Ethics Notes (Gary Jhamb):
Moral Issues in Business – Chapter 1 – Nature of Morality
o Ethics (or moral philosophy) is a broad field of inquiry that addresses a
fundamental query that all of us, at least from time to time, inevitably think
about. The study for right and wrong.
o Ethics deals with individual character and the moral rules that govern and
limit our conduct.
o Ethics investigates questions of right and wrong, fairness and unfairness,
good and bad, duty and obligation, and justice and injustice, as well as
moral responsibility and the values that should guide us.
o An organization is a group of people working together to achieve a
• Moral Versus Non-Moral Standards:
o Moral standards concern behaviour that is of serious consequence to
human welfare that can profoundly injure or benefit people.
o Moral standards take priority over other standards, including self-interest.
o Moral standards soundness depends on the adequacy of the reasons that
support or justify them.
o Whether products are healthful or harmful, work conditions safe or
dangerous, personnel procedures biased or fair, privacy respected or
invaded are matter affecting well being.
o Etiquette refers to the norms of correct conduct in polite society or, more
generally, to any special code of special behaviour or courtesy (chew with
mouth closed). Mainly referred to as manners, but at times are morally
wrong. When blacks and whites were separated, following that was well
mannered, but immoral (Morality and Etiquette).
• Morality and Law:
o There are 4 kinds of law: statues, regulations, common law and
constitutional law. o Statues are laws enacted by legislative bodies.
o Administrative regulations are boards or agencies setup by legislatures
whose functions include issuing detailed regulations of certain kinds of
o Common law refers to laws applied in the English speaking world when
there were few statues. The massive body of legal principles that
accumulated over the years is collectively referred to as common law.
o Constitutional law refers to court rulings on the requirements of the
constitution and the constitutionality of legislation (Canada’s constitution
act of 1982). Courts don’t make laws, but can declare them invalid.
Supreme Court has highest judiciary power.
o Breaking the law is not always immoral.
An action can be illegal but morally right. Such as hiding a Jewish
family from Nazis. The fact that something is illegal does not trump
all other moral considerations.
An action that is legal can be morally wrong. A chairman of a
profitable company lays off 125 workers and uses ¾ of the money
saved to boost his and other managers pays. Although legal,
o Laws codify a society’s customs, ideals, norms and moral values.
Chcanges in law affects peoples view in what is right and what is wrong.
• Professional Codes:
o Somewhere between etiquette and law lie profe