Quiz 1: Ethical Reasoning: Implications for Accounting
1. The Josephson's Six Pillars of character are: • Trustworthiness - need for honesty and integrity. • Respect - treat people with respect and as equals • Responsibility - be accountable for actions, act with a reasonable level of care • Fairness - treat people with an equal, impartial standard • Caring - be understanding of another's issues • Citizenship - obey laws, be involved in community, vote. The stakeholders in this case are the student, professor and teaching assistants (TAs), and the school. The characters relevant to students are trustworthiness and responsibility. They were asked not to work in a group. There were evidence that they did so as many of their answers were very similar. Many students were confused they couldn't because they had the same TAs. They could have asked the professor if it was allowed to work through a TA for their work. The professors and TAs need to have responsibility for actions. The article gave the impressions that many students were unaware of the level of collaboration that was or wasn't allowed. This may have been resolved if the professors and TAs gave clearer instructions for the test, or simply not have a take home test. The school needs to treat students fairly. They need to be able to explain why some students were dismissed and others weren't. Their reasons for dismissal should be objective. 2. Egoism and enlightened egoism states that one should do something in their own interest. Using this standard, it is in the student's interest to cheat as long as they aren't found. The professors and TAs also have an interest to keep a blind eye on cheating. They have an interest in receiving good evaluations. Thus, both parties can be considered at fault. 3. The Deontological approach states that each person is deserving of respects of his rights from others. Deontology also stresses that one must act according to one's duty to others. The approach doesn't consider whether the end goal of the act was moral, only that the act itself must be moral. There doesn't seem to be a violation of rights. Students are supposed to maintain academic integrity. From a justice viewpoint, it seems unfair the professors and TAs were not reprimanded for their actions.
This question presents an ethical dilemma known as the "trolley problem". The decider in the trolley is given two choices: • Sacrifice one man, by pushing him off, to save five including the decider. • Do nothing. The one man survives, but five including the decider will die. There are no correct answers for this question. The following parts describe possible justifications for either choice using deontological and teleological approaches. The Deontological approach states that each person is deserving of respects of his rights from others. Deontology also stresses that one must act according to one's duty to others. The approach doesn't consider whether the end goal of the act was moral, only that the act itself must be moral. The choice to do nothing can be considered correct because the man deserves his right to live. If he is pushed off to save the five his right to live is being used. The Deontological approach states that this is immoral because the act, killing, is immoral regardless of the end goal being for a better good. The Teleological Approach considers the whether the ends of an act is morally justified. This approach includes egoism and utilitarianism. Egoism considers acting in one's self interest as an end. Utilitarianism seeks to maximize the benefit, or minimize harms to those involved in an act. By the egoism approach, it's in the decider's self-interest to sacrifice the one man so that the decider can live. Utilitarianism will compel the decider to do the same; the death of one is much less costly than the death of five.
The following summarizes the events in the case: • An accounting firm strictly forbids dating between different rank employees of its firm • The firm's executive, G, and his employee, R, are dating • They are conducting an audit • Another executive suspects their amounts on their billable hours. 1. The Josephson's Six Pillars of character are: • Trustworthiness - need for honesty and integrity. • Respect - treat people with respect and as equals • Responsibility - be accountable for actions, act with a reasonable level of care • Fairness - treat people with an equal, impartial standard • Caring - be understanding of another's issues • Citizenship - obey laws, be involved in community, vote. The characters relevant to G and R is trustworthiness and responsibility. They were not trustworthy by hiding their relationship to the company. They also did not act with responsibility. As professional auditors they should be well aware that their degree of fraternization can be viewed as suspicious. 2. If G was a person of integrity he will admit his relationship to his boss. He will take responsibility for his actions and request to be taken off the audit project. 3. If G is a valuable employee and there's no other reason to question his work capabilities, the firm may decide to keep him. Out of fairness, they will have to request that either G or R resign from the firm or fire both of them. The firm is concerned with conflict of interest between superiors and their employees, so they can only keep one or the other.