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Utilitarian ethics is a very common decision-making approach in the business world. It essentially is the philosophical school of thought that asserts that the most ethical decision is the one that does the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Utilitarianism seeks to achieve “pleasure” (advantages) and avoid “pains” (disadvantages). Utilitarianism grows more complex when one weighs the magnitude and the importance of certain pleasures and pains against each other.
Review this short video on utilitarianism as well as the background readings: Then & Now. (2017, May 30). Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/Dr9954kaFBs
Once you have a firm understanding of utilitarian ethics, review the following scenario and address the corresponding questions:
A new virus is rapidly spreading, causing a worldwide pandemic. Millions of people have died or have been hospitalized. Low-income communities, communities of color, the elderly, and those with health conditions have been disproportionately affected. Healthcare systems are crippled in many communities. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Entire business industries are devastated and/or sent into disarray as a result of the pandemic.
A vaccine was recently developed which proves highly effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Government officials are strongly encouraging people to take the vaccine, and many other organizations are even mandating a vaccine. Many people are skeptical of the long-term effects of the vaccine and/or feel pressure from the government, individuals, and other entities to receive the vaccine. Although data exists that supports the need for a vaccine in response to the damage being caused by the virus, a sizeable part of the population believe the numbers to be inflated; that people are overreacting; and that their personal rights are being infringed upon.
You are a leader in your organization, and you have a responsibility to turn profits and achieve organizational outcomes in addition to acting responsibly to protect your colleagues, employees, and external stakeholders, and maintain the health of your organization. You need to make a decision on how, or whether, you should implement a vaccine policy at your organization. As a leader, you need to consider the demographics, backgrounds, and beliefs that make up the internal and external stakeholders of your organization, and make a decision that is in the best interest for all internal and external stakeholders within your organization.
Complete an essay that addresses the following:
Describe and explain the key principles of utilitarian ethics, including ideas like higher-ordered pleasures and pains, act and rule utilitarianism, etc.. What is the role of utilitarian ethics in contemporary business?
Describe and explain the key principles of stakeholder management theory. What is the role of stakeholder management theory in contemporary business?
Explain how, or whether, managers/business leaders should implement a vaccination policy in response to the pandemic. Explain how your position positively and negatively affects those of different demographics (e.g., race, religion, sex, politics, age, ability, culture, values, etc.). Provide in-text citations from objective resources to support your approach.How does your position positively and negatively affect individuals and certain groups of employees within the organization? Provide in-text citations from objective resources to support your approach.
How does your position positively and negatively affect the organization as a whole? Provide in-text citations from objective resources to support your approach.
How does your position positively and negatively affect the external stakeholders of the organization? Provide in-text citations from objective resources to support your approach.
SLP Assignment Expectations
Take some time to review the materials and take a position on the issue. Write a 3- to 5-page assessment of the situation. This assignment follows the university’s Signature Assignment Rubric and you will be assessed on how well you:
Identify key concepts of diversity and how they impact individuals and/or organizations.
Apply knowledge of diversity to individual and/ or organizational situations.
Demonstrate ability to see things from diverse viewpoints.
It is expected that students complete their essays in APA format. This involves the following elements:
Introduction paragraph that summarizes the main ideas of your essay and outlines the learning outcomes of the assignment (found on the Module Homepage).
Body paragraphs with Headings that highlight the main idea of each portion of the assignment (do not restate the actual question within the expectations).
Conclusion paragraph that re-summarizes the main ideas of your essay and outline the learning outcomes of the assignment (found on the Module Homepage).
APA-style in-text citations. Feel free to use the Trident Introduction to APA and Purdue OWL APA style guide as references, as they can be very helpful.
Feel free to make use of the Trident Writing Style Guide, located under the My Resources dropdown menu of the TLC Portal if you need support in these areas.
Your paper should follow proper APA guidelines; be double-spaced; use 12-point type font size; and be free from grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Upload your paper by the end of the module.
For your Case Assignment, please read pages 49-75 for this module from the following book in the Trident Online Library:
Terris, D. (2013). Ethics at work: Creating virtue at an American corporation. Brandeis University Press. Available in the Trident Online Library.
For your SLP assignment, please read the following article.
Byars, S. M., & Stanberry, K. (2018). Business Ethics. OpenStax. https://openstax.org/books/business-ethics/pages/2-4-utilitarianism-the-greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number
Bellefleur, O., & Keeling, M. (2016). Utilitarianism in public health. National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy. http://www.ncchpp.ca/docs/2016_Ethics_Utilitarianism_En.pdf
Petrini, C. (2010). Theoretical models and operational frameworks in public health ethics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(1). 189-202. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819784/
Savulescu, J., Persson, I., & Wilkinson, D. (2020). Utilitarianism and the pandemic. Bioethics, 34(6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276855/.
Vearrier, L., & Henderson, C. M. (2021). Utilitarian principlism as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. HEC Forum 33, 45–60 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10730-020-09431-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819784/
Also, please spend some time researching other sources to help you develop your key arguments.
Snell, R. (2013). Teaching rules-based and values-based ethics. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 15(1), 29-32. Available in the Trident Online Library.
Cavico, F. J., & Mujtaba, B. G. (2017). Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal and its legal and ethical implications for management. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 82(2), 4-19.
Beekun, R. (2010). Effects of justice and utilitarianism on ethical decision making: A cross‐cultural examination of gender similarities and differences. Journal of Business Ethics, 19(4), 309-325.