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Business Ethics Chapters 1-3

Study of Ethics
the study of how we try to live our lives according to a standard of “right” or “wrong” behavior–in both how we think and behave toward others and how we would like them to think and behave toward us.
Society
a structured community of people bound together by similar traditions and customs
Value System
A set of personal principles formalized into a code of behavior
Intrinsic Value

The quality by which a value is a good thing in itself and is pursued for its own sake, whether anything comes from that pursuit of not

For example: health, happiness, self-respect

Sources of moral standards
-Friends
-Family
-Ethnic background
-Religion
-School
-The media
-Personal role models and mentors
Instrumental Value

The quality by which the pursuit of one value is a good way to reach another value.

For example: the pursuit of money

Four Basic Categories of Ethics
1. Simple Truth – Right vs. wrong
2. Someone’s personal character
3. Rules of appropriate individual behavior
4. Rules of appropriate behavior for a community or society
“Doing the Right Thing”
Simple truth
Personal Integrity

Ethics seen from an internal viewpoint

For example: Superman has a lot of character and personal integrity

Rules of Appropriate Individual Behavior
An individual’s value system used to solve everyday problems and decisions
Rules of Appropriate Behavior for a community or society
Beliefs about how an individual should function in a society filled with people of differing values
Golden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or “treat others as you would like to be treated”

Paraphrase of Matthew 7:12

Virtue Ethics
A concept of living your life according to a commitment to the achievement of a clear ideal–what sort of person would I like to become, and how do I go about becoming that person?
Utilitarianism
Ethical choices that offer the greatest good for the greatest number of people
Universal Ethics
Actions that are taken out of duty and obligation to a purely moral ideal rather than based on the needs of a situation, since the universal principles are seen to apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time
Ethical Relativism
Concept that the traditions of your society, your personal opinions, and the circumstances of the present moment define your ethical principles
Study of Applied Ethics
the study of how ethical theories are put into practice
Ethical Dilemmas
A situation in which there is no obvious right or wrong decision, but rather a right or right answer
3 Steps to Solving Ethical Dilemmas
1. Analyze the consequences
2. Analyze the actions.
3. Make a decision.
Arthur Dorbin’s 8 Steps of Solving Ethical Dilemmas
1. What are the facts?
2. What can you guess about the facts you don’t know?
3. What do the facts mean?
4. What does the problem look like to the eyes of the people involved?
5. What will happen if you choose one thing rather than another?
6. What do your feelings tell you?
7. What will you think of yourself if you decide one thing or another?
8. Can you explain and justify your decision to others?
Ethical Reasoning
Attempting to resolve an ethical dilemma
Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Ethical Reasoning:
What are the first three levels?
Preconventional, conventional, and postconventional
Two stages in the Preconventional level
1. Obedience and Punishment
2. Individualism, instrumentalism, and exchange
Two stages in the Conventional level
3. “Good boy/nice girl”
4. Law and order
Two stages in the Postconventional level
5. Social contract
6. Principled conscience

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