In this lesson, we look at how you make decisions, particularly those with potential implications to others. Sometimes those implications are well known. For instance, you issue financial statements and realize that they will be used by a variety of users to make important decisions. Other times you make decisions with a belief that no one else could possibly be impacted besides yourself. For example, how many of you were speeding on your way to work this morning? When you make the decisions you do, you might be driven by one or more means and ends rationalizations.
Recall in a previous lesson, that rationalizations are the stories that we tell ourselves to justify our decisions, behaviors or reactions. When it comes to ethical situations. There are six stages of rationalization or stories we might be telling ourselves to justify what we do. Each stage requires deeper thought on the decision at hand. The first is obedience, quite simply and obedience. rationalization is your ability to do just as you're told.
If the boss tells you to post a journal entry, then you do it because of the social power that he or she holds over you. That's it's okay to post the journal entry, because you were just being obedient. It's black and white. And rarely is there an option when you use this to rationalize your decision. Second, rationalization is self interest. It's nearly impossible for you to ignore your own self interest.
Your own self interest is to post the journal entry, because to not do so would likely cost you your job. And the third rationalization is conformity, conformity comes out of loyalty. When you go to work for an organization, you feel a certain amount of loyalty to them, you feel loyalty to your co workers, to your supervisor, and to the company as a whole. So in the case of the journal entry, to not post it would not be loyal to those around Do. The fourth rationalization comes from our awareness of, and our desire to follow the law. law defines the expectations for a society.
And when we breach a law, it often makes us feel a little less secure. If the journal entry is to adjust a reserve isn't breaking any laws or any accounting rules, we might go ahead and rationalize posting the entry on this basis. The fifth rationalization comes out of social contract, which is a higher standard than the law that suggests you need to protect the rights of others. Rights like privacy, freedom, free speech, freedom from harassment. In posting the journal entry, you may not contemplate any rights violations and not even consider this. However, if you knew the journal entry would change the financials in such a way that the bank's rights or the shareholders rights were infringed.
You might be less inclined To make the entry and finally, you have rationalizations based on universal human ethics. It's hard to imagine how posting a journal entry could take a life or cause a child to be abused. But sometimes the decisions we make have those sorts of implications. Perhaps you're working in an African subsidiary of your company. And as a result of posting this journal entry, funds will be diverted to help the poor and oppressed women and children in the community in which your company has set up a mine. Do you post the entry much harder decision?
Most decisions we make in life are made using the first couple of stages. For the bigger decisions in life. We might consider the middle stage and and means rationalizations, but how often do we deeply consider ethics in our decision making? So on the surface, what you thought was a simple decision to make to post a journal entry or not, suddenly has many different facets to consider. Let's See if you can work through an exercise to reinforce your understanding of the means and ends rationalizations. in this situation your loved one falls ill with a rare form of disease, a drug exists that can help cure the disease.
But it is very expensive and it's not covered by health insurance. If your loved one does not get access to the drug, he or she will surely die within a month. You have approached the company asking for access to the drug and your request has been denied. you're forced to consider stealing the drug. Is this ethically the right thing to do? What I'd like you to do now is to look at each of the six stages of means and ends rationalizations and determine an argument to support stealing or not stealing the drugs.
Let's begin with obedience. What argument would you make for not stealing the drug? Well, that should be easy. Do not steal the drug because You will go to jail and you will be a bad person. There really isn't an argument for stealing the drug using obedience. At stage two, however, the means and ends rationalizations get more complex because you wade into the gray area.
What is your argument for stealing or not stealing the drug? Steal the drug, because you'll be happy if your loved one to save. Even if you have to go to jail. You could also argue you don't steal because prison is more painful than the death of your loved one. At stage three, conformity. What story would you tell yourself to steal or not steal the drug?
Steal the drug because you are a good spouse and your spouse expects it? Or don't steal it because society says stealing is wrong. At stage for Law and Order. This should be obvious, but why would you steal or not steal the drone? Okay, we don't steal because it's illegal, or we steal and suffer the consequences. At stage five social contract, you think more deeply of your actions, your means and ends, rationalization is much more sophisticated.
What is a story that you tell yourself to steal or not steal the drug? we steal it, because everyone has the right to choose life, regardless of law, or we don't steal it, because the company has a right to fair compensation, which is equal or greater than the rights of the dying loved one. And finally, when you weigh universal human ethics, what is the story you tell yourself to steal or not steal the drug? we steal the drug because saving human life is more fundamental than the property rights of another person. Or don't steal because others Need the drug just as badly and their lives are equally significant. So we can see it's much more complicated than it first looks on the surface.
To that end, in this course, we assess the current state of trust in the world today and recognized that never has the need for ethical intelligence been higher. We recognized the role the brain has in moral reasoning. Our faster more intuitive right side of the brain is susceptible to all sorts of judgment traps. Remaining alert and aware of these traps helps to navigate through ethical situations safely. Third, we look at the means and ends rationalizations these are the stories we tell ourselves to justify our actions. Often, whether we are making decisions out of convenience or devising elaborate justifications good people may fall victim to poor decisions.
In our next course, we will look at approach ethical situations using both a principled and prescriptive approach. The forward to seeing you then