Moral Deliberation: Stock Decision

This activity provides an opportunity to develop your moral perception and become familiar with the process of supporting moral judgments with moral reasons. Read the vignette below and then engage in the activities that follow.

Engineer Jameson owns stock in RJ Industries, which is a vendor for Jameson’s employer, Modernity, Inc., a large manufacturing company. Jameson’s division has been requested by management to cut one vendor: either RJ Industries or Pandora Products, Inc. Pandora Products makes a component that is slightly higher in quality and slightly more expensive than that made by RJ Industries. Management and the other engineers in her division do not know that Jameson has a financial interest in one of the two vendors.

Part 1. Moral Perception

Each of the statements below is an example of a potential moral rule (R), moral principle (P), or moral value (V) applicable to the provided case. In the process of moral perception your goal is simply to identify what may be relevant to the case – what some reasonable perspective may believe is relevant. So, regardless of whether you believe any of the following are in fact values, rules, or principles, your task is simply to identify what each is attempting to represent, given its structure.

__ 1. Engineers should be fair in all their professional dealings

__ 2. Honesty

__ 3. Engineers must disclose all potential conflicts of interests

__ 4. Engineers shall act as faithful agents or trustees of their employers and clients

__ 5. Engineers shall avoid deceptive acts

__ 6. Transparency

__ 7. It is generally permissible for an employee to personally profit from workplace decisions

__ 8. A corporate decision maker is only required to disclose potential conflicts of interests if the relevant decision affects public welfare

The correct labeling for the above statements can be found at the end of this page.[1]

Part 2. Moral Deliberation

Once you have a reasonable grasp of the morally relevant features of a situation, you should consider them all together to help you make an informed and supportable decision. Below you are provided with 3 option for how Jameson should respond to the situation. Choose whichever you think is best and then work to construct at least 2 moral reasons that would support your option. These moral reasons should appeal to the values, principles, and/or rules you identified above. Now, you should consider which of the supposed values/rules/principles are in fact values/rules/principles that we should consider.

  1. Jameson should participate in the vendor decision
  2. Jameson should inform her co-workers of her financial interest and recuse herself from the decision
  3. Jameson should recuse herself from the decision, but need not inform anyone of her financial interest

Part 3. Deeper Moral Deliberation

It is important to be able to support your choices with moral reasons. But it is also important to understand why you may be wrong – why others may reasonably disagree with you. So, now you should attempt to construct at least 1 moral reason for why your choice in Part 2 is the wrong choice. Again, your moral reason(s) should appeal to applicable values, rules, and/or principles.


  1. 1. P; 2. V; 3. R; 4. P; 5. P; 6. V; 7. P; 8. R

License

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The Primacy of the Public by Marcus Schultz-Bergin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.