Ethics Report Example
1. Provide a definition of ethics and an example how this definition could be applied to environmental considerations.
Ethics is defined as “any system of guidelines for appropriate conduct toward others, aiming to comply with certain rules or to achieve certain results in particular types of situations” . Concurrently, ethics was defined by Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, & Meyer (2010) as “well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues” (p. 1). From these definitions, it could be deduced that ethics is a set of guidelines or principles that provide people with directions which would assist them to decide based on universally accepted and correct conduct and behavior.
The definitions could be applied to environmental considerations through focusing on actions or human activities that are deemed to be correct or right for the conservation and protection of the environment. In fact, environmental ethics is defined as “the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents” . As such, ethical issues applicable to environmental considerations include human actions and activities that influence or impact environmental concerns, as well as impinging repercussive effects to human life, the environment, or nonhuman contents. The most common environmental issues with ethical underbearing include: global warming and climate change, pollution (air and water), depletion of natural resources, and hazardous wastes, to name a few.
2. Reflecting on the relationship of risk management and ethics argue why these two disciplines go hand in hand.
Risk management and ethics go hand in hand, as asserted by Head (2005) due to sharing some commonalities. Risk management is defined as “the process in which various regulatory options for dealing with a risk are analyzed and decisions are made on how to handle the danger threatened by the risk” . One of the aspects shared by risk management and ethics is the goal or objective of achieving ultimate safety and protection, as well as the prevention of accident, injuries, harm, and fatalities to others. As asserted by Head (2005), “respect for others, whomever they may be, inseparably link risk management and ethics” (p. 2). Moreover, through specific examples that expounded the link between risk management and ethics, it was recognized that individuals, groups, or organizations who possess knowledge on ethical behavior is also cognizant of the need to avoid or minimize risks that could jeopardize or harm others. As emphasized, “for an organization to manage its risks well, all its people must act ethically (In addition), if an organization is to act ethically, everyone who works for that organization must manage its risks well” . Overall, the link joining risk management and ethics, respect for others, has been affirmed as the governing principle which prods decision makers to assume the best course of action that is consistent with ensuring the safety, protection, and best interests of others.
3. Provide an explanation about two factors that may be associated with making an ethical decision or ethical judgment about an action or person.
According to Tim’s ethics matrix, there are actually four (4) factors that are associated with making an ethical decision or ethical judgement about an action or person: “(1) the motive or intention, (2) the relevant rules or principles, (3) the consequences, and (4) virtues and vices” . Two (2) of the factors which would be expounded are the motive or intention, as well as the consequences.
For example, an individual, a manager in an organization, is facing an ethical dilemma where he is considering retrenching some of his subordinates who are low performers in their respective jobs. The problem is an ethical dilemma since retrenchment would incur negative impacts on the employees due to the loss of income from work. As such, it could be harmful, not only to the employees who would be retrenched; but also to the employees’ family members, who would be directly affected by the loss of employment. The motive or intention could be evaluated in terms of analyzing the dilemma from the perspective of the organization. Since one of the goals of the organization is to maximize profits, low performing employees negatively contribute to the attainment of this goal. Likewise, the organization could rationalize that employees’ performance are regularly assessed against standards to determine whether they produce according to the expected goals. Using the Golden Rule, one would not want to be retrenched from work; yet, it manager could not rationalize this as the motive for not deciding to fire employees. The real motive or intention in the situation is to correct the weakness so that productivity and performance would be at par with the expectations of the organization.
The other factor, the consequences of the action (retrenchment), from the perspective of the organization, are as follows: (1) the low performing employee would be replaced by another more productive employee; (2) higher productivity and performance would result to greater profits; and (3) greater profits would help sustain continued operations of the organization in the long run. However, from the perspective of the employees, who would be retrenched, the consequences of the action are as follows: (1) loss of income would generate challenges and difficulties in supporting the expenses of the person or his family; (2) becoming unemployed and not being able to pay financial obligations could cause the person and his family due harm (stress, anxieties, illnesses); and (3) loss of employment would prod the employee to look for other jobs to sustain and support living expenses. As such, from the employees’ points of view, it could be deduced that retrenchment would cause significant stress, difficulties, and struggles which could expose the employees and the employees’ family to economic, social, and health-related concerns. Moreover, retrenchment has also been evaluated as causing significant impact to society. It becomes an indication of a poor economy due to the number of people who becomes unemployed.
Overall, from the example, the action (retrenchment), as an ethical decision, was evaluated using the motive or intention, as well as the consequences. The analysis proved that there are various perspectives that are to be taken into consideration when making an ethical decision. The course of action that must be decided on should be the most beneficial recourse where benefits surpass costs and where the interests of the greatest number of people are accounted for to ensure that the greatest amount of good has been achieved.
Brown, D. (1988). Superfund Cleanups, Ethics and Environmental Risk Assessment. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 181-198.
Environmental Ethics. (2008, January 3). Retrieved from Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-environmental/
Head, G. L. (2005, February). Why Link Risk Management and Ethics? Retrieved April 7, 2015, from IRMI.
(2015). Tim's Ethics Matrix.
Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T., & Meyer, M. (2010). What is Ethics? Retrieved from Markkula Center for Applied Ethics: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/whatisethics.html