Philosophical Approaches To Ethics Book Reviews Examples
This essay will consider the different schools of philosophy in terms of ethical decision making. Comparison of the different philosophies will help us understand which one would hold the most merit in our lives as managers.
The Straw men philosophy can be described as a philosophy which is the most socially unethical and can be described by four different types of approaches.1) The Freidman doctrine which simply states that businesses should only be concerned with profitability as long as it remains within the confines of the law. More specifically if it could change something which would benefit its stakeholders intrinsically but did not affect profit it would not be part of it. It is worthy to note that the doctrine strictly suggests that businesses should be legal in their actions but doesn’t make a case where social responsibility is important.2) Cultural relativism approach basically guides a business to function based on the environment it exists. The theory does not indicate that all men are guided by the same morals as the rules although acceptable in one country would not be accepted in another. (Li,2007). 3) The righteous moralist view preaches that the ethical standards followed in the home country( based on a Global marketplace) is the accepted format for doing business in all its host countries. This approach might seem clear in its simplistic view but in reality will never work given the differences in cultures, customs, types of sub businesses operating in various environments etc.4) Native Moralist is an approach which states that if a firm in a foreign country sees other firms not following ethical standards in a host country they do not have to either. This over simplified view could have a number of implications as the author states that if a company feels that the practices followed in the host country are not important than they need not make investments in said country as it does not have the power to change the laws in the specific host nation.
Apart from straw men philosophies ethical viewpoints can fall into Utilitarian and Kantian ethics. Utilitarian ethics holds the view that positive results outweigh negative results i.e. choosing moral ground (decision making) as long as the positive outcome is higher. Business models that are based on cost benefit calculations and high yield outcomes are rooted in utilitarian philosophy. The flaw in this standpoint is that although it may have positive impacts to a larger group but some minorities may suffer in the bargain. Kantian philosophy goes down a different road where it feels that people are merely part of a process in production and there is no room for any emotional feedback from them. ( L’Etang ,1992). This theory which does not value people as a means for success has no place in modern society where all levels of labor should be treated with respect. Rights theories are a standpoint which states that all humans have basic rights and should be given certain privileges which should apply to everyone internationally. Ethical scholars feel that managers should use these rights for direction while making all management decisions that affect their stakeholders.
Justice theories are based on a situation where managers would consider whether a policy is just and then determine whether the policy will be of usefulness to a particular segment of people before instating it. Although you see the occurrence of the theories discussed above regularly as a manager I would tend to move towards a combination of cultural relativism and rights theories. In today’s global world one has to consider all cultures as well as maintain the basic rights of man. This nurtures and environment which is long lasting and bound to be successful.
Li,X.(2007). “A cultural critique of cultural relativism”. American Journal of Sociology
L’Etang, J(1992). “A Kantian approach to a code of ethics”. Journal of Business ethics