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Virtue Ethics: One Way to Resolve an Ethical Dilemma Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2022

It has always been the practice of civilized people to create a method for studying morality. The purpose is obvious and it is to create a better society where men, women, and children live in peace, prosperity, and happiness. However, there can be no agreement when it comes to developing a system of knowing right and wrong; there will always going to be an endless debate regarding what is morality, ethics, and how to behave, especially when it comes to the moral dilemma that can affect a group of people.

What is fortuitous for one individual may be harmful to the other. In this paper, a particular case study will be analyzed using the Virtue Ethics theory first developed by Aristotle and later brought to the mainstream by Alasdair Macintyre. His virtue ethics theory is not guided by rules but they need to develop character in the individual. It will be applied in the case study regarding the ambivalent attitude of an employee towards his employment.

An internal usability team wanted to conduct a usability test that will use internal and external participants (Tavani, 2007). However, there was a dispute made regarding the use of the external participants, and it was discovered that the consent that they signed gave them the ability to leave every time they so chose to work with the said company. Other members of the usability team argue that although there was a clear loophole that the external members can choose to exploit so that they can be released from the work that they need to do they are ethically bound to stay and finish what they started.

Ethics Theory

One of the popular ways to study morality is to use an ethical theory that focuses on the action of the individual and its potential consequences. Thus, experts in this field label this approach as the “act-centered” method of understanding morality (Gensler, 2004). On the other hand, some argue that there is another method that can be used to develop an ethical standard that can in turn be applied by the community as a basis for behavior. This alternative way of devising ethical standards is also known as the “person-centered” approach (Gensler, 2007). One of the early proponents of virtue ethics is the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

Aristotle argued that for someone to become an ethical person there is a need to go beyond memorizing rules and simply talking about right and wrong (Tavani, 2007). Aristotle asserted that people must develop or acquire the right virtues (Tavani, 2007). This is in sharp contrast to the utilitarians and the deontologists who rely greatly on a system of rules and make decisions based on what they believe is the outcome of a particular action. The major difference between virtue ethics and those of the utilitarian and the deontologist is that the person strives to do something not because he is required or forced to do so by the collective prodding of the community or a tribe but he or she will do it for the sake of excellence of character.

Application

Virtue ethics does not use a particular set of rules or uses a formula to determine what must be done by the external participants who knew that they can walk out of the project anytime. They were paid and they already contributed to the project but at the same time, the project is not yet one hundred percent complete. They can on the other hand reason out that those who belong to the internal team can finish the task for them.

Although they were not legally bound to the project because they can leave anytime, the external participants need to consider the ethical dilemma that they are in. They were paid by the company to finish a task and they were expected to deliver a particular set of outcomes. By leaving the company and leaving the project not yet one hundred percent complete will not only endanger the whole project but also the team that organized the whole event and expected to also complete a study that could be useful for determining the policies and activities that will directly affect the company.

The external participants will have to stay put and finish what they had started because it is for the good of all. It is not only for the benefit of their employers but also for themselves. They had to complete the whole exercise and in the process, they have not only proven that they are reliable workers but at the same time, they were able to add to their wealth of experiences. They will therefore improve their capabilities and this little project can give them the confidence that they need that they can tackle projects as complex and challenging as this one.

ACS Code of Ethics

ACS is of great help to this case study because it provided some key points that an employer expects from its employers. It is also a means to understand that there are particular kinds of expectations that the employer has regarding their employees and vice versa. ACS is also instrumental in providing easily understandable and even measurable outcomes that can help guide employer-employee relations, especially in a virtual world that is difficult to assess and control.

Conclusion

The employers need to honor the terms of the agreement. Although they discovered a loophole that could theoretically provide a way out they must opt to stay and finish the job. The external applicants must have a different mindset with regards to employment and it is the simple task of collecting paycheck after paycheck. The employees are also expected to contribute something of significance to their employers and one of these things that they can do is to finish tasks that could help the company improve its products or services.

References

Gensler, H. (2004). Ethics: Contemporary Readings. New York: Routledge.

Tavani, H. T. (2007). Ethics and technology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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IvyPanda. "Virtue Ethics: One Way to Resolve an Ethical Dilemma." March 19, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/virtue-ethics-one-way-to-resolve-an-ethical-dilemma/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Virtue Ethics: One Way to Resolve an Ethical Dilemma." March 19, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/virtue-ethics-one-way-to-resolve-an-ethical-dilemma/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Virtue Ethics: One Way to Resolve an Ethical Dilemma'. 19 March.

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