Businesses Are Completely Incompatible With Virtue Ethics Essay

1020 Words Mar 21st, 2015 5 Pages
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
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Some of the virtues that a whistle-blower should possess are honestly, strong sense of justice, integrity and compassion. If the whistle-blower uses these virtues then they are seen as reliable and it means that they did what they believed was right.
On the other hand businesses can be seen as incompatible with virtue ethics. Firstly, the main issue that everyone can see is that virtues can’t be applied to a physical matter such as a business as it is more agent based as it considers the individual. This is seen as a weakness because the other theories such as Kantian ethics provide a firm basis and give specific duties that people must carry out in order to achieve the highest good. Also, virtues only provide a guideline which means that it’s not specific.
Virtues can be seen as a personal matter instead of a communal. This means that virtues are something that an individual themselves should seek to achieve, it can’t be applied to a wider community because everyone has a different idea of what eudaimonia is.
Some people, like Milton Friedman, believe that a business only exists to make money. This would mean that some firms wouldn’t see the need to be virtuous as they believe that if the business is making a profit then that is all that matters. This could be seen as unethical because in order for a firm to make a large profit they might exploit their workers and treat them unfairly. This would mean that the business owners or

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