Ethics in Accounting

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Question one: who are the stakeholders and why?

In the Deciding, Who Receives the Swine flu vaccine case study, theshareholders include the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,the individuals whom the CDC has given the priority to receive thevaccine, and the companies given the responsibility of distributingthe vaccine, such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, among others. Thesethree parties are the shareholders because each has a mandate or anobligation and choices to make only that the available option resultsin an ethical dilemma.

Question two: One of the Stakeholders facing an ethical dilemmaand how the dilemma can be solved using both the consequentialist anddeontological approach.

The CDC has the mandate of ensuring the distribution of the vaccineand has to choose who receives and who does not and it is thesechoices that put them in the dilemma. Does the action of giving thevaccine to those in the targeted groups result in injustice? Besides,would an attempt to exercise fairness result in increased deathsamong those at risk? The consequentialist approach emphasizes on theconsequences when determining whether an action is good or bad(Mintz, &amp Morris, 2008). Using the consequentialistapproach, the CDC should give the individuals at high risk as thiswould reduce the number of causalities. Reducing causalities which isa good outcome justifies the action of administering the vaccine toonly those at risk. On the other hand, the deontological approachbase their judgmental of an action being either good or bad on asense of duty or on the thinking process (Mintz,&amp Morris, 2008). Instead of acting by inclination,the deontological view encourages one to act out of a sense of dutyor in adherence to the moral law. When using the deontologicalapproach to solving the ethical dilemma that the CDC is in, one hasto establish a maxim from which they will come up with a principle,access whether it makes sense or not. Besides, one has to explorewhether or not they are comfortable living in a world where theprinciple is used in every realm of life. For instance, the CDC mayhave the maxim that they are mandated to help those in great riskfirst. When this maxim is generalized, it makes sense as everyonewould like to live in a place where the weak are catered for first.

Question three: the downside to using these approaches.

The downside of using the consequentialist approach is that it makesit hard to come to a conclusion on the consequence to be considered.For instance, in this case, should one use the consequence onequality to all people or the possible causalities? Besides, how doesone decides on which consequence and stakeholders to give priority?For instance, what if the group chosen by the CDC is vaccinated, butthe disease ends up killing people who hold crucial positions suchas soldiers, police, president, judges and the likes. On the otherhand, the deontological approach fails in its unbending adherence tothe rules such that it prevents the ability of a person to pass ajudgment on a decision. Besides, this approach invokes a fiduciaryinstead of the moral law which is against its founding principles.For instance, the CDC does not have a legal duty to care for theinterest of others first as opposed to that of its staff.

Question four: How the dilemma can be solved using a practicaldecision making model

The ethical dilemma facing CDC can be solved using the Mintz,&amp Morris, (2008) ten steps approach as follows.

  1. Framing the ethical issue

In this case, the ethical question is: should the CDC choose theperson to save, leaving the lives of other people in danger?

  1. Gathering the facts in the case

The swine flu vaccine is inadequate hence, not everybody can get it.

There are certain groups of people who are more at risk ofcontracting the disease compared to others. This includes theindividual offering medical emergency services, the pregnant mothers,and the young children.

  1. identifying the stakeholders and their obligation

The CDC has the role of determining who receives the vaccine and whodoes not.

The persons in the targeted groups have the obligation of either totake the vaccine or not.

  1. Identification of the applicable accounting ethical standards relevant to the situation

Fairness. A cost-benefit analysis should be done to access the impactof the disease on both those at higher risk and those not at higherrisk.

Honesty. The CDC should disclose the information that the peopletargeted have a high risk of contracting the disease while the resthave low risk.

5. Identifying the operational issues involved in the situation.

Is the public concerned with the distribution of the vaccine?

Is the government questioning the act of assigning the role ofdistributing the vaccine to private companies?

Is there a public concern over those chosen to receive the vaccine?

Is there something that can be done if some of the people in thetarget group refuse to take the vaccine?

6. Identification of the accounting, as well as the auditing, issuesapplicable in the case.

In case the swine flu is not contained, the country will be affectedeconomically in terms of the loss of the future generation.

The citizens who fail to get the vaccine may fail to pay their taxesarguing that the state discriminated against them when they needed itthe most.

There may be street demonstrations over the distribution of thevaccine that may cause a destruction of properties.

The economy may be disrupted in case the flu is not contained.

7. Listing of allthe available alternatives both those that can be done and those thatcannot.

Doing nothing. Let the body responsible for manufacturing the vaccineproduce enough of it for all people.

Give the vaccine on the first-come-first-serve basis.

Go ahead and give the vaccine to the people that are more prone tocontracting the disease.

8. Comparing and weighing the alternatives

Doing nothing means that the flu will infect more people hence, morecasualties before it is contained.

Giving the vaccine on the first-come-first-serve basis means thatonly a small group will be vaccinated although everyone will besatisfied with the fairness of the process.

Giving the vaccine to the few people at risk will prevent a rapidspread of the vaccine, but may bring discontentment among those whowill not receive.

9. Deciding on the course of action

Give the vaccine to the person with the highest risk of contractingthe flu. While the public discontentment may be dealt with later, thelost lives and the rapid spread of the flu may be catastrophic to theentire population.

10. Reflecting on the decision

Justice is adouble-edged sword as it cut both sides. Giving vaccine to those whodeserve them the most is an injustice to the rest, and they may beprompted to react negatively. While the CDC does not have controlover how the rest of the people react, it has control over the spreadof the disease in those at high risk.


Mintz, S. M.,&amp Morris, R. E. (2008).&nbspEthicalobligations and decision making in Accounting: Text and cases.New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.