Ethical theories are useful in guiding company decisions. Based on your research, which ethical theory is the most useful in guiding company decisions and why?
Ethical theories are used to evaluate the ethics of the situation. It provides a philosophical approach when making ethical decisions. There are two main aspects of ethical theories mainly, consequences based and non-consequential based. In consequences based, we look into the outcome of our decisions while non-consequential based focus on the duty of the agent itself and usually deals with values such as honesty, loyalty, rights etc.
Thomas (1980) suggested that ethical egoism theory focuses more on individual, whereby an act is morally right when it maximizes one’s self-interest and exploitation of others is alright as long as it benefits the agent whereby the risk of being found out should be smaller and it doesn’t affect the long-run terms. For egoist, their only duty is to do what is best for them. The consequences of the act must be at the advantage of the agent for it to be an egoism decision. Dan and Ellen (2009) considered egoism as immoral as it could include a disregard for others. This can be seen whereby a nurse knowing that the doctor is selling prescription that contains harmful substance as it has lower costing but didn’t report it due to being afraid to lose her job.
John and David (1989) further added that it takes no stand in the most blatant business practices where it can be seen from the polluting our atmosphere or water through burning of waste and toxics leaking into the sea from factory to discrimination and child labour in 3rd world countries. Business are changing from the past as profit-maximizing is the ideal framework for success and company growth but as time passed, more stakeholders are drawn into the picture in the form of environment, employees, consumers etc. as their voice could not be heard from minority and more attention is being paid to social responsibility. (Carter, 2005) However, Rachel (1986) pointed out that ethical egoism does has its advantage corresponding to that we only have one life to live thus we have to make use of the fullest and give ourselves the best as all of us have a certain value and it is a simple decision with least complex thinking required. It guides the company decision through the maximizing the profits and advantages of company which can be seen cutting cost while increase output through the use of child labour. They are coming to harm with long working hours and bad working environment while the company is leveraging on their needs for the penny they are working for.
Utilitarianism talks about benefiting the society and reducing the harm to them. It is the opposite of Egoism whereby it concerns for other stakeholders’ happiness than self. The best decision is the one that manage to produce greatest net benefit to the majority. The consequences usually results in happiness or pain in terms of dissatisfaction. There are two kinds of utilitarianism, rule and act utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is done when the results of the...