Utility Ethics

In the Module 3 Case, we will use the Utility Test to inform our understanding of the Enron case study.
Required Reading
Visit the library, and locate the following article:
Madsen, S., & Vance, C. (2009). Unlearned lessons from the past: An insider’s view of Enron’s downfall. Corporate Governance, 9(2), 216-227. Retrieved from ProQuest.
Optional Reading
The following additional readings may also be helpful to you as you consider the Case:
Chandra, G. (2003). The Enron implosion and its lessons. Journal of Management Research, 3(2), 98-111. Retrieved from ProQuest.
Free, C., Macintosh, N., & Stein, M. (2007). Management controls: The organizational fraud triangle of leadership, culture and control in Enron. Ivey Business Journal Online. Retrieved from ProQuest.
Sims, R. R., & Brinkmann, J. (2003). Enron ethics (or: culture matters more than codes). Journal of Business Ethics, 45(3), 243-256. Retrieved from ProQuest.
Case Assignment
In a well-written, 4 page paper, apply the Utility Test to the Enron case study.
Keys to the Assignment
1. Choose an ethical issue raised by the Enron case study – e.g., Enron’s accounting fraud, the company’s reward systems, its use of “special purpose entities,” or Enron’s “deal making” culture.
2. Apply the Utility Test: http://ethicsops.com/UtilityTest.php
3. Be sure that you follow each step of the Utility Test (use a separate section heading for discussion of each step of the test):
A. Introduce the test.
B. Briefly discuss why utility ethics is a valid way of deciding right and wrong.
C. Apply the test

Step 1: Identify the alternative actions that are possible and the persons and groups (the stakeholders) who will be affected by these actions.

Step 2: For each of the most promising alternatives, determine the benefits and costs to each person or group affected.

Step 3: Select the action in the current situation that produces the greatest benefits over costs for all affected.

Step 4: Discuss what would happen if the action were a policy for all similar situations.
D. Draw a conclusion. If the same action is selected in Steps 3 & 4, then the action is an ethical one. If different actions are selected, decide whether the individual action will produce the greatest good and the least harm, for all affected, over the long term.

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