Tom is in a precarious position with the dilemma being whether to report the malfunctioned motors to Mr Peter or just pretend that nothing happened considering he is the only person who is aware of the current situation. The catch is that should he keep quit he and his family will benefit but should the issue blow up, the business might close shop.
Ethical egoism dictates that we should always seek to act in our own self interest. According to this theory, the rightness or wrongness of an act depends on its consequences with the right actions promoting self interest while wrong actions distract from self interest.
Thus, Tom needs to consider the course of action which will benefit him the most. Keeping quiet will yield the most benefits as opposed to telling his boss about the malfunctioned motors. He will get the 1000 dollars bonus, pay for the new house and keep his family happy.
Utilitarianism is often described by the phrase “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”. When weighing his options, Tom has to consider all the stakeholders involved and which action will benefit them the most.
Keeping quiet will only benefit him for a short while. But should the motors blow up and the company be sued, a lot of people will end up hurt. Telling the truth will prove good eventually. Accidents involving a lot of people may be averted and thus no lawsuits and no negative publicity; everyone will be happy.
Kantian Ethic Theory states that people should adhere to their obligations and duties when stuck with an ethical dilemma. Tom has a duty and obligation to his boss to report any motor malfunction as this is what he is paid to do and is expected of him. This is obviously important otherwise Mr Peter would not waste resources testing the motors before distribution. Not telling his boss would be abdication of duty and hence unethical.
Kant’s tenets that we should always treat people as an end not as a means echoes my sentiments further.
Virtue ethics emphasizes on the significance of virtue in decision making especially during ethical dilemmas. When virtues are practiced over time, they become embedded in our decision making processes.
Tom appears to be very persevering; he has a purpose in life despite of the hurdles in his path. He wants a good home for his family even though he has been in and out of employment and is struggling financially.
Under this theory, he would tell the boss the truth in line with his practice as he is used to living without the money so it will not cloud his judgment.
I truly empathize with Tom considering that he is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Faced with a similar dilemma I would go with the Kantian Ethics approach and just tell Mr. Peter the truth.
I did not use ethical egoism, utilitarian theory or virtue ethics to solve this dilemma because of the following reasons.
Ethical egoism advocates for self-interest. This would be the easiest option for Tom considering that he would benefit the most but the issue is that this is a short term gain. What will happen when the motors backfire and people are hurt?
Utilitarian on the other hand focuses on the satisfaction gotten by the majority. Who are the majority? Is it the few workers who will get the bonus or the once who will get hurt by the malfunctioning motors? It becomes really hard to know who will benefit the most.
Virtue ethics on the other hand determines ethics by the characteristics that we hold in heart. If you are a virtuous person then the right decision will come your way. This will prove tricky in the long run considering that it will be very hard to go against something that you have dreamed of for so long.