Question 3: Watch one of the videos (detailed below) on whistle blowing and critically analyze it using the ethics toolkit. Choose one of the videos to discuss critically with reference to ethical frameworks. The video “The totally avoidable a tragedy” (ABC 2009) are chosen to study. The video ‘A totally avoidable tragedy’ (ABC 2009) presents the situation of the deaths of five local people in the Mala Sara, Australia. They took a boat to return home after a meeting. However, the boat sank because of big waves and the lack of help and boat equipment.
The tragedy unveiled management issues in the public sector including ethics and accountability. In this case relevant government officials did not behave ethically and that caused the death of five people. This essay will discuss and analyze this case through the lenses of idealism, pragmatism and virtue based ethics. There are some main issues that are considered for analysis and discussion. They include the issue of policy and management, the relevant public sector, the stakeholders, unethical people and activities, management of the problems, application of the ethics toolkit and prevention of these problems.
Policy and management According to this video, there are some management and policy issues that are relevant to the death of five local people. Firstly, the project was underfunded; not enough money was invested to equip some basic equipment, for example GPS, radio and charts as well as the structure of the boat was not strong enough to overcome the bad weather. Secondly, government officials did not pay enough attention to measuring the safety of this boat as well as training the skipper and deckhand about how to use this boat safely. Thirdly, the company did not have the certificate to produce the boat.
Importantly, the staff working in rescue did not take responsibilities in their work. Therefore, when the crew faced some problems in the sea, they found it very difficult to contact with emergency to receive help. Thus, all factors that were mentioned before directly caused their death. The relevant public sector This case is absolutely relative to the public sector. First, they work in organizations, for example the Department of Immigration (Thursday Island office), Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police), Australian Search and Rescue, boat supply and Media (ABC and newspaper).
Moreover, people in this video such as local people and staff were followed and impacted by the public sector’s decisions. The stakeholders Before analyzing this issues, it is important to identify the stakeholders that are relevant to this problem. The first stakeholder is Department of Immigration (Thursday Island office) which organized the meeting and allowed the crew return their house with bad weather and unseaworthy boat. In addition, Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police) and Australian Search and Rescue are relevant with their responsibilities to help crew when their boat shank in the sea.
Other factor is the boat supplier where provided the boat without certificate and demanded qualities. Media (ABC and newspaper) and Barrister also involve this case because they exploit what happen and indicate who must be charge for the serious consequences. Lastly, local people who benefit from the boat project and the victims’ families. Unethically people and activities From the video, there are some people who are unethical when it comes to their role in the context to prevent and minimize the tragedy. The first is Garry Chaston who is the manager of the Department of Immigration in Thursday Island.
His behaviors are unethical because he ignores the complaint of his staff about the qualities of the boat such as the equipment and model. He did not care about the potential problems caused by the lack of a boat certificate and contract. Although he has the important position in the area, he despise local people’s life by providing the dangerous boat and making decisions without considering the results. Other relevant factors are Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police) and Australian Search and Rescue.
Their main job is helping people in some emergency cases that demand that they must take responsibility and concentrate highly to make exact and quick activities to help people. However, in this issue, they did not pay more attention and responsibility seriously to help victims. Other unethical people are Garry’s staff. Though they complain with their boss about the low quality of the boat, when their boss did not concern and modify, they did not contact other authorities or police for investigation. Managed problems
There are the serious accident, however the government officials solved it by the wrong ways. The Department of Immigration require local people return their house in the bad weather with the unseaworthy boat. Moreover, Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police) and Australian Search and Rescue did not take the urgent message seriously to help victims. In other words, they did not take actions immediately to help victims. The irresponsibility of relevant authorize leads to the death of five local people. Applying the ethics toolkit
The ethics toolkit is a tool using some theories and methods in order to inspire readers to consider critically about ethics, which can support them research and argue effectively (Baggini 2007). According to Preston, Sampford and Connors (2002), there are some requirements in term of making decision in administration. They conclude the respect for people who will impact by these choices. The decisions also influence on economy and effectiveness. Importantly, the decision activities must respect and follow the law and political systems. Idealism Idealism demands administration decision must respect and treat people like themselves.
In addition, its demand strictly the decision is not discriminated people because of their gender, culture, race or capacity. It is clear from the video, some people, their works are relevant to this issue, showed that they did not respect the law and local people. Garry Chaston, the leader in Department of Immigration in Thursday Island, also knew his decisions breaking the law because he ignored the complaints from his staffs about the danger of the boat. Event worse, he did not have the boat’s certificate and understood about the contract and the quality of the boat.
Moreover, some staff who work in emergency officer did not respect local people. It can witness from video that they did not pay more attention and concentration to save victims’ lives. Pragmatism This approach requires the consideration of context and result before making the choice. It concludes the calculation how the positive and negative impacts caused by the decisions, although it is not easy to calculate. The theory also prioritize the economical way before making decision. According to Akkerman (2003), leader must have vision and moral considerations and the influence on the organization.
In the video “The totally avoidable a tragedy” (ABC 2009) shows that manager Chaston and some staff who work in Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police) and Australian Search and Rescue did not think carefully before making decision. Moreover, they did not consider how their choices impact on other people or the consequences of their decisions. Although the cost of the current boat which is cheaper than other boat, Chaston did not consider the consequences of an insufficient equipment and the un-certificate boat until the accident occur.
Moreover, it is very dangerous when the local took the unseaworthy boat without training. Additionally, when the local people called to the police and other emergency for help, the staff did not base on the situation for making their decision immediately to help the victims. Virtue based ethics Virtue based ethics requires honor, justice, benevolence and loyalty when making the chose. Bommer et al. (1987) indicates that there are some factors impacting on ethics such as social environment and professional environment. Moreover, some ethical problems may occur prior of the process of making decision.
In the video, the Garry’s staff showed their benevolence because they know how potential dangerous of the boat, thus, they inform to Chaston to identify the weaknesses and minimize their dangers. However, they make a minor mistake that they did not complain with other authorities or polices about the drawback of the boat as well as Garry’s mistakes. Seriously, Chaston fall to prove his honour, justice and benevolence. He did not care about the possible negative influences on his reputation when he required his staff and the company to provide the boat.
In addition, although manager is responsible for all activities in his office, he did not follow the regulations of the law and to be a good model for his staff. Furthermore, he did not willing to help someone by not accepting the complaints from his staff as well as not investing carefully in the boat. Similar to Chaston, the staff working in Queensland Police Service (Thursday Island water police) and Australian Search and Rescue also did not consider about their honor, justice and benevolence as analyzing before. Prevent these problem It is very necessary to point out some solutions to prevent and minimize the tragedy in the video.
Firstly, the Department of Immigration must follow the standards to provide the boat including the model, cost, the certificate and suitability. Moreover, the authorities should delay the joinery when the bad weather occur. Furthermore, skipper, deckhands and local people must be trained how to use the boat safely. Additionally, the emergency must take seriously responsibility to help victim. Last but importantly, all decision activities must respect the people and the law; consider to the context and the consequences before making the choices.
In conclusion, the video “The totally avoidable a tragedy” (ABC 2009) shows the death of five local people living in Malu Sara. The tragedy is relevant to the management problems in public sector because the government officials have many unethical and unaccountable activities, which could be done by other better ways as mentioned before. By applying the ethics toolkit which has three approaches including idealism, Pragmatism and virtue ethics to discuss and analyze this video, it can help those involving and studying this issue to understand and make this problems become better.