Individual Factors: Moral Philosophies and Values (Chapter 6) - LWC1 - Business Ethics

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moral philosophy

Moral philosophy refers in particular to the specific principles or rules that people use to decide what is right or wrong.

economic value orientation

The concept of the economic value orientation is associated with values that can be quantified by monetary means; thus,
according to this theory, if an act produces more value than its effort, then it should be accepted as ethical.

idealism

Idealism is a moral philosophy that places special value on ideas and ideals as products of the mind, in comparison with the world's view. The term refers to efforts to account for all objects in nature and experience and assign to such representations a higher order of existence.

realism

Realism is the view that an external world exists independent of our perception of it. Realists work under the assumption that humankind is not inherently benevolent and kind but instead is inherently self-centered and competitive. According to realists, each person is always ultimately guided by his or her own self-interest.

monist

Monists believe that only one thing is intrinsically good, and the pluralists believe that two or more things are intrinsically good.

hedonism

Hedonism—that one's pleasure is the ultimate intrinsic good or that the moral end, or goodness, is the greatest balance of pleasure over pain.

quantitative hedonist

Those who believe that more pleasure is better.

qualitative hedonist

Those who believe that it is possible to get too much of a good thing (such as pleasure).

pluralist

Pluralists, often referred to as nonhedonists, take the opposite position that no one thing is intrinsically good. For example, a pluralist might view other ultimate goods as beauty, aesthetic experience, knowledge, and personal affection.

instrumentalist

A more modern view is expressed in the instrumentalist position. Sometimes called pragmatists, instrumentalists reject the idea that (1) ends can be separated from the means that produce them and (2) ends, purposes, or outcomes are intrinsically good in and of themselves.

goodness theory

Typically focus on the end result of actions and the goodness or happiness created by them.

obligation theory

Emphasize the means and motivesby which actions are justified.

teleology

(from the Greek word for "end" or "purpose") refers to moral philosophies in which an act is considered morally right or acceptable if it produces some desired result such as pleasure, knowledge, career growth, the realization of self-interest, utility, wealth, or even fame.

consequentialism

Teleological philosophies assess the moral worth of a behavior by looking at its consequences, and thus moral philosophers today.

egoism

Defines right or acceptable behavior in terms of its consequences for the individual. Egoists believe that they should make decisions that maximize their own self-interest, which is defined differently by each individual. Depending on the egoist, self-interest may be construed as physical well-being, power, pleasure, fame, a satisfying career, a good family life, wealth, or something else.

enlightened egoism

Enlightened egoists take a long-range perspective and allow for the well-being of others although their own self-interest remains paramount.

utilitarianism

Concerned with consequences, but the utilitarian seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Utilitarians believe that they should make decisions that result in the greatest total utility, that achieve the greatest benefit for all those affected by a decision. Utilitarian decision making relies on a systematic comparison of the costs and benefits to all affected parties. Using such a cost-benefit analysis, a utilitarian decision maker calculates the utility of the consequences of all possible alternatives and then selects the one that results in the greatest benefit.

rule utilitarian

Determine behavior on the basis of principles, or rules, designed to promote the greatest utility rather than on an examination of each particular situation.

act utilitarian

Examine a specific action itself, rather than the general rules governing it, to assess whether it will result in the greatest utility.

deontology

(from the Greek word for "ethics") refers to moral philosophies that focus on the rights of individuals and on the intentions associated with a particular behavior rather than on its consequences. Fundamental to deontological theory is the idea that equal respect must be given to all persons.

nonconsequentialist

An ethics based on respect for persons.

rule deontologist

Rule deontologists believe that conformity to general moral principles determines ethicalness.

act deontologist

Hold that actions are the proper basis on which to judge morality or ethicalness. Act deontology requires that a person use equity, fairness, and impartiality when making and enforcing decisions.

relativist perspective

Definitions of ethical behavior are derived subjectively from the experiences of individuals and groups. Relativists use themselves or the people around them as their basis for defining ethical standards, and the various forms of relativism include descriptive, metaethical, or normative.

descriptive relativism

Relates to observing cultures. We may observe that different cultures exhibit different norms, customs, and values and, in so doing, arrive at a factual description of a culture.

metaethical relativist

Understand that people naturally see situations from their
own perspectives and argue that, as a result, there is no objective way of resolving ethical disputes between value systems and individuals.

normative relativism

Assume that one person's opinion is as good as another's.

virtue ethics

It posits that what is moral in a given situation is not only what conventional morality or moral rules (current societal definitions) require but also what the mature person with a "good" moral character would deem appropriate.

justice

Justice as it is applied in business ethics involves evaluations of fairness or the disposition to deal with perceived injustices of others. Justice is fair treatment and due reward in accordance with ethical or legal standards. In business, this means that the decision rules used by an individual to determine the justice of a situation could be based on the perceived rights of individuals and on the intentions of the people involved in a given business interaction.

distributive justice

Based on the evaluation of the outcomes or results of the business relationship. If some employees feel that they are paid less than their coworkers for the same work, then they have concerns about distributive justice.

procedural justice

Based on the processes and activities that produce the outcome or results. Evaluations of performance that are not consistently developed and applied can lead to problems with procedural justice.

interactional justice

Based on an evaluation of the communication process used in the business relationship.

Kohlberg's model of cognitive moral development

People make different decisions in similar ethical situations because they are in different stages of six cognitive moral development stages:

1. The stage of punishment and obedience. An individual in Kohlberg's first stage defines right as literal obedience to rules and authority.
2. The stage of individual instrumental purpose and exchange. An individual in stage 2 defines right as that which serves his or her own needs.
3. The stage of mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships, and conformity. An individual in stage 3 emphasizes others rather than him- or herself.
4. The stage of social system and conscience maintenance. An individual in stage 4 determines what is right by considering his or her duty to society, not just to other specific people. Duty, respect for authority, and maintaining the social order become the focal points.
5. The stage of prior rights, social contract, or utility. In stage 5, an individual is concerned with upholding the basic rights, values, and legal contracts of society.
6. The stage of universal ethical principles. A person in this stage believes that right is determined by universal ethical principles that everyone should follow.

white-collar crime

These "crimes of the suite" do more damage in monetary and emotional loss in one year than the crimes of the street over several years combined. WCC creates victims by establishing trust and respectability.

How do moral philosophies and values influence group ethical decision making in business?

Moral philosophies present guidelines for "determining how conflicts in human interests are to be settled and for optimizing mutual benefit of people living together in groups," guiding businesspeople as they formulate business strategies and resolve specific ethical issues. However, there is no single moral philosophy that everyone accepts.

What are the stages of cognitive moral development, and how do those relate to ethical development?

In this section, we examine a model that describes this cognitive moral development process—that is, the stages through which people may progress in their development of moral thought. Many models, developed to explain, predict, and control individuals' ethical behavior within business organizations, have proposed that cognitive moral processing is an element in ethical decision making.

(See Kohlberg's model of cognitive moral development)

How does white-collar crime relate to moral philosophies, values, and corporate culture?

Victimizes the consumer creates trust and respect issues in the victims.

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