk, in order to minimize all threats towards the business itself”. The maxim established is extremely expedient towards Ted; therefore the maxim fails formulation one of Kantian ethics, as it cannot be universal or necessary. It would undermine the function of food inspectors and diminish the need for the Food Safety Act. On the contrary the maxim, “I am to tell the truth to stakeholders when my business is at risk in order to minimize all threats towards stakeholders“ can be universal because it meets expectations of current laws with no contradictions. If Ted were to take the $500, his decision would not conform to the categorical imperative. Kantian’s formulation two supports this by stating that we can never use another person as a means to our own ends. Therefore, lying to stakeholders would not conform to formulation two. It is concluded that under Kantian ethics, Ted should not take the $500.


Under Aristotle’s moral virtues, Ted meets the context of money. According to Fisher and Lovell (2003), Aristotle view’s Ted’s choice of spendthrift (vise excess), an action of rashness, and choice of miserliness (vice of deficiency), an action of cowardice. Ted has a choice, to spend $500 and ensure the business is not threatened, or to not spend $500 and cause possible threats to the business. Therefore, Ted can choose for his action to conflict cowardice or rashness. As the right action is determined by virtue, the action Ted should undertake is that of not taking the $500. A cowardice action would result in Ted not being a virtuous agent. An action of rashness enables Ted to be seen as truthful and rational in matters good and bad for man.


Utalitarism may seem impartial, and virtue ethics seems to provide invalid evidence of systematic analysis. Ted should agree with the approach of Kantian ethics, as he is only one stakeholder in a situation of many. Kantian ethics will end in the best results ethically as consumers will view him in an honest light, resulting in a positive relationship with all stakeholders who will respect him for moral decision-making.  

Part (B)


Amanda suffered through a decision-making war of financial hardship, versus new trends. She was my friend, who was unable to afford trending essentials and stole from local suppliers. Being a new friend, she had trust in me not to tell her parents. Due to my maturity level at the time, I chose not to tell her parents.


Kohlberg’s theory of moral reasoning explains in stages. I had only just met Amanda; therefore friendship was based upon pre-conventional morality, in stage one (Punishment-Obedience orientation). I was therefore more concerned that I would loose the friendship, concentrating on the notion, “If you have my back, I’ll have yours”. If the same dilemma were to occur, my implemented action would change. Due increased knowledge of legal consequences, my decision would surround conventional morality. Movement through stages occurs when cognitive dissonance occurs.



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