In the case study, ‘Little Enough or Too Much’ Bryan, Theproduct development manager is not satisfied with his company’s policy of notinitiating to recycle the waste yet making claims of protecting the environmentfrom harmful materials. The company’s X Chemical’s plant on the East River isreleasing more waste than the company originally intended. Even though this isdone to ensure cost efficiencies and competitiveness, there is a reasonablechance that this practice could be harming the environment.Therefore, Bryan believes an action should be taken toprotect the environment against harmful pollutants and maltreatment. Havingalready spoken to his supervisor, Bill Gates he knows that the option to alterthe current process is not of any concern to the companyThe X Chemical has been selling well which means that thecompany has been able to satisfy its customers by giving them a quality productand its employees and other stockholders by giving them large bonuses andprofits.
However, thiscase brings light to very important moral issues. Does the company have theobligation to protect the environment even if it means going beyond governmentstandards? Furthermore, is Bryan responsible or obligated to take actions and informothers inside the company? Seeing how is efforts are going in vain as no one inthe company wants to make adjustment as they might hinder the their profitswhich are currently thriving.Bryan hastwo possible alternatives, first he could gather information from theengineering and chemical departments that were included in the initial makingof the chemical X and overlook the processing of it to provide evidence for hisconcern, and he could also speak to the waste management department, if any, ofhis company for further proof. The Second option for Bryan would be to become a’Whistleblower’ and report to people working outside the company about thecurrent situation that would bring unwanted attention to the company. If we gobased on the ethical theory of Virtue ethics which emphasis decisions to bemade based on one’s own moral character, Bryan does indeed have an obligationto inform others, which he does of the necessity of the issue to be resolved.Virtue ethics teaches us that individuals should make decisions based on theirown characters and personal beliefs, “rather than relying on external laws andcustoms of a person’s culture” (Gowdy, 2013).
It is certain that Bryan is explicitly uncomfortable with how the decisionshave been made regarding the waste management of chemical X and does notbelieve they are right. The current business structure, mainly authorization of addition discarding ofwaste, his company focusing on its profits also Greenwashing of the theircustomers and the society as clearly the company is not living up to theirpublic promises, Bryan’s company culture seems to contradict his inner beliefs.According tothe virtue ethics, these factors should not influence his final decision as itwould be logical for him to pursue the issue. Moreover, this theory placesgreat emphasis on directing an individual’s attention away from popular beliefsand focusing on one’s own opinion and thoughts (Gowdy, 2013)Undervirtue ethics, it is also said that individuals should ultimately makedecisions which reinforce key virtues such as courage, justice and honesty andthat through consistent practice, individuals are able to acquire good habitsof character. Therefore, Bryan should not doubt his own judgement just becausethe others did not view the situation from his perspective and understand hisinstinct which appears to be telling him that the company is making a huge mistake.Thus, Basedon this, in order to ensure that Bryan continues to make moral decisionsthroughout the rest of his life and is able to truly live virtuously, he shouldgo with the first option and make an attempt to have the additional stepimplemented into the production to reduce the amount of pollution and live upto his company’s standards. This way Bryan’s characteristics of courage wouldbe highlighted, given that all the other employees and employers are interestedin only the short term benefits being presented to the: competitiveness andmoney.
These motives of greed highlight the bad characteristics of his peers,which ultimately does not satisfy the virtue ethics theory. Hence, they wouldfall under the category of bad habits, which Bryan has clearly avoided as eventhough he sees the benefit of the Chemical X, unlike his co-workers, he doesnot ignore the fact that excess pollution because of this product will causelong-term problems for his company. Consequently, if the evidence from the chemicaland engineering department does prove that such chemical waste will haveextreme health effects, this will put the wildlife and the lives of public as awhole, including the workers and Bryan in danger.We couldalso view this theory from the utilitarian perspective.
Under which, one mayargue that the current production process is causing an increase in profits,therefore choosing to leave the current process as it is will benefit thegreatest number of people (Jon, 2007). However, theseprofits are only short-term, ultimately their product will surpass the profitstage and there is a possibility that the deceived consumers or an outsider mayfind out the enormous amount of waste dumped by the company. Bryan has already identified that thecompany’s public statement, that all the actions taken by them are done inorder to minimize harmful environmental effects has been proven false to due tothe production of chemical X. While it isbelieved that slowing down the production process in order to implement theadditional step will only draw unwanted attention and suspicion from the environmentalistgroup, however, it would be worse if the environmentalist were to discover thisdishonesty later on. At least, if they were able to correct their mistake rightnow, they would be able to stand by their statement.as the benefits of beingtrue to the company’s public policy outweighs the profits possible by followingthe letter of the law under the utilitarian theory of ethics. According to thisBryan will have to reproach Bill Gates and convince him that the ethicalsolution needs to be made urgently.
He will have to look up the evidences fromthe chemical department to find out the damaging effect of their currentprocess to support his claim. Once approved and agreed upon, the company willbe able to minimize the harmful effects. He would also sustain his virtualcharacter and will also cause him to make morally correct decisions when facedwith difficulties in future.
References Arthur, A. (1992). Little Enough or Too Much. Retrieved from Teaching Notes: http://public.tepper.
cmu.edu/ethics/AA/mgmt04-notes.pdf Austine, C. (2017, July 16).
Virtue Ethics: Morality and Character. Retrieved from Thoughtco.com: https://www.thoughtco.
com/virtue-ethics-morality-and-character-249866 Gowdy. (2013, October 15). Virtue Ethics.
Retrieved from Ethicsmorale.com: http://www.ethicsmorals.com/ethicsvirtue.html Jon, P. (2007). Political philosophy A-Z.
Edinburg, UK: Edinburgh University Press. Retrieved from https://search-credoreference-com.ezproxy.humber.ca/content/entry/edinburghppaz/utilitarianism/0