There are three primary means of resolving such a dilemma (or any ethical issue): 1. First is the utilitarian (teleological) approach. This is a consequentialist approach that judges the ethicality of an action by a "greatest good for the greatest number" metric. The focus is put on the consequences of the action. These notions come from John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, among others. 2. Second is the rule-based (deontological) approach championed by Kant, who held the idea that people should never treat their fellow men as objects by which to attain goals. Examples might include the law and social norms (and perhaps the Ten Commandments). 3. Third is virtue ethics, which comes from Aristotle and other Greeks who thought that if people focused on cultivating the characteristics they know all people should have (honesty, reliability, sincerity), they will tend to act ethically.
3. Moral Reasoning F our-step method of resolving ethical issues: 1. Identifying the issue 2. Establishing the facts 3. Applying alternative approaches to the facts 4. Reaching a conclusion that you should consider carefully This four-step approach is illustrated with an analysis of insider trading. You should also practice this approach on a different issue. While doing so, you should remember that many of your ethical judgments are reached intuitively. While it is never wise to ignore that "gut feeling" you get when something you are about to do is wrong, emotion-based judgments can mislead you. It often takes conscious action on a person's part to activate the cognitive portion of their brains to carefully reason through an ethical issue to determine whether an intuitive judgment that you have automatically made should be overridden. The reasoning process discussed in this unit gives you the tools to do so where appropriate. 4. Behavioral Ethics The most challenging question in business ethics is why good people do bad things. With the help of a decade or more of research analyzing why people make the ethical (and unethical) decisions that they do, we now know that the context in which an ethical decision takes place is often more determinative of the outcome than the character of the person involved. Psychological quirks, societal pressures, organizational influences, and other situational factors can make it very difficult for even a person of admirable character to live up to his or her own ethical standards all the time. Why do people mess up? · Over optimism (the bad effects wont happen to me) · Overconfidence (irrational overconfidence) · Conformity bias (Because they want too desperately to fit in with their fellow employees) · Self-serving bias (we process information in such a way that advances our own self- interest and supports our pre-existing views) · Because they focus too much on pleasing the boss · Framing: Because they frame an ethical issue as a simple business decision involving only dollars and cents · Loss aversion · Incrementalism: Because they don’t realize how a minor transgression that is easily rationalized can snowball into major wrongdoing · · Time-delay traps How can you make sure you don’t find yourself in any of the situations covered here? Being
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 61 pages?