Essays on Ethical Theory and Application to Business and Professional Practice Literature review

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The paper "Ethical Theory and Application to Business and Professional Practice" is a perfect example of a management literature review.   The story of Enron brings to the fore critical matters on corporate ethics in management. Enron’ s case is a clear indicator that corruption trends are present and subtly entrenched even in the organizations we may perceive otherwise. Top-level corruption or corruption organization as sometimes known at Enron was so entrenched to a point that you had to get into the ‘ club’ and tow the ‘ line’ or get ‘ fired’ This case clearly indicates a number of situations where violations on cooperating ethics and the defined financial structures therein were employed to benefit individuals and the organization that is Enron. According to Watkins Enron thrived on dodgy financial and accounting practices which accounted for corruption organization (CO) and widely adopted individual ethical failures which were defining the phenomenon organization of corrupt individuals (OCI)(Watkins 2003b). Watkins continues to assert that Enron was under enormous pressure from Wall Street to achieve earning goals (Beenen & Pinto 2009). In other words, Enron had to be ‘ valued’ favorably on Wall Street so that they could be able to strike substantial deals which would translate into better-valued stocks and also benefit the individuals within the organization. Accounting malpractices also lace Enron’ s record where reports would be twisted to imply a false impression. While all this brewed up at Enron the top echelon seemed to rationalize it which gave OCI phenomenon picture at Enron. One other main and necessary condition that spurred fraud at Enron was the management’ s rationalization.

While all malpractice happened they consider the nothing is the wrong perception. This led to the ignoring of underlying accounting principles that were intended to fairly represent an organization’ s financial condition to the investing public (Houndofzeus 2006). Utilitarianism views morality in any action as deriving its basis on the utility to provide service or pleasure.

The common phrase normally used to define this is “ the greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Beenen & Pinto 2009, p. 275). We can perceive the utility coin with the two faces the head representing pleasure and happiness and the tail suffering and pain. We may not well understand how utilitarianism handles the problem of self-interest which was an underlying factor in Enron’ s case until we have gone a little further to look at the variants of utilitarianism. Variants of utilitarianism include the Act and Rule utilitarianism where Act utilitarianism indicates that faced with a choice, one needs to evaluate the potential actions based on the consequences or outcome.

The ultimate in this case should be to derive pleasure. This we see can clearly encourage self-interest because the activities carried out is assessed on personal opinion with a goal of deriving some form of happiness or pleasure.

In this, therefore, we see that Act utilitarianism doesn’ t effectively handle the problem of self-interest, in fact, it promotes this problem. Rule utilitarianism, on the other hand, is based on rules of action, the more happiness the rules of action produces the more morally acceptable these rules of action become. This idea will tend to limit the perpetuation of self-interest in the sense that the rules may be set out by a very different and independent party altogether from the applicant of the idea. In this case, the application of rule utilitarianism will only carry out their actions based on preset rules which may not necessarily promote their personal or self-interests.


Beenen, G. & Pinto, J 2009, ‘Resisting Organizational-Level Corruption: An Interview with Sherron Watkins’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol 8, No.2, pp 275-289

Waller, Bruce N 2005, Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. Pearson Longman New York.

Konow, J 2003, ‘Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories.’, Journal of Economic Literature, Vol 41, No. 4, pp 1188

Houndofzeus 2006, Free Essay Rawls Vs Nozick: The Necessity of Liberty viewed on13/03/2010,

Cohen, Mitchell and Nicole, F 1996, Princeton Readings in Political Thought. Princeton University Press Princeton.

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