Chapter 1, The language of ethics
How to develop ethics-based tools for use in everyday
To familiarize you with ethics and how the term is used in
conversations about decision making
To examine the theoretical background of ethics by
exploring three main traditions of ethical thought
To develop ethics decision-guides based on our discussion
of ethical theory that you, future managers, can sue in case
analysis and as part of larger framework for decisions
To provide tests of your decisions to help you improve the
quality of your choices and your ability to defend those
decisions in moral terms
What is ethics?
Refers to our efforts to figure what we should do and how
we should live.
Involves the challenge of figuring out how to justify our
behavior-both to ourselves and to tohers ( eg, to
shareholder, and employees, and the public Why study Ethics?
To Clarify your values so you can make decisions align with
To respect yourself as a person of good charater and
To be accountable to others
To address issues such as”
- Protection environment
- Avoiding Scandals
- Workplace harassment and discrimination
- Will improve your ability to make good decisions
and to be able to “defend” your choices
Three traditions in ethics
The action or “means” people use to achieve their goals
The agents or “persons” who are acting in the situation
The ends or “goals” that are outcomes of acitons
Action ( deal with more than right and wrong actions)
Focus on the “ actions that people take and attempts to
determine whether an act is ethically acceptable regardless
of the outcome
EX: Is lying someone “morally defensible?”
The means or actions we sued to pursue goals is
- Maintains that there are certain standards of
human decency and respect for the worth of
others that rule out treating them in certain
- Since actions are viewed as having inherently
good or bad qualities, we need to understand
how to make such determinations - Basically these standards tell us which
behaviors are acceptable and which are not.
- “Golden rule” treat other as you would have
them treat you.
Addresses issues of character – the personal traits ad
qualities that define who we are as human “agent”. These
traits include habits, priorities, and idiosyncrasies.
Focuses on the agent, the individual, which looks at how
various patterns of conduct come to define the kind of
people we are. What it means to live well and what it
means to be a good person
Strength of character
Refers to the fortitude that allows individuals to adhere to
their convictions or moral standard, even the cost of doing
so will be great. ( a good character is virtue)
Are forms of human excellence that we embody after years
of effort and training
Such as prudence, fairness, trustworthiness, and courage.
Means wholeness, which is the sense that you have a clear
conscience and can affirm who you are and defend what
you have done.
Person with this usually have a high moral standards and
the strength of character to act according to their belief Ends
Concerned with pursuing and achieving laudable ends.
Includes the quest to make something of one’s life; the
search for personal success and happiness; as well as our
aspirations for our communities, such as prosperity,
security and justice
Consequentialism (the consequences the action lead to)
Focuses on the moral importance of the “ends we want or
the goals we set, and the need to try to achive them
The moral worth of our actions is determined by the
“consequences they are likely to generate
EX, do our actions create more good than bad in terms of
realizing out goals or purposes? If so our actions can be
defended, if not they are unjustified.
Creating the most favorable balance of benefit over harm,
has heavily influenced economics and is the most
well-known branch of consequentialism
Two features of this branch of ethics
Agents need to be sure that the purposes or ends they set
for themselves are morally defensible otherwise; it will be
hard for the ends to justify anything. Let the morally
questionable acts like lying of fair play.
- Ex, establishing military force against
combatants to ward off attack from other
nations. However, the purpose of military
conquest and world domination is not
morally legitimate. People need to take actions that create the most favorable
consequences toward realizing their purpose.
- EX, manager setting goals then developing
action plans that help them achieve these
goals, just as generals formulate plans that
appear most promising in terms of achieving
specific military objectives.
The focus is on selecting the course of action that would
appear to create the “most favorable” balance of benefits
versus harsh in achieving one’s purpose”
These three traditions, deontology, character ethics, and
consequentialism. Each provides moral isight in attempting
both to capture our moral sentiments and to establish
norms for how we ought to live.