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Business Ethics

Ethics can be explained as the morals or codes of an individual, profession, business or group. It deals with the systematic securitization of the methods and principles for differentiating from good from evil. Ethics may be explained as honesty, respect and fairness. Human are bestowed with creative, calculative and capable of deceiving others. [Boyle,1990]. Ethics is an offshoot of philosophy which concerns with the morality of decisions made by individuals and actions and business deals concerned with them in a business atmosphere.

Ethical philosophy tries to arrive at findings about right or bad behavior without depending on divinely inspired preaching. It ponders on what as a human being irrespective of caste one belongs can conclude on the moral correctness or wrongness of individual’s decisions and actions. Further, ethics also does not consider the moral rightness of laws. For instance, what is legally right one state or country may be illegitimate in another state or country. [Longenecker, 1989] Identification of the ethical issues: Ethical behavior is specific to human being and it is what segregate us from other species .

It is easy to practice ethics when one’s time is good and as long as fortune smiles. However, when times are tougher, pressure

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increases and vagueness exists, it is difficult to practice ethics. An act can be defined as having moral or ethical consequences and it is an act which involves decision freely taken that will have negative or positive impact for others. Thus, a managerial ethics consists of the following; ? Utilitarianism – the greatest good for greatest number ? Justice and fairness ? Rights and duties

Presently, Business schools have started to focus on ethical issues as large amount of unethical business practices unraveled recently. According to John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, a utilitarianism concept is concerned with moral action or decision which ends in the furthermost good for the maximum number of individuals. According to Immanuel Kant, individuals have rights, either as citizens, humans or due to occupation of a position and these rights bestows some duties on others and the morality of a given decision or act can be gauged by an analysis of these duties and rights.

According to John Rawls, it is common in U. S. to equate justice with that of legality and there are some occasions where an action that may be legal does not appear just or fair. Normative ethics or philosophical ethics is prescriptive in nature. Normative ethics search for norms with the authoritative standards of what ought to be. [Colliers Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1990]. Normal Ethics is having two schools namely teleological and deontological ethics.

Teleological ethics explains that the integrity of an action is solely decided by its consequences whereas a deontological ethics deals with the morality of an action which solely based on its motives or its intrinsic or it being in harmony with some principle or rule and either not wholly or solely on some results. [Krutines & Gewirtz, 1984]. Beneficence is the “first code “of ethics and refers to carry out good and avoid evil”. For instance, when an accident victim rushed to a hospital with severe injuries, a physician will start treatment in the overall interest of the patient without consulting or even overriding patient’s wishes.

Thus, the principle of beneficence is accorded more priority over patient’s autonomy. Nonmaleficence refers to doing no harm. [Munson, 2004, p. 772]. It is just other side of beneficence. This is pertinent to medical profession. For instance, to decide whether to offer chemotherapy continuously to a patient to have long life despite of exhausting process of radiation, to make decision as to withhold or withdraw life supporting machines including artificial respiratory system for patient under comma stage. [Butts & Rich. , 2005].

Autonomy of ethics emphasizes that morality is distinct from God and even deity must observe the rules of ethics. Ethical egoism means prescriptive principle that all individuals must to act from their own self-interest. Virtue ethics emphasize on assisting people to inculcate good character and attributes like generosity and kindness. This will help them to make right decisions in their life later. Principle versus consequences: Principles can be defined as generalized rules and its applications are in wide range. Consequence is one where an action can be gauged as good or bad in relation to some goal, standard or end.

Modernity can be explained as a transformation from the past through a course of cultural and social changes. Thus, transformation of life from the past which was traditional in nature to that of modern present life. Moral life means leading life with holiness and love. It may be defined as a process of becoming realistically human. Motif for making ethical decisions: According to Hollinger, there are three types of motifs. They are the deliberative motif, the perspective motif and the relational motif. Deliberative motif states that reasoning may be moral guide since God implanted conscience with all human.

The prescriptive motif concerns with explicit principles, rules or moral actions that are originated from divine revelation. Relational motif stresses that Bible does not present any particular direction but a common orientation for the moral life. Hollinger in his book also deals with bible in ethical decision making. According to him, contemporary Christians stay particularly enculturated rationalists in their approach to decision making. Hollinger also deals with “Pluralism and Christian Ethics”. He deeply explores what is the cultural context especially in U. S. A so that Christian ethics can be implemented.

He also discusses about the agenda for setting tactics and agenda to achieve this. He also explains “the replica of Christian sway” and nine approaches to find out remedial and preventive actions and necessary individuals to implement structural actions. [Hollinger, 2002]. Ethical issues in business range from a company’s responsibility to be honest with its clients, company’s obligation to conserve the environment, to protect shareholders interests and to safeguard the employee’s rights. In this research essay, we are going to analyze the ethical issues involved in insider trading carried out by Martha Stewart in detail.

Martha Stewart started her career in catering some 30 years back and later became the Chairman and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Ominmedia , Inc. She also simultaneously engaged as the commercial spokeswoman for K-Mart, publishing of her own magazine namely Everyday Living and also appeared in popular television shows. She earned popularity by giving advice in her TV shows on how to create a beautiful kitchen and to engage in idyllic gardening . Despite of her fame and wealth, she was entangled in some insider trading activities that destroyed her career but also tarnished her public image.

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