3. Different Perspectives on the Role of Ethics in Business


3. Different Perspectives on the Role of Ethics in Business and Society (Module 5)

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This is a graded discussion forum set up for discussing both the role of ethics in society and also some of the different approaches to ethics that have been proposed by moral philosophers and moral psychologists.

To receive all of the 25 points for participation in this discussion forum we expect you to do the following:

1. Make sure that you post your first contribution in this forum well before June 21st (the closing date for this discussion forum).
2. Make a minimum of at least two significant original contributions with arguments and examples (generally at least a full page) plus you must also interact with other posters. Note that for a post to count as a significant contribution, it must elaborate on a new point related to the discussion at hand, or else present a new perspective or argument and be supported by logic and/or specific examples. A significant post can either be made as the start of a new thread or else in response to a thread started by someone else.
3. You should also engage in continuing additional interactions with other posters over time (in other words, you should not be posting all your contributions in this forum at the same time). Moreover, you should respond to any posts that are made by others that challenge original posts that you made. Note that this means that you must make your posts early enough that you can interact with others before this discussion board closes. Posts that are made right before the discussion closes will probably neither be read, nor responded to, by other posters and hence posts that are made at the last minute do not represent the same contribution to the discussion as earlier posts.
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Many people today would view ethics as a science while others simply believe it is a way of living that they would call, “having morals”. Ethics have been preached since the dawn of time and has dramatically changed over the course of history from people’s personal lives and into businesses as well. If we think about it, ethics is nothing more than a means of social control and this varies from country to country within our everchanging world. As mentioned in our readings, the “what ought to be” and “what is desirable” is basically a standard or goal that we as people or even as society should adopt. As mentioned, this can dramatically vary depending on where in the world we are. If you view ethics as a science then there must be data that can be backed up statistically. There must be empirical observations, deductive reasoning that can be backed up by further observation, experiments, testing, etc. (Voss, P. 2000). Those that believe that ethics is about, “having morals” can be viewed in many ways but many of us would think alike. The story we read in the article from this weeks studies where the brother and sister went on a trip together in the woods and decided to make love to one another but in the end, they felt no guilt, would this be considered morally or ethically insane? I certainly have my opinions but what do you think? What would other cultures think or believe?

Jonathan Haidt’s theory on morals covers a vast majority of ethical and moral standards that we all hold dear today. He describes Care, Loyalty, Fairness, Purity and Authority as basic standards of his teachings. Care discusses the suffering of others and how we react to this suffering and having compassion for those who are suffering. Loyalty talks of being obligated to group memberships and basically having self-sacrifice and a negative approach towards betrayal. Fairness encompasses exactly what it states, being fair to others and also the unfair treatment of others as well as cheating. Purity covers the physical and spiritual conditions of things such as chastity virtue, controlling ones desires and being wholesome. Lastly, Authority means having some sort of social order or hierarchical relationships, obedience with a sense of fulfillment on role based duties and respect (Curry, O. 2019).  

We certainly ALL view ethics and being moral in way different terms. I think being raised in the south, we were taught, or at least I was, that certain things are wrong such as sex before marriage, no smoking or drinking because it is a sin. Many of these ethical or moral things were religious based depending on how you were brought up. I remember as a child if a young girl became pregnant and she wasn’t married, in church views, it was an abomination much in the same way as gay people were viewed. Look at where we are today, no one thinks twice about it anymore. While I don’t like speaking in terms of racial prejudice, when I was growing up if you saw a white person with a black person or even someone of a different nationality, we were taught this was a horrible thing and that races shouldn’t mix. Why I never believed in this and still don’t, it was how certain people were raised and that was such a limiting belief system. As we can see, this topic alone could encompass an entire degree program in itself so we must learn the basics of ethics and morality and how to apply them to our personal and professional lives and do so without bias or judgement. 

Voss, P. (2000, July 25). De-scription versus Pre-scription – And Other Ethical Conclusions. Retrieved from http://optimal.org/voss/prescriptive_ethics.html (Links to an external site.)

Curry, O. (2019, March 26). What’s Wrong with Moral Foundations Theory, and How to get Moral Psychology Right.  Retrieved from https://behavioralscientist.org/whats-wrong-with-moral-foundations-theory-and-how-to-get-moral-psychology-right/


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