Business Ethics

Length: 1104 words

The ‘Parable of the Sadhu’ discussed how a group hiking up the Himalayan Mountains encountered an ethical dilemma and how their decisions are similar to corporate ethics. This article presents a complex situation in which immediate action was necessary. In briefly, a group of multi-national individuals embarked on a trip of a life-time up the mountain. Along their journey up, Sadhu, an Indian holy man, was discovered naked and barely alive by the group of multicultural mountaineers. Each ethnic group did a little to help the Sadhu, but none assumed full responsibility.

Their priority and concern was in climbing the mountain rather than carrying Sadhu to the village where other people could help. Provide with minimal support such as clothes, food and water, the group is faced with an ethical dilemma whether to continue climb up the mountain or turn around and return back to base camp and provide the sadhu with the proper care. One of the hikers, Bowen McCoy, whose a managing director of Morgan Stanley Co. Inc. decides that this journey is an experience to achieve personal satisfaction and was more important that the well-being of the stranger.

Another individual, McCoy’s friend, Stephen who was suffering from the elements himself attempted to help the Sadhu as best as he could. When these two individuals meet up, Stephen asks McCoy, “How do you feel about contributing to the death of a fellow man? ” No one knows for sure if the Sadhu is dead or alive. No one was willing to accept the total responsibility for the Sadhu, but did what they could as long as it was convenient and “passed the buck to someone else”.

This article overall provides a strong impact on businessmen about corporate ethics issues such as the choice between the agreed ultimate objective and individual morals and values. Question 1 The various hikers’ decision whether to provide proper care for Sadhu may have influenced by several factors. One of the factors could be the altitude during that moment. There is no doubt that at the 15,500 feet, the group of multicultural mountaineers is suffered from the air pressure and altitude sickness which could cause difficult to breath, disorientation and paralysis.

In other words, the various mountaineers are under physical and mental stress condition in which could affect them to think clearly. Six years earlier, McCoy had attempted a similar climb and had been forced back by altitude sickness when climbing the Everest. Moreover, the mountaineers are forced and desperate to get over the steep part of the climb before the sun melted the steps cut in the ice since the Himalayas were having the wettest spring, hip-deep powder and ice that had already force them off one ridge.

Eventually, this causes stress and constant worry to the group of mountaineers. As a result, when it comes to Sadhu case they encountered dilemma when making decision. In addition, the bad weather during that moment could has causes fear they would not make it over the pass and the limited resources available plays a great influence on the mountaineers’ decision making. Those mountaineers’ actions are considered as unethical in a sense that none assumed full responsibility and care about Sadhu.

For instance, the New Zealander who carried Sadhu down said “I’ve done what I can and you care for him” as he heads back up the mountain to continue his journey. Not only that, the Japanese refused to provide help when requested by Stephen to transport Sadhu down to the hut using their horse. Also, Pasang resisted to help by saying that he and other porters could not carry a man down 1000 feet to the hut and reclimb back the slope and get across safely. Other than that, McCoy who left Stephen and Pasang behind with Sadhu said he was more concerned to get over the pass.

In this situation, all these hikers are actually more anxious to achieve their personal satisfaction and interest and was more important that the life of the Sadhu. These mountaineers are known as ethical egoism where everyone acts in a way that maximizes the good of them selves. However, even though no one is willing to help and provide proper care for Sadhu, each ethnic group still did a little to help the Sadhu. Question 2 McCoy decides that this journey is an experience to achieve personal satisfaction and was more important that the life of the stranger.

This kind of behavior is referred as ethical egoism where McCoy only wants to achieve his goal which is one in a life-time experience and helping the Sadhu is not his best interest. The ‘Parable of the Sadhu’ presents a complex situation which immediate action was necessary. McCoy main concern was in climbing the mountain rather than carrying Sadhu to the village where other people could help him. Although the environments of the trip were so that once the ountaineers went down to the village, they might not have been able to come up back, McCoy feels guilty for what he was not done for the Sadhu. There are three general approaches in examining a moral issue and making a decision, those being consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. Consequentialism focuses on consequences as the most important factor in the decision making process. For consequentialists the motives of an act are not as important as what comes out of it. Utilitarianism is one of the branches of consequentialism. Utilitarianism believes in the greatest good for the number.

This method along with ethical egoism was probably the one that was used subconsciously by the various mountaineers. Leaving the Sadhu was fine because in the end the greater amount of people would have reached their goal and that would have made them happy. These egoism consequentialists who believe that the greatest good is their own would have done the same which satisfying their desires before helping someone else. This method, however, is not the best for this situation. On the other hand, Stephen, saw the situation on a different light.

How much of it can be attributed to his religiousness or other beliefs (Mc Coy described him as ‘a committed Quaker with a deep moral vision’) is arguable but one must agree that it is likely to have been a distinguishing factor in the way they both looked at the situation. The reactions of the others in the discussion initiated by McCoy’s narration of the incident, is similarly influenced by their own cultural influences. At the least, one can see a striking parallel between their reactions to the situation and the careers or lives they have selected for themselves.

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