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Ethics: Utilitarian, Deontological, and Kohlberg’s Theory Essay

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Updated: Apr 21st, 2022

Introduction

Ethics are moral values and principles that guide how people make decisions regarding crucial issues of life that are often in the form of dilemmas. Concisely, ethics involve the systematic application of concepts that define actions or consequences as either right or wrong. In other words, ethics is a philosophy that examines human behavior and actions with a view of establishing whether they are good or bad. Additionally, ethics are a set of moral values adopted and used by members of a given society. Individuals usually acquire ethics from employers, fellow workers, society, friends, and family members. Ethics exist in categories such as normative ethics, applied ethics, and descriptive ethics. Normative ethics discuss deals with how individuals and organizations practically determine moral courses of action. Furthermore, descriptive ethics presents different beliefs and perspectives that people have concerning morality. Descriptive ethics is also known as comparative ethics. Therefore, this essay analyzes the case study of Real Madrid using utilitarian theory, deontological theory, and Kohlberg’s theory.

Discussion of Theories

Utilitarianism Theory

The utilitarian theory asserts that an individual should ensure that there is a maximum gain on the level of satisfaction achieved from an action. The utilitarian theory states that individuals must maximize happiness and reduce suffering from their activities. In utilitarian theory, the main objective is the resultant outcome of an action and its benefits. Therefore, if an action has positive results or outcomes then it gives individual maximum happiness and satisfaction or utility. As John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham are among the most influential contributors of utilitarian theory, they stated that Jesus Christ demonstrated utilitarian theory when he said that individuals should love their neighbors in the manner they love themselves. Bentham further explains that when an action affects others negatively, it leads to hedonism, a state where pleasure and happiness are the sole objectives and goals in the life of an individual. The utilitarian theory differs from deontological theory in that it emphasizes the outcomes of actions.

In utilitarian theory, the main goal is the outcome or result of an action. In the case study, the coach hired Gareth Bale irrespective of all the challenges. Gareth Bale’s performance formed the outcome of the coach’s action. The utilitarian theory asserts that a positive outcome of action provides maximum happiness. Hence, Mr. Florentino Perez hired the superstar despite the economic status of the country and the financial position of the club. The coach’s main objective was that Gareth Bale’s performance would provide maximum utility to the owners, management, and fans of the Real Madrid football club. Hence, the decision benefited the largest number of people in the football club.

Deontological Theory

Immanuel Kant pioneered the deontological theory. According to the deontological theory, people should act responsibly and engage in activities, which are morally right. Additionally, the deontological theory presents the fact that the consequences or the results of an action are not determinants of the action’s wrongs or rights, but the actions of an individual who performs a given activity. Kant argues that an individual’s goodwill affects the results of the action that a person does. Furthermore, Kant states that the consequences of actions cannot determine the goodwill of an individual, because, sometimes action may result in unexpected positive results. Hence, Kant notes that the only determinant of morality is goodwill, as it drives an individual to perform the right activities, which in turn produces good and positive results.

Since deontological theory assesses the importance of an individual’s goodwill in the performance of activities that are right, it was correct for the coach to hire Gareth Bale because owners, management, and fans of the football club wanted more trophies and championships. Hence, the coach employed the deontological theory that emphasizes on the significance of goodwill or intentions of the person doing an activity. Mr. Florentino Perez believed that the football superstar would produce outstanding results and help Real Madrid football club win more trophies and games. Hence, the coach hired Gareth Bale out of goodwill.

Level II of Kohlberg’s Theory: Conventional Morality

If I were Florentino Perez, I would have applied the second level of Kohlberg’s theory that entails good interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. The level incorporates the third and fourth stages of development, which involve advanced level of reasoning. In the third stage, individuals start to visualize morality from the perspective of society, which requires people to behave in ways that reflect moral values and principles in the society. The underlying factor in the third stage is on the motive and the goodwill of the individual. According to the stage, interpersonal skills such as empathy, love, trust, and concern for others are fundamental in the development of a society. Additionally, Kohlberg fourth stage of development presents the importance of understanding the feelings of others and empathizing with them. In this stage, the concern shifts from individualistic concern to societal concern. Therefore, an individual engages in those activities that aim at fulfilling the interest of the society.

Therefore, if were the coach of the Real Madrid, I would have hired Gareth Bale, just like what Florentino Perez did, for he acted in the best intentions of the owners, management, and fans of the team. Thus, the coach put the interests of others forward and did what the stakeholders expected from the team. He employed values such as love, empathy, trust, and concern for others and hired Gareth Bale.

Conclusion

In my perspective, utilitarian theory (Jeremy Bentham) is suitable in the resolution of the dilemma facing the chief executive officer and the coach of Real Madrid. Since the utilitarian theory holds that an ethical action is the one that produces maximum benefits to many people, its application in the resolution of the dilemma would give maximum benefits to not only the club, but also all stakeholders. The coach hired Gareth Bale with the objective of empowering the club so that it can win additional trophies and championships. Given that sports have many fans across the world, the decision to hire Gareth Bale was in the best interests of the fans who would like to see their team winning trophies and championships. The objective of the club is to win as many trophies and championships as possible, therefore, any decision that enhances it to win is appropriate. By hiring Gareth Bale, the coach wanted to improve the economic conditions of the team in relation to the country’s economy. The decision also benefits the management and owners of the club, as the objective of any team is to attain the highest scores in every game. In this view, utilitarian theory is appropriate in the resolution of the dilemma because it allows all stakeholders of the club to achieve maximum benefits.

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IvyPanda. "Ethics: Utilitarian, Deontological, and Kohlberg’s Theory." April 21, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-utilitarian-deontological-and-kohlbergs-theory/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Ethics: Utilitarian, Deontological, and Kohlberg’s Theory." April 21, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-utilitarian-deontological-and-kohlbergs-theory/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Ethics: Utilitarian, Deontological, and Kohlberg’s Theory'. 21 April.

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