Moral intensity question and utilitarianism vs kantianism

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Business Ethics Course MIEX Program 2009/2010

Students: Marco Caniglia Elodie Fischer Flora Giusto

How does the smoking policy interact with the company environment? Problems, Solutions and Moral intensity.
Problems We are going to speak about the smoking policies in the work environment in companieswhere there is no law to forbid smoking on the work place or even where it is not respected. It is a critical issue in Europe and the United States and it does concern smoking people as well as second-hand smokers. Actually smoking can affect everybody’s health so increase sick-leaves which directly impact on the company’s profitability as well as health insurance reimbursements requests (whichcan be paid partly by the company). Company’s working environment may also suffer from nicotine addiction meaning degradation of the clear air or of furniture, paintings... Solutions The company policy can be composed of: - Prevention days: broadcast prevention films, intervention of volunteers from local associations. - Prevention campaign: posters with pictures of the damages on lungs caused bysmoking and telephone number of institutions, which can help people to quit cigarette, stickers with banning signs, leaflets with information about second-hand smoking… - Bans and fines: company’s management can forbid people smoking inside the building but also around the premises and be sure it is enforced by giving fines to those who do not respect the staff rules. - Promotion of quit smokingproducts: ask companies to come and promote their products on the work place. The company at issue has opted for a comprehensive and multifaceted policy to face the problem of smoking. On the one hand, the management is committed to limit this practice during the working hours, and, on the other hand, it is engaged in an active policy to decrease the damages that unhealthy behaviors can provoke tothe employees and, therefore, to both their job achievements and the company's finances. Moral intensity The moral intensity of that issue is rather high. Considering the magnitude of consequences, it would appear that smoking can involve and affect most of the employees; it can spoil the job environment; and, in the long-term prospective, it can endanger workers' health conditions, impactingindirectly on the whole business performance. If it is perceived as a real problem, any Page 2

policy aimed at reducing such a behavior has to take into account how widespread it is and how subtle and unpredictable the consequences can be. Thus, such a policy, first, can reduce the number of smokers; second, it can make the working place cleaner and pleasant; and, finally, it may also modify theprivate dimension of life, since the employees' health is deemed to be crucial for the enterprise destiny. Considering the probability of effect, it is of course probable that the described effects of smoking will occur, but we have already noticed that smoking can have short-term and long-term consequences. For instance, it can undermine quite immediately relationship among colleagues as well as theworking conditions; while the consequences on health and business performance may be seen in the distant future. Thus, to sum up: in case this comprehensive policy was put into practice, every initiative that forbids and limits smoking will probably have an immediate and wide effect in the daily life of the company, while any campaign to improve people's habits will have more unpredictable andless valid results.

The utilitarian method is to make a survey of all the probable consequences of all the available alternatives and then, to weigh them against each other, ending up with that alternative which is likely to increase happy most. This could be also called cost-benefit analysis, which is used considering the effects of a certain action over happiness...