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BUSINESS ETHICS MODULE 1 UNIT I_B.pdf

Various approaches to Business Ethics - Theories of Ethics- Friedman’s Economic theory, Kant’s Deontological theory, Mill & Bentham’s Utilitarianism theory.

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VARIOUS
APPROACHES
TO BUSINESS
ETHICS
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 1
Different Approaches
towards Ethical
Behaviour in
Business:
• There are different ways of thinking
about ethical behaviour.
• Some situations offer clean-cut
ethical choices. Stealing is unethical.
• There is no debate about it.
• There are other situations where two
or more values, rights, or obligations
conflict with each other and a choice
has to be made.
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 2
Teleological approach:
Also known as
consequentiality approach,
it determines the moral
conduct on the basis of the
consequences of an
activity.
Whether an action is right
or wrong would depend
upon the judgement about
the consequences of such
an action.
The idea is to judge the
action moral if it delivers
better than harm to
society.
For example, with this
approach, lying to save
one’s life would be
ethically acceptable.
Some of the philosophers
supporting this view are
nineteenth century
philosophers John Stuart
Mill and Jeremy Bentham.
They proposed that ethics
and morality of an act
should be judged on the
basis of their ultimate
utility.
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 3
• For example, not paying the
money to someone whom you
owe may make you happy, but it
disrupts the social system of
fairness and equity thus making
the society unhappy.
• Accordingly, this would not be
considered as a Similarly, a party
who breaks a contract may be
happy because it is beneficial to
it, but it would damage the
society’s legal framework for
conducting business in an
orderly fashion.
• Hence, it would not be an ethical
act.
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 4
Deontological approach
• While a “teleologist” focuses on doing what will maximize societal welfare, a “deontologist”
focuses on doing what is “right” based on his moral principles.
• Accordingly, some actions would be considered wrong even if the consequences of these
actions were good.
• According to DeGeorge:
“The deontological approach is built upon the premise that “duty” is the basic moral category and
that the duty is independent of the consequences. An action is right if it has certain characteristics
or is of a certain kind and wrong if it has other characteristics or is of another kind”.
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 5
This approach has more of a
religious undertone.
The ethical code of conduct has
been dictated by the Holy
Scriptures.
The wrongs and rights have been
defined by the word of God.
This gives the concept of ethics a
fixed perception. Since the word
of God is considered as
permanent and unchangeable, so
then is the concept of ethics.
Holy Scriptures like those of the
Bible, the Holy Quran, Bhagwad
Gita and Guru Granth Sahib are
considered to be the words of
God and hence must be accepted
in their entirety and without
question.
In similar thinking, though based
upon rationality, rather than
religious command, Emmanuel
Kant, an eighteenth-century
German philosopher suggested
morality as universally binding on
all rational minds.
DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 6

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BUSINESS ETHICS MODULE 1 UNIT I_B.pdf

  • 2. Different Approaches towards Ethical Behaviour in Business: • There are different ways of thinking about ethical behaviour. • Some situations offer clean-cut ethical choices. Stealing is unethical. • There is no debate about it. • There are other situations where two or more values, rights, or obligations conflict with each other and a choice has to be made. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 2
  • 3. Teleological approach: Also known as consequentiality approach, it determines the moral conduct on the basis of the consequences of an activity. Whether an action is right or wrong would depend upon the judgement about the consequences of such an action. The idea is to judge the action moral if it delivers better than harm to society. For example, with this approach, lying to save one’s life would be ethically acceptable. Some of the philosophers supporting this view are nineteenth century philosophers John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. They proposed that ethics and morality of an act should be judged on the basis of their ultimate utility. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 3
  • 4. • For example, not paying the money to someone whom you owe may make you happy, but it disrupts the social system of fairness and equity thus making the society unhappy. • Accordingly, this would not be considered as a Similarly, a party who breaks a contract may be happy because it is beneficial to it, but it would damage the society’s legal framework for conducting business in an orderly fashion. • Hence, it would not be an ethical act. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 4
  • 5. Deontological approach • While a “teleologist” focuses on doing what will maximize societal welfare, a “deontologist” focuses on doing what is “right” based on his moral principles. • Accordingly, some actions would be considered wrong even if the consequences of these actions were good. • According to DeGeorge: “The deontological approach is built upon the premise that “duty” is the basic moral category and that the duty is independent of the consequences. An action is right if it has certain characteristics or is of a certain kind and wrong if it has other characteristics or is of another kind”. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 5
  • 6. This approach has more of a religious undertone. The ethical code of conduct has been dictated by the Holy Scriptures. The wrongs and rights have been defined by the word of God. This gives the concept of ethics a fixed perception. Since the word of God is considered as permanent and unchangeable, so then is the concept of ethics. Holy Scriptures like those of the Bible, the Holy Quran, Bhagwad Gita and Guru Granth Sahib are considered to be the words of God and hence must be accepted in their entirety and without question. In similar thinking, though based upon rationality, rather than religious command, Emmanuel Kant, an eighteenth-century German philosopher suggested morality as universally binding on all rational minds. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 6
  • 7. According to him, “Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature.” This mode of thinking asks whether the rationale for your action is suitable to become a universal law or principle for everyone to follow. For example, “not breaking a promise” would be a good principle for everyone to follow. This means that morality would be considered unconditional and applicable to all people at all times and in all cases. This approach suggests that moral judgments be made on the determination of intrinsic good or evil in an act which should be self-evident. For example, the Ten Commandments would be considered as one of the guidelines to determine what is intrinsically good and what is intrinsically evil. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 7
  • 8. The challenges to this perspective, however, include 1) conflicts that arise when there is not an agreement about the principles involved in the decision; 2) the implications of making a “right” choice that has bad consequences; and 3) what decisions should be made when duties conflict. These challenges are definitely ones that should be considered when relying on this as an ethical system. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 8
  • 9. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism, in normative ethics, a tradition stemming from the late 18th- and 19th-century English philosophers and economists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill according to which an action (or type of action) is right if it tends to promote happiness or pleasure and wrong if it tends to produce unhappiness or pain—not just for the performer of the action but also for everyone else affected by it. Utilitarianism is a species of consequentialism, the general doctrine in ethics that actions (or types of action) should be evaluated on the basis of their consequences. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 9
  • 10. Utilitarianism and other consequentialist theories are in opposition to egoism, the view that each person should pursue his or her own self-interest, even at the expense of others, and to any ethical theory that regards some actions (or types of action) as right or wrong independently of their consequences (see deontological ethics). Utilitarianism also differs from ethical theories that make the rightness or wrongness of an action dependent upon the motive of the agent—for, according to the utilitarian, it is possible for the right thing to be done from a bad motive. Utilitarians may, however, distinguish the aptness of praising or blaming an agent from whether the action was right. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 10
  • 11. There are three main concerns that seem to arise when public relations professionals rely on utilitarian ethics to make decisions. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 11
  • 12. FIRST, RATHER THAN LOOKING AT THE CHOICE OR ACTION ITSELF, DECISION-MAKERS ARE FORCED TO GUESS THE POTENTIAL OUTCOMES OF THEIR CHOICE IN ORDER TO DETERMINE WHAT IS ETHICAL. GRUNIG BELIEVES THIS IS A FAULTY LINE OF REASONING WHEN HE SUGGESTED THAT: “WE BELIEVE, IN CONTRAST, THE PUBLIC RELATIONS SHOULD BE BASED ON A WORLDVIEW THAT INCORPORATES ETHICS INTO THE PROCESS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS RATHER THAN ON A VIEW THAT DEBATES THE ETHICS OF ITS OUTCOMES. ” IN OTHER WORDS, ETHICS SHOULD BE ABOUT THE DECISION- MAKING PROCESS, NOT JUST THE OUTCOME, WHICH CAN’T BE GUARANTEED. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 12
  • 13. Second, utilitarian ethics also “presents questions of conflict with regard to which segment of society should be considered most important” in weighing the “good” or outcome. In other words, if a solution drastically harms a minority group, would it be ethical if the majority benefited from that decision? This seems to contradict the goal of public relations to build mutually beneficial relationships, regardless of the number of people in a particular stakeholder group. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 13
  • 14. • The third objection is that it is not always possible to predict the outcome of an action. • Bowen points out that “consequences are too unpredictable to be an accurate measure of the ethics of a situations.” • In other words, consequences of actions can be highly volatile or impossible, even, to predict. Using outcomes as a measurement of ethics will not, therefore, provide an accurate way for professionals to measure whether decisions are ethical. • Professionals must be able to evaluate decisions and choices with concrete ethical guidelines instead of hoping that certain outcomes will result in them having made an ethical choice. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 14
  • 15. Friedman Doctrine • Friedman Doctrine or the Shareholder Theory relates to business ethics. As per this theory, the objective of a company should be to maximize the returns for the shareholders. • The only business of the business is to do business and make money. • Milton Friedman, an American economist, came up with this theory in 1970. • The theory, which appeared in the New York Times in 1970, suggests that a company does not have any social responsibility towards society. Instead, their most significant commitment is towards their shareholders. • DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 15
  • 16. Friedman argues that executives are merely employees of the owners. Hence, they must provide quality service to the owners first. Moreover, shareholders are the owners of a company, and they should work to satisfy their shareholders. Friedman Doctrine also notes that shareholders must make key business decisions. Or an outsider must not make decisions that can affect the shareholders. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 16
  • 17. • As per the Shareholder Theory, a company has no social responsibility unless the shareholders decide so. The theory states that the authority to determine social responsibility should rest with the shareholders, not the managers or executives. • Also, it is the shareholders who must decide on the use of the company’s resources for social purposes. Social responsibility, such as offering social amenities, is usually capital-intensive. Thus, they impact the financial resources of a firm. Hence, it is the shareholders who get to decide the use of financial resources. • According to Friedman, it must not be made mandatory for a company to take up social responsibilities. Instead, the final decision should rest with the shareholders. • DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 17
  • 18. Influence of Friedman Doctrine Whenever there is a question like what are companies for, Friedman Doctrine is the first answer. Also, every business school book states that the goal of a company is to maximize shareholder value. Since its introduction, several companies have been following the Shareholder Theory. Most businesses currently work to maximize the shareholder value, rather than focus on CSR (corporate social responsibility). Such companies have a goal to increase profits because this is what matters most to the shareholders. Also, when allocating resources, the executives of such firms give preference to maximize shareholder value. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 18
  • 19. Criticism The critics argue that this theory gives importance to the shareholders and neglects the society. They believe that along with the shareholders, a company also needs a community to be successful. It is because a company eventually sells its products to the community. Moreover, the goodwill that a company creates in the community helps it to be successful. Thus, an entity has a responsibility towards society as well. Moreover, the Friedman Doctrine has also received criticism for enriching a few corporate at the expense of the community. Even Paine and Bower, who support this theory, believe the doctrine comes with a few negative side-effects. These include pressure from shareholder activists and management burnout to increase the profits for the shareholders. DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 19
  • 20. EMERGENCE OF NEW VALUES IN INDIAN INDUSTRIES POST 1991 • PROFESSIONALISM • SYSTEMATIC PERSONNEL POLICIES • ETHICS IN FUNCTIONAL AREAS • REWARDS & RECOGNITION • CUSTOMER FOCUS • DEFECT FREE APPROACH • SYNERGY • BPR • SYSTEM APPROACH • CORPORATE GOVERNANCE • BETTER FACILITIES TO EMPLOYEES DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 20
  • 21. REFERENCES • https://pagecentertraining.psu.edu/public- relations-ethics/introduction-to-public- relations-ethics/lesson-1/ethical-theories/ • https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/business -management/5-different-approaches- towards-ethical-behaviour-in-business/3443 • https://www.britannica.com/topic/utilitarian ism-philosophy/Effects-of-utilitarianism-in- other-fields • https://efinancemanagement.com/financial- management/friedman-doctrine DR VIJAY VISHWAKARMA 21