Ethics and Governance

Topics: Ethics, Virtue, Justice Pages: 7 (2118 words) Published: March 5, 2013
1.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?

In this essay, We will start off with a detailed analysis of the five normative theories used as guiding principles. Then after, a case will be thrown in with debate on the most useful ethical theory. The essay will then be finally summed up with a conclusion.

What is ethics?
Ethics is the study of what ought to be done (Kerridge, Lowe and McPhee 2005). It focuses on the notions of right and wrong, and is categorized into two main moral perspectives, namely teleological and deontological approach.

Teleological approaches are also known as result based systems; Judgment on whether an action is right or wrong is determined by the consequences the action reaps and not by principles (Rae 2009). Deontology as Carreira, Guedes and Aleixo (2008) describes, is ‘the science that sets the guiding norms of professional activities under the sign of morality and honesty’. Unlike teleology, deontological approaches are bind by moral principles which have no regards for the consequences (Trevino and Nelson 2007).

Debeljak and Krcac (2008) terms egoism as the exclusivity of addressing concerns in satisfying one’s own desires and wants. It is the act in accordance with one’s own desires for self-preservation, self-interest, or preference for satisfaction. Advantages

Egoism is based on the view that each individual or corporation has their own wants and needs. It empowers employees to feel that they are important, and adds value to their own their self- interest and importance. Disadvantages

As egoism is centered upon one’s self, the needs of others, as to the user/agent may not be evaluated, thus, individuals may have no intentions to pursue the needs of others (Rachels 1986). Analysis

In terms of guiding company decisions, egoism can be seen as an offensive act of play as it may cause resentment between co-workers within the affected department or by the shareholders. As egoism centralizes benefit for self, it is wise to exercise certain amounts of egoism. However, Debeljak and krcac (2008) mentions that with respects of business dealings, companies do not speak of egoism and self-interests; instead, a seemingly rational approach where the egoist should use the interests of others as a instrumental path way for business ends. If sustainability of the business depends on this company decision that is to be made, egoism may be used to protect the company from harm. However, if egoism is often used and becomes a habitual practice in making decisions, stakeholders and the environment may be affected badly. The company may in turn be disadvantaged if viewed at unethical.

Trevino and Nelson (2007) terms utilitarianism to be the most well known consequentialist theory which, in accordance to the utility principle maximizes the net societal benefits through the minimization of damages to it.

Few advantages that utilitarianism provides are that the theory provides for simplicity in decision making. At the same time, it provides the user a set of objectives which in a way evaluates the matter to self-interest. And also, the user is challenged to make intuitive ethical decisions based benefits of the greater community.

Limitations and challenges
However, there are limitations and challenges to the utilitarianism approach. Trevino and Nelson (2007) mentions that there is difficulty obtaining information for evaluation in consequences of those affected by a particular decision.

It is difficult to evaluate the final outcomes or consequences as every decision made should not only be based on the code of ethics, but also involve moral considerations. For example, Trevino and Nelson (2007) argues about the fact that the utilitarian approach may sacrifice minority rights for the benefit of others. And that the...
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