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Business ethics is applying the principles, theories, and discipline of ethics to the context of an organization. Business ethics have for a long time been a standard guide for the behavior applied in business. Business require ethical behaviour so that they survive long. There are many cases of employees and managers who have been found with ethical crimes they committed in the firm which is raising a lot of concern for the ethical behavior that is portrayed by employees in businesses. With these crimes, the level of mutual trust, which is where the free market is hinged is threatened. Although the issue of business ethics has been a major point of concern for government agencies, academics, and practitioners, it is believd that unethical or immoral behavior is rampant in the business world. This paper will therefore look at the Teleology, Deontology, Egoism, and Utilitarianism theories of ethics and will prove that leaders who are most unethical follow the egoism theory.
Teleological theory is also known as consequentialist theory because it is based on the ends of an action. It is based on the outcomes of a decision. A branch of this theory is utilitarianism. Someone who is utilitarianism considers an action to be right of that action has the best consequences in the overall process. It is mostly applied in the clinical scenario where the first step is considering the dilemma and then taking a decision which will be based on the consequences of the decision that will be taken. The next step would be a prediction of the consequences that is associated with each alternative that can be taken. The next step would then be to choose the solution that will have the best consequences. In this theory, the means justifies the end.
The next theory is that of egoism. In this theory, the definition of right or wrong is based on the consequences that the preferred action would have on an individual. It is based on self interest. An egoist will weigh the alternative that are available and evaluate them basing on the effects it has on their mental. Psychological and spiritual being. In a business scenario therefore, an egoist, when faced with a decision to make would make a decision that will serve their own self-interests. As it is clear from the description that this theory is not theical to a business, it has been found out that it is the anchor of a free-market economy. From the time of political economist Adam Smith, the people fighting for a free-market economy have benefited the society at last in their quest to pursue their own self-interests. It is advocated by the famous economist, Milton Friedman, who argues that the main aim of any business is to make profit and obey the law. Although these economists espouse unregulated commerce, they still insist that restraint on the behavior of an individual should be checked so that seld impulses are eradicted.
In utilitarianism, the ethical approach is to look at the overall good that will be seen in the long run. For example if a company decides to outsource some process, what will be the good of the overall process? If the good is found to be outweigh the harm, then the decision to move some process out of the country will be an ethical one, at least according to utilitarianism. It is also based on the cost-benefit analysis of the action that is to be taken. If the action that is to be taken has more benefits, then it will be the preferred choice to be taken by the implementers. Sometimes the actions can be evaluated basing on economic, social, and human terms. All the costs are added and evaluated, if the benefits outweigh the costs, then it will be considered to be ethical. One of the criticisms that is foiund in this theory is that is hard to evaluate the costs of the actions that are to be taken. It is also hard to take care of the less privileged in the long run. When compared to egoism, they are the same in the sense that it advocates judging actions basing on the consequences but unlike egoism, it focuses on the good that the action will have on many people. It is the most dominant in business ethics.
The last theory I will look at is that of deontology which deals with rights of all individuals and also on the intention of person who is undertaking the action. This theory differs from the utilitarianism in that it will not advocate harming some individuals so that some individuals will be assisted. According to this theory, all persons should be treated with the same level of respect and no one should be treated as a means to an end. The theory proposes that the principles of ethics are permanent and will not change for a long time. Associated with the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, the theory advocates that the rights of an individual are grounded on the natural law.