1.0 Key Elements of Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a consequence-based theory: it does not matter why an individual did something (intent), nor does it matter exactly what an individual did (action) only the end result (consequence) matters. Utilitarianism is mainly characterized by two elements: consequentialism and happiness (Gay, 2002). In consequentialism, the consequences of actions are fundamental to the moral judgment of those actions. The action in itself is not wrong or right, the thing that is morally relevant is the consequence of the action. As a teleological theory, utilitarianism emphasizes pleasure, happiness, or utility as the desirable goals for human action and choice.
Utilitarian happiness is the utmost happiness that each individual supposedly looks for. Under utilitarianism, all things useful to happiness are good. Utility is found in all things that contribute to the happiness of each rational person. The criteria of good and evil is balanced between the happiness of a community and that of an individual each counting in an equal manner. Consequentialism is an element of utilitarianism, which states that an action has to be judged for its effects on the happiness on the biggest number of people (Paley, 2002).
A person search for happiness normally stops when it curtails the happiness of another person or the happiness of the biggest number, of the community or society. Since personal freedom is taken into consideration with respect to freedom of other persons and of the community, an individual ends when it reduced the society well being and freedom of another person. 1.1 StrengthsOne of the strengths of utility theory is that it views morality in teleological terms; the object of people moral action is as important as an action’s moral status partly depends on the motivation for acting.
Kant referred to this important moral principle as the categorical imperative, which tells individuals the way to act regardless of the goal they might desire or the end. According to him, moral reasons take precedence over all other reasons. For instance, an individual may think that they have a self interest in stealing company money, however if the individual morality is based on a categorical imperative, then his or her moral reason against corruption supersedes their self interest motive.
Kant proposed that individual treat people (as well as individual self) as ends in themselves, on no account just as a means of their individual ends (Boatright, 2007). The second proposition was that for this maxim to be a universal law individuals had to act only on it. Kant took the two formulations to be unlike manners of articulating similar fundamental standard of reverence for individuals. Each of these formulation guides employees to act in the same manner. The second strength is that people are asked to treat others as ends in themselves.
This means that employers should treat their employees as people with intrinsic value. Employees that have intrinsic value possess value independent of their importance for different purposes (Boatright, 2007). The management should treat employees like means to an end only in manners, which are ethically acceptable. Employees are used merely as a means of ends when they are forced to do another person will or when they mislead them into acting in accordance with their will. Deception and coercion are standard contraventions of the categorical imperative in the workplace (Hill, 2008).
In deceiving or coercing the employees, the management disrupts their autonomy and violates their will. Categorical imperative forbids this. Respecting other individuals entails abstaining from infringing their autonomy (Wertheim, Love, & Wittlefield, 2006). The morally relevant issue is the consequence of the action.