Utilitarianism Discussion

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THE ETHICS OF HIRING: A PIERCING DILEMMA [It is 10:00 a.m. at Vandelay Industries’ high-end home furniture showroom. The owner, Anne Armoire, has completed her interview with Susan Pry, a candidate for a sales position. Also “on stage,” standing some distance away, is sales associate, Tyler Table. Anne and Susan are standing.] Anne: Thank you for coming in to talk to me, Susan. You have great credentials and a terrific personality. (To Tyler) Tyler, come over here. I want you to meet someone. (Tyler joins Anne and Susan.) This is Susan Pry, a candidate for the open sales position. Tyler here is one of our top sales people. Tyler (Shaking Susan’s hand): Good to meet you. Susan: Great to meet you both. Thanks for bringing me in for an interview. I get the feeling this would be a great place to work. I hope I’m able to join your team. Anne: We should be getting back to you in the next week or so. (Susan leaves.) Tyler: Is that really someone you are considering for the sales opening, Anne? Anne: Yes. She has solid credentials, though she has never done high-end retail. She also has a great personality. Why do you ask like that? Tyler: Did you get a load of all of the piercings she has? Ears, OK. But she was wearing pierced rings on her nose and tongue, too. Anne: I noticed that, too. I wonder myself if that might be a problem. Tyler: Not for me, of course. I’m as hip as the next person. But what about our customers? They’re only human. My guess is they are going to prejudge her right off the bat and make some assumptions about our showroom from those judgments. I can’t believe those judgments will be good for business. But it’s your call, boss. Anne: Yes, I know it’s my call, Tyler. I need you to get back to work. You can be sure, though, that I will be thinking about what you’ve said as I make a decision about that candidate. © Copyright 2020 Daniel E. Eaton THE ETHICS OF CORPORATE SECRETS: HANG TEN [It is 10:05 a.m. at Vandelay Industries’ Surfing Gear Division. Division President Marcie Stevens comes to the office of Luke Woods, chief product development manager for the division and closes the door.] Luke: Hi, Marcie. What can I do for you? Marcie: I like that attitude, Luke. It has served you and the company well in the 10 years you’ve been with us, a kid just out of State practically right off the beach. It’s too bad not everyone shares your attitude. Luke: What do you mean? Marcie: The fact is that, while your department has done a great job coming up with cool new designs to exploit the new retro interest in synthetic Balsa boards, the production crew has done a weak job getting them out of the plant and into the stores. I’ve only told a few people this, but right after production is complete for the busy summer season, I’ve all but decided to move at least part of production overseas where I can get the work done more quickly and at a lower cost. (There is a knock at the door. It is Don Phillips, a senior member of the production crew.) Don: Hey, Luke, I didn’t know you were in with the boss. I was just stopping by about our poker game later this week. I can come back later. (To Marcie) I’m stoked about the game because my two year-old is having health problems and it’s a way to take my mind off of them for a couple of hours. Anyway, Luke, I’ll be back. (He leaves) Marcie: Oh, I forgot that you and Don were buddies. Obviously, I don’t want you to start any talk with the guys in production. That would only make our production problems worse. (Marcie looks at her smartphone.) Looks like I’ve got an emergency. Gotta go. (Marcie leaves. A few moments after she goes, Luke’s cellphone rings.) Luke: Hello? Don: Dude, sorry to interrupt your meeting with the chief. From the look on her face, it seemed you two were talking over some pretty heavy stuff. Anything I ought to know about? © Copyright 2020 Daniel E. Eaton THEORETICAL METHODS OF ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING IN BUSINESS PART I Utilitarianism: Whether the business decision I make is ethically sound depends on whether my decision leads to the___________________for the __________________ _________________________. _________________ ____________ Rawls/ Justice: Whether the business decision I make is ethically sound depends on whether my decision reflects the following principle created behind the____ of _________: that any social and economic ___________ created or expanded by my decision works to the _____ of the____ _________. Rawls calls this the _________ principle. Rawl, J. 1971 A Theory of Justice. © Copyright 2020 Daniel E. Eaton THE ETHICS OF SALES: TO MAKE A DEAL [It is 10:10 a.m. at Vandelay Industries’ Electronics Division. Tan Nguyen is the Regional Finance Manager visiting a local retail store. He is close enough to be overhearing the end of a conversation between senior salesman Julie Rodriguez and novice salesman Todd Walton.] Todd: Julie, you certainly have a gift for closing sales on the most expensive LCD sets we sell. You must have qualified for the 10-grand incentive bonus by now for selling $500,000 worth of sets in a month, haven’t you? Julie: Yes, I have. Todd: How do you do it? Julie: I just quickly size up the prospect when they walk through the door. I ask myself how much they can afford to spend on a set and then commit myself to selling them a set that is two price points higher than that. If I fall short, I still end up selling them a set that costs at least somewhat more than they planned to spend. Todd: Aren’t you concerned that sets that people can’t afford will be returned to the store one way or the other? Julie: No, they almost never are. It’s the American dream to buy more than you can afford now. That’s what the regional VP tells us when he describes the bonuses if you make a certain amount in sales. Sure, he stresses the importance of being fair to would-be customers, but I am being fair. They’re getting a great TV set, after all. If they have to cut back on other expenses in their lives, that’s none of my business. And the dollars Vandelay throws at us for meeting goals has shaped my understanding of what’s fair. Tan (to Julie): Julie, my name is Tan Nguyen, finance officer for the region. (They shake hands.) I overheard your conversation with this young associate. Julie: Good to meet you. What did you think? (They exit.) © Copyright 2020 Daniel E. Eaton THEORETICAL METHODS OF ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING IN BUSINESS PART II Nozick/ Rights: Whether the business decision I make is ethically sound depends only on whether my decision is free from _______________ and _____________. The government’s function in my decision is limited to that of the _______________________________. Nozick’s theory requires me, as a businessperson, to ask myself two questions: First, is what I would ____ or the property or money I would use in my business ____________ mine in the first place? Second, am I making money through a ______ exchange in the marketplace? If the answer to both questions is yes, I am _____________ entitled to what I obtain in the marketplace. Any distribution that results from a free market is ____, however __________ or ____________ it turns out to be. (Adapted from Nozick, R. 1974 “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”; and Sandel, M. 2009 “Justice,” p. 62.) This theory is a _______________ response to ____ _________________________________________________. © Copyright 2020 Daniel E. Eaton CLASS PARTICIPATION PROMPTS: CLASS 1 For those of you who did not participate in the class discussion in one or more of the segments, here are the prompts: The class participation question for credit for skit 2 is: Apply utilitarianism or Rawls’s Theory of Justice to explain whether Luke should tell Don what he and Marcie discussed. Your bottom line is far less important to me than demonstrating a solid understanding of the theory you apply to reach it. The class participation question for skit 3 is: Explain whether and why you believe the application of Nozick's Rights Theory is ethically sufficient for Tan to respond to Julie's sales methods. Please follow the instructions carefully as I will not accept resubmissions. Please also note the response deadline on the syllabus.
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Class 1 Participation Prompts

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Skit 2
I think Luke should tell Don what he and Marcie had discussed. Implications of any
behavior are the only yardstick of what is right and evil, according to utilitarianism, a kind of
consequentialism. It takes into account the interests of all people equally. Utilitarianism
advocates dispute on various issues, including whether individuals should follow guidelines that
maximize benefit or if they should select acts based on their anticipated outcomes. Marcie knows
that Luke and Don are buddies, and she thinks their close relationship has led to the production
problems currently being expe...

Really great stuff, couldn't ask for more.


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