Companies are faced with difficult decisions they have to make on a daily basis and Pegasus International Inc. is no exception (Freeman, 1991). In attempt to make the right choice, business ethics are implemented; which states the human conduct that is wrong or right in a business context (Shaw, 2011: 8)
A moral or ethical dilemma is when an agent must make a decision between two ethically compromising choices (White Hat Communications, 2014). In this scenario, Oswald faces a moral dilemma because he has to make a choice whether or not to expand the company by operating in China (Hackworth & Shanks, 2007). To operate in China, Oswald needs to pay off the Chinese authorities, and Oswald will have to disclose that the business is not a part of any bribery activities dishonestly (ibid).
A question Oswald will have to ask himself is also a question frequently asked in normative ethics: “What is the ethically right thing to do and how is it justified?” (Encyclopædia Britannica Inc, 2014).
At stake for Oswald and his company are a 100 million-dollar deal and the integrity of the company’s ethically correct reputation (Hackworth & Shanks, 2007). The clashing alternative actions Oswald are confronted with differs in moral rightness and the quality of the result of the action (CIMA, 2010). Oswald is morally obliged not to operate in China but at the same time, he is obligated.
This essay will discuss the ethical approach of utilitarianism that will help Oswald to choose the right action for him so that the company’s ethical reputation will not be ruined and the company will still be successful. There will be a critical evaluation, which assess Oswald’s situation and clearly discuss what appropriate actions needs to be taken by Oswald before making a final decision.
Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism; meaning that when deciding if an action is right it is entirely based on the consequences that the action will produce, relative to the consequences of other “alternative actions” (Driver, 2012). One of the most persuasive normative approaches in the history of philosophy is utilitarianism (The History of Utilitarianism, 2009). Utilitarianism attempts to identify the morally right decision by finding the one that creates the most “happiness” for all those affected (Shaw, 2011:53).
There are two forms of utilitarianism namely act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism, the former being applied on a case-by-case basis and the latter by a utility of rules (Shaw, 2011:55). Act utilitarianism is directly applied to each alternate act and the right act is the one, which consequences do more good than harm to those affected, directly or indirectly, by this act (Utilitarian Theories, 2002). In the case of the Million-Dollar Decision, we are applying act utilitarianism. We will measure up the consequences of the decision that Tom Oswald (“Oswald”) has to make of whether he should or should not “bribe” the Chinese officials to do business, then we will...