What Should You Do?

Imagine that you work for Centennial Energy Company, Inc. (NYSE: CEC) as a manager where you supervise a diverse unit of 25 people. You discover via an email sent to your inbox by mistake that Centennial Energy has been polluting the nearby water system with chemicals that may lead to sickness.  So far, no one in the local community has reported any illness.  The email goes on to say that all top executives are aware of the problem but the most cost efficient way to handle this is to do nothing as alerting the public would cause the stock price to plummet. You contemplate telling your immediate supervisor, but two things prevent you from doing so:  your supervisor is good friends with the CEO and as such, you fear nothing will be done.  Secondly, you could report this to the media, and that could cause you to lose your job and your reputation.  While there is whistle blower protections, your last job evaluation was just above average, therefore you do not have job security as the company could still fire you for substandard behavior if you were to “ruffle feathers.”  Your family and your spouse can not afford for you to lose this job due to the health care benefits/insurance of the company as you have 3 children of your own. While no one is sick yet, the chemicals in the water could lead to serious health issues, both short term and long term for the community. You must decide what you are going to do. Do you alert your supervisor? Do you go to the media? Do you risk losing everything? To complete this essay, you will compare and contrast two ethical frameworks as you decide what to do in this situation. Then, answer the following questions: Define egoism and utilitarianism in your own words. Compare and/or contrast these two ethical frameworks. Consider the workplace scenario through each framework. Which framework is violated and which is endorsed? Explain your reasoning. From an egoist perspective, is anyone’s conduct unethical? Why or why not? From a utilitarian perspective, is anyone’s conduct unethical? Why or why not? Now decide what you should do – from each perspective. For the first perspective, what is a morally correct action you can take (or not take?) Why? From the second perspective, what is a morally correct action you can take (or not take?) Why? Wrap it up: What would you ACTUALLY do in this situation? With what framework does your decision best align? Cite sources, especially when referencing back to definitions. A strong essay on this topic will be about 400-600 words in length and will include evidence from reliable sources that supports your conclusions.

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