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The House of Lannister Company’s Utilitarian Ethics


The House of Lannister is one of the top fashion organizations and is going to locate a new factory in Westeros, investing £50 billion under the conditions that: a) trade unions will be banned from operating in its foreign industrial zones; b) a corporate social responsibility project will be launched to fund primary education of the local population for people to learn basic English literacy. The major ethical dilemma of the situation involves the opposition of the interests of the organization and its employees (Melden, 2013). The essay at hand is going to prove a compromise can be reached even though the company strives to satisfy its own needs in the first place. The first part will be focused on the investment proposed while the second one will dwell upon the corporate social responsibility project. The conclusion will sum up the basic assumptions made.

The Utilitarian Approach

The first dilemma we face in the case study is the desire of the organization to eliminate trade unions from its potential territory, which basically means bribing the government with the investment (that is supposed to stimulate the local economy and thereby reduce poverty in Westeros) for its compliance. The House of Lannister claims that it ostensibly adopts global best practices, which means that the interests of workers are automatically protected (Boshyk, 2016). Yet, there is no evidence to support this statement.

The main theory that can be linked to the situation is the utilitarian theory. It was suggested in the 19th century by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill to help find the optimal balance of good and evil and proposes choosing the action that will produce the greatest benefits and the least harm (Broad, 2014). The rights theory is also applicable here; however, it will give us a one-sided approach to the situation, stating that all workers have the right to protection of their interests (John, Knyazeva, & Knyazeva, 2015). The utilitarian approach, on the contrary, allows for estimating whether the investment of £50 billion is worth taking the risk. Critical analysis of the situation leads to the recommendation to accept the proposal of the corporation as it creates a great opportunity for the region to boost its economic performance and reduce unemployment rates. Still, a probation period should be negotiated to make sure that the rights of the employees are not violated.

The CSR Project

The House of Lannister is going to fund a project that would allow its employees to learn basic English literacy to increase the competence of its future workforce. This intention can be theoretically explained within the Common Good framework, stating that the good of an individual is linked to the good of the whole community (which is the best possible alternative) (Etzioni, 2014). The dilemma arises from the fact that this charitable donation does not take into consideration the attitudes and wishes of the population, which means that the company is mostly striving to enhance its image rather than serve the good of the community. CSR, on the contrary, presupposes that all the parties involved have equal rights to express their preferences (Rasche, Morsing, & Moon, 2017).

Thus, the recommendation would be again to accept the offered literacy program under the condition that it is non-obligatory and does not automatically enlist people to work for the corporation once the education is finished. This will guarantee that no one will be forced to study or work against their desire.


The analysis revealed that the company’s pursuit of its interests is not as aggressive as it may seem. This means that it is possible to find benefits for both the corporation and the community. The latter should not be deprived of the opportunity to find new jobs and receive free education. However, it is crucial to remember that the benefactor must not be allowed to turn into the oppressor. Therefore, it is highly recommended to negotiate all the conditions thoroughly to avoid misunderstandings or misrepresentations that would lead to a violation of human rights.


Boshyk, Y. (Ed.). (2016). Business driven action learning: Global best practices. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Broad, C. D. (2014). Five types of ethical theory (Vol. 2). London, UK: Routledge.

Etzioni, A. (2014). Common Good. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

John, K., Knyazeva, A., & Knyazeva, D. (2015). Employee rights and acquisitions. Journal of Financial Economics, 118(1), 49-69.

Melden, A. I. (2013). Ethical theories. Redditch, UK: Read Books Ltd.

Rasche, A., Morsing, M., & Moon, J. (Eds.). (2017). Corporate Social Responsibility. Cambridge: UK: Cambridge University Press.

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