Businesses Are Completely Incompatible With Virtue Ethics

Topics: Ethics, Virtue, Business ethics Pages: 2 (1009 words) Published: March 10, 2015
Businesses are completely incompatible with virtue ethics. Discuss. Business ethics is concerned with how well a business treats its stakeholders and whether a business’s actions are seen as ethical. Within business ethics there are three approaches which could be adopted. The first approach is that a business’s main goal could be to maximise profits and nothing more, where the ethics of the business wouldn’t necessarily be important. This view is supported by Milton Friedman. Secondly, some ethicists believe that businesses have moral responsibility to their stakeholders whether that is the employees, consumers or the local community. Finally, the last approach is the social contract theory that is based on the ideas of John Rawls. This approach suggests that employees and other stakeholders are given a voice as to how a business operates. Some businesses are seen as ethical because they have an ethical code and they follow it. The most common example of a business that is ethical is The Body Shop. This business is seen as ethical because it is concerned with treating the environment and its employees well. On the other hand, some businesses can be seen as unethical because they use child labour as a form of cheap labour, a modern example of such a business is Primark. Virtue ethics suggest that for someone or something to be morally good and virtuous they have to possess the ‘good’ virtues. In the business world the virtues that are suggested to exist are courage, fairness, honesty and compassion. Aristotle said if we or a business have these virtues then we achieve our eudaimonia. In many ways businesses are seen as compatible with virtue ethics. The virtues provided are guidelines as to how people or businesses should aspire to be. This means that a framework is provided to try and help guide people to be virtuous, and to ensure and stable and positive relationship between the employer and employee. Virtue ethics unlike utilitarianism for example doesn’t...
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