What’s ethical? Here’s a simple test. Strategic Finance Magazine 81.9 (2000): 24. Online. WilsomSelectPlus. 23 March 2001.
The article What’s ethical? Here’s a simple test, which is based on the work of Dr. Michael Rion, includes three situations, which are directed to its readers. First situation is about choosing between stopping or not stopping at a stop sign. In the second situation, the author asks its readers to choose between express and regular line in the store. The person in that particular case has just two more items than is allowed to have in order to be in the express line. In the third situation, author’s purpose is to check its readers’ honesty. The article asks us what we would do in these three situations, and then it asks us questions that help us analyze and think through each situation. Next, the article shows us how these simple situations, and the way we solved them help us in making wiser decisions concerning more difficult situations. At the end of this article, the IMA Ethics Committee is interested in how people face and solve their problems. Therefore, the Committee asks for e-mails with comments. Also, the Committee invites people for the Conference on ethical issues.
First of all, the topic of the article seems to have a main purpose to check our ability to behave ethically in certain situations, and what thinking process we would use. At the beginning, it might not seem difficult because, for example, as situation number one tells us when we come to a stop sign, we know that it is ethical to come to a complete stop even though there is no one around. On the other hand, would we do it? This action would probably be different for people, depending on many situations, and of course depending on people. For example, how they usually act, how they feel at that moment, etc. As a result of this, most of the people do not usually do what they feel is ethical to do; they usually choose easier and faster way in order to get what they want. I think that the article shows us how to go about solving little problems like the one in the first situation. This helps us to find an ethical solution to more complicated circumstances. One can wonder how these situations can possibly reflect how we think about other issues more related to our lives. As the article explains, if we use the decision criteria(1) like how do I feel about what I just did(1), we make practical and reasonable decisions, which in the same time are also ethical.
Second of all, there is not enough information to support the article’s generalization and conclusion. It is more generalized than specific, and it challenges the readers to arrive with their own answers to their own terms and decision criteria. The article is very short, and it has a big effect on what is included in it. The conclusion of this article is more the invitation to IMA conference about ethics than giving specific answers to the questions asked in each of the three situations. In addition, I think that the article is very persuasive because although not in the direct but in the indirect way it makes the readers to believe that the ethical solution is the best solution. It stretches the fact that the decision that one makes and proudly shares with others is usually an ethical decision. On the other hand, we can conclude that the decision that one makes in the hopes that no one will find out is usually an unethical decision. As I have said, although the article is persuasive, it is also very general.
Third of all, in the article the language was clearly presented; however, the organization was a little bit tricky. The language presented certainly was clear for the general reader. Indeed, anyone easily could read this article without any problems. I do not think that it could be too simple for an expert because an expert could ask himself more questions or analyze the article more deeply than the ordinary reader.
Despite this, the organization plan was not clear and easy to follow at the beginning of the article, though the ideas came through clearly. The beginning of the article there are questions, which ask us what the reader would do about certain situations. Although these questions are not hard, I found it difficult to start answering them, because I was unsure of what exactly I was expected to do. Later on when I read it, it was clear that I was expected to ask myself questions and then answer them in order to find the best way to come up with the right solution for myself. Following the questions made it easier to supply ethical solutions to the problems described.
Finally, the material in the article is an interesting way of looking at information that should be commonsense. For example, let us consider situation number three. As you’re making a withdrawal from an ATM, a mechanical error gives you an extra $100 but doesn’t charge your account. Would you keep the money or return it? Why? The ethical solution is to give the money back to the bank at the next business day. Otherwise, if the person would keep the money the disadvantages most likely will outweigh the advantages. Later, the article has questions to help its readers to analyze the problem. Also, the article encourages investigating this situation. Then it sets a good example, if we choose the ethical solution to our approach. Indeed, after we would choose this ethical answer to our dilemma, we could proudly talk about that.
On the other hand, if we would choose the unethical solution then we wouldn’t be comfortable talking about that. I read that because today’s economy is driven by knowledge, not physical assets, information helps improve products and services. It brings us to the point that if we have knowledge about certain things like ATM machines, we are able to make more thoughtful and therefore ethical decisions, which we are proud of. The article suggests that common persons need to make choices every day. For instance, when they are in stores there are all different kinds of brands for almost everything.
As I was told in class, an ethical solution now helps to escape from a worse situation later. It means that although an ethical decision might be not as desirable as the unethical decision would be in that particular time, for the long run the ethical situation will save us worry. This relates to the third situation about the ATM from the article. Let us say that a person would decide to take the $100 and never return it. Would it change the situation if the ATM machines have video cameras? In that case, probably yes, because then the bankers would know who took more money that the person was supposed to take. This person would be in an uncomfortable situation now if he did not give back the money. This shows, knowledge about a particular thing is very helpful in order to make ethical decisions.
To conclude, if we use our knowledge and critical thinking, we would make wise and at the same time ethical decisions. In the three situations explained in the article, we learn how to start including all the factors and going step by step in order to get the most desirable solution, which can be proudly shared with family members and friends.