ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN BUSINESS – Various Definitions Saturday, Nov 29 2008 

ETHIC OF CARE:

An ethic that emphasizes cring for the concrete well being of those near to us.

ETHIC OF VIRTUE:

An ethic based on evaluations of the moral character of persons or groups.

UTILITARIANISM:

A general term for any view that holds that actions and policies should be evaluated on the basis of the benefits and costs they will impose on society.

UTILITY:

The inclusive term used to refer to any net benefits produced by an action.

UTILITARIANISM:

  • Advocates maximising utility.
  • Matches well with moral evaluations of public policies
  • Appears intuitive to many people
  • Helps Explain why some actions are generally wrong and others are generally light.
  • Influenced Economics

COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS:

A type of analysis used to determine the desirability of investing in a project by figuring whether its present and future economic benefits outweight its present and future economic costs.

EFFICIENCY:

Operating in such a way that one produces a desired output with the lowest resource input.

NONECONOMIC GOODS:

Goods such as life, love, freedom,equality, health, beauty, whose value is such that no quantity of any economic good is equal in value to the value of the noneconomic good.

INSTRUMENTAL GOODS:

Things that are considered valuable because they lead to other good things.

INTRINSIC GOODS:

Things that are desirable independent of any other benefits they may produce.

JUSTICE:

Distributing benefits and burdens fairly among people.

RIGHTS:

Individual entitlements to freedom of choice and well being.

EVALUATING UTILITARIANISM:

  • Critics say not all values can be measured.
  • Utilitarians respond that monetary and commonsensee mesures can measure everything.
  • Critics say utilitarianism fails with rights and justice.
  • Utilitarians respond that rule – utilitariansim can deal with rights and justice.

LEGAL RIGHT:

An entitlement that derives from a legal system that permits or empowers a person to act in a specified way or that requires others to act in certain ways toward that person.

MORAL RIGHTS:

Rights that human beings of every nationality possess to an equal extent simply virtue of being human beings.

CHARACTERISTICS OF RIGHTS:

  • A right is an individual’s entitlement to something.
  • Rights derieved from legal systems are limited by jurisdiction
  • Moral or human rights are based on moral norms and are not limited by jurisdiction.

SUMMARY OF MORAL RIGHTS:

  • Tigthly correlated with duties.
  • Provide individuals with autonomy and equality in the free pursuit of their interests.
  • Provide a basis for justifying one’s actions and for invoking the protection or aid of thers.

NEGATIVE RIGHTS:

Duties others have to not interfere in certain activities of the person who holds the right.

POSITIVE RIGHTS:

Duties of other agent to provide the holder of the right with whatever he or she needs to freely pursue his or her interests.

KINDS OF MORAL RIGHTS:

  • Negative rights require others leave us alone
  • Positive rights require others help us
  • Contractual or special rights require other to keep agreements.

CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE:

The requirement that everyone should be treated as a free person equal to everyone else.

MAXIM:

The reason a person in a certain situation has for doing what he or she plans to do. 

UNIVERSALIZABILITY:

The person’s reasons for acting must be reasons that everyone could act on atleast in principle.

REVERSABILITY:

The person’s reasons for acting must be reasons that he or she would be willing to have all others use, even as a basis of how they treat him or her.

KANT’S CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE FORMULAS:

  • Never do something unless you are willing to have everyone do it.
  • Never use people merely as means, but always respect and develop their ability to choose for themselves.

CRITICISMS OF KANT:

  • Categorical Imperatives are unclear
  • Kant’s rights can conflict
  • Kant’s theory implies some mistaken moral conclusions

LIBERTARIAN PHILOSOPHERS:

  • Believe that freedom from human constraint is necessarily good  and that all constraints imposed by others are necessarily evil except when needed to prevent the imposition of greater human constraints.

TYPES OF JUSTICE:

  • Distributive Justice: Just distribution of benefits and burdens
  • Retributive Justice: Just imposition of punishments and penalities.
  • Compensatory Justice: Just compensation for wrongs or injuries.

DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE:

Distributive society’s benefits and burdens fairly.

RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE:

Blaming or punishing persons fairly for doing wrong.

COMPENSATORY JUSTICE:

Restoring to a person what the person lost when he or she was wronged by someone.

EGALITARIANISM:

Every person should be given exactly equal shares of a society’s or a group’s benefits and burdens.

POLITICAL EQUALITY:

Equal participation in, and treatment by, the political system.

ECONOMIC EQUALITY:

Equality of income, wealth and opportunity.

PURITAN ETHIC:

The view that every individual has a religious obligation to work hard at his calling (the career to which God summons each individual).

WORK ETHIC:

The view that values individual effort and believes that hard work does and should lead to success.

PRODUCTIVITY:

The amount a person produces.

PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL LIBERTY:

The claim that each citizen’s liberties must be protected from invasion by others and must be equal to those of others.

DIFFERENCE PRINCIPLE:

The claim that a productive society will incorporate inequalities, but takes steps to improve the position of the most needy members of society.

PRINCIPLE OF FAIR EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY:

The claim that everyone should be given an equal opportunity to qualify for the more privileged positions in society’s institutions.

ORIGINAL POSITION:

An imaginary meeting of rational self interested persons who must choose the principles of justice by which their society will be governed.

VEIL OF IGNORANCE:

The requirement that persons in the original position must not know particulars about themselves which might bias their choices such as their sex,race,religino,income,social status etc.,

PRINCIPLES OF DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE:

  • Fundamental: Distributive benefits and burdens equally to equals and unequally to unequals.
  • Egalitarian: Distribute equally to everyone.
  • Capitalist: Distribute by Contribution
  • Socialist: Distribute by need and ability.
  • Libertarian: Distribute by Free Choices
  • Rawls: Distribute by equal liberty, equal opportunity, and needs of disadvantaged.

ETHIC OF CARE:

An ethic that emphasizes caring for the concrete well being of those near to us.

  • Claims ethics need to be impartial.
  • Emphasizes preserving and nurturing concrete valuable relationships.
  • Says we should care for those dependent on and related to us.

COMMUNITARIAN ETHIC:

An ethic that sees concrete communities and communal relationships as having a fundamental value that should be preserved and maintained.

Objection to Care Approach to Ethics:

  • Charge: Ethic of care can degenerate into favoritism.
  • Response: Conflicting moral demands are an inherent characteristic of moral choices.
  • Charge: Ethic of care can lead to “burnout”
  • Response: Adequate understanding of ethic of care will address the need to care for the caregiver.

The Basis of Moral Judgements:

  • Evaluations of social costs and benefits.
  • Respect for individual rights.
  • Just ditribution of benefits and burdens.
  • Caring for those in concrete relationships.

MORAL VIRTUE:

An acquired disposition that is valued as part of th character of morality good human being and that is exhibited in the person’s habitual behaviour.

THEORIES OF MORAL VIRTUE:

  • Aristotle: Habits that enable a person to live according to reason.
  • Aquinas: Habits that enable a person to live responsibly in this world and be united with God in the next life.
  • MacIntyre: Disposition that enables a person to achieve the good at which human”practices” aim.
  • Pincoff: Dispositions we use when choosing between persons or potential future selves.

VIRTUE THEORY:

The theory that the aim of the moral life is to develop those general dispositions called moral virtues, and to exercise and exhibit them in the many situations that human life sets before us.

VIRTUE THEORY CLAIMS:

  • We should exercise, exhibit, and develop the virtues.
  • We should avoid exercising, exhibiting, and developing vices.
  • Institutions should instill virtues not vices.

Business Ethics – Various Definitions and Theories Friday, Nov 28 2008 

Business Ethics:

The principles of conduct governing an individual or a group.

Business Ethics:

Ethics is the study of Morality.

 

Ethics is not the same as morality, it is a study  of various dimensions of Morality.

Ethics is the discipline that examines one’s moral standards or the moral standards of a society.

WHAT IS MORALITY?

The standards that an individual or a group about what is right and wrong or good and evil.

MORAL STANDARDS :

The norms about the  kinds of actions believed to be morally right and wrong as well as the values placed on the kinds of objects believed to be morally good and morally bad.

NON MORAL STANDARDS:

The standards by which we judge what is good or bad and right or wrong in a nonmoral way.

5 Characteristics of Moral Standards:

  1. Involved with serious injuries or benefits.
  2. Not established by Law or Legislature.
  3. Should be preferred to other values including self interest.
  4. Based on impartial considerations
  5. Associated with special emotions and vocabulary

NORMATIVE STUDY:

An investigation that attempts to reach conclusions about what things are good or bad or about what actions are right or wrong.

DESCRIPTIVE STUDY :

An investigation that attempts to describe or exploan the world without reaching any conclusions about whether the world is as it should be.

BUSINESS ETHICS:

A specialized study of moral right and wrong that concentrates on moral standards as they apply to business institutions, organizations and behaviour.

BUSINESS ETHICS STUDIES:

  • Moral Standards
  • How moral standards apply to social systems and organizations that produce and distribute goods and services.

KINDS OF ETHICAL ISSUES:

  • Systemic – Social Systems or institutions within which business operate.
  • Corporate – An Individual Company taken as a whole
  • Individual – A Particular individual or individuals within a company and their behaviours and decisions.

ETHICAL RELATIVISM :

A theory that there are no ethical standards that are absolutely true and that apply or should be applied to the companies and people of all societies.

Objections to Theory of Ethical Relativism:

  • Some moral standards are found in all societies.
  • Moral differences do not logically imply relativism
  • Relativism is incoherent
  • Relativism privileges the current moral standards of a society.

 

Kohlberg’s Three Levels of Moral Development :

  • Preconventional – Punishment and obedience; instrumental and relative.
  • Conventional – Interpersonal concordance; law and order
  • Postconventional – Social contract, universal principles

MORAL REASONING:

The reasoning process by which human behaviours, institutions or policies are judged to be in accordance with or in violation of moral standards.

Objections to Bringing Ethics into Business:

  • In a free market economy,the pursuit of profit will ensure maximum social benefit
  • A manager’s most important obligation is to the company.
  • Business ethichs is limited to obeying the law.

Arguments Supporting Ethics in Business:

  • Ethics applies to all human activities
  • Business cannot survive without ethics
  • Ethics is consistent with profit seeking
  • Prisoner’s dilemma argument
  • Customers and Employees care about Ethics

Elements of Moral Responsibility:

  • Individual must cause or fail to prevent an avoidable injury or wrong.
  • Individual must know what he is doing
  • Individual must act of his own free will.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:

http://www.scu.edu/ethics

http://www.ethics.acusd.edu

http://www.web-miner.com/busethics.htm

http://www.essential.org

http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

http://www.betterworldlinks.org/book100.htm

http://www.corpwatch.org

http://www.worldwatch.org

http://www.arq.co.uk/ethicalbusiness

http://www.bsr.org

http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr

http://www.pwblf.org