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This paper examines some fundamental theories on business ethics and how they relate to the decisions managers must make on a daily basis. The specific theories are described in independent paragraphs, and consider the outlooks of deontological ethics, virtue ethics, utilitarianism and egoism. The theories are compared and contrasted to one another, with the paper noting that virtue ethics and deontological ethics share the most similarities. Then the paper cites how these four ethical practices are applied in managerial practice and decision making. The paper concludes by stating that knowledge and application of these philosophies can enable managers to bring conflict to resolution.
From the Paper:'Utilitarianism is best expressed by John Stuart Mill. Mill (1863) wrote that "...the foundations of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." Utilitarianism is essentially a consequentialist philosophy, where the outcomes of an action dictate its ethics. This philosophy would appear to stand diametrically opposite both deontological ethics and virtue ethics, as both of those philosophies judge actions regardless of the actual outcome. A utilitarian, for example, believes that killing an innocent person is a just act if it brings happiness to the remainder of humanity. In deontology, the killing violates the law and is therefore unethical; in virtue ethics the immorality of the killing makes it unethical.
"Egoism is a philosophy wherein the objective of an action is, and should be, the greatest good for oneself (Kay, 1997). This philosophy stands as a sharp counterpoint to all off the above philosophies, which are concerned either with outcomes on others or on fundamental guideposts for decision-making. Egoism is inherently consequentialist like utilitarianism is, because it considers outcomes in determining the ethics of an action."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Alexander, L & Moore, M. (2007). Deontological Ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February 6, 2010 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/
- Hursthouse, R. (2007). Virtue Ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February 6, 2010 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
- Mill, J. (1863). Utilitarianism. Boston: Willard Small.
- Kay, C. (1997). Varieties of egoism. Wofford University. Retrieved February 6, 2010 from http://webs.wofford.edu/kaycd/ethics/index.html
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Business Ethics and Thought (2012, August 29) Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/business-ethics-and-thought-151693/
"Business Ethics and Thought" 29 August 2012. Web. 15 August. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/business-ethics-and-thought-151693/>