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Virtue ethics Essay

Today the Arms Procurement Commission began public hearings into what appears to be the biggest corruption scandal in the history of South Africa. Apply the Global Business Standards Codex and explain if and how the Defense Department used these principles, what they could have done differently if the Codex was applied GLOBAL BUSINESS STANDARDS CODEX.

• Fiduciary Principle (Diligence, Loyalty) • Property Principle (Protection, Theft) • Reliability Principle (Contracts Premises, Commitments) • Transparency Principle (Thruthfulness, Deception, Disclosure, Objectivity) • Dignity Principle (Respect for the Individual, Health and Safety, Privacy and Confidentiality, Use of Force, Associatiation & Expression, Learning & Development, Employment Security) • Fairness Principle (Fair Dealing, Fair Treatment, Fair Competition, Fair Process) • Citizenship Principle (Law & Regulation, Public Goods, Cooperation with Authorities, Political Noninvolvement, Civic Contribution • Responsiveness Principle (Addressing Concerns, Public Involvement).

LEARNING OBJECTIVES (TOPIC 3) After completion of this topic, you will be able to: 1. Describe the main ethical theories and apply it to business scenarios © iStockphoto. com/Dan Bachman ETHICAL THEORIES Three periods in history of ethics Greek period (500 BC-AD 500) • The man who performed his duties as a citizen = good man • Greeks – “Man is the measure of all things” – he decides for himself what is right and wrong • Socrates, Plato and Aristotle emphasised the need and importance of understanding the nature of goodness • Stoics emphasised that goodness is natural to man, laws of morality are the laws of nature – rational and comprehensive to human reason.

ETHICAL THEORIES Medieval period (AD 500 – AD 1500) • Attention was given to inner aspect of morality due to spread of Christianity • Changed Greeks’ view that ethics is a part of politics • The standard of right and wrong was according to God’s law in the Bible and was against any doubts ETHICAL THEORIES Modern period (AD 1500 onwards) • Individualism more important that priests’ preaching and church principles • Human freedom and human accomplishments more important than the Christian revelation • The difference between right and wrong was subjective, depending on the attitude of the individual making the moral judgement ETHICAL CONCEPTS & THEORIES.

• Developed by moral philosophers over generations to distinguish ethical from unethical behaviour • Viewpoints from which guidance can be obtained along the pathway to a decision • Each theory emphasizes different points in order to reach an ethically correct decision • Theories are directed towards achieving a common set of goals (Ethical principles) ETHICAL CONCEPTS & THEORIES ETHICS DEFINED The domain of ethics is centrally concerned with human CHARACTER (the kind of people we are) and CONDUCT (how we relate to others) Three key questions comprise the focus of this domain: 1. 2. What is good or bad for humans? What constitutes right or wrong conduct? 3.

How ought we to live and treat others? ETHICS OF CONDUCTS CONSEQUENTIALISM The rightness/wrongness of an action is determined by its consequences or results The right action is the one that: • Promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number (maximizes social utility) = Utilitarianism • Produces results that maximise a person’s selfinterest = Ethical Egoism CONSEQUENTIALISM UTILITARIANISM • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) – Creator of Utilitarianism • Goodness = human well-being – what benefits is good and what harms is evil • Two concepts of importance: • Pleasure and pain governs our lives • Pleasure makes life happier and pain makes it worse • Utility – net benefits.

and usefulness produced by an action • An action is right if the act is greater than the sum total of utilities produced by any other act • Hedonistic Calculus – system to measure amount of pleasure and pain that an action produces CONSEQUENTIALISMUTILITARIANISM 7 Criteria – Questions Asked 1. Intensity – How intense/strong is the pleasure and emotional satisfaction? 2. Duration – How long will the pleasure last? 3. Certainty – How certain am I that pleasure will occur?

4. Propinquity – How soon will the pleasure occur? How near is it? 5. Fecundity – How likely is it that this experience will cause more pleasure in the future? 6. Purity – Is there any pain that accompanies this pleasure? 7. Extent – How many people will be affected? CONSEQUENTIALISMUTILITARIANISM.

• John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) – qualitative separation of pleasures • Bentham treats all forms of happiness as equal, whereas Mill argues that intellectual and moral pleasures (higher pleasures) are superior to more physical forms of pleasure (lower pleasures) • Mill’s argument is that the “simple pleasures” tend to be preferred by people who have no experience with high art, and are therefore not in a proper position to judge.

CONSEQUENTIALISM – ACT AND RULE UTILITARIANISM • Rule Utilitarianism – an action is right if it conforms to a set of rules which produce the greatest balance of pleasure over pain • Act Utilitarianism – an action is right if and only if it produces the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for everyone CONSEQUENTIALISM – ETHICAL EGOISM • One’s self is, or should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action • Three categories: individual, personal, and universal ?

An individual ethical egoist would hold that all people should do whatever benefits them ? A personal ethical egoist would hold that he or she should act in his or her self-interest, but would make no claims about what anyone else ought to do ? A universal ethical egoist would argue that everyone should act in ways that are in their self-interest CONSEQUENTIALISM All is well that ends well, regardless of means used to produce results End justifies the means! NON-CONSEQUENTIALISM DEONTOLOGY • Emphasis on rules, duty, rights • Actions are right if they respect rules and wrong if they violate them • Golden rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (human dignity, respect for people, obligation, duty) DEONTOLOGY.

• Morality and ethics are to be understood as systems of rules meant to govern and guide conduct • Deontological ethical theories are agent-relative as opposed to agent neutral – you have a duty • If an action is of the wrong kind, it is forbidden, no matter how good its consequences are • Rejects both Utilitarianism and Ethical Egoism DEONTOLOGY – KANTIANISM • Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) – Ends, not mere means: don’t treat rational agents (others or yourself) as mere objects to be used or exploited Categorical imperative – everyone should be treated as a free person equal to everyone else (unconditional) Everyone has a moral right to such treatment and a correlative duty to treat others in this way Mustn’t sacrifice the few even to benefit the many • • • DEONTOLOGY – KANTIANISM.

• Performing an action solely because it is our duty is what Kant refers to as a good will – being good without qualification Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will it that it should become a universal law of nature – offers consistency • DEONTOLOGY – NATURAL LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS • Another approach to Deontology and complementary to Kantianism • Natural rights: ? Right to freedom/ liberty – freedom from coercive powerful rulers ? Right to ownership and property – each person has a right to ownership over own body and own labour and is free to decide what will be done with what he or she owns, without interference NATURAL LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

• • Moral rights –by virtue of being human Each right has a corresponding duty and these duties may be perfect or imperfect Rights play an important role in business ethics – stakeholders have rights Many rights however come into conflict and it is difficult to decide whose rights receives priority (victims or criminals) • • DEONTOLOGY – JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS • • • Fair and equitable distribution of opportunities and hardships to all Ask how fairly benefits and costs are distributed to everyone regardless of power, position, wealth, etc. Seven categories: ?

Distributive Justice – concerned with fair distribution of society’s benefits and burdens ? Cooperation and competition – taking a proper share of some good ? Procedual justice – fair, decisive practices, procedures and agreements among parties DEONTOLOGY – JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS.

? Retributive Justice – just imposition of punishment and penalties upon wrong-doers – does the punishment fit the crime ? Compensatory justice – compensating people for losses they have suffered when they were wronged by others – losses due to Apartheid ? Corrective justice – laws themselves as instruments of justice should be considered as just ?

Distribution – take into account who has suffered an unfair share of the costs of a policy and others who have unfairly benefitted from a policy RAWLS’ PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE • All social values – liberty and opportunities, income and wealth, and the bases of self-respect – are to be distributed equally unless unequal distribution of any, or all of these values, is to everyone’s advantage.

Two principles • • Basic freedoms – Freedom of speech, liberty and pursuit of happiness Difference principle -There can be inequalities as long as it makes the worst person better off DEONTOLOGY “The end doesn’t justify the means. ” ETHICS OF CHARACTER ARISTOTELIANISM – VIRTUE APPROACHES • Examines a person’s moral character and whether or not this exhibits virtue • Aristotle – a moral virtue is a habit that enables one to exercise reason in all actions • Action of giving people goods they exactly deserve is justice (virtue) or giving too little/ too much is injustice (vice) • Virtues are means to and constituents of happiness • Virtue ethics makes being virtuous an essential element of leading a moral life SUMMARY ETHICAL THEORIES Utilitarian Model.

? When confronted with an ethical dilemma: • Identify alternative courses of action • Determine both benefits and harms of each alternative course of action for ALL stakeholders • Most benefits and least harm to the greatest number of people ? The Utilitarian Model has a strong capitalistic orientation and supports: • Profit maximisation • Self-interest • Rewarding hard work Weakness: Focus • Competition on outcome rather ? Focus of ethical behaviour is around: than process which might be • Organisational/ Public Services goals unethical • Efficiency • Conflicts of interest ETHICAL THEORIES Moral Rights Model ? When confronted with an ethical dilemma: • Identify if any decision or behaviour violates the rights of an individual • If it does, it is wrong Weakness: Focus only ?

Focus of ethical behaviour is around: on individual • Right to safety and not societal rights • Right to know the truth • Right to privacy • Right not to engage in behaviours that are contradictory to a person’s moral or religious beliefs • Right to freedom of speech ? Provides clear guidelines on moral individual rights ETHICAL THEORIES Justice Model ?

When confronted with an ethical dilemma: • Identify if any decision or behaviour violates the rights of both individuals and groups • If it does, it is wrong ? Focus of three principles: • Distributive Justice Principle ? Everyone needs to be treated the same, unless they differ in ways which are reliant to the situation • Fairness Principle ? Obligations as a result of relationships • Natural Duty Principle ? Accepting responsibility in exchange for certain rights Any questions?


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