Ethics in Business Decision Making Essay

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The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior (Fieser, 2009). Many of the decisions one faces in a typical day could result in a multitude of outcomes. At times it can be hard to determine whether or not the decision you are making is an ethical one. Many philosophies have been devised to illustrate the different ways of evaluating moral decisions. Normative ethics focuses on assessing right and wrong behavior. This may involve reinforcing positive habits, duties we should follow, or the consequences of our behavior (Fieser, 2009). Of the many normative philosophies two stand out to be most accepted; teleology and deontology. Although they oppose each …show more content…
Utilitarianism is a form of Consequentialism due to its claim that the morality of an action depends entirely on the consequences the action produces. It holds that we ought to bring about, “the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2011).” The Utilitarian approach was brought about by a concern with legal and social reform. The fundamental motivation was the desire to see useless, corrupt laws and social practices changed (Driver, 2009). Lack of utility was sighted as the main reason a law was deemed “bad,” Jeremy Bentham felt that if the law or action didn’t do any good then it wasn’t any good (Driver, 2009). Utilitarianism also relies upon some theory of intrinsic value: something is held to be good in itself, apart from further consequences, and all other values are believed to derive their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011).

Both Utilitarianism and Deontology can be further divided into Act and Rule segments. Rule Utilitarians determine behavior on the basis of principals designed to promote the greatest utility rather than on an examination of the particular situation. While Utilitarians do not automatically accept conventional rules, Rule Deontologists believe that conformity to general moral principals determines ethicalness (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell,

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