Philosophical business ethics
The differences between what is right or wrong, good and bad are examined by ethical philosophies that include utilitarianism, principal based ethics, justice and virtue. These principles govern a person’s conduct when running a business, and as such they influence them into making ethical decisions that in turn promote growth in their business. The theory of utilitarianism is ethically coded by the need to do right in order to achieve a certain outcome. The philosophy behind utilitarianism was authored by Jeremy Bentham a British philosopher who lived in the years between 1748 t0 1842 (Bentham, 1823). Jeremy had a belief that people could achieve the concept of goodness by avoiding pain and searching for pleasure. Another philosophical thought that is used in business to underline the ethical codes of business is the principle-based ethics theory by Kant.
The principle based ethics in business are focused on underlining four ethics that are fundamental for the business. These principles include the respect for autonomy which is basically the ability for a person to make decision concerning their own interest. Therefore, this means that it’s imperative for a person to respect the others decisions (Engstorm & Whitting , 1996). Business me are bound by this ethical principal that binds them into serving their customers in a manner that shows respect for their needs. According to this principle, people are obligated not to cause harm to others. However, in an event that harm is unavoidable, there is need to minimize it to levels that are acceptable. Let’s take an example of a company that produces chemicals dumping its toxic waste in areas that are harmful to the community.
Firstly, it is an ethical for the company to dump the waste in those areas and as such they should introduce better methods that do not cause harm to people and environment in general. The combination of beneficence and non-maleficence principles implies that in a business, every action taken should be able to produce more good than harm. First of all, businesses are becoming vastly independent in terms of globalization. Therefore, they need to be attentive to areas that include the control of quality management and human resources (Bass, Barnett, & Brown, 1998). This begs the question, “what other than fairness is bound to bring legitimacy to a business?” Through the justice theory methods of achieving a fair business are discussed. Among them is a training that is practical and valuable to all the levels of the business.
When applying the theory of justice in business, it is important to identify the actions that one should implement in order to attain equality and fairness. For example, it’s unethical for an employee to indulge in social media sites when they should be working (Bass, Barnett, & Brown, 1998). This can also be applicable in self-control which is a virtue that implies people should be able to control their actions and do what’s right at the right time. According to Aristotle, a person full of virtue is one with character traits that are ideal. He gave an example stating that a person who is virtuous is kind, not because they want but because it’s in their personality. Therefore it’s important for an employee to know that using social media while working is not virtuous.
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