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Moral Reasoning and Ethical Theory

Autor:   •  June 30, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  4,221 Words (17 Pages)  •  2,176 Views

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Ethical problems are also pervasive because managers make decisions and

take actions that affect other people. If those decisions and actions affect

other people adversely, or if they hurt or harm them in ways beyond their

individual control, then we have an ethical problem which requires some

degree of moral analysis in addition to the more common economic


1.1.1 The Meaning of Ethics

Ethics are generally defined as the principles of morally acceptable conduct of

individuals. We define ethics as an individualÊs personal beliefs about right

and wrong behaviours. Although this simple definition communicates the

essence of ethics, three implications warrant additional consideration:

(a) Ethics are individually defined people have ethics, whereas organisations

do not;

(b) What constitutes ethical behaviour can vary from one person to another;


(c) Ethics are relative, not absolute. This means that although what constitutes

ethical behaviour is in the eye of the beholder, it usually conforms to

generally accepted social norms.

1.1.2 The Meaning of Professional Ethics

Professional ethics designate the moral values that a group of similarly trained

people develop to control their performance of a task or their use of

resources. People internalise the rules and values of their professional

culture just as they do those of their society. They reflexively adhere to

professional rules and values when deciding on how to behave.

Some organisations have many groups of professional employees nurses,

lawyers, researchers, doctors and accountants whose behaviour is

governed by professional ethics. Professional ethics help shape the

organisationÊs culture and determine the values its members use in their

dealings with other stakeholders. Most professional groups are allowed to

enforce the ethical standards of


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