Ethical Theories 1: Utilitarianism and Deontology
By the end of this topic you should be able to:
• Apply an ethical decision making model
• Analyse an ethical situation and apply a utilitarian approach
• Analyse an ethical situation and apply a deontological approach
• Discuss examples from popular culture of ethical dilemmas
Nimal’s Ethical Dilemma
Nirmal is the IT manager in a government department with more than 500 staff members and six branches across Australia. His department has decided to acquire an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. An RFT for the procurement of the software was advertised in a number of Australian newspapers. Two local companies responded to the advertisement and sent their offers to the department.
When Nirmal opened the envelopes and examined the offers he found that company A’s offer is slightly better than company B’s offer. To his surprise, company B’s offer was made by his best friend Devraj, who is the general manager of company B. Company A’s software appeared to be easier to use and easier to modify compared to company B’s software. Although the initial cost of company B’ software appeared to be less than that of company’s A, the former may require some ‘tools consultants’ to modify it and some ‘business consultants’ to assist in running it, which might eventually raise the total cost.
To complicate matters more, Nirmal received a phone call from Devraj, who urged him to favour his offer, as he is quite desperate to get this deal. He also reminded him that the ‘tools and business consultants’ who might be needed in the project will be recruited from his home country which means more jobs for his countrymen and in turn more money sent home. Nirmal is indeed in a difficult position (ACS, 2004).
1. Apply the ethical decision making model presented in week one lectures (adapted from Beemsterboer, 2010; Velasquez...