Deontology is an ethical theory that emphasizes the importance of moral principles and rules for making decisions. Deontology never considers the outcome of the event. The only matter deontology considers is the moral standard of the individual. Deontologist argues that the core of the moral standard is duty. They believe that there are certain moral duties and obligations that individual must follow, regardless of the consequences. These duties are often expressed as universalized principles that apply all rational beings. Deontology also emphasizes the role of intent and motive in moral standards. The action must be morally right with motivation to follow the principles even if the predicted consequence is unfavorable.
Group 5 created story about a team in corporate company. The team was facing termination from their job due to poor work performance, and their last project was going to determine their employment and future of this company. Charlie, the team leader, was under enormous amount of pressure to get the best result for him and the team. He fabricated the data to get his team the best result. Charlie’s team got the best feedback and was selected to proceed with their project to the next level. The board was extremely happy with the great performance his group produced. Their job was once again secured and they seemed like have a bright future within the company. Charlie was frightened the fact that he fabricated the data. The fear what if the truth of the data gets revealed and the entire team gets compromised. If he doesn’t come forward with it, no one would know. Either to prepare for the worst scenario, or to share the mental burden, Charlie decides to confess his crime to the team. Every members of the team gets shocked and start to think what they should do.
Based on the idea of deontology, there is only one solution to this problem. It’s turning Charlie in, confess and wait for board’s response. Deontologists don’t believe in the world where everyone lies and keeping silent against the action of cheating. Regardless of the result, the team doesn’t have a choice but to do the right thing. Reporting the wrongdoing is the members’ responsibility and duty based on company principle and employee code of conduct. They are evidently on the edge of their career in the company, but they need to do what is necessary. If the team member decides to bury the fact, they are carrying the risk too.
This act, even though it could be a confession, can be categorized as ‘whistle blowing’. Shawver described it as “Whistle blowing is defined as “the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action.” (Shawver, T., & Clements, L. H. (2008). Canada Justice system protects the action of whistler blowing with its regulation on Canadian Criminal Code, Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 as well as the Securities Act. (KCY at Law, n.d). The regulations in Canada prohibit the employers to any disruptive actions against the employees from deterring to contact the law enforcement with information about their employer’s offense. In this case, the team can report their immediate supervisor, Charlie, to the board. If the board tried to silent the issue, the employees can freely report the issue to the law enforcement to seek the justice. If the team reports Charlie in, justice will be served and they will create fair atmosphere in the company. The fact that they confessed their own fault could be viewed as great integrity. There is a great chance that they will be valued with their accountability and transparency.
Canadians seems more of deontology side of aspect than Koreans or Americans. If the decision would be up to either Koreans or Americans, there would be high possibility to remain silent. The most possible scenario would be the person confess, team members keep it as secret, but if it gets reveals they don’t share the responsibility. Deontology side of aspect isn’t always welcome to the community. After the confession people could still look at the group suspiciously for blowing the whistle. Whistle-blowing is often justified as moral act when it matches with principles of integrity, the duty to prevent harm, promote greater good. However, such action could cause possible retaliation and bring complex moral dilemmas, especially when the other duties, conflicting of interest, and principles gets mixed up. It’s very challenging to discuss such action, but ultimately deontology encourages the importance of individuals to follow their moral principles and duties.
KCY at Law (n.d). What Legal Protections Can Whistleblowers in Canada Expect?.
Shawver, T., & Clements, L. H. (2008). Whistleblowing: Factors that Contribute to Management Accountants Reporting Questionable Dilemmas. Management Accounting Quarterly, 9(2), 26-38.
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