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Managing Ethic

Essay by   •  February 25, 2018  •  Coursework  •  1,422 Words (6 Pages)  •  495 Views

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        A person should not be permitted to value human life. According to Linda Trevino and Katherine Nelson, individuals have the potential of engaging in unethical conduct, despite using ethical judgment when evaluating a situation at hand. Often, a person can be either an idealist or relativist. Idealists prioritize other people’s value; thus the willingness to consider their welfare when making choices and decisions. On the contrary, relativists believe that there are no universal ethical doctrines on which to examine right actions that suit different circumstances. With the lack of ethical principles, it is easy for relativists to rationalize unethical actions (Trevino & Nelson 75-76).  Based on Trevino and Nelson’s argument, it is evident that based on the nature of moral thinking that reflects an individual’s ethical principles; people are likely to undervalue human life if allowed to value it. Such is the case as they may incorporate unethical thinking into their decision making process due to lack of awareness of crucial factors that contribute to the value of human life. Additionally, individualism is another factor that may impede proper valuation of human life if a person is given an opportunity to value it. According to Jack Martin, Jeff Sugarman, and Kathleen Slaney, individualism propels people to view themselves as the ultimate social reality. As a result, they pursue own happiness and fulfillment without considering their colleagues’ concerns (Martin, Sugarman & Slaney 70). With such a view, it is possible that a person will seek to satisfy his or her objectives when evaluating human life. Consequently, the person will derive a skewed value of personal ideologies or objectives rather than true value of a human life.

        Companies and the government should be permitted to place value on human life. Unlike individuals, companies and the government aim at ensuring maximum good for as many people as possible. Based on the concept of utilitarianism, choices are made based on the anticipated outcomes. In such a circumstance, an action is considered as ethically wrong when it yields more adverse consequences for majority of the people than benefits (Mill). Often, government and companies operate based on policies. Prior to their implementations, policy makers evaluate their advantages and disadvantages and recommend the use of those that yield more positive outcomes than negative ones. Similarly, in determining the value of human life, companies and the government will rely on the concept of utilitarianism. As such, they will prioritize people’s interests rather than scope of own goals and objectives. Moreover, in making decisions about the value of human life, companies and the government use the cost-benefit analysis. Nevertheless, the evaluation depends on a defined process that influences decision making in the institutions. In such a case, individuals involved in quantifying value of human life compute the benefits and costs of their decisions based on the institution’s regulations rather than individual perceptions (Trevino & Nelson 103-104).

        I feel that it is unethical to use the cost-benefit analysis when human life is part of the cost calculation. Such is the case as the process fixes the price of human life rather than its genuine value. Often, in solving a problem, the cost-benefit analysis generates a monetary value of human life. In such evaluations, the company makes a choice that translates to less expense. For instance, in the case of Pinto fires, the cost-benefit approach unveiled that the company would incur more in redesigning the tank than the benefits it would generate by preventing the loss of lives and property (Trevino & Nelson 103). Such a scenario shows that the cost-benefit analysis focuses on the company’s interests. Consequently, decision-makers in such a situation aim at reducing costs for the company at the expense of the injured or lost human life. For example, in Pinto fires, the company should have redesigned its tanks and prevent occurrence of the deaths of 180 people. Although the company would have incurred more costs than the benefits it would reap without the alteration, it would have considered that the people at risk translated to loss of incomes to their families and a reduction in the proportion of the country’s labor force. While these could be quantified in monetary terms, Pinto could have also considered the emotional loss that families and friends could suffer due to death of their loved one. Nevertheless, infusion of moral language might not have changed the decision makers’ thinking.  Such is the case, as decision makers have to fulfill their responsibilities as per the company’s expectations. Therefore, the institutionalized scripts and processes influence them and compromise their obligations as individuals (Trevino & Nelson 103-104).

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