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Normative Ethics: Utilitarianism and Deontology

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the news has been full of examples like this one from Hurricane Katrina:

During Hurricane Katrina, there were several cases of retail businesses increasing their prices. Gasoline prices went up, food prices increased as food became scarcer, and the prices of generators also became virtually unaffordable for many. As it became more evident that Hurricane Katrina was going to impact the New Orleans area, many people decided to evacuate the area and move north to Arkansas, Northern Mississippi, and Tennessee to wait out the storm. As vacant motel rooms became fewer and fewer, Brian Johnson, who owned a motel on Interstate 55 near McComb, Mississippi called up his day manager, Lilly and said "We know there are going to be a lot of people coming up to stay out of the direct path of the Hurricane. I want you to change our rate from $55 to $200 a night." Lilly was aghast. She responded "We can't do that Mr. Johnson, these people need help." "Lilly, this is our opportunity to make some money from a bad situation. I really need you to do this." Lilly was silent for a few moments then responded "Mr. Johnson, if you insist on increasing these rates, I will quit." Taken by surprise, Brian stated "Well Lilly, I guess you have to do what you have to do but I'm going to raise these rates." Lilly angrily told Brian she quit and hung up the phone. Brian did increase his prices for the motel over the next week, but only to $125 vice the $200 he initially wanted to. Approximately 3 months after Hurricane Katrina decimated the New Orleans area, Lilly reapplied for her job at the motel Brian owned. Brian was still resentful about what Lilly had done, but he had also tried to see it from her point-of-view. He was not sure what to do. Brian asks you what you think.

This is a personal opinion question - there is no right or wrong. Just wondering what other point of views are from an expert in the field. Can you please read the paragraph above and answer the following question:

Should Brian give Lilly her job back?

Read the background material (attached). Apply that material to the decision making that Lilly made and the decision making that Brian made. Which approach are you applying in deciding what to recommend to Brian?
Please a 2-3 page response with at least two outside sources on business ethics. Thank you.


Solution Preview

1. Brian should give Lily her job back. From the perspective of virtue ethics, Lily has a good character; she stood up against Brian for doing an action of good character even though it cost her job (Parboteeah . K, & Cullen. J, 2013). Such employees are rare and Lily should be given back her job. From the utilitarian point of view she did what was good for the people who had been devastated by floods. This action is one of high moral worth. It shows that Lily is morally upright. She should be appointed once again. From the deontological ethical perspective, Lily performed her duty by asking Brian to keep the same prices. She pressurized Brian by threatening to quit and actually quitting. What Lily supported was human rights. The people who had been displaced by floods should be helped and not exploited. This perspective was supported by Lily. Lily had her own idea that during natural disaster it was the duty of citizens to support the ...

Solution Summary

The response provides you a structured explanation of ethical problems during natural disaster. It also gives you the relevant references.