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Business Law Chapter 3 Homework Why Did Anyone Look Out For His

Page Count
5 pages
Word Count
1027 words
Book Title
Applied Business Ethics: A Skills-Based Approach 1st Edition
Authors
Dean Bredeson
MODULE 3: Scope of Utility Selecting Relevant Groups
Core Module Issues:
What is the principle of utility?
Is utility vulnerable to criticism?
What groups are most likely to be considered by a utilitarian thinker?
Module Teaching Notes
This module continues to put “tools in the toolbox” for ethical analysis by examining the principle of
utility. I tell students that we will study many tools for examining ethical dilemmas, and that this is
only the first.
I like to start class by repeating the classic candy bar example included in the module's
background, and I usually ask the general question: “Is this a sensible way to assess ethics”.
Many students' remarks will echo those of other critics. They will often remark that ethics “can't be
about math, it must be about feelings, or about right and wrong”. Others will say that it is wrong to
let the ends justify the means. But many react positively, in my experience.
Time permitting, I ask students whether they often make utilitarian calculations when making
decisions, and whether “most people” do the same.
I don't distinguish among Bentham, Mill, and other specific thinkers, but if you'd like to lay
additional background, they are interesting characters.
English Judge Jeremy Bentham did most of his important work in the years surrounding 1800, and
he was a man ahead of his time in favoring women's rights, strong free speech rights, animal
rights, and an end to capital punishment. He was also for the abolition of slavery.
John Stuart Mill was a student of Bentham's and a Member of Parliament. His 1863 book
Utilitarianism has become the best known and most widely read work on utility.
I generally end my introduction by posing the question: “If a person considers utility when making
decisions, who makes it into the equation? Which people's 'good' is to be maximized?”
In the scenario, the sub-parts pit the interests of various groups against one another. The professor faces a
“my family vs. everyone else” decision, and then a “immediate colleagues vs. other colleagues” decision.
Finally, he faces a “colleagues' convenience vs. the environment decision”.
The automobile CEO faces decisions that pit her shareholders against some other group. She faces a
“shareholders vs. drivers” dilemma, then a “shareholders vs. employees and community” choice. Finally,
she must choose to benefit either shareholders or customers.
In this module, we are examining the students' perceptions of who really counts to a typical
decision maker. Most people will usually favor people with whom they have a close relationship over
abstract, large groups of people.
Discussion Points for Scenario Questions
1. What would you do in the three university examples (decisions 1 through 3)? Why?
A. DID ANYONE LOOK OUT FOR HIS FAMILY, HIS DEPARTMENT, AND HIS
COLLEAGUES?
B. WHAT ARE THE STUDENT’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR HIS/HER
ANSWER(S)?
C. DOES THE STUDENT ALWAYS FAVOR THOSE CLOSEST TO HIM?
D. HAS ANYONE FAVORED MORE DISTANT GROUPS (COLLEAGUES
OUTSIDE THE DEPARTMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, ETC.)?
E. WHAT ARE THE STUDENT’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR HIS/HER
ANSWER(S)?
2. What would you expect an average person to do in the three university examples? Why?
A. HAS ANYONE CHANGED HIS OR HER RATING?
B. WHAT MAKES A TYPICAL PERSON DIFFERENT FROM YOURSELF?
C. WHICH SPECIFIC ITEMS CHANGED?
D. ARE THE CHANGES A GOOD OR A BAD THING?
E. DOES ANYONE HAVE THE SAME RATINGS?
3. What would you do in the three car company examples (decisions 4 through 6)? Why?
A. DID ANYONE LOOK OUT FOR HER SHAREHOLDERS ALL THREE
TIMES?
B. WHAT ARE THE STUDENT’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR HIS/HER
ANSWER(S)?
C. DOES THE STUDENT ALWAYS FAVOR THE “BOSS”?
D. HAS ANYONE FAVORED GROUPS THAT ARE MORE VAGUE, AT LEAST
ONCE?
E. WHAT ARE THE STUDENT’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR HIS/HER
ANSWER(S)?
4. What would you expect an average person to do in the three car company examples? Why?
A. HAS ANYONE CHANGED HIS OR HER RATING?
B. WHAT MAKES A TYPICAL PERSON DIFFERENT FROM YOURSELF?
C. WHICH SPECIFIC ITEMS CHANGED?
D. ARE THE CHANGES A GOOD OR A BAD THING?
E. DOES ANYONE HAVE THE SAME RATINGS?
5. Thinking generally now, which of the following groups do you seek to benefit when you
make decisions? Which of them do you think average people regularly take into account? Circle
as appropriate below.
Group Yourself Average People
Family and close friends Yes // No Yes // No
Close coworkers Yes // No Yes // No
Everyone in a company Yes // No Yes // No
Everyone in a community Yes // No Yes // No
Society in general Yes // No Yes // No
The environment Yes // No Yes // No
A. WHAT ARE YOUR ANSWERS FOR EACH GROUP? [THIS IS A GOOD

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