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Patel 1

Milan Patel
Instructor Thorland-Oster
EE 394
25 April 2016
Ethics Essay
Ethics are a set of guidelines that do their best to hold us to a moral code. A code that keeps us
responsible for our actions and helps us analyze how to make future ones. Without ethics, this world
would be a less pleasant place to inhabit. All that being said, the code isnt perfect. An individual has to
make a conscious effort to carry out decisions in an ethical manner. However, just because the occasional
select few choose to deviate from noble behavior doesnt mean we should all follow suit. And, for the
most part we dont. In business, ethics are even more crucial to follow. Which is why they should be/are
more strictly regulated. It isnt simply following the golden rule like we did in kindergarten; our decisions
can make a huge impact on the world around us. And, living ethically makes life more pleasurable for
everyone involved.
Which is why when I am faced with an ethical dilemma, I have to evaluate what the
consequences of my actions would be. First, I have to make sure that my decision will avoid any sort of
bias. Bias can come in all forms. It can be internal or external from fellow peers. In the rare cases, I feel
there may be bias present in my decision; I will often ask a neutral third party for their opinion, if
possible. Next, I have to evaluate who this decision may end up affecting. The last thing I would want as
an outcome for my decisions would be: someone at the company I am employed at, my family & friends;
or, if the decision is impactful enough, the standards of living of people being effected by an immoral
decision. To thoroughly evaluate who my decision may effect, I have to analyze the ramifications in both
short and long-term contexts. What would be the best possible aftermath; and what would be the worst?
Once I can optimize these values and a few other ethical factors, it will guide me the best decision to
make. This process is easy to uphold short periods, but the true test comes in the long term. To evaluate
opportunities in this fashion for long periods can be tedious and tiresome. But, an individual has to keep

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pride within themselves. One way I plan on doing this is making it a priority to leave this world in a better
state then in which I entered. I have done this with the major decision in my life to this point, and I
believe I can continue this trend. I believe this because I have made mistakes young. I have seen the
consequences of my actions with immoral decisions that I have made. Decisions that would be relatively
low in impact to the ones I make today and will make in the future. Nonetheless, the experience molded
into wanting to carry a high moral code at all times so that the people around me wouldnt have to suffer
any repercussions of my actions. If the world was perfect then everyone would strive to live with a high
moral code, and topics like this would not be a point of concern.
But the world isnt perfect. We see scandals every now and then that wouldnt have even occurred
had the people making the executive decisions been ethical. A situation in which we discussed
collectively was the Volkswagen TDI scandal. This can be perfectly described as I did above. As the
majority of us are aware, a certain group of employees at Volkswagen made a conscious decision to
implement software that would modulate the performance of the engine to pass emissions testing, but in
actuality it was polluting the environment at rate much higher than the current accepted standards. For
me, a situation like this in which an organization opts for profit over the long term health of our planet
should be dealt with a high fine appropriate to the damage caused, and a hold on the production of the
polluting component until a plan is put in action to stop the problem from continuing. This was mainly
our group consensus. However, when we talked about situations in which we had the opportunity to be
proactive on this issue, our answers did differ. For me, if I knew about an issue such as this, I would
immediately go to my superiors and ask what can be done to stop this. And, if they refused to put a halt to
their ways within a given time frame, I would part ways and notify any parties that could stop an abuse of
power like this from continuing. Others, had the same base as I did; but they stated they would not part
ways with the company due to monetary restrictions with possibly having a family and other life
expenses. I could definitely see why they had said what they said. But in my eyes, even if an employee
were to be indirectly involved with a scandal such as this, to follow suit after confronting the issue would
be selfish and unethical. Therefore, parting ways or implementing ways to fix the issue would be the best

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possible outcome to me. Additionally, even if an employee was to part ways with a company because of
an issue such as this; I believe, any future employers would see that as a courageous act and make the
employee more likely to be hired. All that being said, I believe this scandal could have been avoided had
the employees involved followed these three virtue ethics: integrity, fidelity, and responsibility.
An employee with integrity would have had strong enough moral principles to adhere to that they
would have not something let this happen. Instead they may delve into a possible alternative solution.
One such alternative solution a peer mentioned during our group discussion was to hold a contest in
which Volkswagen would challenge students from all over the globe to see if they could solve the given
dilemma at hand. Of course, the team(s) that were successful would be awarded prize money. I thought
this was an excellent idea. It challenges college kids to solve real world problems; it would look great on
a resume, and Volkswagen would have hopefully solved their issue while retaining a healthy public
image. Additionally, fidelity could be used to better handle this situation.
An employee with fidelity would have been faithful to their clients, profession, public, etc. That
employee could have also averted a situation like this. Simply because, many people have vowed to stay
away from the Volkswagen brand in the future because of this scandal, myself included. This also makes
the current and past owners of TDI models feel animosity towards their brand. Those clients were
unknowingly polluting the earth, excessively, when they may have thought they were owing a better
alternative to the gas engine. An employee with fidelity would have saw the future complications from
approving, or standing idly by, to a decision such as this. The employee standing idly by would have not
been faithful to all parties involved. Lastly, responsibility used in conjunction with these two qualities
would help alleviate any leftover ethical confusion
An employee with responsibility would have wanted to maintain trustworthiness, would have
been accountable for their actions, and would have had a moral obligation to make decisions for the
betterment of mankind. The employee would realize that the brand would have to be accountable for their
choices. Such as, being accountable for the fines and damage to their public image down the road. That
alone would make the cons outweigh the pros. Conjointly, the employee would realize that making a

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profit should not come at the cost of the standards of living for his/her fellow citizen. In this scenario,
these three factors would be the most well-suited to evaluate any further plans of action. Honesty could
have also been applicable. I say this because the employees making the decision to implement the
software were most likely dishonest with certain employees at the company, as well as government
officials. Charity could also be tied in using the quality of making decisions for the betterment of
mankind. Lastly, self-discipline could be used here to allow the employees involved to restrain
themselves from making an excessive decision in the form of choosing profit over the following the law.
As we can see, all virtue ethics can be applied to just about every situation; it is just about looking within
oneself and letting these qualities guiding oneself to the best decision.