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Chapter One Ethical Theory and Business Practice

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1 Chapter One Ethical Theory and Business Practice
4/15/2017 Ethical Theory and Business, 6th Edition Tom L. Beauchamp & Norman E. Bowie Chapter One Ethical Theory and Business Practice

2 Objectives After studying this chapter the student should be able to:
Distinguish between morality and ethical theory. Distinguish between morality and prudence. Distinguish between morality and law. Explain the three approaches to the study of morality. Describe the moral theory of relativism.

3 Objectives Discuss the egoism moral theory.
Explore some of the problems of the egoism theory. Interpret the different types of utilitarian theory. Discuss some of the problems of the utilitarian theory. Apply Kantian ethics using different scenarios.

4 Objectives Explain the principles behind the common morality theories.
Explore the concept of rights theories. Distinguish between virtue ethics, and feminist theories and the ethics of care.

5 Overview Morality Approaches to the Study of Morality Relativism
Egoism Utilitarian Theories Kantian Ethics Common Morality Theories

6 Overview Rights Theories Virtue Ethics
Feminist Theories and the Ethics of Care Analysis of Cases

7 Morality Principles or rules of moral conduct that people use to decide what is right or wrong.

8 Morality v. Ethical Theory
Morality is concerned with the social practices defining right and wrong. Ethical theory and moral philosophies provide guidelines for justification of right or wrong actions when settling human conflict. No one moral philosophy is accepted by everyone!

9 Morality v. Prudence Rules of prudence promote self-interest, doing what is prudent for oneself. Rules of morality promote the interest of other people. Morality and prudence should generally work hand-in-hand if a business is to succeed.

10 Law Public's agency for translating morality into explicit social guidelines and practices and for stipulating punishments for offenses.

11 Morality v. Law Statutory law v. case law
Statutory laws are federal / state statutes and their accompanying administrative regulations. Case laws are judge-made laws that establish influential precedents that provide material for reflection on both legal and moral questions. Morality and ethics begin where the law is unclear or not defined!

12 Rule of Conscience Consciences:
Vary from person to person and time to time. Are altered by circumstance, religious belief, life experiences, and training. Are not consistent from day to day. Moral justification must then be based on a source external to conscience itself.

13 Approaches to the Study of Morality
Descriptive approach - provides a factual description and explanation of moral behavior and beliefs, as performed by anthropologists, sociologists, and historians. Referred to as the scientific study of ethics. Conceptual approach - analyzes meanings of central terms in ethics such as right, obligation, justice, good, virtue, and responsibility.

14 Approaches to the Study of Morality
Prescriptive approach - attempts to formulate and defend basic moral norms or standards by determining what ought to be done versus what is being done. Referred to as normative ethics.

15 Relativism An ethical theory that claims right and wrong is subjectively determined by each culture.

16 Relativism What is good is socially accepted and what is bad is socially unacceptable in a given culture. There is no such thing as universal truth in ethics, there are only the various cultural codes and nothing more. An argument against relativism: There are some basic moral principles that all societies will have in common, because those rules are necessary for society to exist.

17 Methods to Easing Moral Disagreements
Obtaining objective information Definitional clarity Example-counterexample Analysis of arguments and positions

18 Egoism A moral theory that contends all choices either involve or should involve self-promotion as their sole objective.

19 Psychological Egoism Everyone is always motivated to act in his or her own perceived self-interest. A main argument against psychological egoism is that there may be no purely altruistic moral motivation to help other people unless there is personal gain.

20 Ethical Egoism The only valid standard of conduct is the obligation to promote one's own well being above everyone else's. Ethical egoists believe that people should not be their brother’s keeper, because people do not completely understand the true needs of others. It’s every man for himself in this world!

21 Utilitarian Theories Moral theories that assert an action’s rightness is determined by the actual or probable consequences that the action will have for the greatest number of people affected by that action.

22 Utilitarian Theories Utilitarian theories hold that the moral worth of actions or practices are determined solely by their consequences. An action or practice is right if it leads to the best possible balance of good consequences over bad consequences for all the parties affected.

23 Utilitarian Theories Act utilitarianism
Argues that in all situations the utility of an action is based on an act that leads to the greatest good for the greatest number. Treats rules as useful guidelines to help determine ethical behavior. Will break a moral rule if breaking the rule leads to the greatest good for the greatest number.

24 Utilitarian Theories Rule utilitarianism
The morality of an action should be evaluated on the basis of principles or rules designed to promote the greatest utility for the greatest number. Rule utilitarians hold that rules have a central position in morality that cannot be compromised by the demands of particular situations.

25 Utilitarian Theories Utilitarian decision-making relies on tools such as cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment to determine the greatest utility. Main argument against utilitarianism is questioning whether units of happiness or some other utilitarian value can be measured and compared in order to determine the best action among alternatives.

26 Kantian Ethics A moral theory that holds you should follow only those rules which you would will to be universal laws for everyone, including yourself.

27 Kantian Ethics Categorical imperative principle states "I ought never to act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become universal law." The principle is categorical because it admits of no exceptions and is absolutely binding, and is imperative because it gives instruction on how one must act. Respect-for-persons principle states persons should never be used as a means to an end.

28 Kantian Ethics Kant believed that morality should follow absolute rules that admit no exceptions, which has been a major argument against this theory. Another argument against Kantian theories is that they are narrow and inadequate to handle various problems in the moral life.

29 Common Morality Theories
A moral theory based on the concept there is a common morality that all people share by virtue of communal life.

30 Common Morality Theories
The greatest obligation in any given circumstance must be found based on the greatest balance of right over wrong in that particular context. Obligations and rights are not inflexible standards, but rather strong prima facie moral demands that may be overridden in circumstances of competition with equal or stronger moral claims.

31 Rights Theories A moral theory based on the concept that all people have human rights that form the justifying basis of obligations because they best express the purpose of morality, which is the securing of liberties or other benefits for a right-holder.

32 Rights Theories Human rights are held independent of membership in a state or other social organization. Human rights evolved from the notion of natural rights. Natural rights are rights that belong to all persons purely by virtue of their being human. Negative rights pertain to the obligations on the part of other people to refrain from interfering with our freedom of action.

33 Rights Theories Positive rights impose obligations on people to provide other people with goods or services. A primary problem with this theory is that there is no hierarchy for right’s claims: “How does someone determine which right takes precedence or has more value over other rights?”

34 Virtue Ethics This moral theory suggests that morality is comprised of virtue, which has to do with a person's character and the types of actions that emanate from that character.

35 Virtue Ethics Some typical virtuous traits in the business arena would be integrity, honesty, truthfulness, courage, loyalty, courteousness, and conscientiousness. Virtuous traits are acquired and developed throughout our life experiences. A primary problem with this theory is that people have varying definitions of what traits are considered virtuous.

36 Feminist Theories and the Ethics of Care
This moral theory focuses on a set of character traits that are deeply valued in close personal relationships.

37 Feminist Theories and the Ethics of Care
Typical traits would include sympathy, compassion, fidelity, love, friendship, and the like. This theory grew out of two feminist presuppositions: The subordination of women is as wrong as it is common. The experiences of women are worthy of respect and should be taken seriously.

38 Feminist Theories and the Ethics of Care
An argument against this theory is that the focus is on how power is used to oppress women only, whereas traditional ethics is based on the assumption that its values and rules apply to all rational persons equally.

39 Analysis of Cases The case method in law is used to show examples of established precedents of evidence and justification. The case method in business is used to present managerial situations so managers will know how to think when confronted with a dilemma.

40 Analysis of Cases The casuistical method for case analysis in ethics is used to show conclusions on ethical matters, then to compare and contrast the central features of the morally clear and settled cases with the features of unsettled cases.

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