In the modern world, many ethical issues occur related to almost all the areas of human activity, causing people around the world to question themselves regarding how they are supposed to treat others. People confront such issues on a daily basis, and when that happens, they have to make the corresponding decisions based on their vision of ethics and their own ethical principles. Therefore, questions arise on where those principles and virtues come from and how people know what is right and what is wrong from the perspective of ethics. For instance, the Christian viewpoint suggests that ethical issues should be solved in accordance with the Holy Bible, the well-known Christian Scripture, though many people do not follow the corresponding religion. Thus, this paper aims to analyze a case from the Christian perspective with an ethical issue involved in hiring a candidate to the firm over another candidate based on their racial differences. For the purposes of this paper, the 7-step method will be used. The Christian perspective suggests that the company should have hired the Caucasian female because it is the right decision based on ethical principles.
Gathering the facts
First, it is essential to gather significant facts and aspects of the case under discussion to ensure that all essential details are addressed, and the final decision is objective according to the Christian perspective. The case is related to the hiring manager of a major public accounting company interviewing a Caucasian woman who is almost perfect for the vacant position, based on the results of the interview. The manager is optimistic that he has found the exact person the company has been seeking, and he encourages the woman on her prospects for being hired and gives high recommendations to the firm’s authorities. However, the interviewer later receives a notification letter informing that it has been decided to hire another candidate, a Hispanic male who attended the same school as the Caucasian woman the manager initially liked. From this point, he starts to wonder why the corresponding decision has been made, thinking about the exact reasons the firm’s authorities have found the Hispanic candidate more appropriate for this position.
The reason for the interviewer’s interest in the occurrence is that he knows both candidates, and from his viewpoint of a hiring manager, the woman would be a more appropriate employee for the company. She has more significant academic credentials and more work experience than the Hispanic male, and the company is currently not in need of expanding its clientele from Spain by hiring Hispanic workers. To the hiring manager’s knowledge, the firm tries to reach the state of diversity among its employees, which is why he suspects that the choice has been made based on the candidates’ racial differences. The company has been making public utterances regarding the goal to achieve mentioned diversity, and everything described illustrates that racism, at least partially, is involved in the situation under discussion. Overall, the observations of the hiring manager cause him (and the entire company) to face an ethical issue, which is to be discussed in this paper.
Determining the ethical issue
The ethical issue in the situation described in the previous section involves comparing people based on their racial affiliation, which is unacceptable according to most principles of modern ethics. However, it is a complex subject since there are many different interpretations of ethical values, especially from the Christian perspective. Even if the Biblical principles are clear for comprehension, the corresponding values mostly “offer guidance for human conduct, rather than specific laws or commandments” (Collins 1). Moreover, it is not always simple to apply Biblical values to a specific ethical issue because the Bible itself contains many examples of situations where unethical positions or actions have been supported or defended by the Scripture (Collins 6). It also concerns the problem of racism and racial inequality as the Bible “has often provided a cloak of respectability to bigots, racists, and despots” (Collins 6). In other words, it can be challenging to analyze the ethical issue under discussion from the Christian perspective because the principles of the Bible do not always converge with everything described in the book.
The ethical problem is also complicated as the element of racial inequality is not evident in this case. On the one hand, the company’s choice of a Hispanic male over a Caucasian female exemplifies racism because it has been made based on racial differences between the two candidates. On the other hand, the firm promotes diversity among their employees, which is most likely the reason the executive authorities have decided to hire the Hispanic candidate. The desire to achieve a diverse team of workers demonstrates that the company is against racism as it tries to gather representatives of different races and cultures inside the firm. Nonetheless, such an attitude has caused the company to choose a Hispanic candidate over a Caucasian one. According to researchers, racism “concerns the harmful and pernicious treatment of other human beings based on race” (Kavanagh and McGuirk 1). In the case under discussion, the company does not intend to harm the rejected candidate, but the choice is explained precisely by racial differences. That makes this particular ethical issue highly complex since there is a need to identify whether the company’s actions are indeed unethical.
Determining the primary principles
The next phase in the 7-step method concerns determining what virtues and principles primarily have a bearing on the case. The main ethical principle involved is well-known and implies treating all people equally, regardless of their individual characteristics, including race and nationality. People should not think less or more of others based on their racial affiliations, and they should not act in a harmful way towards each other because of such factors. Modern studies do not consider race as an observable physical factor such as colors of skin and hair or eye shape, meaning that the concept of “race” is rather social than biological (Kavanagh and McGuirk 1). It means that, in many respects, racial differences are artificially created by society in terms of treating each other, which is why racism is unethical. This particular case involves moral reasoning, which is the critical analysis of what is right in a given situation (Kavanagh and McGuirk 3). Therefore, solving the ethical issue under discussion implies defining the right action to take in this situation from the Christian and ethical perspectives.
However, it can be challenging to identify what is right and what is wrong based on the principles of the Holy Bible. According to Collins, even the Ten Commandments represent general values, yet their application is circumstantial since the Scripture implies that there is “a time to kill and a time to heal” (12). That makes the Bible not as strict and straightforward as it should be to provide immediate solutions for various ethical issues, including the one under discussion. It can be determined based on the general principles of the Scripture that people should love each other equally and not behave in a way that can bring harm, pain, or suffer to another person. Therefore, the primary virtue related to the subject suggests that the company, in this case, should not have chosen the candidate based on their racial affiliation and harmed another candidate by rejecting them.
Listing the alternatives
Although it has been stated in the previous sections of this paper that the ethical issue under discussion is complex, there are only three possible alternatives to take. The first of them is the choice to hire a Hispanic male to increase the rate of diversity within the company, as it has indeed been done by the executive authorities. The second alternative implies hiring a Caucasian female, which would make the final decision independent of the candidate’s race and exceptionally objective in terms of their academic credentials and work experience. Finally, the third option would be to reject them both and find another person appropriate for the position to avoid the ethical issue from occurring. The alternative of approving both candidates is not discussed in this paper since it appears from the case description that the company needed or could afford to hire only one applicant. Therefore, the three other alternatives described in this paragraph are the ones to compare with the ethical principles involved.
Comparing the alternatives with the principles
This section of the paper aims to compare the alternatives described in the previous section with the primary ethical principles determined in step 3. The first alternative to be compared is hiring a Hispanic male to increase the ethnic diversity among the company’s employees. This option does not converge with the principle of treating people equally as it implies making a choice based on race, and it does not cover the principle of putting others in harm’s way. The Caucasian female does not get the job, meaning that she is indeed harmed. However, if she were hired, the Hispanic applicant would be harmed in the same way, meaning that this principle cannot be applied appropriately to the case under discussion. The domain of business, precisely the hiring field, is always associated with choosing between many candidates, and the corresponding discussion cannot be conducted in an ethical setting.
The second alternative to be compared is hiring the Caucasian female instead of the Hispanic candidate. This option covers the principle of treating people equally as it implies making a choice regardless of the racial affiliation and based only on the objective characteristics of each applicant. The Hispanic male is still harmed as he does not get the job, but it is an option of “lesser evil” as the Caucasian female may get upset when she acknowledges that she has been rejected because of her race.
The third suggested alternative, which implies rejecting both applicants, cannot be adequately compared with the discussed principles because the company still needs an employee in this case. All human beings represent a specific race and nationality, meaning that the only way to use this option according to the values under discussion is to choose an applicant among representatives of the same race. However, such a state of affairs is unacceptable because that implies that the company has to consider job applications based on racial affiliation, which is another form of a racism-related ethical issue.
Considering the consequences
Evidently, there will be particular consequences for each chosen alternative. All the options listed are associated with rejecting at least one of the candidates, meaning that someone will be harmed regardless of choice made. Choosing to hire a Hispanic applicant will make this decision depend on the racial affiliation and negatively impact the Caucasian candidate and her life. Otherwise, the choice of hiring her will also have a negative influence on the other applicant’s life, but it will be objective and justifiable in terms of economics, business, and management. Rejecting both applicants will place the company in the necessity of seeking new candidates, and there is a chance the executive authorities will have to choose between representatives of different races again. Therefore, all the alternatives have different consequences, including negative ones.
Making a decision
The final step of the applied methodology implies making a decision based on the determined principles and alternatives to solve the ethical issue. The modern ethics and the Christian perspective both suggest that the right alternative to choose is to hire a Caucasian female as she is a better candidate for this position. Even one of the two greatest commandments of God described in the Bible suggests that all people “shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Collins 9). Therefore, the organization’s bosses who make the final decision should understand that their actions, specifically rejecting the Caucasian applicant, can make her think she has not got the job only because of race. Overall, the company should reconsider its policy regarding the diversity of employees and find another way to achieve that without making a decision based on racial affiliations.
The ethical principles suggest that the right decision to make is hiring a Caucasian candidate without considering the racial factor, as implied by the Christian perspective. Although the case does not involve racist judgment since it has not been the company’s intention to reject the woman based on her race, the original decision is a form of racism in many respects. Moreover, the firm’s actions may hurt the rejected applicant as she can understand that she has been rejected because of her race, which might hurt her feelings. The organization’s goal to achieve racial diversity among its employees is noble, but the corresponding policy should be reconsidered to avoid situations like the one under discussion.
Personally, I believe this case study is strongly related to my major educational field of business, economics, and management because this domain is strongly associated with such situations. Management, especially the hiring area, always implies making a choice between different people, and various ethical issues may follow that choice. I think it is crucial to study similar problems to see how they can be dealt with or avoided because it never should be a hiring manager’s intention to make unethical decisions and hurt others.
Collins, John J. What Are Biblical Values? What the Bible Says on Key Ethical Issues. Yale University Press, 2019.
Kavanagh, Anne Marie, and Niamh McGuirk. “Beginning conversations about difference, race, ethnicity and racism through ethical education.” Teaching for Social Justice and Sustainable Development Across the Primary Curriculum, edited by Anne Marie Kavanagh et al., Routledge, 2021, pp. 197-212.