Parameters of Ethical Decision Making

Topics: Ethics, John Rawls, Utilitarianism Pages: 4 (645 words) Published: May 8, 2015
Parameters of Ethical Decision Making
Ethical decision making is an essential aspect in understanding and demonstrating the values of an organization. The intense pressures of business may not always allow time for reflection, and the high stakes may tempt us to compromise our ideals. Many of us already have well-developed ethical outlooks but by considering various approaches to ethical decision making, we are better equipped to make the right choices when the need arises. Joseph Weiss (2009) identifies fundamental ethical principles that guide decision making: utilitarianism, universalism, rights, justice, and ethical virtue. John Rawls contributes his Theory of Justice as Fairness as another approach for consideration in resolving ethical dilemmas. Utilitarianism

The utilitarian view states that an action is considered right or good based on its consequences (2009). The utilitarian approach tries both to increase the good done and to reduce the harm done. An ethical corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected, including customers, employees, shareholders, the community, and the environment. Universalism

The universalistic approach holds that moral authority is determined by the extent to which the intention of an act treats all persons with respect (2009). Respect and compassion for all others are a requirement of this reasoning. This approach also calls attention to the common conditions that are important to the welfare of everyone: a system of laws, effective police and fire departments, health care, a public educational system, or even public recreational areas (, 2012). Rights

The principle of rights says that people have a dignity based on their ability to choose freely what they do with their lives. On the basis of such dignity, they have a right to pursue freedom of speech, choice, happiness, and self-respect. It is a fairly common belief that these rights imply duties,...

References: Freeman, S. (2012). Original position. Retrieved from (n. d.) Ethics terms and terminology. Retrieved from (2012) A framework for thinking ethically. Retrieved from
Weiss, J. W. (2009). Business ethics: a stakeholder and issues management approach with cases, fifth edition. Mason, OH: South-Western
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