The Influence of Ethics on Decision Making

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The Influence of Ethics on Decision Making

By | July 2005
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The Influence of Ethics on Decision Making
Ethics can have a big influence on decision-making in the workplace. Ethical behavior in the workplace is behavior that is accepted as morally "right," rather than "wrong." (Organizational Behavior). Unethical behavior can be considered illegal, or merely against the norms of society. Employees encounter ethical decisions every day in the workplace, whether they realize it or not. The stock boy must make a decision on whether it is right to steal merchandise. The auto mechanic must make a decision on what is a fair price to charge a gullible customer. The CEO must decide how to use all the power he or she possesses. There are many different thinking about ethical behavior, and different people will judge the same situation differently depending on their ethical thought process.

The utilitarian view of ethical thinking states that ethical behavior is when the greatest good is done for the greatest number of people. This usually means, in a business sense, that one department, program, or factory must be shut down to help the company function more efficiently or be more financially stable.

The individualism view is just that, decisions must be based on what is best for the individual's interests in the long run. The moral rights view suggests that the basic rights of citizens should be respected. The rights of fair treatment, privacy, and freedom of speech are thought of as such moral rights. The justice view emphasizes fair and impartial treatment for all involved, whether it is upper management, employees or customers (Organizational Behavior).

In the workplace, people base one or all of their decisions on these different views. Some helpful questions to ask when deciding what to do in a situation are: Is it right? Is it legal? Is it beneficial? (Organizational Behavior). Enrolling students in online degree programs presents many ethical decisions. The prospective student often knows nothing about degree...

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