Essays on Business Ethics and Sustainability Coursework

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The paper 'Business Ethics and Sustainability" is a perfect example of business coursework.   Business ethics is a collection of values, beliefs and practices which are collectively upheld by a business organization. In the recent times, there has been an utmost need for business to be ethical owing to the fact that it enables them to attain a competitive advantage in the market in addition to the fact that it is right to do so. The following paper gives reflection journals on sessions 2, 4, 5 and 8 of the course ‘ Business Ethics and Sustainability, BMO5501. Session 2 Normative Ethical Theory The normative ethical theories are made up of four main sets of theories namely consequentiality, non-consequentiality, justice and contemporary theories (Shaw, W., Barry & Sansbury 2009, p. 57).

From the lecture session and the reading on the book chapter ‘ Moral issues in business’ by Shaw, W., Barry, V. & Sansbury, G., it was identified that the differences in these theories are based on their approach to ethics. The second lecture session and the lecture reading focuses on the consequentialist and non-consequentiality theories. The difference between these theories is the expected outcomes. Under consequentialist theories, ethics is evaluated with respect to the consequences of a specific action.

For this reason, the action is judged with respect to its consequences. According to Shaw, Barry. & Sansbury (2009, p. 58), consequentialist theories can be divided into egoism and utilitarianism theories. The egoism theory tends to equate the morality of an individual or organization with self-interest. Under the egoism theory, an act is deemed ethical is it is in the best interest of the long term interests of the entity involved.

For this reason, the long term effects of an action are the main measures of the ethical confirmation of activity. The relationship between actions and their consequences makes egoism a consequentialist theory. On the other hand, the utilitarian ethical theory purports that an action is ethical if it leads to the greatest possible happiness in the majority of people affected by the activity. This theory uses happiness as its measure of ethics. Under this approach, utilitarianism purports that an activity which leads to the happiness of the majority of people is ethical (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury 2009, p.

62). According to the authors, the utilitarianism theory is appropriate for use in ethical considerations in an organization since it provides an objective and appropriate system of n solving issues related to self-interest, it is aligned to results and highly flexible and lastly it provides a clear plan of developing organizational policies (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury 2009, p. 66). The other set of ethics theories which were discussed in the second session were non-consequential theories which are not focused on the outcomes but in the manner in which an action is done.

The deontological / Kantian ethics and the moral rights theory are the two main non-consequentialist theories. According to Kant ethics, the knowledge of the consequences of an action cannot be used to judge whether an action is moral or not (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury 2009, p. 71). Contrary to this, Kant saw that actions should be judged with respect to a moral obligation of the specific individual doing the action. On this point, Kant introduces goodwill as a key measure of the ethical state of activity.

Under goodwill, an entity should not have any other intention in mind but that to do good. The principle of universality comes into play where the formulation of the moral law which is followed by individuals under the duty to obey acts as the guiding principle for the stakeholders involved. Lastly, it can be acknowledged from the reading and lecture session; the moral rights theory stipulates that an action is ethical if it upholds the moral rights which are collectively accepted by the society.


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Shaw, W., Barry, V. & Sansbury, G. (2009). Moral issues in business: First Asia-Pacific edition. Cengage: Australia

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