Utilitarian Theory: My Professional Decision-Making Process

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Utilitarian Theory
Utilitarianism is a form of the theory of Consequentialism which holds that an act is morally right depending on “the consequences of that act or of something related to that act, such as the motive behind the act” (Sinnott-Armstrong, 2016). Unlike the other form of Consequentialism, Egoism – which focuses on an individual’s best interests, Utilitarianism instead considers everyone impacted by a decision (Squisher Busada, 2008). Specifically, Martin (2000, pg. 144) defines Utilitarianism as “the view that we should always produce the most good for the most people.”
Using this definition, one could say that Utilitarianism is more altruistic in nature than the other moral theories. The United States (whatever your political
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I would like to think that all my decisions are morally just, do the most good for the most involved, and follow the rules. Yet, I know that this isn’t always possible – I know that no one is perfect, least of all myself, and all of those things are subjective across organization, cultures, and even time.
When making decisions, I, like most people I know, filter the ramifications through my own personal frame of reference and experiences. You cannot totally separate an individual’s beliefs and personal perceptions from their decisions. Even a judge who is ruling on a case, despite their commitment to impartiality, reaches their conclusions based on how and where they were taught to interpret and apply the
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For a State employee this is actually a decision of great consequence. Emails are forever and can potentially be handed over to the media or other interested parties due to an open records request. From there you can find yourself embroiled in nasty consequences. Following my process outlined above, my values and virtues after years in government employment make me pause to question whether hitting send is the “Right” thing to do. The message may seem innocuous to me, but could it carry greater consequences for others involved? Finally, I would ask myself if the email could potentially be impacted by an open records request and wouldn’t it be better to just make a quick phone call?
Throughout history, you can see moments where each of the three moral theories (Virtue Theory, Deontological Theory, and Utilitarian Theory) has been applied, with varying degrees of success. Whether individuals realize it or not, they actually apply these theories in their lives every day. However, conscious and deliberate application of the theories happens in situation of great import. While Virtue Theory, Deontology, and Utilitarianism all possess strengths and weakness, I believe that a combination of the theories actually results in a stronger and better informed decision-making

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