Ethical Analysis Discussion Paper Essay Example


Ethical Analysis

Ethical Analysis


Mildred, who is a 63-year-old, has for 26 years, been working in an organization which is concerned with software development. However, Mildred’s manager, as well as her supervisor, wants her to retire from her job or fire her but there are no substantial grounds for her to be fired and also, she does not want to retire. Since there are no reasons for Mildred to get fired and her unwillingness to retire, the senior manager and her immediate supervisor decided to collaborate and frustrate Mildred until she retires or resigns. They did this through making her working environment and jobs boring and even after she complained about the issue, she was shut down. These practices bring up various ethical issues and concerns that need to be addressed in that workplace with the one who will be affected the most being Mildred. The report will, therefore, seek to evaluate ethical issues in Mildred’s case using various theories.

Ethical Theories

Theory of Justice

This is an ethics and philosophical theory which was developed by John Rawls where there is an attempt to solve the ethical issues which are related to the distributive justice (Rawls, 2001). This is done through using various devices which surround the social construct. It is evident that Mildred is being subjected to some level of unfairness. Despite her age, she is very competent in her work, and the results of her work meet the organization’s standards. However, notwithstanding this fact, the organizational authorities still want her out when she is not ready yet; something that is unfair and unjust. In this framework, justice is equated to fairness, and it is based on three essential principles. The first principle is the liberty principle which stipulates that everyone has a claim to equal basic liberties and rights (Pogge, 2007). Thus, according to this principle, Mildred still has the fundamental right to continue working in the organization because she upholds all the standards and performance levels of her job, therefore, trying to chase her away forcefully is unjust and unfair.

The second principle in the theory of justice is the equality principle. This one stipulates that the economic and social inequalities need to be arranged in such a way that both of them get attached to the positions and offices which are open to all people under the conditions of equal opportunity (Pogge, 2007). In this case, Mildred’s job is exceptional which means that she significantly contributes to the economic thriving of the firm which then means that she is entitled to be offered an equal and fair opportunity in her workplace. It is, therefore, unethical for the manager and supervisor to try and force her out of her job.

The third principle is the difference principle which only allows inequalities which will work towards the advantage of the people who are less fortunate in the society (Pogge, 2007). The bias that Mildred is being subjected to is unfair and unjust because for one, she is not less fortunate and secondly the inequality does not work to her advantage. This is a detrimental, unfair, unjust, and unethical inequality which she is being subjected to. Therefore, in my opinion, the overall senior management need to be made aware of the unjust way which Mildred is being handled to take the most efficient action in this case. Although being a whistleblower may work against Mildred if the overall senior management want her out as well, it may be a way of protecting all the other employees from being subjected to such experiences in future.

Kantianism Theory

This theoretical framework is based on the enlightenment rationalism which stipulates that the intrinsically good things are the only ones that can be regarded as a good will with the moral law being the underlying principle (Kant, 2003). This moral law is categorical imperative which means that it primarily acts on all individuals despite their desires or interests. Therefore, according to the formulation of this principle, all humans at no given time should any person be treated as a means to get to a given end (Kant, 2003).

Following this background, it is first essential to identify the stakeholders in the scenario. The stakeholders are Mildred, the senior manager of her department, her immediate supervisor, as well as the other junior employees in Mildred’s department. The senior manager holds the highest authority followed by Mildred’s immediate supervisor, and then the other staff in the department including Mildred. Although the senior manager holds most of the authority, Mildred holds important legitimate rights where she needs not be treated unfairly just because the management feels that it is time for her to leave. It is also the moral duty of the management to be fair and be treat everyone equal (Kant, 2003). It is also evident that the senior management and the supervisor have ill motives whereby they want to frustrate Mildred’s work environment by forcing her to work below her abilities. This is a highly unethical behavior, and these leaders are going against their moral duty and obligation. Following this, it will be the moral obligation of Mildred and the other employees in that department to speak up and highlight the kind of unethical behavior that is being experienced in their department for the necessary action to be taken.

Virtue Ethics

The virtue theory primarily highlights the character of an individual is a central element when it comes to ethical thinking. This approach emphasizes that it is more important to embrace moral thinking as opposed to just thinking according to a given set of rules (Annas, 2009). The virtue theory also stipulates the need to consider the consequences of one’s actions and thinking before undertaking it. One of the elements of the virtue theory is eudaimonia which essentially characterizes a life that is well-lived (Annas, 2009). This theory was developed by Aristotle where he emphasizes that the primary goal needs to be eudaimonia. This then means that at all times, people need to exercise their human quality characteristic which is the reason. Aristotle went ahead to emphasize that this eudaimonia can be achieved when individual practices the life virtues (Annas, 2009). Virtue in this regard means a quality or habit which enables the bearer to succeed in fulfilling their purpose.

In this scenario, the actions that the senior manager and the supervisor are undertaking on Mildred are against the virtue ethics because they are malicious. By doing whatever it is that they are doing they are not upholding the eudaimonia element of the virtue ethics. From this case, it is evident that Mildred, over the years has dedicated herself to work diligently for the benefit of this firm and for her to be treated the way she is being treated is unethical and against these virtuous lifestyles. Therefore, to make the situation better, the senior manager and her supervisor need to be empathetic of her and also appreciate the kind of services that she offered to the firm during the 26 years.

Honesty, diligence, and integrity would be key values that these stakeholders need to uphold to be ethical and to make better decisions for them to make the situation better (Annas, 2009). In doing this, the senior manager and supervisor could openly talk to Mildred about what they think and offer other options for her instead of intending to forcefully make her quit the job. It would also be virtuous for these two to seize being malicious and at least apologize to Mildred for what they have done to undermine her stay at the firm.


Utilitarianism is a theory regarding ethics which evaluates whether an action is right or wrong by the consequences that they result in. Utilitarianism tends to focus go beyond the interests of an individual and goes on to embrace the interest of other people as well (Blackorby, Bossert, and Donaldson, 2002). Additionally, this theory significantly depends on the intrinsic value theory when it comes to the evaluation of the consequences of particular actions. In a nutshell, utilitarianism is an ethical framework which considers consequences to be more significant as compared to the actions which resulted in the consequences (Blackorby, Bossert, and Donaldson, 2002).

In this scenario, the benefits would be that Mildred would quit her job and give an opportunity for the younger employees to uptake the creative and productive roles that she played at a higher productivity level. It is also my assumption that since Mildred has been a long-serving employee, her salary and benefits were significant and therefore, by her leaving, maybe the firm will be saving on that. On the other hand, the harm in the scenario is that a valuable and a high-performing employee will be leaving the workplace, and it would impact the firm’s performance negatively.

Also, it is against the Code of Conduct to forcefully make an employee quit their job by frustrating her working environment which means if the manager’s and supervisor’s intentions are known, then they risk losing their jobs in a very undignified manner. It is also against the virtues of humanity and ethics to undertake such malicious activities, so their conscience may not sit well with them for quite a while. Therefore, in my opinion, the harm outweighs the benefits which mean it is something that is not worth doing. The senior manager and the supervisor will need to come clean and seek assistance and other alternatives which would resonate well and at the same time be ethical to all the stakeholders in the scenario.


In this scenario, the ethical issue is that the senior manager and the supervisor being malicious in the workplace by creating a frustrating work environment for Mildred so that she ends up quitting her job. Among the four ethical frameworks that have been presented, the one that seems more efficient is the theory of justice. This is because it not only focuses on what is being ethical and what is not, but also empathizes on the need to be fair, just, and practice equality. Given that whatever Mildred is undergoing is unfair, this approach would be most effective to explain the situation and help in tackling it as well. The options that are there are for Mildred to quit and walk away, become the whistleblower, or persevere working in the bad situation until the manager and the supervisor give up. I think the best option would be to be the whistleblower and inform all the people in the organization of what is happening to her. By doing this, Mildred would still b dignified in her job, probably retain it, and will have protected other employees from being subjected to the same situations in future.


Annas, J 2009, Virtue ethics. In The Oxford handbook of ethical theory, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Blackorby, C., Bossert, W and Donaldson, D 2002, Utilitarianism and the theory of justice. Handbook of social choice and welfare, 1, pp. 543-596.

Kant, I 2003, Theoretical Philosophy, 1755–1770. London, Cambridge University Press.

Pogge, T.W.M 2007, John Rawls: his life and theory of justice. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Rawls, J 2001, Justice as fairness: A restatement, Harvard University Press.