Business Ethics 2
Q1. Differentiate the concepts of morality and social ethics.
Morality: Morals and values have become, or it has created the spine of today’s modern society, every individual’s conscience and religion, and morality refers to the code of conduct, which is adopted within an environment, a set of rules which directs an individual towards right or wrong (Padilla, 2004). For example murder is a crime, it is immoral, but murder in a battlefield is ethical or permissible.
Social Ethics: Social ethics are moral principles that one way or the other shows the collective knowledge, practice or experience and culture of an individual or a group of people. Social ethics acts as code of conduct that guides the acceptability, as well as provides a framework for all the members of a society that ensures that they are cared for.
Ethics dictate and guide the working of a social system, whereas morals define our character, it can be said ethics are based on the morals adopted and adhered by every individual or a group collectively, there are a set of ethical codes which people follow, and those are relative to profession, peers, society, community and nation altogether. On the other hand morals are dependent on an individual’s choices, religion or beliefs, and can mean doing the right thing or going for the wrong. For example, abortion is legal and ethical, but few people personally think it to be immoral (Padilla, 2004). An ethic is easy to follow, but there can be a moral dilemma, as good moral focuses on correct and upright conduct, and ethics are just guidelines. Ethics and moral may be similar, but they are distinct in nature.
Q2. Define ethics. How is it different from social sciences such as psychology and sociology?
Ethics: The term ethics defines and discusses the understanding and adoption of moral values within home, workplace and society. It is the science which tells about the good and bad human conduct of an individual and collectively a society, studied by sociology, as man cannot be imagined outside a society, as he acquires his concepts and knowledge of good or bad, virtue, duty, vice and convention from his society.
Ethics versus Psychology
Psychology is the study of human behavior and the development of the human mind and human personality; it deals with the theories of growth and development of an individual's psyche from childhood to adulthood (Moore, 2005). On the other hand ethics is also related to psychology, as both the subject deals with the study of human nature and behavior, but the difference is psychology does not deal or is nor concerned with the moral side of human action, but only concerned with only the human behavior, ethics is concerned with the development and shaping of an individual’s value system, the sense of good or bad, right or wrong in any given situation.
Ethics versus Sociology
As ethics deals with the moral side of a human action, it is related to sociology, it includes social law and order of society. Sociology on the other side is concerned with the relationships of human being, like individuals to society, moral laws and principles which regulates an individual’s action in his community.
Q3. Explain how everyone needs to make ethical decisions and how they have the capacity to influence more than just the decision maker.
The foundation of ethical decision-making involves choice and balance; it is a guide to discard bad choices in favour of good ones. Therefore, in making ethical decisions, one of the first questions to consider is 'what a reasonable man would do in this situation?'For tougher decisions, advisors may find three rules of management helpful.
Seven steps which help to make better decisions:
- Stop and think: This has several benefits as it prevents from rash decisions, and focuses on thoughtful judgement and then come to a decision.
- Clarify goals: Goals must be clarified before taking any decision, as the achievement of the goal solely depends on the right decision making and planning process.
- Determine facts: Proper facts and information is needed to make a right decision. The reliability of the information should be judged first, if information is given by a person, the honesty, accuracy of that person should be evaluated.
- Develop options: Once the target is known, options should be developed to achieve the target.
- Consider consequences: Before starting it must be considered that all the options and actions are ethical or not, is it affecting the decision making process and the people involved to it.
- Choose: The decision can be made after judging, and talking to different people on the basis of information and facts provided by them.
- Monitor and modify: Ethical decision-makers observe and supervise the effects of their choices, if they are not producing the desired results; they re-assess the situation and make new decisions.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge posed by egoism?
Egoism: The term ‘egoism’ was introduced as an ethical theory, which is structurally parallel to utilitarianism, in the modern moral philosophy, and which tells that they hold the right thing to produce a certain good or maximise good . It is a teleological theory of ethics that sets as its target, the benefit, pleasure, or maximise good of one-self alone. Ethical egoism claims that individuals must always act where they can fulfil their best interest. It is a normative claim. The egoist holds that the good one is finally to aim at, is only one's own.
Challenges / Problems posed by Egoism:
- No guarantee of happiness: An egoist can ever make others happy.
- Falsification is not possible: Another complaint about psychological egoism is that it is “unfalsifiable,” and any view that isn’t falsifiable isn’t an authentic credible scientific theory.
- Doing what is wanted may not always be selfish – or even self-interested: Confusion between self interest with selfishness is not acceptable, whatever action is taken, it is done either for self interest or for other motives - false dichotomy - sometimes the action taken is neither for self and nor for anyone else's best interest.
- Fallacy of suppressed correlative: Problem of Language - even though the psychological egoist is ready to admit or confess certain actions as less selfish than others it may by mistake is seen to be more selfish.
Q5. Explain Immanuel Kant’s view on the ethical principles of human rights.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): In the history of the western philosophy, Immanuel Kant is like a milestone, who demonstrated both scope and limits of reason in 1781, in his critique of pure reason; he epitomized the enlightenment's faith in reason. In this study and work Kant wanted to answer the uncertainty and disbelief of empiricists like Hume and Admonish and the rationalists like Leibniz and Wolff. The Law of Causality is reasonable and justified because universality and necessity is contributed to the sequential representations that represent experience and the possibility of skills and knowledge. But reasons which are without experience cannot attain knowledge of the facts that is beyond the possibility of knowledge (Jeurissen, 2007). For example, if the existence of God is considered, it is unconditioned by space and time, he also discussed about nature of human freedom, and the immortality of soul and existence of God.
Kant’s writings on ethics are seen in larger perspective, though apparently he was quite an expert at discussing different aspect of moral philosophy, and in the courses he used to teach in Prussian town of Konigsberg. His ethical theory represents the classical, deontological theory of ethics, which discusses about the right action or justified rule or principle (Lippert-Rasmussen, 2005). In his Foundations for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), he tried to discuss on morality and moral action. Three concepts, goodwill, the notion of duty, and nature of imperatives are also discussed by him.
Q6. What is an ethical framework? What does it address?
Ethical Framework: A structure of principles that deals with important ethical responsibilities, and some of the important ethical responsibilities include self respect, being trustworthy, respecting the client's right to be independent, and justice among others. Ethical framework helps in resolving ethical problems by:
- Gathering relevant facts and identifying the problems: Gathering and collecting relevant facts are important for making ethical decisions, and assumptions, which will help in solving the problem.
- Identifying the affected parties: The affected parties may be the shareholders or the stakeholders, any individual or an organisation, proper identification is needed to solve the conflicts.
- Considering the ethical issues involved: The professional, organisational and personal ethics issues should be considered, if these affect the reputation of the company or the public interest.
- Identifying the affected fundamental principles: Identify the threats to compliance with the fundamental principles of Integrity, Professional competence, Objectivity, Confidentiality, Professional behaviour, by which the organisation is being affected. The threats may be Like Self interest; Self-review, Advocacy, Familiarity, Intimidation etc, and safeguards can be created by Profession, legislation and regulation of work environment.
- Referring to the internal procedures of the hiring organisation: The internal procedures and policies provide guidance in any situation, and how to seek these guidance is important.
- Considering and evaluating alternative courses of action: The alternative organisation's policies and procedures, guidelines for applicable laws and regulation, Universal truths values and principles generally accepted by society, Consequences, Test your proposed course of action should be considered.
- Implementing the course of action and monitoring its progress: An ethical issue when faced, implementation of action is done properly by discussions and decisions and written records.
Q7. Which traits should a leader possess so that he or she can be perceived as being ethical?
An ethical leader believes in positive relationships in an organisation, as good relationships built respect and trust among the members, and good relationship among members is the key to success of an organisation, and achievement of its goals. An ethical leader understands that these kinds of healthy relationships grow and develop in the deep rich soil of fundamental principles: trust, respect, integrity, honesty, fairness, equity, justice and compassion, and with all these an environment of harmony is created inside an organisation which leads to flourishing human enterprise.
The seven traits which a leader must possess:
Honest: A leader must be honest and truthful in all his dealings. Honesty is the first step for being en ethical person.
Courageous: Honesty is not so easy, to fight for the truth one must be courageous, to deal with the personal and professional danger. Having the courage to do the right is also important.
Accountable: A leader is accountable for the actions and results; in that case it is better if he is ethical in his dealings.
Empathetic: A leader must be empathetic when he is dealing with the sentiments and feeling of his group members. Honesty must be maintained as he is dealing with people with hopes, dreams, and feelings. He is also accountable for the impact of his actions on others. He must treat others with respect and compassion.
Trustworthy: A leader must try to gain the trust of others by proving himself, and for this ethical behavior is a must.
Respected: A leader must know to get respect from others, and for that he must be honest, trustworthy, empathetic and sympathetic in nature. Above all he must be ethical in his dealings.
Proactive: A leader must be proactive in his approach. He should know to use his resources, and skilled members, but he must know where they can go wrong, and if any problem arises he should also know to solve it.
Q8. How does perception affect the culture within an organization?
Perceptions are often affected by number of things, which includes an individual’s culture, and culture includes personal biases, motivations, and especially a person’s emotions and feelings. Culture in an organisation provides structure, expectations, guidelines, policies and procedures, and rules to help people understand, analyse and interpret the behaviours of the employees. Emotions and feelings on the other hand influence the perception of situations, people, objects and places, and emotions are universal, it is expected, accepted and experienced in a similar way across all cultures, other differ in the way they are perceived in the neighbouring society (Lippert-Rasmussen, 2005).
The two theories of social perception is the social comparison theory and attribution theory, attribution theory focuses on causes of an action, on the other hand social comparison theory explains the tendency of an individual to compare him especially with others, who resemble him or is similar to him closely. Biases also affect perception, as they are sometimes personal, and give reference to self, they includes over confidence, ego, status, halo effect, projection, consensus bias and in group bias. But some motivational factors both positive as well as negative influences perceptions, the people with higher motivation may perceive a task easily, whereas a person with low motivation cause a task to be perceived in a difficult way.
Q9. Explain how corporate culture and virtue ethics are related.
Corporate or Organizational culture is the behavior of all the employees who and whose actions, knowledge and skills are a part of a company’s asset. Organisational Culture includes the organization values, visions, policies and procedures, norms, working language, beliefs, systems, symbols, and habits.
Virtue ethics focuses on the the virtues of one's character, which embodies for evaluating or determining ethical behavior. Virtue ethics is often contrasted to deontology, which focuses on the duty to rules and consequences which derives the right or wrong outcome of action. Virtue ethics is one of the three major approaches to normative ethics.
Different types of cultures hold different types of values, and it is very tough to make a right decision, or a single "right" ethical choice. Organisational Culture is the outlook, values, attitudes, goals, and practices shared by an organisation and a society as a whole. People of an organisation actually reflect the culture of their organisation, society, country, region, and/or subgroup. According to the theory of cultural relativism, there is no single truth on which ethical or moral behavior can depend, as interpretations of the truths are totally influenced by the culture. Therefore to study about the relation between virtue ethics and organisational culture all these facts and knowledge should be considered.
Jeurissen, R. (2007). Ethics & Business. Assen: Uitgeverij Van Gorcum
Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (2005). Deontology, Responsibility, And Equality. First ed. Ngalsgade: Museum Tusculanum Press.
Moore, G. E. (2005). Ethics : and "The Nature of Moral Philosophy" :and "The Nature of Moral Philosophy". First ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Padilla, R. (2004). Business Ethics' 2004 Ed. Philippine: Rex books.