Utilitarianism an action may make the majority

Utilitarianism is mainly based on good consequences. The theory suggests that the right action to take in a situation is one that produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people, therefore considering all those that may be affected (Robinson & Dawson, 2012). The greatest good is the greatest happiness (Mill, 2000, p. 14). However, depending on the individual or situation, the definition of happiness will vary. In Jocelyn’s dilemma, in the view of the business, the financial growth of Healthkit could be defined as happiness. Hence, if she wanted to possibly inform the public about the fault through a product recall, the company could take quite a financial hit. Thus proposed, by the utilitarian view, as not considering the good of the company. On the other hand, happiness could be related to the public. It is also important to realise that just because an action may make the majority of people happy, the implications the actions may have on the minority may not always be advantageous or necessarily good. Another disadvantage of the utilitarianism theory is that it may be difficult to judge the consequences of an action accurately (Robinson & Dawson, 2012). So, in terms of this situation, Jocelyn cannot be certain that the respirators will have a negative effect on the public. This ties into point 3 in the IET rules of conduct (2017) and in section II part 2 of the NSPE code of ethics (2007). Jocelyn isn’t an expert on the respirators so she cannot be sure that the relief valve was incorrectly placed. As she may believe that this is the case, she may have created a slippery slope fallacy but acting on the situation merely based on this would be wrong. “Fallacy is an argument that isn’t logically coherent” (Robinson & Dawson, 2012, p. 24). The rights theory is ultimately down to human rights (Martin & Schinzinger, 2010) and knowing that a product is safe when purchasing is a basic right the public possess (NSPE, section I part 1, 2007). This indicates that it’s Jocelyn’s responsibility, as an engineer, to keep the public safe. Allowing the respirators to be sold, if there was a definite fault with them, goes against point 9 in the IET rules of conduct (2017) as it implies that Healthkit did not have respect for the “public’s right to life” or “right to not be injured by dangerous products” (Martin & Schinzinger, 2010, p. 50). Therefore, it is the public’s right to be informed that there may be a potential hazard concerning the respirators. Also, this may build a better rapport with clients as the company are showing integrity (NSPE, section III part 1, 2007). However, point 8 in the IET code (2017) may make Jocelyn shy away from taking any action at all as there is a possible chance her actions could damage the reputation of the company. The deontological theory is based on duty or principles rather than consequences contrary to the utilitarian view (Robinson & Dawson, 2012). Immanuel Kant (as cited by Martin & Schinzinger, 2010) argued that a right action would be one that fulfils our vital duty; respect for persons. He then explains that people deserve respect as they can distinguish the difference between right and wrong and thus concluding that respect for persons equates to the respect for their moral autonomy. Out of respect for persons, which in Jocelyn’s case is the public, it is her duty to be truthful. This theory is more of a thinking of others before yourself kind of theory, hence why informing the public of the fault would be the right action to take in a deontological view. In conclusion, if I was Jocelyn, I would make sure that my concerns about the respirators are not just hearsay and get a professional to look over them again. If proven to be harmful, I’d see if a product recall could be administered. I’d also enquire into, once fixed, giving the respirators back to public for free. If, after showing my line manager the professional’s results, he or she doesn’t want to cooperate to fix the situation I would take more serious action and report them (NSPE, section II part 1a, 2007).