Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace

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The Principles of Utilitarian Ethics

The utilitarian ethical theory is a theorem that determines right or wrong actions based on their consequences. The ideas of this theory include welfares, impartiality, higher-ordered pleasures or pain, and act versus rule utilitarianism (Bellefleur & Keeling, 2016). Another business theory is the stakeholder management theory which argues that organizations should ensure stakeholders also benefit from any profits and not just the shareholder (Vearrie & Henderson, 2021). The utilitarian and stakeholder management theories are integral in promoting business ethics and can be applied in healthcare scenarios to maintain equity.

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Welfare is a utilitarian concept that supports actions that sponsor good consequences in the world. A relatable example is when companies practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by impacting the community through charity (Bellefleur & Keeling, 2016). Considering the fact that this action benefits a large population indicates that the action is ethical. Another idea is impartiality which condemns discriminative actions that demean the welfare of the people (Vearrie & Henderson, 2021). This concept values the well-being of individuals equally regardless of their social-economic status.

Higher-ordered pleasures indicate that satisfaction comes from discovering or helping others than eating or drinking for self-gain. For instance, giving to charity is better than keeping a surplus. The other system is act utilitarianism, which indicates that actions that benefit many people are morally right (Bellefleur & Keeling, 2016). On the other hand, rule utilitarianism helps people use the fairest method available to ensure that no one is hurt or treated unequally.

The utilitarian theory plays an integral role in contemporary business because it facilitates ethical decision-making in organizational processes such as termination of employment, hiring, liquidation, and expansion. In addition, utilitarian business leaders take initiatives that make the organization appear more responsible to improve its reputation (Vearrie & Henderson, 2021). For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees lost their jobs due to problems such as business closures. However, some business leaders decided to cut pay instead of laying off employees, and this was a common good action that ensured they still earned, unlike others who lost their source of income completely.

Stakeholder Management Theory

The stakeholder management theory implies that firms should maintain the welfare of the stakeholders by enhancing value for their input and not just the shareholders. Even though it is a controversial theory, it has continued to protect the welfare of the stakeholders in business, including employees, customers, and suppliers (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). For instance, when a business makes profits, the stakeholder management theory recommends that shareholders benefit from any successes achieved through generous compensation. Generally, this theory encourages business managers to consider the stakeholder’s value through the descriptive, instrumental, and normative approaches.

The stakeholder management theory enables leaders to promote cohesion, motivation, and satisfaction by encouraging value that brings all stakeholders together. By championing equity in the workplace, stakeholders become satisfied with their job improving organizational justice and ethics, supporting development (De Cremer & de Bettignies, 2013). In addition, the current business market requires productivity and creativity for businesses to remain competitive. Therefore, organizations apply principles of stakeholder management theory to attain or surpass the standards set.

Vaccination Policy

When a pandemic strikes, it takes a collective effort to control the situation. Vaccinating employees is among the approved medical interventions for reducing spread. Therefore, vaccination policies requiring all employees to be vaccinated if they want to continue working in their respective organizations should be approved and is justified. This decision follows the utilitarian moral theory that suggests that the right action produces the greatest good (Savulescu et al., 2020). This measure will ensure that the rate of infections reduces, protecting lives in the process. Despite this action supporting the common good, it may affect employees, organizations, and external stakeholders negatively and positively.

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The different beliefs exhibited by employees on the safety of this vaccination may be a hindrance or an advantage to vaccination, depending on their rationale. For instance, employees who are open-minded about being vaccinated benefit more from this initiative (Savulescu et al., 2020). Through vaccination, their well-being is guaranteed, and they can access areas that are restricted to the vaccinated individual (Petrini,2010). On the other hand, employees who question or believe that the vaccines are unnecessary may lose their jobs or be infected by the virus due to their perception.

The negative effect of mandatory vaccination of employees includes the deterioration of employees’ confidence and trust. In addition, mandatory activities display coercive organizational power, which undermines voluntariness, creating skepticism on the vaccine’s safety (De Cremer & de Bettignies, 2013). The ability to access vaccines is also a significant issue to consider since it can promote or hinder vaccination. For instance, the mandatory vaccination policy may affect stakeholders such as the suppliers when there are insufficient vaccines because they may be barred from transacting with the organization meaning the business is affected.

Theories such as utilitarian and stakeholder management encourage leaders to make decisions based on their impact on the involved parties. Both theories apply in various business situations because they provide moral counsel on better decision-making. Interventions applied in different situations are considered ethical when they benefit the population. For example, medical intervention strategies such as mandatory vaccination are considered ethical because they benefit many people. However, ethical concerns such as the different beliefs, values, and voluntariness are significant limitations in implementing mandatory policies.


Byars, S. M., & Stanberry, K. (2018). Business ethics. OpenStax. Web.

Bellefleur, O., & Keeling, M. (2016). Utilitarianism in public health. National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy. Web.

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De Cremer, D., & de Bettignies, H. (2013). Pragmatic business ethics. Business Strategy Review, 24(2), 64-67.

Petrini, C. (2010). Theoretical models and operational frameworks in public health ethics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(1). 189-202. Web.

Savulescu, J., Persson, I., & Wilkinson, D. (2020). Utilitarianism and the pandemic, Bioethics, 34(6). Web.

Vearrier, L., Henderson., M. (2021). Utilitarian principles as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. HEC Forum 33, 45–60. Web.

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NursingBird. (2022, November 14). Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, November 14). Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace.

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"Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace." NursingBird, 14 Nov. 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace'. 14 November.


NursingBird. 2022. "Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace." November 14, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace." November 14, 2022.


NursingBird. "Ethical Decisions in Healthcare Workplace." November 14, 2022.