Ethical decision making refers to coming up with a choice that falls under the standards of the environment that are acceptable to most people. Most of the standards used to see whether something or a decision is ethical or not are based on Judeo-Christian principles (Husted et al. 56). The human societal structure often imposes sanctions on individuals who fail to follow ethical regulations and standards. The case study gives details of two classmates, Greg and Natalie, who posses different characters and other classmates too. Greg is hard working together with the other members of his group whereas Natalie is not able to participate with the group as required. The situation involves Greg and Natalie in a project, and later Greg is forced to evaluate Natalie. This case study is important because it poses a dilemma whereby Greg is expected to be just in his evaluation and Natalie is at risk of poor grades if Greg becomes truthful. An ethical decision is required in this context because the rest of the group members carried the burdens of the entire group whereas Natalie was lazing behind. This case study essay aims at providing an ethical decision approach to the situation of dilemma and will use several theoretical approaches to come up with the decision.
Analysis of ethical decision making involves many theories and several can be applied including the utilitarian approach, the rights approach, the fairness approach, the common good approach and the virtue approach. For the purpose of this essay, the common good, utilitarian and rights approaches will be applied. The common good theory states that the “good” thing should be shared and be beneficial to an enormous fraction of the society if not all. The case study shows that Greg evaluated the whole group that was involved in the project, and all had good grades, but the dilemma was about Natalie. For the theory of common good, it is normal to allow Natalie also to earn good grades for the sake of the whole group. It is because for the group to have good marks in the project, it would be recommended that all members perform well. It is reasonable that a group cannot perform well if all the members have not. To some extent, a member who performs poorly pulls down the grades of the group. Besides, all the group members had good grades after evaluation by Greg thus for the common good, and it is advisable that Natalie should also feel the delight of good performance as a group member.
The Rights Approach focuses on respect for human dignity. This approach holds that our dignity is based on our ability to choose freely how we live our lives, and that we have a moral right to respect for our choices as free, equal, and rational people, and a moral duty to respect others in the same way (Cremer D, 34). The case study shows that Natalie was respected whereas she did not give back what the group members offered her. Despite the hard work and the entire burden carrying by group members, Natalie still could not cooperate with her members and the rest of the group (Greg included) still had to work harder to fill Natalie’s gap. The rights approach would thus ensure that Natalie is respected, and her rights exercised. Since Natalie did not give back what she got from the rest, Greg should just evaluate her correctly and award her the deserved marks.
Utilitarian approach states that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting consequences. For the case study, Natalie is a lazy girl who makes the group toil so much for its success in the project. The consequence of all this hard work is for the purpose of the project’s good performance thus Natalie should just ride in the group for the sake of a successful united group. Suppose Greg evaluates Natalie harshly, she may end up performing poorly, and the group’s performance to affected partially. The moral worth of evaluating Natalie justly that would be harsh would give negative consequences thus utilitarianism supports that Natalie is also given a good grade in the evaluation.
My personal perspective is that Natalie should be evaluated and results corresponding with the rest’s marks should be awarded. In the case where group members earn good grades, the whole group should enjoy the benefit. Poor grades, on the other hand, should also be for the whole group, and I concur with the common good approach that good the entire group should be awarded good marks for the common good of the whole group. Natalie is seen to be lazy, but no member of the group disowned her. Instead, the entire group handled her portion and even worked extra hard. Natalie is thus a burden to the group, and since she is accepted, the group should have her as their burden in the entire case including allocation of marks.
In concluding, the thesis of the essay was to come up with decisions in relation with the discussed theoretical approaches. The higher number of the theories was lenient and in relation to them, Natalie is just supposed to earn good marks like the rest. Being that Greg is a friend to Natalie, and their group existence was voluntary, Greg should continue being a good friend irrespective of the circumstances. For the purpose of decision making, the common good should benefit, and the rights of individuals should be exercised, and the consequences of decisions should be considered.
De, Cremer D. Psychological Perspectives on Ethical Behavior and Decision Making. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2009. Print.
Husted, James H, and Gladys L. Husted. Ethical Decision Making in Nursing and Health Care: The Symphonological Approach. New York: Springer Pub. Co, 2008. Internet resource.