Defining and Communicating Ethics in BusinessAbstractEthics plays an important role in defining moral and requirements of humanity. Various dominant theories such as deontology, virtue and utilitarianism play an important role in determining decision-making process. Theories define the way and approach towards achieving a given goal bring into consideration components such as integrity, justice and trust. Various academicians and researchers have different view towards achievement of ethically corrected decision. To solve this divergent approach, it is only through bridging the differences of the various ethical theories into one e. g. pluralism.
Identify and define dominant ethical theoriesEthical theories are the foundations of any ethical analysis since it derives the viewpoints in which guidance can be achieved towards making a decision. The different type of ethical theories tries to emphasize different perspectives in ensuring that decisions that are made are ethically correct. However, the success of any ethical theory is dependent in its utilization to achieve a given objective. For the success of ethical theories, it requires principles that are that give the given theory. The choice of a theory to a person depends on their individual choice in relation to their life experiences.
For example, utilitarianism theory principle lies on its ability to predict the result or impact of a given action, hence a form of consequentialism. This doctrine brings together various views as explained by Bailey (1997) “…is not a single doctrine but a family of doctrines defined by the following four characteristics. ..” (p. 4), he further states that the four characteristics are the theory of the personal good, evaluative consequentialism, distributive indifference about the good and the interpersonal comparability.
Thus, from this perspective the ultimate goal of the theory is pleasure or happiness. In fact, utilitarianism goes handy with the phrase “the greatest good for the greatest number”, which is achieved from the act type of utilitarianism. The act utilitarianism is dependent on evaluation of specific circumstances. Houser, Wilcsenski and Ham (2006) reference Harris (2002) who states that “Act utilitarianism is based solely on evaluation of the specific circumstances” (p. 27). Rule utilitarianism is based on the assumption that general rules govern ethical behavior. Rule theory is from the perspective that the consequence of a given utility is determined by how everyone else usually acts.
Utilitarianism theory champions’ happiness or pleasure and lies on believe that the right ethical decision is dependent on greatest benefit. A different perspective is taken by the deontological theory that requires people to adhere to the rules that are in place in determining the direction of an ethical dilemma. The person should follow individual or societal directives in upholding a requirement that is considered ethically correct. Deontological theories bring into consideration religious and duty ethics that stresses doing only the right and does not place into consideration its consequences.
Reichet & Lambiase (2003) states, “Deontological theory states that the rightness or wrongness of actions and behaviors should be judged by the actions themselves without regard to the outcomes” (p. 98). This theory is governed by acts or rules that should be accepted as obligations as explained by Porter (2001) “An act is not right by virtue of its outcome, that is, by the fact that it promotes some good end, but because of some innate and excellent features” (p.
186). The aim of this theory is to act and act according to identifiable facts about the act itself (Porter, 2001). Like utilitarianism, the deontology theory is grouped into two: act and rule deontology. Act deontology relies on the fact that judgment depends on appropriate actions that are taken at a given time and in a unique place. This is because each situation is unique and different from any other. On the other perspective, rule deontology believes that general principles override particular judgments and gives the guidelines to show the appropriate strategy of a given ethical dilemma.