All individuals are required to make various decisions in their personal and professional life. It is important for individuals to make legal decisions that have high moral values. Intention refers to the purpose of actions performed by an individual irrespective of the right or wrong outcome of actions. When an action is performed with good intention, it will be ethically correct action, even if the outcome of the action is harmful to others. People, in personal or professional life, often take decisions that are not ethically correct but are performed with good intention. This paper intends to evaluate the role of intention in ethical behavior and ethics. The paper will also analyze the role of intention in responding to developing dilemmas.
Individual’s intention plays a major role in deciding the right or wrong actions. This intention can be broadly divided into three categories i.e. end-based thinking, rule-based thinking and care-based thinking. End-based intention focuses on greatest good for the highest number of people. Individuals who are performing actions first analyze the impact of their actions on people (Kidder). They select action based on the possible positive outcomes on the greatest number of people. People with end-based mindset have a positive intention that guides their decisions. Rule-based intention focuses on performing actions that can become inspiration or standards for others. In rule based intention people perform actions that they what others to follow. According to this rule based approach, it is not possible for individuals to know all the outcomes of their actions, hence; it is always good to select action that is inspirational (Ferrell et al.).
Care based intention focuses on performing actions that are selected after considering the benefits of others. In this approach people consider that if the same action is done to them, how they will feel; if the answer is good then go ahead with that decision. Nothing is universally right or wrong; hence, actions should be taken after considering their impact on the person who is taking the decision. Various philosophers do not consider this theory as practical because every decision or action is performed after considering various aspects, including the individuals for whom decisions are needed to be taken (Kidder).
All three mindsets present different opinions on right and wrong intention. Sometime people performed unethical actions with good intention (Kidder). For example, in the official environment, protecting a colleague who was involved in exchanging confidential information for cash and gifts could be unethical. In this situation intention is not wrong because the objective is to protect the job of a colleague, but the action is unethical. Good intention cannot justify the unethical actions because such actions are not always good for all people involved in the situation. The decision taken in above described situation is harmful to the company as the company is losing confidentiality of critical information (Weber, & Gillespie).
Values, I hold are- respect for all individuals irrespective of their position, integrity and honesty, justice for all, kindness, and equality. I believe in taking decisions that are legal and ethical. These values guide me in evaluating any dilemma, and make right decisions. I hold these values very close, and it is not possible to compromise on these values. All these values refer to taking right decisions, and treat all people fairly. For example, honesty guides me in maintaining transparency in all the works, performed by me. Respect guides me in treating all people with full respect, and without hurting their self respect. Justice ensures that all actions taken by me are legal and do not attract any lawsuit. Kindness and equality help me in establishing strong bonding with others.
It is always good to take decisions that are legally and ethically correct and are performed with good intention. My values do not encourage me to perform illegal and corrupt actions that are against those values. I cannot do harm to several people in order to protect a friend or love one. Intentions show the possible outcomes of any situation, and they are not always right and helpful in making ethical decision. Hence, it is always good to see the consequences of actions.
Intention may seek the benefit of one person, but positive consequences impacts a large group of people (Weber, & Gillespie). For example, loss of confidential information may impact the performance of the company, and may affect the interests of a large number of employees, working in the company. The decision to protect one employee will create difficulties for various employees. It is better to take action that may cause harm to one person, but is beneficial for a large number of people. It is good to follow truth, community, justice and long-term benefits while making any decision.
Intentions keep on changing depending upon the criticality of situation, supporting facts, and other circumstances. They are framed by the culture and past experiences. Individual’s values impact intentions in a great way, because values guide people in making right or wrong choice in dilemma. After analyzing the subject, it can be said that people’s intentions play a major role in taking ethical decisions and reacting to different dilemmas. Individual’s intentions are derived from their values and are influenced by the culture, experience and personal needs.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., and Ferrell, L. Business Ethics. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2011.
Kidder, Rushworth M. How Good People Make Tough Choices Rev Ed: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
Weber, J., & Gillespie, J. "Differences in ethical beliefs, intentions, and behaviors: The role of beliefs and intentions in ethics research revisited." Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, 3 (2001): 265-283.