Act Utilitarianism — Business Ethics

Description Utilitarianism: Deception at Skyyy Aerrorspace Please make an offer if you are knowledgeable! Questions for the below passage: From the “Utilitarianism” slides, here are the steps to follow in applying act utilitarianism. For the purposes of this exercise, you can assume that I know the basic facts identified in the case; so you can skip step (i) (except for identifying any assumptions you need to make about the situation). 1. Identify: i. The facts of the situation. ii. The alternative actions/decisions possible. iii. The “stakeholders” in the situation. (i.e., Who is affected by the action/decision?) iv. The consequences that will be felt by each stakeholder under each alternative. 2. Estimate the utility associated with each consequence identified in (iv). Be sure to include some indication of the severity of each consequence (i.e., the “amount” of utility associated with it), and whether it is harmful or beneficial (i.e., productive of positive or negative utility). 3. Based on (2) calculate/estimate the net utility associated with each alternative, and choose the alternative that maximizes utility. Below is an actual ethical dilemma that was faced by an MBA student at a prominent U.S. university (excerpted with slight alterations from Business Ethics as Rational Choice, by J. Hooker). “Prior to entering business school, I was a salesman for a small aerospace and defense contractor called Skyyy Aerrorspace. My role was to sell our software to the government and other contractors. On several occasions, I knew that our software could not perform all the functions a prospective customer needed, and I was faced with the dilemma of whether to be honest about this. Because I was responsible for about 20% of company revenue, it was absolutely essential that I meet my sales quotas. The company’s normal response to low revenue numbers was to lay off employees, no doubt potentially including me. One particular dilemma involved a major sale that, if completed, would have allowed me to make my quota for the year and pay for my first semester of business school.” Use act/traditional utilitarianism to decide if the employee should have deceived his customer in order to make this major sale. You may need to make assumptions about the situation, since you don’t have all the information about it that this student did. You should note any important assumptions that influence your analyses. You may find it convenient to include a table. (Note that, in application, there is no distinction between act utilitarianism and the “intent-based” utilitarianism discussed toward the end of the ‘Utilitarianism’ slides. If you are attempting to accurately apply act utilitarianism, you are also applying “intent-based” utilitarianism. The difference between the two is purely conceptual, though the implications for defining right and wrong are important.)

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