Share
Explore BrainMass

Ethical Theory and Issues in an Energy Cooperative Case Study

I would really appreciate any help that you could give me with the questions for this case study.

Case # 1 -

The Energy Cooperative is a non-profit organization (501C3) dedicated to:

1) Providing education to the public regarding energy information, new technology updates, monitoring viable new start-up energy companies and providing a public forum for complaints on its website.

2) Providing new alternative energy companies with a central hub to discuss new technological information and breakthroughs, standards, regulations etc.

The Energy Cooperative is headquartered in Chicago and holds colleague luncheons and public conferences at affiliate locations throughout the U.S. and in three cities abroad: Copenhagen, Milan and New Delhi. They are all united via the web. There are currently 400,000 members worldwide (professionals in the energy field and non-professionals who have interests in the field) who pay yearly dues to their affiliate Cooperative. A portion of the annual dues is sent to the home office to pay for upkeep of the website, the yearly international conference etc.

Members vote on initiatives, policy changes, purchases over $100, and other matters that will affect the larger membership.

There is a board of directors that meets by conference call once each month. These board members are self employed consultants with no allegiance to any particular company. They must sign a statement to that effect before they are appointed. They receive a nominal fee for directing their affiliate and being on the board of directors.

You are a consultant and member of the board of directors. One of the directors has asked approval for the directors, when calling their personal potential clients, to be able to state, " I am calling as director of the Energy Cooperative" The board has asked you to preview this proposal before the board meeting. Please answer the following questions in response to this proposal by filling in the graph with complete sentences addressing the questions in the boxes in gray at the top of the graph:

1. What are the ethical issues or concerns in this Energy Cooperative Case study?

2. How can this be resolved applying KANT"s Categorical Imperative?

3. How can this be resolved applying MILL's Theory of Utilitrainism?

4. How can this be resolved applying the theory of RIGHT's based of ethical decision making?

5. How can this be resolved applying the theory of JUSTICE based ethical decision making?

6. How would these issues be resolved a t each stage of KOHLBERG's Levels of Moral Development? (label the stages)

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look.

RESPONSE:

1. What are the ethical issues or concerns in this Energy Cooperative Case study?

The main ethical issue seems to be related to the last paragraph and whether or not the board of directors can use their position on the board of the Energy Cooperative for personal gains by stating "I am calling as director of the Energy Cooperative" -the board of directors are self employed consultants with no allegiance (duty) to any particular company. Each director signed something to this effect.

Therefore, the ethical issue is: Is this a conflict of interest, where the board of directors would be using their positions for personal gains? Or, since they have signed a statement to the effect that they have no duty to any particular company, does this negate the conflict of interest? In other words, the members of the broad directors would be using their position to gain new clients if when calling their personal potential clients, they would be able to state," I am calling as director of the Energy Cooperative."

To support this, taken from one Code of Ethics for a Board of Director developed to avoid conflicts of interest:

"Directors may not: (a) take for themselves opportunities that are discovered through the use of Company property or information or through the director's position; (b) use the Company's property or information or the director's position for personal gain; or (c) compete with the Company, directly or indirectly, for business opportunities that the Company is pursuing" (http://www.airproducts.com/Responsibility/Governance/Code_of_Conduct/BoardCodeofConduct/directors.htm)

2. How can this be resolved applying KANT"s Categorical Imperative?

Kantianism is a rights-based theory that holds that rational agents should follow a basic moral principle known as the categorical imperative. Kant believes only actions performed for the sake of duty have moral worth. Two of the most influential versions of this principle are: the respect for persons version, i.e. treat all persons (or moral agents) as having intrinsic worth and never treat persons as having only extrinsic worth, and the universality version, i.e. act according to rules that can become rules adopted by all ...

Solution Summary

Referring to the Energy Cooperative case, this solution discusses the ethical issues for Energy Coorporative, as well as potential solutions for these concerns from various ethical perspectives i.e. Kant, Mill, etc..

$2.19