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An Ethical Theory Applied to Business Organizations

In: Business and Management

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An Ethical Theory Applied to Business Organizations
The object of this essay is to establish whether there is an ethical theory that can be successfully applied to business organizations. In order to answer this question, it is necessary first to define the major ethical theories, which are utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics, before determining whether there are any other options. After that, the ethical needs, problems and limitations of work organizations will have to be examined so that the different theories can be evaluated in this context. It will also be important to draw a distinction between the terms “accurate” and “useful” as these actually result in two different questions the answer to which need not necessarily be the same. Another essential part of this discussion is the more general question why there should be ethics in work organizations in the first place, and to what extent ethical behavior is feasible in the business world. Hopefully this will provide a framework within which the answer to the essay question can be included.
To begin with, the “traditional” approaches to solving moral problems will be defined, namely those of act-utilitarianism and deontology. These are traditional not because they have existed longer than virtue ethics, but because for a long time they have been the approaches most commonly used as a basis for trying to solve ethical problems. After looking at these two moral theories, the approach of virtue ethics regarding moral dilemmas will be investigated in order to compare differences and advantages as well as problems.

Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism developed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. It adopts the consequentialist view that it must be right to make the world a better place and therefore the right action is the one that produces the best consequences. Utilitarianism takes this...

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