Firstly, company’s public image and maintain its expected standards

Firstly, Jocelyn needs to arrive at a carefully studied judgement by weighing out the appropriate moral reasons and facts to reach moral clarity that will allow her to act accurately (REF).  This involves taking a well-reasoned approach to the problem without violating the relevant codes of conduct. Solving this will put Jocelyn in a slippery slope situation, as thousands of respirators are already in the market, and even though no incidents have been reported, remain life-threatening. However, following the lChemE code, Jocelyn decides that the best decision is to report the issue to ensure termination of production and withdrawal of existing products from the market.  Although this will affect HealthKit’s financial status for a period of time, it will preserve the company’s public image and maintain its expected standards as well as protecting its status without abusing ethical codes. This is mainly because the public trust engineers to be honest and obey certain ethical rules.

With responsibility being the fundamental professional virtue (REF), Jocelyn is considering others in her decision by following the IChemE code and believes that she’s obliged to make a moral judgement. (REF) clarifies that it is better to lose finances for a while than damage the company’s reputation. Jocelyn should also be informed about the findings in addition to asking colleagues for their perspective on the situation and re-checking results with more than one engineer in order to know more about the possible harm and its seriousness before further action is taken.

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Furthermore, taking a utilitarian approach to the problem will allow Jocelyn to accurately follow the codes to base her decision. This is done by identifying the courses of action and parties affected and thus taking them into equal account to maximise overall happiness (REF). Following this method, even though the duty of ethics proposes that doing so will not produce the most ‘good’ for HealthKit in the short term, it will result in overall maximum good for both parties in the long term. However, the disadvantage of this approach will be that the line managers may interpret ‘good’ in a different way to an engineer, complicating the solution as they will both look at the problem from a different perspective. This is suggested in duty ethics, where duties must be performed even though they may not produce the ‘most good’. (REF)

On the other hand, deontological ethics implies that right actions take priority over good ones, suggesting that the problem should be approached based on the rightness or wrongness of Jocelyn’s decision rather than the consequences of it. However, this can sometimes lead to moral absolutism, where some actions are believed to be wrong no matter what the consequences are (REF), which raises an ethical dilemma as obeying one ethical imperative results in going against the other (REF).

Moreover, the codes can serve as a legal support in case Jocelyn is criticized for taking an ethical and moral approach to the situation rather than a business one (REF). Therefore,  Jocelyn is in a stronger position as codes function as an engineer’s legal support when living up to professional obligations and violating these codes will lead to the further investigating of unethical conduct (REF). However, this must only take place after her decision is refused by the managers which will oblige her to consider alternative ways of rectifying the situation, such as seeking legal advice, without violating the company’s confidentiality terms. In this case, Jocelyn can rely on NSPE code section I.1.a that permits her to take action.

In conclusion, Jocelyn believes that the best moral decision is to first check her findings and, if they’re accurate, she must raise an issue to prohibit further production of respirators. She sees that this is the right thing to do as it doesn’t violate ethical codes by ensuring the safety of the public as well as protecting the company’s reputation and standards. This is mainly because customers and investors are more likely to deal with companies whose honest ethical commitments promise long-lasting success in business (REF). 

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