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A SEVEN-STEP PROCEDURE FOR MORAL DECISION-MAKING

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What are the Facts? What are the Issues? What are the Alternatives? Who are the Primary Stakeholders? What are the Practical Constraints? 6. What Steps should be taken to Implement the Selected Alternative? OVERVIEW I. Relevant Facts Identify the key factors that shape the situation, and give rise to the ethical issues. Issues A. Factual Issues Factual issues are questions of facts; and they are resolvedif they canby empirical investigation. For example, one of the problems we face in determining our obligation to future generations with respect to the use of non-renewable resources such as oil is that we cannot predict what the needs of future generations will be. Perhaps sources of energy yet to be discovered will drastically reduce the need for oil. B. Conceptual Issues Conceptual issues have something to do with (1)meaning of a concept and (2) whether the concept applies or fits in a particular situation. We might consider them to be issues involving a definition and its application. Conceptual issues are resolved by determining the meaning and the applicability of a concept. The debate over abortion is a classic example. Is the fetus a human being? A person? The answer depends on how we define human being/person, and whether the fetus fits the definition. C. Ethical/Moral Issues Moral issues are disagreements over moral principles. They are resolved by appealing to moral principles or standards. For

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example, if the fetus is a human being, is abortion still sometimes permissible. There is also a need to identify whether the moral issues are systemic, organizational or individual issues. Alternative Courses of Action (ACA) Identify the viable courses of action that could be taken. Primary Stakeholders Identify the key individuals or groups affected by such a decision. Ethics of the Alternatives Evaluate how each alternative affects the stakeholders and determine how ethical each alternative is in view of the ethical models or moral frameworks (utilitarianism, rights, justice) Practical Constraints Identify the practical factors that may limit your ability to implement an alternative or that may make some alternative too difficult or risky. Steps to Be Taken After weighing all of these considerations, determine exactly what steps should be taken to implement the selected alternative.

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Sample Case: A7D Fraud


Several years ago, B.F. Goodrich, a manufacturer of vehicle parts, won a military contract to design , test, and manufacture aircraft brakes for the A7D, a new sky plane the Air Force was designing. To conserve the weight, Goodrich guaranteed that their compact brake would weigh no more than 106 pounds, would contain no more than four small braking disks or rotors, and would stop the aircraft within a certain distance. The contract was potentially quite lucrative for the company and so managers were anxious to deliver a brake that qualified by successfully passing tests showing it could stop the aircraft as required. Kermit Vandivier, a Goodrich employee, was given the job of working with Goodrich engineers to write up the report of the tests run on the brake, which the government was unlikely to question and even less likely to repeat. Unfortunately, Vandivier later wrote, when the small brake was tested, the brake linings on the rotors repeatedly disintegrated because there simply was not enough surface area on the disks to stop the aircraft without generating the excessive heat that caused the linings to fail. His superiors, however, told him that Regardless of what the brake does on tests, were going to qualify it.

After several tests were run, Vandivier was told to write up a report stating that the brake had passed the tests. Vandivier explained to his superior that the only way such a report such a report could be written was to falsify the test data, to which his superior replied that he was well aware of what was required, but that he had been ordered to get a report written regardless of how or what had to be done. Vandivier, therefore, had to decide whether he would participate in writing up the false report. He later stated: My job paid well, it was pleasant and challenging, and the future looked reasonably bright. My wife and I had bought a homeIf I refused to take part in the A7D fraud, I would either have to resign or be fired. This report would be written by someone anyway, but I would have the satisfaction of knowing I had no part in the matter. But bills arent paid with personal satisfaction, nor house payments with ethical principles. I made my decision. The next morning, I telephoned my superior and told him I was ready to begin the qualification report. As he worked on the report, Vandivier said, he talked with the senior executive assigned to the project and asked him, if his (the senior executives) conscience would hurt him if such a thing caused the death of a pilot, and this is when he replied that I was worrying about too many things that did not concern me and advised me to do what youre told.

Questions: If you were Kermit Vandivier, would you take part in the fraud? How will you decide? Perform the seven-step procedure for moral decision-making. Seven-Steps: I. Laying Down the Relevant Facts B. F. Goodrich has won a lucrative military contract with the Air Force to manufacture aircraft brakes for A7D o Company managers wanted to deliver a brake that qualifies though tests runs done by the company showed that the manufactured aircraft brake was not safe that could lead to deaths of pilots. o To qualify, they have to falsify the report. Government was unlikely to question nor repeat the tests. Kermit Vandivier, a Goodrich employee, was tasked to write up the report on the test runs o His job in the company was well-paying and challenging o He was ordered to falsify test data so as to have the aircraft brake qualify. If he refused to cooperate in the fraud, he would either have to resign for he believed that he be fired.

If he would not make the report somebody else would but he would have the satisfaction of knowing that he had not taken part in the fraud. o He had bills to pay, e.g., a home. II. Identifying the Issues A. Factual Issues 1. Was top management aware of the plan to make a fraudulent report? 2. If the fraud be revealed, what would be the unacceptable legal liabilities incurred by B. F. Goodrich and Kermit Vandivier? 3. If he resign, could Vandivier still find another well-paying and fulfilling? Could he find a job just in time to pay his bills? B. Conceptual Issues What is fraud? What is meant by making a fraudulent report? C. Moral Issues 1. Systemic Did he have moral obligation to protect and promote public interests, such as safety, and the interest of the client by making an honest report? Was this moral obligation not in conflict with the obligation to obligation to promote the interest of the manufacturing industry? 2. Organizational Would he fulfill his moral obligation to promote the interest and the good of his company by writing a fraudulent report? Was his moral obligation to comply to the orders of his immediate superiors absolute? Would being a good employee imply blind obedience to the command of his immediate superiors? 3. Individual Would his moral obligation to provide for and protect his family override his moral obligation to protect public interest and to promote the common good? Which of his moral obligation to self would be of greater weightobligation to be in a fulfilling career or obligation to have a clear conscience? III. Identifying the Alternative Courses of Actions (ACAs)

ACA1: to cooperate in making a fraudulent report ACA2: not to cooperate in making a fraudulent report ACA3: report to the proper authorities, such as, management

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IV. Identifying the Primary Stakeholders 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pilot Family of the pilot Air Force B. F. Goodrich Vandiviers immediate superior and other managers and staff who took part in the fraud 6. Kermit Vandivier 7. Kermit Vandiviers family V. Determining the Ethics of the Alternatives 1. Utilitarian Ethics 2. Ethics of Right Natural Law Ethics Duty Ethics 3. Ethics of Care 4. Virtue Ethics 5. Ethics of Love and Solidarity VI. Identifying the Practical Constraints 1. ACA1: Legal liabilities once the fraud be known; and possibility for it to be known would be greater since the A7D airplanes would always figure in accidents A disturbed and guilty moral conscience 2. ACA2 Incur the ire of his immediate superiors which could led to his termination Loss of job would and loss of income to provide for the family and to pay the bills Might not be able to find job immediately Might not be able to find a well-paying and fulfilling job 3. ACA3 Make enemies out of his immediate superiors and other employees in the company Top management might not believe in him

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Steps to Take in Implementing the Chosen Alternative