are three major ethical approaches that managers might use in making an ethical
choice - a utilitarian or consequence approach, a negative or positive rights
approach, or a virtue-based ethical reasoning approach. Here is a description
of the three approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
a Utilitarian or Consequence-Based Approach
utilitarian or consequence-based manager would look at the possible choices for
taking a certain action in light of the results of doing one thing versus
another. For example, suppose that the manager could earn extra money from fees
or contributions from patrons from putting on a certain program or that the
city is offering to sponsor a recreational sports program like boxing, but the
program would negatively impact a small group of people in the neighbourhood
who would risk damage to their property from attendees or a high level of noise
during the activity.
there might be a risk of injury to some of the players participating, though they
would have to sign waivers that they are assuming the responsibility for any
injury. In the consequence-based approach, the manager would look at this event
from a cost-benefits perspective and decide that most people in the community
would enjoy this activity and that the organization would make more money from
offering the program, and would have little financial risk due to injuries
because of the waivers signed by participants. The manager would also dismiss
the neighbours complaining about possible property damage and noise, since this
would seem to be of lesser concern compared to the popularity of and income
from the event.
advantage of operating as a utilitarian manager is it might bring in more money
and provide a popular form of entertainment that draws a large crowd. Also, the
manager might be correct in weighing the potential risk of damage or injury
against the potential financial gain from the event, as well as the possibility
of bringing in new member of the organization from attendees. However, the
disadvantage is that this approach disregards the rights of the minority who
don't want the event - the neighbours who will be negatively impacted by it.
disadvantage is that the manager using this approach might under estimate the negative
costs of the event, in that the angry neighbours might sue for property damage
or for damages due to the high noise level in a residential neighbourhood,
leading to a costly suit the organization might lose.
there could be injuries not only to participants but to spectators at the
event, and the participants might be able to set aside any waiver they signed
by making good legal arguments, such as being underage or feeling coerced to
participate. Another disadvantage is that this cost-benefits approach might
result in negative publicity for the organization and the city, as a result of
the press highlighting the plight of the neighbours or the potential injury of
the participants, and presenting the organization as being unconcerned about
the interests of the community members.