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Confronting Ethical Dilemmas

Confronting Ethical Dilemmas

As the use of the Internet continues to take a larger part of our professional and personal lives, many organizations are increasingly becoming concerned about how employees use the Internet to meet their own interests. Previously, I was asked to monitor my colleague’s Internet activity by the head office, and this left me in an ethical dilemma because I felt my actions would lead to an invasion of privacy while, on the other hand, I felt that employees should use the company’s resources to enhance organizational productivity. Privacy is mentioned as a critical moral value and a vehicle for showing respect to people from a consequentialist and deontological perspective. Additionally, privacy is considered a virtue that needs to be defended and protected as other moral rights. Therefore, the issue of monitoring my colleague’s Internet activity might, on the one hand, be an important aspect for enhancing the employer-employee relationship, and on the other, it could be counterproductive and considered as a lack of trust by employees who are monitored hence making them angry. In light of these statements, in this paper, I seek to employ the utilitarian and deontological approaches in examining whether these perspectives strike a balance in the decisions.

I made it during my ethical dilemma.

According to the utilitarian theory, the wrongness or rightness of an act, policy, or law is based on whether the tendency will minimize pain and maximize pleasure. According to Rosenstand (2020), “In its most useful modern reformulation, it is a moral theory that judges the goodness of outcomes by the degree to which they secure the greatest benefit of all concerned. Therefore, this theory encourages people to ensure the choices made during an ethical dilemma are ratified by certain pragmatic considerations that are in line with peculiar circumstances. It is critical that decisions are made in a way that satisfies and protects people’s interests. This implies that people have the opportunity to adopt practices and institutions that suit various recurring situations.

Generally, utilitarianism considers practices and policies to be permissible and morally right if the outcomes are better than the alternatives. According to Hausman et al. (2016), the implementation of various actions and decisions becomes obligatory only when such decisions are better than other alternatives. Therefore, all the foreseeable harm and benefits resulting from every action or decision should be taken into account. This implies that well-informed decisions and rationality should be prioritized over the actual results. In this way, people can be able to create a balance between actual preferences and identifying welfare. In expressing their concerns, Hausman and his counterparts write, “Focusing on rational or informed preference leads away from the person’s actual wants and towards what is in some substantive sense good for the individual” (Hausman et al., 2016). Such an approach allows utilitarians to consider the moral foundations of their actions and policies in a better way.

Utilitarian ethics would consider my actions of monitoring my colleagues’ Internet activity as a course of action that could protect society from harm. The use of the Internet for purposes other than those aimed at enhancing the company’s productivity could enable my colleague to obtain some real-time information, which could prevent the transformation of conflicts. From a utilitarian perspective, monitoring my colleague’s Internet activity could produce happiness in terms of security. Most people consider their security needs as another form of pleasure, which could be more valuable and desirable as compared to all other forms of pleasure. Law and order include basic protection that all states should offer their citizens. While some form of freedom and pervasiveness arises due to privacy invasion, such as monitoring a colleague’s Internet activity, such pain could be offset by the higher moral weight provided by security (Hladik, 2014). Therefore, it is evident that the utilitarian theory uses evaluative criteria to justify that the Internet could be used for other activities, such as crises.

The deontological approach argues that there are certain ethical standards that everyone should respect in the workplace. Some people fail to adhere to these privacy regulations by blocking certain websites for their colleagues. According to the deontological approach, “It is everyone’s duty to abide by those objective standards of ethical behavior that we have discerned through our rational thinking” (Rosenstand, 2020). Therefore, the deontological approach considers monitoring a colleague’s Internet activity as intruding into their personal lives and violating their privacy in terms of their individuality and sense of security, which is a critical component in the development of a trusting relationship. Kant believed that the respect, dignity, and autonomy of every individual need to be emphasized. Contrary to the utilitarian approach, the theory of deontology refers to duty; hence, no harm should be allowed, even if it is meant to bring positive consequences. This implies that all decisions based on deontology should focus more on benefiting the individual despite the consequences involved.

Unlike utilitarianism, whereby an action is evaluated on the amount of happiness it could bring to society or most people to determine whether an action is morally right or wrong, one considers the nature of such an action. Therefore, in this scenario, monitoring my coworkers’ Internet activity, and deontological ethics would require me to be human and consider principles such as justice, non-maleficence, beneficence, and respect for autonomy (Rosenstand, 2020). Therefore, using a deontological approach, I was required to act in the right manner no matter how much risk it would take, such as losing my job. This would be in line with Kant’s reasoning that doing the right thing should not be grounded on the outcomes but rather on the good intention that motivates one to take such actions. Therefore, taking a moral action would be based on duty and obligation. I believe that allowing my colleagues to use their Internet freely was the best decision I made because it satisfies Kant’s perspective of autonomy since this approach enabled me to identify actions that would seem immoral.

I used a faulty model in solving ethical dilemmas in the past because I simply imagined that bad people always do bad things. However, I have realized that, in most cases, wrong decisions might be made by individuals perceived as good leaders, managers, and employees. After going through this course, I began viewing ethics from a different angle using utilitarian and deontological approaches. These perspectives have now enabled me to link my ethical dilemmas with the moral system. Based on this moral operation, I can now distinguish right and wrong. After undertaking this class, I have learned that ethical principles can offer generalized frameworks for resolving ethical dilemmas. Therefore, one could apply such principles in both their professional and interpersonal lives.

Conclusively, this paper used the deontological and utilitarian frameworks to analyze whether monitoring my colleagues’ Internet activity would be morally right or wrong. While the utilitarian approach would consider monitoring a colleague’s internet activity as an action that could possibly prevent harm to society, the deontological approach required me to take an action that could promote the individual’s autonomy regardless of the consequences. My colleagues needed to feel valued for their contributions to the company; therefore, treating them unfairly and unjustly would make them feel inferior. Additionally, monitoring the Internet activity of my colleagues would make them feel counterproductive and lose trust in me, compromising the workplace relationship. I believe that following the deontological approach during my ethical dilemma was the best decision because monitoring their Internet activity would violate their privacy and autonomy.


Hausman, D., McPherson, M., & Satz, D. (2016). Economic analysis, moral philosophy, and public policy. Cambridge University Press.

Hladik, C. (2014). Rusbridger’s “The Snowden Leaks and the Public” and Mill’s Utilitarianism: An Analysis of the Utilitarian Concern of “Going Dark”. Stance: An international undergraduate philosophy journal7(1), 29-40.

Rosenstand, N. (2020). The moral of the story: An introduction to ethics. Mcgraw-Hill Education.


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In the first week of class, you were asked to complete a short essay in which you reflected on some event in your life in which you were confronted with a genuine ethical dilemma (ATTACHED IN FILES)—a situation in which you had to choose between two (possibly more) conflicting options for reacting to and handling the situation in a way that you deemed to be morally correct and ethically sound. In other words, either it was difficult to know what the morally right decision was, or, alternatively, you clearly knew, intellectually and rationally what doing the right thing required of you, but for some reason, making that decision or taking that action was very difficult for you to do. In this second essay dealing with the way you confronted your ethical dilemma, move past a simple narrative description of the event that re.

Confronting Ethical Dilemmas

Confronting Ethical Dilemmas

ports how you handled the situation why you came to the decision and the course of action you took to a more analytical and critical assessment of the situation. This will be a longer piece, worth 10 points. Your Part II essay should include a demonstration of your having achieved the following learning outcomes:

*Understanding of the role of ethical argumentation in shaping ethical perspectives, values, concepts, or positions;
*Realization of the influence of various contextual factors on one’s ethical views and decision-making;
*Ability to apply different ethical perspectives to an ethical question and explain the implications that follow from such applications;
*Ability to articulate and support your own ethical position as an appropriate approach to ethical questions while also relating it to and comparing it with other ethical positions studied and critiqued throughout the course.

In this essay in which you are reflecting on how you handled a personal ethical dilemma that confronted you, bring into the discussion at least two different traditional ethical approaches or theories and consider how your actions in dealing with the dilemma may now be analyzed in the light of these different views. You might, for example, consider a consequentialist (e.g., Mill’s Utilitarian Theory) and a non-consequentialist approach (e.g., Kant’s Deontological/Duty Theory) to ethical questions.

Does your response to the dilemma fall in line with either approach in any important way? Does it go against the prescriptions of either theory? You should make an effort here to clearly articulate your current ethical position and decide whether it is the same as when you confronted your ethical dilemma in the past or whether it is now different. Also, reflect on whether anything you have learned or thought about as a result of taking this class has changed or shaped your current ethical position.

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