Business ethics is the study of business situations, activities, and decisions where issues of right and wrong are addressed. It is worth that stressing that by 'right' and 'wrong' we mean morally right and wrong. For example commercially, strategically, or financially right or wrong. Moreover, by business ethics, we do not mean only commercial business, but also government organization, pressure groups, not-for-profit businesses, charities and other organization. Business ethics has been claim as an Oxymoron. By an oxymoron, it mean that bringing together of two apparently contradictory concepts, such as in 'a cheerful pessimist' to say that business ethics is an oxymoron suggests that there are not or cannot be ethics in business which state that business is some way unethical such as business that is inherently bad, or that it is at best amoral which are such as outside of our normal moral considerations. Examples are such as in the latter case, Albert Carr (1968) notoriously argued in the article 'is business bluffing ethical' that the game of business was not subject to the same moral standards as the rest of society, but should be regarded as analogous to a game of poker where deception and lying were perfectly permissible. Business ethics is currently a very prominent business topic, and the debates and dilemmas surrounding business ethics have tended to attract an
Kant and the Categorical Imperative
Kant and the Categorical Imperative a) Duty should be done simply because it is duty. Explain how Kant analysed this concept. Kant aimed to create a theory of ethics that relied not on emotion but reason and could be universally applied and not obscured by religion or person experience. To do this he created two fundamental rules of ethics; that if an action can be universalised and have good effects then it is moral, and that the morality of an action cannot be based on the consequences of an outcome. The best example to use and one that Kant used himself is lying. Kant analysed the concept of lying based on these rules. If the action of lying was universalised so that everybody did it then it would have a bad effect as no one could trust what anyone was saying, therefore it is immoral and must not be done. Some people argue that the consequences of lying justifies the action of lying; that the end justifies the means. For example if to save someone's life you must tell a lie then is acceptable to lie. However according to Kant the consequences of an action offers no guide as to whether or not that action is moral and that a moral action is an end in itself and not a means, therefore lying is always immoral regardless of the possible outcomes. Kant also noted that people are aware of a moral law at work within them. He did not regard this consciousness as a vague
A) Explain the main characteristics of Moral Relativism. The theory of Moral Relativism suggests that no principle or value is completely right or wrong; it depends on the circumstances such as the particular society in which one lives in. This proves to be a problem when discovering the actual truth as people begin to think that the truth relies on who maintains it or that the only truth is their own. This can lead to truth having no significance because everything depends on the society to which one belongs to. This ideology originates from Ancient Greece at the time of Homer (8th century BCE). People within Greek society began to come across different ideas if what it meant to be moral. They questioned their own absolutist ideals, resulting in the discussions of the Sophists, a group of wise men, who disputed that all morality was relative - what was right and wrong was different within every society. A Greek philosopher, Protagoras proposes that people's main focus in life was to just get on with it; he says "Man is the measure of all things". All they wanted was to fit in with their own community; the 'truth' was an inconsistent and unpredictable idea. Protagoras said that nothing is absolutely right or wrong and that each person is their own final point of authority when making decisions. Moral Relativism is also subjective, meaning that a person's values are
Reason and Emotion
Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions? Reason and emotions are different aspects of the justification of moral decision. According to me reason has to do with logical thinking, and we use reason as a declaration to explain or justify our actions and decisions. Emotion on the other hand is more chaotic. It is a mental state that arises spontaneously based of feelings. But are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions? Well if moral decisions were exclusively based on reason they would be very logical. Whereas emotions often tend to cloud judgement and hinder an objective view. However we are all human beings and cannot separate our rational and emotional mind which means that both reason and emotion are necessary. Using my knowledge and reason concerning the question, I have asked myself if we do act in the same way in a familiar situation as in an unfamiliar situation. And I believe that if we let a specific number of persons face the same situation, some might be familiar to the situation and some might not, some might act emotionally and some might act reasonable, because we all have different valuations, experiences, prejudices, and knowledge about different areas of knowledge which affect our actions. In other words does context, personal moral beliefs and pre-knowledge play an important role to how we justify
Religion and Morality
Religion and Morality Ai) Morality as dependant on religion The idea of whether morality and religion are linked or not was first looked upon by Plato, where in his Euthyphro Dilemma he asks, 'Is what is pious loved by the Gods because it is pious, or is something pious because it is loved?' In other words he is questioning whether things are good because God commands them to be, or does God command them because they are good? I will first examine the view followed by theists today, that things are good because God loves them and that religion and morality are linked. There are a number of ways which you can establish a possible link between religion and morality, the first being heteronomously. Heteronomy is the view that morality depends on religious belief, or things derived from religion. The rules in heteronomous societies are from religious authority so will obviously be linked to religion, however a non-religious person is still capable of being heteronomous as they live and abide by the culture's laws therefore adopting a morality based on religion. To a certain extent it is hard to deny aspects of heteronomy, since words like 'good' and 'evil' are shaped by religion. It would be hard to present an ethical theory free from these terms. A theonomous link can also be made, where morality and religion depend on one source (for example, in Western cultures God) who is
Situation Ethics Situation ethics is not dissimilar from utilitarianism, in that it is a way a deciding upon the correct action that is to be taken in a given situation. It does however take an individualistic approach, with the emphasis being upon each person, rather than looking after the majority, as is the case in utilitarianism. It is a Christian principle, and so would not apply to those outside of Christianity. It revolves around what the most loving thing to do is. Joseph Fletcher, an American professor of ethics used his beliefs and concerns to come up with what he believed was a fair way of deciding what was the right action to take in a situation. He didn't like the way in which so many ethical theories, such as utilitarianism were based upon and around a basic set of rules, a legalistic approach. He believed that it was too rigid, and did not allow for exceptions. He also firmly disapproved of any antinomian, because it "Rejects the idea that there are any authoritative laws, rules or regulations that you ought to obey in a decision-making situation."1 Instead he used love as a general rule in decision making; not "storge", to love a country or place; not "philia", to love a family member or friend; and not "eros", to make love and to lust for someone; but instead "agape", self-giving love, as is demonstrated by Jesus dying upon the cross. To Fletcher, "agape"
i) Identify the distinctive characteristics of situation ethics ii) Outline the main weaknesses of situation ethics and assess how far they lead to a rejection of the theory i) Situation ethics can be summarised as a guide to show the most agape love in a particular situation. Joseph Fletcher was an Anglican Theologian and as he did, we must ask ourselves, how are we meant to go about life? If we look at Matthew 22:35, Jesus says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself". So this gives us what Jesus wanted us to do, but is this not an outdated proposition? We can draw on Archbishop William Temple to modernise this quote, "There is only one ultimate and invariable duty and its formula is 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'" Temple went on to add, "How to do this is another question" This is where Joseph Fletcher came to try and forge a link between Jesus' message and more modern scholars to teach us how to act. Fletcher began his book1 with a story from one of his friends who was talking to a cab driver in America near the time of the presidential elections. The cab driver said " I, my father and grandfather before him and their fathers have always been straight ticket Republicans" Fletcher's friends replied saying "I take it that you will vote republican as well?" The Cab driver responded with something that stuck with Fletcher's. He said, "No, there are
"People should always do their duty". Explain how Kant understood this concept.
"People should always do their duty". Explain how Kant understood this concept. Immanuel Kant was an eighteenth century German philosopher, who lived all of his life in the town of Konigsberg, East Prussia. Kant belied that the only way we can make selfless, rational moral decisions is by acting out of a sense of duty. Kant was troubled by the apparent inconsistency between the findings if the physical sciences in his day, and that of the accepted moral and religious attitudes and doctrines of his contempories. What particularly concerned Kant was the fact that everything that occurred in the natural sciences could be explained by the use of strict laws, whereas human beings appeared to behave in a relatively chaotic and unpredictable manor when faced with moral decisions? Kant believed this to be a contradiction that had to be resolved, and subsequently started work on a deontological, universal moral theory defined by him as "the categorical imperative", something that he believed should underpin all moral decision-making. Kant starts his argument by making a distinction between a posteriori statements and a priori statements. Kant held that an a posteriori statement is one that is based on experience of the material world, whereas an a priori statement requires no such knowledge; it is known independent of the phenomenal world. Kant then continues to make a further
Discuss the approach of Natural Law to morality According to Jenkins, "The natural law theory begins with theories about the nature and purpose of the world and moves on to ask about the purpose of every action or object. The right thing to do is that which fulfils the natural purpose." Natural law was developed by Thomas Aquinas, in which he believed that there is such a thing as natural moral law. Natural law ethics depends on the belief that the world was designed by a creator, God. It teaches everything God made has a purpose, including every aspect of human life, and everything should work towards the purpose assigned to it. If we fulfil this purpose we do 'good', for example it is good to preserve life ("Do not kill"). If we frustrate the purpose for which something has been created then it is morally 'wrong', to destroy life is against the will of good. In addition, human sexuality was designed for the reproduction of the species. Any action which helps towards the fulfilment of this purpose is good; anything which hinders this fulfilment is bad. Aquinas believed there were four primary precepts, "God's aims for humans", which we are to follow to live according to natural law. These are to reproduce, learn and develop potential, live harmoniously in society and worship god. These precepts are moral absolutes and under no circumstances can be broken. Natural law is
Ethics in Business
Ethics in Business Ethics and Human Resources Ethics commonly refer to the rules or principles that define right and wrong conduct. In the United States, many believe we are currently suffering from an ethics crisis (Ricklets, Robbins & Coulter, 1996). Behaviors that were once thought unacceptable -- lying, cheating, misrepresenting, and covering up mistakes -- have become in many people's eyes acceptable or necessary practices. Managers profit from illegal use of insider stock information and members of Congress write hundreds of bad checks. Even college students seem to have become caught up in the wave where studies show significant increases in cheating on tests (Robbins et al.). Concern over this perceived decline in ethical standards is being addressed by organizations, and companies are relying on Human Resource (HR) to build an ethical culture. Human Resource departments are creating codes of ethics, introducing ethics training programs and hiring ethics officers. Why is ethics important to Human Resources? When employees in organizations make decisions to act unethically, they affect not only the company itself, but also its shareholders, employees and customers. Employees make a myriad of choices every day in businesses -- if unethical, they can damage a company's productivity, profits and reputation. Unethical decisions can come in many forms: the employee who