Ethics in business is a highly important concept, as it can affect a company’s profits, salaries paid to employees and CEOs, and public opinion, among many other aspects of a business. Ethics can be enforced by company policies and guidelines, set a precedent when a company is faced with an important decision, and are also evolving thanks to new technology and situations that arise due to technology usage. Businesses have a duty to maintain their ethical responsibilities and also to help their employees enforce these responsibilities in and out of the workplace. However, ethics and the foundation for them are not always black and white. There are many different ethical theories, however Utilitarianism, Kant’s Deontological ethics, and Virtue ethics are three of the most well known theories in existence. Each theory is distinct in that it has a different quality used to determine ethicality and allows for a person to choose which system of ethics works best with both the situation and his or her personal ethical preferences.
Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that was first theorized by Jeremy Bentham, who summed up the fundamental quality of utilitarianism as, “It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.” Bentham was not a religious person and did not want to involve…show more content… As a deontological, or duty-based, theory, Kantianism is focus on intent. If the intent behind an action is morally praiseworthy and fits into the categorical imperative, it must be ethical. The categorical imperative is the main element in Kantianism, and it states that you must act as if it was universal law. This is similar to the Golden Rule of “treat others how you wish to be treated” and is a way to determine whether an act is morally praiseworthy. Kantian ethics are different from utilitarianism in that happiness is not a