Unit 4 Summary and Discussion Questions
Use your textbooks to complete the following:
In Thiroux and Krasemann, read Chapter 3, “Nonconsequentialist (Deontological) Theories of Morality,” pages 46–60.
In Stillman’s Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, read Chapter 9, Reading 9 and Case 9 on the shootings at Columbine High School, pages 257–282. Pay particular attention to the ethical issues that arise and the responses of public administrators to those issues.
Case Study: The Shootings at Columbine High
Launch Presentation | Transcript
Some of the most tragic disasters of our modern society have resulted from the culmination of a series of small problems. Many of these apparently little issues stem from a series of ethical challenges and can have a great impact in our public sector. Click on Launch Presentation to view “The Shootings at Columbine High,” which examines the possible ethical failures and correct ethical choices made by public administrators that led to the actions on that day. You will use this information in a discussion later in this unit.
Locate at least three peer-reviewed sources on nonconsequentialist theories of ethics as applied in the public sector. You will use these articles in your discussions for the week.
Add to your ethics mindmap based on the theories and practices that you learn about this week. As a reminder, you will add to this mindmap in each unit and submit it to your instructor in Unit 8.
[u04s2] Unit 4 Study 2
Comparing Theory Bases
For the assignment due in Unit 5, prepare your comparison of consequentialism and nonconsequentialism and how these theory bases apply to your ethical dilemma.
Unit 4 – Discussion 1:
Ethics of Taking a Life
Government authorizes the taking of a human life in some cases and does not sanction it in others. This long-standing debate about what is right and wrong and what public administration’s response should be in these situations raises interesting ethical debates for public administrators. Consider the following examples:
- You are a prison warden, responsible for executing murderers on death row.
- You are a public health clinic doctor who can prescribe drugs for assisted suicides in a state that allows euthanasia for terminal patients.
- You are a legislator responsible for making budgetary decisions that will benefit one population by eliminating life-saving services for another.
- You are a soldier in battle who is ordered to kill non-combatants.
Select one of these examples, and using consequentialist and nonconsequentialist theories to support your analysis. Argue whether or not the public servant has the duty to perform their task, even if it violates their personal ethics. Please remember that there is no clear right or wrong answer here, but your analysis of each example must be supported by the text and by other peer-reviewed sources. Remember to cite all sources that you use in your analysis.
Unit 4 – Discussion 2:
Consequences and Government
The act of governing means that something will happen to the public as a result of a decision by a public administrator. The act could be viewed as positive by some and negative by others. As hindsight is 20/20, it is much easier to criticize acts and their resulting consequences after an event is over. Examine the importance of consequences in our public systems.
Use the presentation in this unit on the shootings at Columbine High School and the readings on this subject in the Stillman case book, along with the ethical theories on consequences from the Thiroux and Krasemann text to:
- Identify some of the consequences of decisions made by public administrators in this case.
- Relate any weaknesses in ethical approaches of those involved to your theory bases of consequentialism and nonconsequentialism.
- Develop recommendations about how some of these ethical failures could have been avoided.
- Consider the case through the lens of ethical issues that arise.
Cite all sources appropriately.
Discussion questions are due on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 @ 3:00pm