Ethics And Ethics Of Business Ethics

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Business ethics could be categorized as one of the least studied topics, although it has been widely acknowledged to be great significant (Bushe & Gilbertson, 2007). Being in the competitive market, most enterprises have either formal or informal ethical code to assist them in determining whether certain business activity is acceptable or not, especially when managers face dilemmas (Velasquez & Velazquez, 2002). This is because behaviors are justified by theories, orienting from the most basic question “what is the right thing to be done” (Grace, 1998; Takala, 2012). In order to address the mentioned question, it first needs to explore the definition of ethics and specifically, business ethics.
Obviously, the term business ethics is abstracted from the general word ethics. The term ethics origins from an ancient Greek word—ethikos—that refers to the authority of tradition (Grace, 1998; HARTMANN, 1980). While some defined ethics as a systematic framework to guide ways in which acts are conducted and kinds of favored values (De George, 1999), some viewed it as the tool to examine the moral standards of an individual or the society and determine whether it is reasonable (Velasquez & Velazquez, 2002). Business ethics, apparently, targets at ethics applying to activities in the field of business operation, which is relatively more micro and practical (Gendler, Siegel & Cahn, 2007).
Generally speaking, the most common ethical theories utilized to justify business decisions are named teleological and deontological ethics (Gendler, Siegel & Cahn, 2007; Bushe & Gilbertson, 2007). While the former principle focuses on behaviors’ consequences, viewing those that might lead to positive effect as morally right, the latter one pay more atten...

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... and limitations. With regard to the most right and effective one, according to a research study that evaluates all five principles (i.e. act utilitarianism, rule utilitarianism, egoism, rule deontology, and act deontology), it is unable to make the judgment. In fact, some participants have no particular theory they believe in and utilize to direct their business activities. This is subscribed to the internal imperfection of each theory as well as the external effect and controls. To conclude, the participants select different philosophy types to rationalize their decision under various situations. However, another study indicated that employees with less than 10 years working experience become the most likely to favor egoism, which might account for their maturity (DeConinck & Lewis, 1997; Trevino & Nelson, 2010; Bowie, 2000; Vadell, 2009; Donaldson & Werhane, 1999)
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