Ethical Theories in Business Environment
The Energy Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing to the community. Our organization is made of 400,000 members as I am a part of the board of directors. One of the directors has asked to address himself as a director of the Energy Corporation to personal potential clients. I have been asked to review this matter. Before giving the rest of the board a review I shall look into the perspectives of philosopher’s theories on ethics.
The first philosopher I will bring up is Emmanuel Kant. Kant was one of the most influential philosophers of western philosophy. In Cant’s perspective, the sole feature that gives an action moral value is not the outcome that is attained by the act, but the cause that is behind the action. So in this case if the director is trying to make himself seem important or his actions benefit him more then the company then Kant wouldn’t agree with this decision. His actions should be pure and for the best interest of everyone.
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When thinking about this situation we can discuss Practical Imperative. “Act to treat humanity, whether yourself or another, as an end-in-itself and never as a means. (Kant). Individuals or groups of people are not to be used unjustifiably in demand to acquire your goals or pursue an edge or unfair benefits. People have rights that shouldn’t be violated. In other words Kant would ask, “Do my actions respect the goals of human beings rather than Just using them for my own purposes? ” If not then it’s not prohibited. Simply that using others for ones benefit is wrong.
If the action is what is seems to be, then Kant would identify it as Hypothetical Imperative. The goal is not based on pure reason but based on desire. For example if someone wants to confident in a class hen they have to study hard. If this director wants to address himself as a director he has to earn that privilege. I believe that Kant would approve this action only if the action was not for the director’s benefit in any way which seems difficult. A person with a different view will give his perspective on the situation and his view on ethics, this man is John Stuart Mill.
John Stuart Mill was the most well-known and influential British moral philosopher of the nineteenth century. Mill concentrates on consequences of actions and not on rights or ethical opinions. Mill is known for his ethical theory of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is explained by examining the outcomes of actions and comparing those decisions with what would have occurred if some other action had been performed. Mill believes that the measures of an action can evaluate agents not the act that is committed. Mill focuses on the Principle of Utility.
Principle of Utility is defined as an action that can be allowable if and only if the consequences of that act are at least as moral as those of any other action existing to that agent. So relating this to the situation the director hasn’t done any wrong because he may have the same goals as us. According to Mill if no other actions or decisions can be made then there is nothing wrong with the director’s request. Mill states that everyone’s happiness is taken into account, and given equal weight (SIS). Mill’s theory describes that happiness is to be spread amongst many people.
It seems that Mill is describing that when someone is making a decision that the decision should bring happiness and if it does then it is right. He believes there is no limitation on consequences. All of the happiness and unhappiness must be taken account in an action no matter how timely it can be. After listening and eating about Mill I believe that he would let the director have his way. For that reason I believe he wouldn’t mind because he would think that his decision wouldn’t cause unhappiness to others. After all, the director is helping the organization in the long run.
We all have the same goals and are trying to achieve the same things. Thought we can’t predict the consequences of everything this seems to have minor unhappiness. A decision in this situation needs some moral reasoning. The perfect person for that is Lawrence Goldberg. Lawrence Goldberg born in the state of New York was known for his contribution to the stages of moral reasoning. The stages of moral reasoning consist of 3 levels which are Pre-conventional, Conventional, and Post-conventional. His studies suggest that overtime everyone progresses with their moral reasoning.
Though people cannot Jump stages overtime they make their way to the later stages. So according to the studies from Goldberg adults should have a better grasp on moral reasoning. The theories show that adults have gone though some stages and should be able to make better decisions. The level Goldberg believes that society is in is second conventional stages. The first level is an attitude seeking to be approved by others. The second stage is one focused on abiding by the law and responding to the obligations of duty. So thinking about all of this in the current situation makes us think critically.
If according to Goldberg we abide to our duties then requesting permission address oneself as the director of the organization is connecting to the duties. Goldberg would use his moral reasoning to understand the perspective of everything and find the good in the situation at hand. “At this level, the individual perceives the maintenance of the expectations of his family, group, or nation as valuable in its own right, regardless of immediate and obvious consequences” (Goldberg). Goldberg would believe that the decisions of each individual member of the board are for the best interest of the organization.
Goldberg would allow the director to continue with his request because if the director is in a part of the chart of moral reasoning then his actions must be in the best interests of others. “Right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights and standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society’ (Goldberg). When we make decisions we want to make sure there is a Justice behind them. Maybe applying the Justice theory can help understand the situation. John Rails theory of Justice revolves around two fundamental principles.
The first principle promises the right of each person to have the most general basic right agreed with the liberty of others. The second principle states that social and economic positions are to be to everyone’s advantage and open to all. The Justice Theory focuses on what it sounds which is not to treat others unfair, the individual rights of others come before cooperate needs. Rails would say that we are in the Original Position. In this Original Position we are self-interested cantonal people that are motivated to select in a knowledgeable and progressive way for whatever seems beneficial for ourselves.
Leading to the Difference Principle which is described as “Social and economic inequalities should be arranged so that they are both, to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged persons, and attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of equality of opportunity'(Rails). The Difference Principle means that society may start projects that require giving curtain people more power. Though this can only happen if two conditions are met. The first Ewing that the project has to improve the lives for the people who are now worst off.
For example raising the standards to live so the less advantaged are better off. Second, access to the advantaged positions is not blocked by discrimination according to immaterial standards. So after discussing the Justice Theory it seems that in certain situations giving power to others is appropriate. In doing this everyone else’s rights are not being taken away. In the long run the decision to let the director to continue with his request will indeed benefit the organization in the end. It is in this certain situation that all of the conditions are met. Justice is happiness according to virtue” (Rails).
Justice will bring happiness to others and everyone around it. As human beings we all have rights. Rights to life, a right to choose, a right to vote, to work, to be free. Rights are entitlements in which we can perform certain actions. Talking about this is all leading to the Rights Theory. We are all people and we have rights. If others affect our rights then things are unethical and can be illegal. “Rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2014).
In accepting our rights we accept our freedoms. Having a right is the ability to determine what others may and or may not do and to exercise authority over certain aspects of situations. The use of authority can be exercised as long as no rights are being violated. Maybe the director is using his authority in his request in speaking with the personal potential client? The director has a right to make his request from his position. No one can take away that right from him. If his request does impact the rights of another person then the request is not allowed and is unethical.
Everyone has rights and so does the organization. A person who says to another ‘l have a right to do it’ is not saying that it is not wrong to do it. He is claiming that the other has a duty not to interfere” (Razz, 1994). I feel this quote can open doors to the situation. It says that you may have the right to do something which is k but can confuse if the act is wrongful to others. The director does have a right to say he is a director of the organization because he is a human being and its part of his natural rights as a person of the company. Yes it is his right but is it ethically right?
It only takes one person to make something ethically or morally wrong. If none of the other directors in the organization have a problem with the situation then it can be considered ethically acceptable. All of these theories have a lot of ideas and beliefs. I believe after reading about all of the theories about ethics and moral reasoning it gives insight and enlightenment on many situations in the business community. It is easy to make a quick decision and settle with it. As fast as the decision may be it could be making a mistake even faster. All of these theories force different perspectives.
Kant would approve this action only if the action was not for the director’s benefit in any ay which could seem difficult. It’s one thing if it was a regular business but the fact that the organization is non-profit changes things. It changes people’s perspective about the business. Non-profit does what’s best for the community. I believe Kant would approve of the request. I believe Mill wouldn’t mind this request because he would think that his decision wouldn’t cause unhappiness to others. If it did cause any it isn’t enough to outweigh the good from it. The directors’ request will help the organization in the long run.
Goldberg would believe in moral reasoning to guide the road of directors to make the right decisions for the organization. The Justice Theory would allow the request because sometimes it allows an individual power for the greater good. Finally though the Rights Theory everything would be allowed as long as no rights are violated. So after all of the theories I hope that all of you can follow my ideas. I find that the request is for the best of the organization. Ethically the cause behind the request outweighs the bad. We are a non-profit organization and we are made of many people and that is hard to miss.
We all have the same goals and ideas or bettering the community. This response describes to everyone why the request should be allowed.