What is Ethics?
Ethics is Two Things
First, ethics refers to well-based standards of right
and wrong that prescribe what humans must do,
usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to
society, fairness, or specific virtues.
Secondly, ethics refers to the study and
development of one’s ethical standards. Ethical
standards include honesty, compassion, loyalty,
standards relating to rights, such as the right to life,
the right to freedom from injury, and the right to
Definitions of Ethics
Ethics is a set of moral principles or values which is
concerned with the rightness or wrongness of
human behavior and which guides your conduct in
relation to others (for individuals and organizations).
Ethics is the activity of examining the moral
standards of a society, and asking how these
standards apply to our lives and whether these
standards are reasonable or unreasonable, that is,
whether they are supported by good reasons or
Business Ethics is a specialized study of moral right and wrong and It
concentrates on moral standards as they apply particularly to
business policies, institutions, and behavior.
In the field of Business ethics, there is variety of theories, approaches
and philosophies, each professing to offer fundamental insights
into what constitutes business ethics.
Ethical Issues Relate to all Functional Areas
Approaches to Business Ethics
There are three approaches to studying business
Descriptive (describing practices, moral codes
Prescriptive (an attempt to formulate and defend
basic moral norms) and
Conceptual study of ethics (analyzing central
ethical terms such as right, good ,justice, an
attempt to distinguish what is moral and what is
Descriptive ethics can broadly be thought of as the study of
morality and moral issues from a scientific point of view.
It can be thought of as the branch of ethics that attempts
to develop conceptual models and test those models
empirically in order to enhance our understanding of
ethical or moral behavior, moral decision making, and
more broadly moral phenomena.
One approach to descriptive ethics is just that, to describe
various aspects of business ethics. This might include
surveys of ethical attitudes among employees and
managers, e.g. whether individuals feel pressure to
compromise moral principles to achieve organizational
goals. One might describe the kinds of principles that
individuals use in making decisions.
Prescriptive Ethics adopts a particular position
with regard to moral choices and provides a
theoretical justification for this choice. It
attempt to choose from among various ethical
approaches in deciding practical matters. It
requires an investigation into the criteria used
when deciding whether behavior is moral or
not, as well as the inspection of the
implementation of these criteria in different
Difference between Prescriptive and
Descriptive morals would describe how morale
are ACTUALLY applied and used in real life.
Prescriptive morals would describe what the
morale code states and how morals
SHOULD be applied and used.
Descriptive talks about the way that things are,
and prescriptive talks about the way that
things should be
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