This paper is based on a branch of normative ethics called deontology. In deontological ethics, employees are required to perform their duties according to the given instructions. They are supposed to perform their duties as instructed because doing otherwise amounts to an unethical practice (Seven oaks school, 2013).
As an engineer, I would recommend that the company scraps the bad units and take the loss. In his second formulation, Kant argued that we should treat humanity not only as an end in itself but also as a means to some end (Chadwick, 1993). Based on Kant’s argument, the thesis of this case study is “We should act based only on those maxims for which we would be happy if the actions were to become universal laws”
Reasons for the Recommendation
The first reason for the recommendation to scrap the bad units and take the loss is that I would be acting morally by doing so. As per deontological ethics, doing otherwise would be unethical. Following the laid down procedure for the organization and sticking to what I’m supposed to do as an engineer would be the guiding principle in making this kind of recommendation.
Since the company would not have given me the role of deciding how to reduce losses, I would not be under any obligation to explore other options which may prevent the company from incurring losses. The second reason is that according to Kant’s second formulation; we should act in the best interest of humanity. Kant argued that we should prefer those actions for which we would be happy if they were to be made universal laws.
The selling of the bad units to those countries without quality standards may appear logical because after all, the effects of the bad units would be less severe than the effects of the modus operandi of the electrical practice of these countries and their cultural values. However, this would not auger well because it would be tantamount to treating humanity just as a way of attaining some end without thinking about the consequences. No body would be happy if such an act was to become a universal law and therefore, I would desist from the recommendation of selling the faulty units for the simple reason that they would endanger the lives of other people.
The third reason for my recommendation is that I would enhance ethical practice for the company. Companies are supposed to act in an ethical manner. The ethical climate of organizations constitutes adherence to principles of ethical behavior and conduct.
It also constitutes how organizations relate to their internal and external environments. The ethical climate therefore touches on things like the working environment, safety of employees, care and conservation of the environment and practices which promote the interests of consumers like adhering to the rules of manufacturing of products and putting the correct ingredients on labels of products (Harrison, 2007).
Ethical conduct of corporations is also intertwined with what is referred to as corporate social responsibility. The ethical component of corporate social responsibility comprises the requirements or expectations of any business by the society.
Such requirements or expectations include things like doing what is just, fair and right, using the law as the basis of organizational behavior, avoidance of questionable practices and doing business in a manner which is above the minimal requirements (Aras & Crowther, 2010).
According to deontological ethics, our actions must be guided by our responsibilities. What is morally right is doing our duties as per the laid down rules and regulations. We should also base our actions on the principle that human beings are not supposed to be viewed just as a means of attaining some end but also as ends in themselves; that is, our actions must promote care for humanity. The best action therefore would be to scrap the bad units and take the loss. Doing otherwise would not only be going against one’s duty but would also put the lives of others at danger.
Aras, G & Crowther, D. (2010). A handbook of corporate governance and social responsibility Corporate social responsibility series. Farnham GU9 7PT: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Chadwick, R. (1993).Immanuel Kant: Critical Assessments. New York, NY: Routledge.
Harrison, E. (2007). Estate Planning under the Bush tax cuts. National Tax Journal, 60(3).371-384.
Seven oaks school. (2009). Ethical Egoism. Web.