Moral Reasoning and Ethical Theory

Ethics, Professional ethics, Role

What comes to your mind when someone mentions the word ethics? Perhaps your answer is correct. Let us do not waste our time. Let us see what we are going to learn in this topic.

In this topic, you will be exposed to the fundamental concepts and theories of morals; the history and development of ethical theories; and also the systematic study of right and wrong, good and evil. These concepts and theories will then be applied to contemporary managerial dilemmas. Topic

1. Moral Reasoning and Ethical Theory


By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Explain the five factors involved in the formation of individual ethics; 2. Explain normative philosophy and ethical relativism;
3. Compare all the major ethical systems; and
4. Apply the relevant ethical theories to ethical issues raised by business and professional practice.


Do you know that ethical problems are truly complex when it comes to the management of an organisation? These problems are complex because of the following attributing characteristics (which will be elaborated further in Topic 3):

. Extended consequences
. Multiple alternatives
. Mixed outcomes
. Uncertain occurrences
. Personal implications

Ethical problems are also pervasive because managers make decisions and take actions that affect other people. Managerial decisions and actions need to be addressed and require some degree of moral analysis when:

. It affects other people negatively, or
. It harms or hurts other people in ways beyond their individual control

In the following sections, you will be given the definition of ethics, business ethics and professional ethics. You will also find out why business should be ethical and the formation of individual ethics.

1.1.1 The Meaning of Ethics
What is ethics?
Ethics can generally be defined as the principles of morally acceptable conduct of...
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