After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Ethics 2. Definitions of Ethics 3. Need 4. Importance 5. Nature 6. Scope.
Essay on the Meaning of Ethics:
As per Oxford Dictionary the meaning of ethic is a “system of moral principles, rules and conduct.” Ethics is a “science of morals.” The words ethics has emerged from Latin ‘Ethicus’ or in Greek ‘Ethicos’.
The origin of these two words is from ‘ethos’ meaning character. Character unlike behaviour is an intrinsic or basic factor which derives from inner most. Ethics in simple words is a treatise or science of morals, moral principles and social conduct rules.
‘Right’, ‘Fair’ and ‘Proper’ are three terms normally used to express the social behaviour of the people. When we tell these words, there are right and wrong behaviour towards others; fair and unfair actions taken against someone or for someone; or some fair or unfair decisions.
The beliefs what is right, what is fair and what is proper are our beliefs and our moral standards. The beliefs differ from individual to individual, place to place and time to time. What is right in one place or situation may be wrong in other situation. The moral standards also differ based on moral value an individual attaches.
Any action can be termed good or right or bad or wrong are relative and moral judgments. The problem has one more side that who is making the judgment. From different sides the problem is seen in different light and accordingly the judgment. The distinctions are made as ‘us’ and ‘others’ or ‘benefits’ and ‘obligations’.
Vedanta or Indian ethos suggests that ‘Atman’ is the intrinsic man. The ethical problem is as old as mankind. Righteousness (Dharma) and the social concerns have changed from time to time or evolved.
Ethical values change from situation to situation and as pr place, time. Sage Ved Vyasa in Mahabharata cries with his arms up for a righteous life and society “I cry with my arms uplifted, yet none hears. From righteousness (Dharma) flow forth pleasure and profit. Why then do we not follow Dharma?”
Definition of Moral:
The word has been derived from Latin ‘Moralis’ which means character. This word is used many times in place of ethics by mistake. These two words are different.
Behaviour is Set of Actions:
Behaviour is external that is the response one makes with in interaction with others. The behaviour reflects the character of the individuals. Purity in behaviour is reflections of good character of the individual. The character is within and hence core being of an individual whereas behaviour is external.
Behaviour is short term whereas character is long term. Personal have different shades of characters weak to strong levels. Similarly the behaviour exhibited by individuals differs from weak to strong. Fig. 8.1 shows a Behaviour character matrix how people are placed.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India nation had been a person with a high standard of character and high behavioural instinct/responses.
Gandhi, in national context or JRD Tata in the organisational context are people with certain set of qualities as follows:
(1) Honesty in all actions
(2) Transparency and settings standards
(5) Truthfulness in all situation
Any behaviour cannot be rationally notified. No behaviour is inherently right or wrong. Each person may obtain his own choice based on his choice of ethical principles. Nazi rules were justified by Hitler.
i. Morals are principles of right and wrong. It comes by teaching and experience. Moral habits are standards of behaviour.
Example: “Do not tell lie”
ii. Beliefs are the feelings of trust confidence of what is real and what is true.
Example: Buddha and Gandhiji believed in ‘Ahimsa’ or no harm or killing
iii. Values which are ends and goals of individuals. Values are essentially subjective
Example: Happiness or health
Essay on the Definitions of Ethics:
(i) As per Philosopher Epicurus “Deals with things to be sought and things to be avoided with ways of life and with telos.” (Telos is the chief aim or end in life).
(ii) A science of morals.
(iii) A treatise or science of morals, moral principles and social conduct rules.
(iv) Relate to morals, treating of moral questions, morally correct: honourable.
(v) Ethics describe what is ‘right’ what is ‘fair’ and what is ‘proper’.
(vi) Ethics differentiates what is right and what is wrong in human conduct – standards of behaviour.
(vii) Standards generally accepted by the society.
(viii) Rules that govern behaviors. The rules tell use what is right and what is wrong.
(ix) It is a field of social science of systematic knowledge of human moral behaviour and conduct.
(x) Ethics makes moral judgment of human conduct.
(xi) Ethics is diagnostic tool that establishes moral standards and norms of behaviour. Prescribes and makes judgments on moral behaviour. It expresses opinions and attitudes about human conduct.
(xii) A branch of philosophy that deals with values as they relate to human conduct.
(xiii) The study of what is good and right to the people. The basic questions ethics asks are how a man should act, especially when the actions have direct or indirect effect on others.
Need for Ethics:
In early 50’s the public view in India was that the profits and ethics do not go together. They are mutually opposite and company that makes profit was not considered an ethical company. The normal understanding of the people was “profit is a dirty word”. Since then the management education, widening of markets and consumerism worldwide have given profits its important place in business.
Today it is considered profit is a must for any business for its existences and growth. In fact not making profit is considered unethical today. Business ethics in simple terms is application of ethics in businesses. Business has to go with its economics as well as social obligations.
Any managerial decision has to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, just and proper. It is also seen that the ethical companies which took care of their social responsibilities have survived competition and growing. Ethical issues occur in decision making in industry, education.
A case-let giving the ethical issues of medical bond are detailed in Box 8.1 below:
Essay on the Importance of Ethics:
The business organisations which act legally and ethically not only save lot of money but also gain public support and reputation in whatever new ventures the organisation takes. The importance of ethics in business is many folds.
(1) Part of Society:
Business is part of society. Whatever ethical principle apply in society apply to business. Example tax evasion is considered unethical in society. If a company deliberately evades tax payments the company is treated unethical.
(2) Expectations of Public:
All stakeholders have an eye on the culture and behaviour of a business organisation due to dominance of economics in the society. The public expects a high level of ethical behaviour from the business organisations.
‘Doing the right thing’, ‘Do no harm’ and ‘Good to all’ are the expectations of general public from business. Example: a company manufacturing a tobacco based products say ‘pan masalas’ and making advertisements appealing to college students in not respected. Whereas a company that recalls unsafe product is respected.
(3) Trust of Employees:
High level of morale and productivity can be easily obtained in companies that treat their all employees with equality, encourage good team and work culture, and with ethical practices. The employees in the company as well as those connected feel good and develop a mutual trust. Employees get attraction to ethically and socially responsible companies.
An ethical organisation command trust and respect of all its stakeholders. The organisation builds image for itself. Ethical good image is important because all stakeholders stand to gain.
Deterioration of relationships, damage to reputation and reduction of employee productivity, loyalty that come out of unethical practices cost companies. An uncaring employer will find it difficult to employ good professions for his business.
(6) Pride of Best Companies:
The ethically managed companies command respect from public as well as government organisations. ‘Fortune’ magazine publishes yearly best companies. Similarly Indian will managed companies are published by ‘Business India’. These companies have a brand value and accepted as leaders in the industry. The company policies with regards to profit sharing bonuses, social responsibility, balance of work and social life are quoted.
(7) Overall Benefit:
Ethical behaviour of an industry or business gives a win-win situation to all the stakeholders and general public. The governments also encourage such companies. The integrity and ethical practices become all-pervading in the organisation and increase organisational effectiveness.
Essay on Nature of Ethics:
Ethics deals with human beings only. It is only human beings who have the freedom of choices. Ethics is a normative science. Normative science is judging the situations, analyse the facts, weigh the consequences in terms of an idea and take judgment. The judgments are taken many times based on what the end results should be. Ethics deals with human conduct.
The human conducts are sometimes voluntarily, sometimes forced depending on the situations and the end expectation of results. In other words ethics deals with moral judgment regarding voluntary human conduct. Fig. 8.2 below gives the various aspects of decision making in ethics.
Any decision in situational ethics takes it into account, the goals, the motives, the methods and the consequences and their sub-factors as detailed in the figure:
Business ethics is application of ethics in business. Business itself is considered ethics as profit can be made by ethical means. Discussions are held regarding the profit maximisation and social responsibilities as opposite ends. By a proper management decisions these two ends can be made to give better results by following ethical business practices.
Essay on Scope of Ethics:
The question is debated since the industrialisation period. The management thinkers like Adam Smith and others were of opinion that business has nothing to do with ethics. The church or temple only can think and evaluate ethical portion. The churches or temples had say in all spheres of human activity including business.
Whether business is part or separate from society has different viewpoints:
(1) The Unitarian View:
The business is considered a sub set of a society. Hence business has in it the morals of the society. In medieval era the churches prescribed that business must do well to the society.
The Unitarian view may be seen in Fig. 8.3 below:
(2) The Separatist View:
Celebrated economists Adam Smith and Friedman were of view that business should concentrate in business activity of production, profits and costs. The social issues are left to others like governments and society.
The Separatist view of ethics and business is shown in Fig 8.4 below:
Thinking much of ethics in business may perhaps take up to olden church and temple days. The efficiency of industry of business will go down. Business should only obey laws of the land and achieve its economic goals. Business goals should not dominate the social values.
(3) The Integrated View:
The view was proposed by Parsons. Parson considered integration of ethics and business. The business exists as an economic entity. It has to make profits for its own survival and growth. Otherwise it will die.
The business or industry exists in society. It has to be responsible and meet its obligations to the society. Business that is making profits should be with ethical means.
The Integrated view of proposal of Parsons is represented in Fig. 8.5 below:
Society has a number of subsystems some are interlinked, interdependent and overlapping. Business and ethics overlap as may be seen in Fig. 8.5 above. Business serves society by producing quality goods and services for the society which needs them. It helps society. Business hence becomes ethics in society even when it makes profit.
Show MoreWhen asked what is the definition of ethics, many responded that being moral meant doing the right thing. But how can we justify what is a good action and what is a bad action? All humans were created equal, but our principles, and ways of thinking can be extremely different. Some may say doing the right thing means following your heart, your inner feelings and intuition. But emotions can be misleading. Others say in order to do what is the morally right thing means to follow the law and do what is right by society, to be accepted. But today’s society is judgmental and can be corrupted with numerous opinions due to the diversity of cultures. So what does it mean to be ethical? Being ethical means doing what is right in terms of virtues,…show more content…
Ethics means good actions. To do what is good means that one must have to be in a rational state to make what one believe is justifiable right decisions by not only weighing all the facts and consequences, but also following your intuition all at the same time so that regrettable decisions are not made follow by unwanted results.
With actions come consequences. Immanuel Kant being a deontology believes that moral actions overcome consequences. He believes that following your duty and good will are important in being ethical. Kant created the categorical imperatives, which contains the three formulations: universal law, end in itself and kingdom of ends, which concluded that one should not do something unless one is okay with everyone doing it all the time. Being a believer in the duty, Kant mentioned two different kinds of duties: perfect duties meaning morally blameworthy to violate and imperfect duties, which does not lead to a contradictions if violated. John Stuart Mill, on the other hand, studies utilitarianism. Mill believes in actions that will maximize utility. He aims for the greatest happiness for the greatest number and in reducing suffering. Whereas Kant believes in duty; Mill believes that the worth of the actions can only be weighed by the outcomes. Even though both philosophers are opposites of each other but their opposites are also their similarities. Kant and Mill both have a first principle base morality. For Kant, it’s the categorical imperatives and