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Posted on May 7th, 2014, by

It will not be surprising to say that ethics domain seems to be one of the most complicated among others which require choices making in some way. Unfortunately, business used to meet appropriate situations very often, in comparison to other spheres of humans’ activities. In this paper, there is a try to prove that even the most complicated ethics dilemma, with equally strong opposing opinions, can  be handled by some kind of a consensus.

The main ethical issue in assigned case devoted to privacy of a person. The entire problem is rooted to the institution of public access to some personal data administrated by state’s authorities or private companies.  Being totally legal, appropriate institution gives business large background to indirect invasion to private humans’ lives through using of available data in the way that was not initially considered. Even the consent of affected individuals does not solve the dilemma entirely, as people cannot clearly predict all possible consequences and outcomes of their approval.

Thinking about the possible opinions on noticed ethical dilemma, we should refer to the most significant and important normative ethical theories, as we know them from philosophy.

Consequentialism is the study holding that consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct (Weaver, p.56). From this point of view, there is no dilemma indeed. As it was stated in the case, the program considered to be really efficient and could benefit its participants with life quality improvement. Thus, there is no doubt in rightness of a conduct.

Deontological ethics is the ethical study that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules (Weaver, p.80). This part is not enough single-valued as the previous one. According to this opinion, the stresses should be made to noted in case ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. However, considering the arguments presented by boss, the issue of Code’s applicability to analyzed case is pretty disputable. At the same time, the Code does not answer the question whether the subject of dilemma can be interpreted as a violation. On the other hand, there is no obstacle from any other legal act to run appropriate advertising campaign. Thereby, deontological point of view does not allow to see direct wrongness of a conduct.

Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, in other words the decision towards rightness or wrongness of certain conduct is based on Who am I? concept (Sandberg, p.45). Seemingly, this type of ethical estimation is a cornerstone to the entire case. From phrase to phrase, we are able to meet significant concern about possible embarrassment of campaign participants and possible violation of a person’s dignity. Appropriate point of view is opposed by objective benefits both to company and people. At second, no rule violation took place in case. Notwithstanding these facts, there is still pretty sensible concern, that is definitely based on own understanding and philosophy. From this point of view, described in case advertising campaign is not acceptable, as the contradicting conduct to character of a moral agent can never be called right.

Thinking about my own views on analyzed ethical dilemma, I see its solution in some kind of a consensus. This should be the moral agreement between ethical values of consequentialism and virtue ethics. To be sure in rightness of my moral decision, I would try to prove or refute all doubts in empiric manner. In this regard, I would contact some of my fellows, who have to struggle with the problem of overweight (obviously, if they are not too sensitive to this problem). I would inform them about expected outcomes and my concerns about ethical issues. In this way, respondents’ opinions to the problem will help to get clear picture about its moral nature. It is important that not less than three people should be asked for their opinions, as just some single view can be affected by individual specifications of a character.

Honestly, I have not experienced some similar to analyzed case ethical dilemmas in my work-life experience. However, it seems absolutely clear to me that outside estimation seems to be the most suitable solution to get objective opinion. At the same time, there is a need to be careful as only impartial opinion is valuable with ethical dilemma resolving. As for me, the most challenging aspect of this case is the contradiction between benefits and moral concerns rooted to virtue Ethics doctrine. However, appropriate challenge is inherent to every ethical dilemma, especially, if we are talking about business. It seems that there is no hopeless situation to get right moral decision. You just need to become released from subjectivism, and take a fresh look to moral side of a problem.

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