Premium Essay

Three Ethical Approaches Based on Virtue, Duty and Consequence

In: Business and Management

Submitted By THANHTRA
Words 2724
Pages 11
THREE ETHICAL APPROACHES BASED ON VIRTUE, DUTY AND CONSEQUENCE

Three ethical approaches have evolved as the focus of those who study moral philosophy: virtue ethics, duty ethics and consequential ethics. Virtue ethics, associating ethics with personal habits, is associated with Aristotle. Duty ethics is associated with religious beliefs, although Kant tried to create a system of duties independent of belief in God. Consequential ethics is associated with the quest for rationalism during the Enlightenment, and especially with the Utilitarians.

Virtue Ethics

Plato and especially later Aristotle described moral behavior as “what the moral or virtuous person does.” The virtuous person develops a sense of right and wrong. This idea endures. We look to people we think of as ethical to give us advice on an ethical issue because such people have a sense of right and wrong.

Aristotle tried to take the idea further, with less success. He thought that virtuous behavior meant people realizing their potential. He suggested that virtue was tied to moderation, a middle way between excess and deficiency. This idea is in practice not proven so helpful because where the midpoint is depends on where we put the extremes.[2] For example if an extreme drinker is someone who drinks six liters a day of vodka, then is three liters a day a moderate drinker?
Markets operate without depending on the virtue of the business people who trade in them. But in practice ethical behavior is admired. Political campaigners like to focus on the ethical shortcomings of business, while businesses poke fun at the ethical shortcomings of political leaders.

Business Example: A company has a certain DNA. If it has a permissive cultural code that that loses sight of who the customer is, it can lose the confidence of investors, workers and customers. Why should anyone invest in a fund or...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Business Ethics Frame

...Ethical Approaches Four Ethical Approaches Four Ethical Approaches- By Buie Seawell, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver There are many ways to define "ethics," almost as many as there are ethicists. For our purposes, let's use this definition: Ethics is the discipline and practice of applying value to human behavior (as well as to the constructs of human culture particularly to morality, customs and laws) resulting in meaningfulness. From the earliest moments of recorded human consciousness, the ethical discipline has exhibited four fundamental "approaches" These four approaches are often called "ethical decision-making frameworks:" Utilitarian Ethics (outcome based), Deontological Ethics (duty based), Virtue Ethics (virtue based) and Communitarian Ethics (community based). Each has a distinctive point of departure as well as distinctive ways of doing the fundamental ethical task of raising and answering questions of value. It is also important to understand that all four approaches have both overlaps and common elements. Some of the "common elements" of all four approaches are the following: · Impartiality: weighting interests equally · Rationality: backed by reasons a rational person would accept · Consistency: standards applied similarly to similar cases · Reversibility: standards that apply no matter who "makes" the rules These are, in a sense, the rules of the "ethics game", no matter which school or approach to ethics one feels......

Words: 2661 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Ethical Decision Making

...Approaches to ethical decision making at times can be made using different philosophical approaches, which was the first part of our assignment this week; the completion of Appendix B where we were to decide which course of action was to be taken based on each philosophical approach for the given scenarios. The three philosophical approaches are: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Consequentialism is the view that the value of actions is derived solely from the value of its consequences. In accounting, this approach is used to analyze which decision is most ethical based on the harms and benefits to the stakeholders; basically, it is the decision that does the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. In short, consequentialism is the decision is ethical if the positive outcome is greater than the negative outcome. Deontology is the ethical theory that is concerned with duties and rights. Whereas consequentialism is concerned with actions consequences, deontology is concerned with the obligation or duty motivating the decision (Brooks, 2007, p. 330). Decisions are based around moral standards, rights, fairness, and principles. Virtue ethics seems to lie somewhere between consequentialism and deontology; its primary concern is with traits of character that are morally right. Virtue ethics focuses on an individual’s integrity and character in relation to the moral community, such as professional communities (Brooks, 2007, p. 332). Scenario......

Words: 1045 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethical Theories Essay Charlotte McGuffey ETH/316 October 28, 2013 Philip Reynolds Ethical Theories Essay There are three normative approaches to ethics; Utilitarianism, deontological, and virtue theory. These three approaches have similarities and differences. This paper will go over those similarities and differences. This paper will also include how each theory details ethics, morality and will illustrate a personal experience that shows that correlation between moral, values, and virtue as they relate to these three theories of ethics. Utilitarianism relies on the predictability of the consequences of an action for the good of the many. “Utilitarianism is a theory that suggests that an action is morally right when that action produces mare total utility for the group than any other alternative” (Boylan, 2009). Another word, utilitarianism does not, in any way, relate to morality or ethics because the action is taken for the most usefulness, no matter what the outcome. Without knowing the end result of an action we cannot ascertain if it is ethical or not. Deontological theory judges the morality of any action dependent on the action’s devotion to rules, obligations, or duty. Deontology is based on whether the action taken is right or wrong. This theory is practical in places where adherence to rules or duty are to be followed; such as the military or religion. The principle of deontology judges the activity and whether that activity sticks with the guidelines or...

Words: 516 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...philosophers, such as Socrates, Aristotle, Bentham, and Kant dabbled in the theories of ethics. Virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontology deal with approaches to ethics. All three theories consist of similarities and differences as they address ethics and morality. This paper will also include a personal experience as it relates to the relationship between virtue, values, and moral concepts as it applies to deontology. Virtue ethics is an approach to ethics where a person possesses the habits and characteristics that wills him or her to achieve excellence (Boylan, 2009). This approach differs from utilitarianism and deontology in that a person is judged morally wrong based on an action even though the person possesses characteristics to want to achieve excellence. Virtue ethics is based on morality and not on ethics. This approach does not define how one should act but on the traits necessary to achieve excellence. Utilitarianism theory is the approach where the action or decision should be what is best for the greater good of the people. This approach differs from virtue ethics and utilitarianism in that the consequence of the action is considered morally right when the action is in the best interest of the majority of the people (Boylan, 2009). This approach is affected by one’s morality but relies more on ethics and happiness for the greater good when dealing with ethical situations. An issue with utilitarianism is that the action may not always be considered morally...

Words: 678 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics Paper

...Arthur Murphy Introduction Utilitarianism, deontological, and virtue theory ethics are three normative approaches to ethics. This paper will go over the similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological principles. It will include information of the variations in how each concept details ethics, morality, and it will also discuss a personal experience to describe the correlation between virtue, values, and moral perceptions as they relate to one of the three theories. Similarities and Differences   Virtue theory emphasizes character traits rather than the rules or consequences while deontology is described as an action that is right only if it is in accordance with a moral rule or principle. Utilitarianism puts more emphasis on the consequences and that decisions should be made based on happiness for the greatest number of people. Virtue theory does not judge a person as good (or not) based upon one single action in their lives. Rather, it takes a look over time to judge ones character. Virtue theory also looks at past mistakes that are not normally in a person’s historical nature. For example, a virtuous person is someone who is kind across many situations over a lifetime because that is their character and not because they want to maximize utility or gain favors or simply do their duty ("Virtue," 2010).Utilitarianism usually relies on predicting the consequences of an action. Utilitarianism sets that an action is morally right......

Words: 733 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Metaethics investigates where our ethical principles come from, and what they mean. Are they merely social inventions? Do they involve more than expressions of our individual emotions? Metaethical answers to these questions focus on the issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of reason in ethical judgments, and the meaning of ethical terms themselves. Normative ethics takes on a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This may involve articulating the good habits that we should acquire, the duties that we should follow, or the consequences of our behavior on others. Finally, applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns, homosexuality, capital punishment, or nuclear war. By using the conceptual tools of metaethics and normative ethics, discussions in applied ethics try to resolve these controversial issues. The lines of distinction between metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics are often blurry. For example, the issue of abortion is an applied ethical topic since it involves a specific type of controversial behavior. But it also depends on more general normative principles,......

Words: 6480 - Pages: 26

Premium Essay

Ethics/316 Week One Individual Assignment

...There are three significant approaches in normative ethics such as quality ethics, deontological ethics, and utilitarianism. This paper is going to evaluate the resemblances and variations between quality concept, utilitarianism, and deontological principles. It will include information of the variations in how each concept details ethics and morality and it will also talk about an experience to describe the relationship between quality, principles, and ethical principles as their associate with one of the three principles. Differences in How These Theories Address Ethics and Morality Virtue ethics emphasizes on virtues rather than the rules or consequences whereas deontology emphasizes on duties and their adherence to rules, and utilitarianism puts more emphasizes on the consequences of an action while considering what action creates the greatest good for the most. In our weekly readings we found that virtue ethics is also known as an agent based or character ethical theory (Boylan, 2009). In using this approach one must look to do well in all that they do in life. This theory is where many believe in the old saying, “do unto others as you would be done by”. When we look at utilitarianism we see that it sets its strength on the consequences of a moral action and its outcome. According to Boylan (2009), utilitarianism sets that an action is morally right when the action produces more total utility for the group that any other alternative. In this ethical theory......

Words: 543 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Job Evaluation

...CO-OPERATIVE STUDIES Discuss the five approaches to ethical decision making, and using the key theorists inclusive of Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill and Aristotle, explore how these approaches can improve the ethical culture within organisations? Student’s Name: Emmanuel Henry Student’s I.D. #: 2006030750 Lecturer’s Name: Ms. P. Bonas Course Code: LBS 380 Introduction The numerous scandals in business such as those at AIG, Tyco, WorldCom and Enron have made all of us concerned about the emergence of unethical and irresponsible behaviour in organizations. Our uneasiness about these high – profile scandals has enlarged as individuals like Bernie Madoff and Rod Blagojevich has become household names. Widespread corruption in business, politics and religious institutions have promoted interest in the field of business ethics. Business ethics generally deals with evaluating whether practices exercised by employees, leaders and organizations as a whole can be considered morally acceptable (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2008). What are Ethics? According to Anne M. Francesco and Barry A. Gold in their book ‘International Organisational Behavior’ postulated that ‘Ethics’ are moral standards not governed by law, that focus on the human consequences of actions. Ethics often require behavior......

Words: 2283 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Evaluation of a Business Code of Ethics

...Although Hershey’s mission statement provides a simple goal that encompasses acknowledgment of global market share with the sweet moments of happiness provided in every aspect of Hershey’s daily endeavors, a strict code of ethical business conduct forms the underlying fabric that governs all endeavors. Commitments The Hershey’s company understands the scope of responsibilities included with company success as its global influence demands considerable resource utilization. These responsibilities extend past bottom line profit to supporting various charities focused on providing for the needs of children. Hershey’s Code of Ethical conduct contains detailed information as mentioned by, (Code of Ethical Business Conduct, n.d.) “Attempts to address most common legal and ethical issues that we might encounter” To Fellow Employees The foundation of Hershey’s success starts with its employees as they enable the continued functionality that provides the core of Hershey’s influence and make endeavors possible by performing all daily operations. Providing a safe work environment while promoting diversity demonstrates a duty-based ethical belief system understands various consequences that requires Hershey’s to hold themselves accountable to its employees...

Words: 1265 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Ethics Essay

...Ethics Essay Sharon Batts ETH/316 February 10, 2014 Professor Heller Ethics Essay Ethical growth is an important instrument needed in today’s society. Virtue, deontological, and utilitarianism theories have similarities and differences. Each theory relates to morals and ethics in precise ways, just as virtue, values, and morality have a precise relationship with one another. Virtue theory relates to ethics by identifying the character of a person as honorable, dependable, loyal, honest, or as untrustworthy, deceiving, careless, or self-serving. Basically a person is described as “good” or “bad”, or a mixture of both. People develop character throughout life as a mirror image of his or her morals. Virtue ethics define a person’s character more so than his or her actions. The downside of this theory is that it does not make allowance for good people who make bad mistake (Garrett, 2005). A teenager may give into peer pressure to steal a car. The teen may have high morals and ethics, but made a foolish decision. Virtue theory defines the teen as a bad person rather than as a good person who did a bad act. The next ethical theory, utilitarianism, focuses on determining the choice for the actions and the choice made depends on the course of action that has the best consequences for that person. The actions of a person are believed to be morally correct or incorrect based only on the outcome of the actions. Therefore, if the result is good, the action is morally right.......

Words: 919 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics is a set of moral principles; a theory or system of moral values. Normative ethics is an ethical system with standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This ethical system can be broken down into three categories: virtue ethics, utilitarian ethics, and deontological ethics. Normative ethics' golden rule is to do unto others what we want others to do to us. This establishes a single principle against which we judge all actions. The study and application of ethics has created a variety of approaches to the basic questions of what should I do?, what do i value?, and why do I value that? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the similarities and differences between virtue ethics, utilitarian ethics, and deontological ethics both morally and ethically. Virtue ethics is the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior. For example, a person using the virtue approach would focus less on lying in a particular situation and instead consider the decision to tell a lie or not to tell a lie. Virtue ethics places less emphasis on learning rules, and instead stresses the importance of developing good habits of character. Utilitarian ethics is a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number. For example, a utilitarian approach implies that no moral act like stealing, or a rule like keeping your promise, is in intrinsically right or wrong. The rightness or......

Words: 560 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Introduction to Business Ethics

...Introduction to Business Ethics Objectives: * Gain an understanding of why business ethics is important. * Learn how business ethics fits into the broader discipline of philosophy. * Realize that the culture in which we live influences our thinking. Business ethics, some would say, is an oxymoron. After all, the media presents, on nearly a daily basis, the shenanigans of corporate representatives as they ply their trade. Price fixing, anti-competitive behavior, fraud, deceptive advertising, and insider trading are but a few of the many questionable tactics found in the quivers of corporate moguls and their charges. Corporations and their activities have been fair game for attack, both factual and fictional. The level of corruption is epidemic in the estimation of many observers. This rather bleak picture is probably the one most familiar to what has become a very cynical populace. We have come to think of ourselves as current or potential victims of evil corporations. Is business evil incarnate? Of course it isn't. Is business completely innocent of the charges against it? Again, the answer is no. The truth lies somewhere in between. It is, after all, the modern enterprise, with all of its strengths and weaknesses, that has brought to larger numbers of people around the world, a level of material comfort and cultural opportunities than has ever before existed. Businesses must be doing something right. In fact, while business has less than a stellar reputation...

Words: 4762 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Ethics

...is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—the ends justify the means. Utility — the good to be maximized — has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), though preference utilitarian’s like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. (David 2008) Deontology - Deontological ethics or deontology meaning 'obligation' or 'duty') is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" based ethics, because deontologists believe that ethical rules "bind you to your duty". (Kant 1785) Deontological ethics is commonly contrasted with consequentialist or teleological ethical theories, according to which the rightness of an action is determined by its consequences. Virtue Ethics - Virtue ethics is a branch of moral philosophy that emphasizes character, rather than rules or consequences, as the key element of ethical thinking. In the West virtue ethics was the prevailing approach to ethical thinking in the ancient and medieval periods. The tradition suffered an eclipse during the early modern period, as Aristotelianism fell out of favor in the West (Louden 1984). Virtue ethics...

Words: 797 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Business Ethics

...DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICAL THEORY: (KANT) Deontological (duty-based) ethics are concerned with what people do, not with the consequences of their actions. • Do the right thing. • Do it because it's the right thing to do. • Don't do wrong things. • Avoid them because they are wrong. Duty-based ethics teaches that some acts are right or wrong because of the sorts of things they are, and people have a duty to act accordingly, regardless of the good or bad consequences that may be produced. Someone who follows Duty-based ethics should do the right thing, even if that produces more harm (or less good) than doing the wrong thing: People have a duty to do the right thing, even if it produces a bad result. So, for example, the philosopher Kant thought that it would be wrong to tell a lie in order to save a friend from a murderer. • This is a non-consequentialist theory. • The motivation or principle is important. • An action can only be deemed right or wrong when the morals for taking that action are known. There are three key maxims, or tests, for any action: an action is morally 'right' if it satisfies all three. • Consistency: Act only according to that maxim by which you can, at the same time, desire that it should become a universal law. o The action can only be right it everyone can follow the same underlying principle. • Human dignity: Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only. ...

Words: 989 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics Terms and Principles

...Theories of Ethics Consequentialism (Utilitarianism) Consequentialism sees the rightness or wrongness of an action in terms of the consequences brought about by that action. The most common form of consequentialism is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism holds that one should act so as to do the greatest good for the greatest number. The good as defined by J.S. Mill would be the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. Utilitarians are concerned with the aggregate happiness of all beings capable of experiencing pleasure or pain including nonhuman animals. They consider the principle of utility to be the act, which produces the greatest balance of good over evil. Utilitarians consider both the happiness-producing and unhappiness-producing consequences of several alternative actions before deciding on one. A nineteenth century philosopher Jeremy Bentham created a checklist called the hedonic calculus. Bentham designed what he termed the hedonic calculus to enable people to measure the overall happiness- or pleasure-producing consequences of actions in terms of their duration, intensity, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, and extent. This tool would not work in today’s society because happiness or pleasure as we know it would be difficult to measure on a numeric scale. There are two forms of utilitarians. Act utilitarians directly apply the principle of utility to each case as it arises. Rule utilitarians apply the principle of utility to general rules of...

Words: 2792 - Pages: 12