Ethics refers to the rules of an environment that an employee has to comply with, along with the rules of society. The concept of ethics has been examined within theories of ethics. Some of the theories include the utilitarian approach, the moral rights approach and the justice approach. Each and every approach has its own weaknesses and strengths.
The utilitarian approach
Some ethicists emphasize that the ethical action is the one that provides the best good, does the least harm or to put it another way, produces the greatest balance of good over harm. The ethical corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected that is the ...view middle of the document...
By considering the consequences as to which action brings more good over harm, the utilitarianism approach considers those actions that bring happiness or greater joy than sadness as the right ethical action. Ethicists argue that an action that brings happiness cannot be said to be wrong thus justifying the utilitarianism approach in the process. On the other end, those actions that bring sadness or discomfort are considered as bad practises in the society.
Greatest good. It follows from above that the right action is the one that brings the greatest good than harm. This practically makes sense as we cannot view an action which brings harm than good as the right one. Utilitarianism seems to be in line with our intuitions that harming people is intrinsically wrong which is true to most societies. It is rare to find a situation where an action that brings more harm than good is considered as the right action. As a result it is plausible to say the action that brings the greatest good than harm is considered a the right action.
Intention. There were many criticisms on the theory as many people felt that the consequences of an action cannot make an action right or justify the action. The view that the utilitarianism approach takes into consideration the intention to bring about greater good, answered the criticisms. Before performing or undertaking a certain action, an individual will try to take an action that brings greater good than harm, hence the intention to do more good than harm justifies the approach. On the other hand, an individual may try to perform an action that he knows will harm someone at the workplace. There is no way that we will ever justify that action to be said to be good than its natural bad.
Preferences. Singer realised that people have different ideas of what happiness is and some do not even choose happiness, instead he thought
that our preferences are important, which is a further improvement to the theory. This means that in an environment the preferences of individuals are considered and those that are favourable replace the general good. Thus an action that brings preferable consequences is considered as right and the action that brings unprofitable consequences is viewed as bad.
Easy to use. The principle of utility can be applied by anyone. We learnt this from our early childhood thus it is easy to weigh what is right against what is wrong. For example, in a certain business, employees and managers can easily weigh up the positives and negatives of a certain action. The application of the approach is straightforward thus it does not need any skills or technics to be carried out. In almost everyday situations people learn to know what is right and what is wrong hence weighing up the positive and negatives of an action will be straight forward.
The ends do not justify the means. In some situations the balance of happiness over harm does not necessarily justify an action. Suppose I...