responses needed. Please see attached document.
M1D1: Application of Ethical Theories
Read and respond to the conclusions drawn by at least two of your classmates (approximately 250 words each)
Respond to the following:
First, find a real-world ethical dilemma faced by a public organization or an ethical breach experienced by a public organization (perhaps disclosed by a whistleblower). Share in your initial discussion post how the organization or individual administrator applied ethical theories to its decision-making process about that dilemma or breach. Discuss whether you agree with how the organization handled the situation.
PEER ONE: (Joshua)
The coronavirus has caused us to look a great number of things differently since it burst onto our scene around February of 2020. One of those areas that has received a great deal of attention is patient care, more specifically patient priority in our hospitals. This has created a dialogue around the ethical dilemma facing medical professionals as they attempt to triage the sick patients that are arriving in some cases for life saving care. In the instance from the article that I found on the subject, the doctors were attempting to create a system that gave the best chance of success for the healthiest of the patients that arrived, while also giving consideration to the concept of what was the greatest good for the society. “But the approach becomes more utilitarian in times of catastrophe. When systems are overrun during wars and natural disasters, doctors must decide how to maximize resources for the greatest social good. This is the largest experiment of social mitigation strategies and handling of a pandemic in human history” (Jarvie, 2020). While this philosophy can seem a little cold, to me it resonates as overall what is best for the society in general. That is not to say that the decisions would not be difficult, but if the situation presented itself with two corona patients one is 79 and in seemingly good health and the other is 13 and had type II diabetes, who would be better saved for societal reasons? While I am sure that we could take turns arguing each side, I know that I am drawn to the 13-year-old as the priority. Yes, I understand that they have type II diabetes, however they have more life, labor and sorry to say but most likely tax revenue to contribute to society. I know that will not be received well by all, but that it why we have these discussions and I welcome your opinion or ethical position.
It was quite clear from the research that I did that the approach that was used was utilitarian (It was even referenced in the quote I used). The fact that the child was chosen for treatment would appeal to the greatest number of citizens. The concept of “save the women and children first” is not something that has left our society, to me it is seen as more of an instinct. Women are needed to help to replace the population that could be lost, and children are believed to have “their whole lives ahead of them”. If this were to be looked at through the deontological lens, then more questions would have to be asked. What is the profession of the 79-year-old? How are they contributing to society presently and what have they done in the past? Does the 13-year-old have a family history of additional medical conditions? Outside of the diabetes, do they have any additional issues? So, it brings us to which approach is better suited for the scenario that I presented, and I continue to side with my initial determination of a utilitarian approach and the 13-year-old will receive the treatment at the cost of the 79-year-old. I know that these are difficult decisions that have to be made and many of them in “real time” and as for me, I trust those in the medical profession to make the best ethical decision in whatever moment that they find themselves.
Jarvie, J. (2020). Ethical dilemmas in the age of coronavirus: Whose lives should we save? Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-19/ethical-dilemmas-in-the-age-of-coronavirus-whose-lives-should-we-save
PEER TWO: (Jennifer)
The all too present COVID-19 has impacted each of us in a very different but familiar way. There is one group however, that is plagued with this virus more than any and that is the medical professionals. Across America there has been a huge influx in the number of patients testing positive. With these additional patients in the hospitals there is a high demand for medical supplies such as ventilators. These devices are life saving medical tools used on patients to assist with breathing and life sustainment. Throughout COVID 19, there have been too many patients and not enough ventilators which has led to medical professionals across the globe having to make ethical decisions on which patients should get them and which should not. Through the lens of ethical theory we can see where two more than others can be utilized to make the decision of who should get the equipment and who should not.
The first ethical theory used in the medical field is Utilitarian. This theory discusses what is best for the greater good. Many philosophers have argued this theory was either the best option as a whole or argued against. One of the latest to argue in its favor is Henry Sidgwick. He discussed how it is the basic theory but has a part in almost all decisions. For example, there are rules and laws governing how patients will be treated but there are also exemptions to these rules. This is when utilitarianism comes into play (Driver, 2014). When looking at this example we see where the rules say patients must all be treated the same. However, in terms of COVID there is a great shortage of medical equipment. Such that there are decisions made by medical professionals on who should be given the ventilators. When looking at this in terms of Utilitarianism we see that the patients with the greatest chance of quality of life, life left, and ability to recover are given the needed equipment. This is how the greatest good is used. The people who have the ability to recover and live a full life are part of the greater good. Those who may not make it would not benefit the greater good.
Onto a second theory some would think could be used is Deontology. Through the lens of COVID, medical professionals would use the ventilators on the patients who needed them the most (Alexander, 2016). For example, the elderly that are having the most difficult time breathing or would die if they did not get them would get them over someone else who is less life threatening. This type of thinking goes along with the moral obligation to help those who need it the most.
When viewing the two theories we see that they are very different. Utilitarianism goes off the idea of what should be done. Whereas, Deontological theory goes off what must be done. These two theories differ in terms of how they view the way a decision should be made. The first looks at the greater good and is most beneficial to the larger population. The second of these choices goes off what should be done based on the patient. Without any look at anyone else but the individual themselves.
Alexander, L. (2016). Deontological Ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/
Driver, J. (2014). Utilitarianism History. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/
M1D2: Analyzing “Role” & “Responsibility”
Read and respond to the conclusions drawn by at least two of your classmates (approximately 250 words each)
Respond to the following:
· Briefly describe your current or desired position in public administration and identify the various roles you play in that position. Comment also on what conflicts, if any, arise from carrying out those roles.
· Describe the responsibilities that accompany the various roles you identified, ranking these responsibilities from the most important to the least important. Why did you choose to rank them that way?
PEER ONE: (Keisha)
As an employee of the Atlanta VA Hospital, I’m a member of the Education department. We are one of the smaller departments in the Hospital. My role is tasked to monitor mandatory training for the entire hospital staff from full-time employees to volunteers. At the hospital we have a lot of different types of employees and each type of employee is required to have a different set of training. I am one of three administrators for this system. You would think that this would be easy, but it has it comes with some ethical dilemma. There are a lot of individuals who do not want to do their training for whatever reason. Some of these individuals I consider my friends! They would reach out to me asking me to give them credit for courses instead of them taking the courses. In saying that, I must share that the hospital has to report our numbers to our higher. Some of these training include EEO, ethics, whistleblower rights and protection, HIPAA, and privacy just to name a few. Now, I have a responsibility to the hospital to ensure that our accurate completion numbers are reported and I also feel a sense of responsibility to my friends. However, if I give my friends credit for the course, are they learning anything? Do they know what their rights are if faced in a compromising position? I had to think long and hard about this and decided that I would not compromise my beliefs, therefore everyone will complete their assigned courses.
Another duty that I acquired is the purchasing agent for all educational activities for the entire hospital. This comes with all types of implications. In a case in 2014 an employee of my organization instead of using her purchase card for the intended purpose chose to misuse it. Mrs. Feaster created a series of fake purchase orders and purchased personal items. “Feaster instead misused her government-issued credit card to purchase pre-paid gift cards, which she then used to buy personal items, such as luxury accessories and jewelry, as well as to gamble.” (Former VA Employee, 2014). I choose to do the right thing with my government-issued purchase cards. When I was initially issued my cards, I was often told to go ahead and pay for an item and we will do the necessary paperwork later. This went against what I was taught and I immediately created a form that had to be routed through a series of approving officials before me even considering a payment. I’m not closely monitored by anyone, so I can understand how Mrs. Feaster was able to defraud and abuse the system. When assigned to these positions we are not only expected to have a certain level of ethical and moral values they are written in as a part of our training. “An ethical principle is a statement concerning the conduct or state of being that is required for the fulfillment of a value.” (Cooper, 2012). I value my freedom; I value the fact that people trust me to do the right thing and I won’t jeopardize that. I value the rules that they purchase card coordinators put in place for us just as I do the oat that I took as a federal employee. I consider the responsibilities that accompany my roles as the purchasing agent the most important. Simply because if faced with an ethical challenged and I chose to violate them I can go to jail and I’m too pretty for jail. 😊
Cooper, T. L. (2012). The Responsible Administer: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role (6th ed.). Jossey-Bass
Former VA Employee Sentenced For Stealing Government Funds. (2014, August 28). USAO – Georgia, Northern. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/former-va-employee-sentenced-stealing-government-funds
The role I am working towards is a Human Resource Manager for the Department of Army. In this role there will be a plethora of hats I will wear, such as manager, recruitment, retention, and many more. Within these roles there are also employee relations and public relations that are important to the role. The role in the federal government is different than what most would think of human resources (Office of Personnel Management, 2020). This role is one governed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). There is little room for movement in terms of what one can do that is not regulated. However, this does not mean that change within an organization or group cannot happen.
As the HR Manager for my current agency, I would be assisting the Branch Managers, employees, and agencies we have been assigned in getting the employees necessary brought on board, trained, and retained (Patrick, 2013). In terms of Branch Managers, within the agency we are broken into six different branches. Each of these processes’ employee actions for a different region of the world. In assisting the Branch Chiefs, I would be able give them different perspectives on ways to approach conflict within their areas. Utilizing research tools, best practices, and organizational trends to focus on what could be the best course of action. Also, by analyzing the amount of actions processed and comparing them to the amount of tickets created based on these actions I can find areas in which training and retraining would be beneficial.
In terms of employee’s and how my role would affect change, I would be able to get their perspective on what is working and what is not working so that I can push ideas and best practices both horizontally across the formation but also upward to Department of Army (DOA) Headquarters to make changes to regulations and OPM. Theses changes would be beneficial to the entire DOA agencies. The employees would also have the ability to voice concerns with managers and fellow employees utilizing an “open door” policy. This allows for the organization to internally to handle conflict. On a greater scheme as an HR Manager I would have the ability to understand what work resources, job aids, and material is no longer relevant and push for updated material.
Finally, the agencies serviced by my area I would be able to assist in ensuring their organization is being taken care of in terms of human resource functions. Throughout the process of hiring a government employee there are several agencies involved. The first is the agency that says they need to hire someone for a position. The next is the Civilian Personnel Administration Center (CPAC) which is where the job announcement is made, and the list of possible new hires is created. From there the list goes to the agency where the interviews happen. Once the agency has selected the new hire, the CPAC then gets all required documents, physicals, lab work, and paperwork completed. After that is complete the next step is for the CPAC to send the action to the processing center for processing. Here is where all of the benefits, entitlements, and file is maintained. Throughout this process there are a lot of moving parts in which my job as the HR Manager is to ensure they are completed on time and all required documents, resources and regulations are followed and completed.
With the multitude of hats worn in this role there is not one that is more important than another. Each one plays a crucial role in how the next step is completed. This is a sequential process and one step cannot be completed without its prior step being completed. The HR Manager role is one of great importance.
To rank these responsibilities I would put the duty to the employee’s first. I chose this as these are the people who are doing the work. If their needs are not met or their job satisfaction is not optimal, then they may leave the organization. Next, I would put the Branch Chiefs as they are the next level of management and have a direct relationship with both the employee and the agency. Finally, the agencies we service. I put these last as the most important resource is the human capital in my organization. Without the worker bees, there would be no hive.
Office of Personnel Management. (2020). HR Professionals . Retrieved from OPM: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hr-professionals/
Patrick, J. (2013). HR professionals ‘wear many hats’ on the job. Retrieved from Chron: https://www.chron.com/jobs/article/HR-professionals-wear-many-hats-on-the-job-4243875.php