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Managerial Ethics Case Study 3.1

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Managerial Ethics Case Study 3.1

Not only is the case of the polluting industrial plant a morally intense issue, it's also an emotionally heart-wrenching dilemma that pits the needs of one disadvantaged group against the rights of a minority faction. In this case, all six elements of Rest's degrees of moral intensity come into play when analyzing the proper course of action to take regarding the fate of the Canadian factory. The magnitude of consequences pertaining to these circumstances is tremendously high because the amount of harm generated from closing or maintaining the plant is sure to best the benefits. One also has to take social consensus into consideration because pollution and deforestation are currently hot button issues that generate strong opinions. Temporal immediacy comes into play only if we choose to shut the plant and immediately displace 300 handicapped employees. Finally, concentration of effect will definitely influence any decision because the moral implication of the death of a few individuals will have to be weighed alongside the displacement of the 300 handicap workers.

Insecurities and greed are two destructive motivations that may have an impact on the fate of the factory. Anxiety over retirement and the health and well being of a spouse are sure to influence any decision if insecurities and emotions aren't kept under control. Greed would be the most likely suspect for making a rash, destructive decision in this case. A lump sum of $100,000 versus $35,000 a year for the remainder of retirement amounts to a half a million reasons to choose to keep the plant open in lieu of the dangers to the neighbors.

Forgiving one's own unethical behavior is just one of several cognitive biases that could undermine any ethical decision. In the case of the polluting plant, saving one's own job can be ethically justified in one's mind if the jobs of 300 handicapped employees were also saved because of one selfish act. Also, all decision makers are apt to favor members of one's own community over members of a religious group they don't know or have some preconceived prejudice against.

The pitfalls of cognitive biases can be avoided by first acknowledging one's dark side to determine if self-interest is affecting the decision making process; followed up by stepping outside ones self-interests by consulting with others before coming to any conclusion. Furthermore, look to underlying principles such as the greater good edict of utilitarianism or the categorical imperative admonishment to do what's right regardless of the consequences to help further guide your ethical choices and avoid any biases which may influence ones decisions.

The circumstances surrounding this case create a very emotionally charged atmosphere. It's difficult to remove all emotion from the equation when you're dealing with the livelihood of



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