BRYCE ON MORALITY
– Solving problems of Morality (an exercise).
This is Part 6 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”
In Part 5 we discussed the other institutions affecting morality. Here, in Part 6, we will consider some Moral problems as an exercise.
Let’s consider some sample scenarios and determine whether or not they are moral. This can either be done individually or collectively as teams. Allow time for people to think and discuss. Make it competitive if you like. Some are simple, others more complex. All are from real life situations.
1. You happen to find a wallet on the sidewalk filled with a considerable sum of money but no identification as to the owner. Nobody saw you pick it up or knows you have it. What should you do?
A. Pocket the money and discard the wallet claiming “Finders keepers.”
B. Turn it over to the police in case the owner comes looking for it?
2. You are a professional programmer with many years of experience. You have just been hired by a new company and placed on a project to write a program. In designing the software, you realize the logic of the program will be similar to another program you wrote for your previous employer. What should you do?
A. You finalize the logic of the program and write the code anew.
B. Since you kept copies of the programs you have written on a flash drive, you copy the code from your previous assignments. Nobody will know the difference.
3. You are a parent of a high school senior and, naturally, you are concerned about the progress of your offspring. You believe your son/daughter to be a good student. However, the student brings home a high “C” on an important test. You become concerned the grade will cause the student’s grade point average to drop thereby making it harder to be eligible for a certain college. What should you do?
A. You call and ask to arrange a meeting with the teacher whereby you ask advice on how the student should work to improve his/her grades.
B. You call and ask the teacher to change the grade to a low “B”. If the teacher refuses, you
call the principal and register a complaint about the teacher’s competence.
4. You are a patent attorney who has been asked to discuss a new invention as created by a prospective client. You arrange an initial meeting at your office where you discuss the invention. No nondisclosure agreement is signed. The invention is of interest to you as you have a friend who owns a manufacturing company who can build such a product. The invention would be simple to reproduce. What should you do?
A. Tell the inventor you do not believe it is a viable product. You and your manufacturing friend then jointly apply for a patent for a similar offering. After all, you did not accept the inventor as a client, nor did you sign a nondisclosure.
B. You inform the inventor you do not have an interest in the product but provide a reference to another attorney who may be able to help him. The matter is dropped.
5. Commuter traffic is preventing you from getting to work on time. It will also cause you to be late for your weekly meeting where you normally report on the status of your department. You know five other people who will be attending the meeting, all of which are your subordinates. You now realize you will be late for the meeting by at least 30 minutes, maybe longer. What should you do?
A. Using your cell phone, you call the office and notify the attendees you will be late; they can either start without you or wait until you arrive.
B. 30 minutes isn’t a long wait. Instead of calling, you decide to focus on driving to work as quickly as possible.
6. You are a clerk in a cigar store. Mr. Smith is one of your regular customers. He appreciates your efforts and, even though he is under no obligation to do so, he always gives you a $5 tip for the cigars he purchases. One day, Mr. Smith is in a hurry and in signing his credit card receipt, he forgets to add a tip and total. Before you can catch him though, he is gone. What should you do?
A. Knowing he will not mind, you add the $5 tip to the receipt and total it accordingly.
B. You leave the tip blank and use the subtotal as the total.
7. You are a 24 year-old male office worker. You joined a company straight out of college and are enthusiastic about the mission of the business, its products and services. Although your immediate boss is easy going, the department’s senior director is older and very straight laced. Over time, you begin to grow facial hair which, admittedly, looks rough. One day, you decide to wear tattered blue jeans and a T-shirt to work. The senior director stops you in the hallway and admonishes you about your appearance. He instructs you to go home, change clothes, shave, and report back to work. This upsets you as you believe you look fine for the job and being unfairly treated. What should you do?
A. Ignore the Director and go about your business.
B. Do as the Director instructs.
8. You are a talented illustrator who produces artwork for magazines and books. A publication has hired you to develop a political illustration. However, you do not agree with the political point of view you are to depict. What should you do?
A. Produce an illustration in accordance with the specifications of the publisher.
B. Produce an illustration that changes the theme of the graphic and expresses your own political beliefs.
9. You are a well-known and respected newspaper reporter. You have been researching a major story for the last three months. You finally write the article which has the potential of becoming a whistle-blowing expose. You review the article with your editor. Although he thinks you have done an admirable job with the column, he is worried about the political ramifications of the piece, particularly to a politician the newspaper favors. Consequently, he orders you to either change it so it doesn’t embarrass the politician or drop it altogether. This offends you as you realize this is an important subject which the public should be made aware of. What should you do?
A. Do as your editor instructs; you either change it or drop it.
B. You give the story to a colleague who has it printed in a competing newspaper.
10. You are an intolerant anti-smoker. While at an outdoor cafe you observe a person at the next table smoking, which is legal to do so. You detest the smell and instantly develop a dislike for the smoker. What should you do?
A. Ask the smoker to extinguish the cigarette as you claim it bothers you. Should the smoker refuse to do so, you ask the waiter for another table further away from the smoker.
B. When the smoker isn’t looking, you grab the pack of cigarettes and throw it in the trash.
11. A new mother receives a mailed gift containing two of the same expensive item for her baby, but the shipping invoice indicates the giver was charged for only one item. Clearly, one item should be returned to the store with an explanation of the mistake. What should you do?
A. Keep the extra one to give as a shower gift.
B. Take it back to the store for a refund.
NOTE: Both answers are wrong.
As much as we might like to do one thing, we must resist temptation in order to fulfill our moral obligation. To some, the temptation is too great to resist. The more frequently we turn away from our moral values, the more our culture deteriorates. Consider the permissiveness of our society today. Was it like this during our parent’s generation? Our grandparent’s generation? Or great grandparent’s generation? I am fortunate to have witnessed five generations in my family. Each had their own unique perspective of morality and sense of tolerance. Some of the differences were subtle, such as drinking, smoking, and language; others were more pronounced, such as their perspectives on citizenship, patriotism, love, assisting others, etc. The impact of economics, war and peace played a dramatic role on their values, as did their participation in organized religion. It is my contention each generation becomes more permissive than the last due to changing perceptions of the country. What is considered acceptable today, may not be considered so yesterday, or possibly tomorrow. Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? And who is more tolerant, you or your offspring?
NEXT TIME: In Part 7, we will discuss simplifying complex moral problems and make some more observations about the properties of Morality.
Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP: STAND UP FOR MORALITY (PART 7 OF 8) – What is the effect of the decline of morality?
LAST TIME: STAND UP FOR MORALITY (PART 5 OF 8) – Are we really ashamed of participating in such organizations or are we being conditioned to think this way?
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