Essay: Business People Study Ethics

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[. . .] These values are embodied in New Belgium supervising techniques, brewing methods, customer service and inter-employee interactions. Employees who perform well and remain with the company for one year receive tenure, company stock and a Fat Tire bicycle, just a few of the many ways New Belgium rewards their employees for ethical business practices.

This proactive approach and devotion to core values have helped New Belgium gain a cultlike customer based, devoted employee-owners, and numerous awards for environmental stewardship, ethics, entrepreneurship, and beer making. (Ferrell et al., 2009)

Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J. & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. (7th ed.) Mason: South-Western Cenage Learning.

Center for Ethical Leadership. (2007). Ethical Leadership. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2011 from http://www.ethicalleadership.org/philosophies/ethical-leadership

6. The ethical decision-making framework includes the concepts of ethical issue intensity, organizational factors, individual factors, and opportunity. Discuss how these concepts influence the ethical decision-making process.

Ethical issue intensity is "the relevance or importance of an ethical issue in the eyes of the individual, work group, and/or organization" (Ferrell et al., 2009). Ethical issue intensity is determined by several factors, such as a person's or group of persons' values, beliefs, and moral perspectives. Essentially, the more relevant or important an ethical issue is perceived to be, the more care a person or group will take in making a decision regarding that issue.

The individual factors of a situation include the gender, age, education level, work experience and nationality of an individual or group of individuals. Says Ferrell et al. regarding these factors:

When people need to resolve ethical issues in their daily lives, they often base their decisions on their own values and principles of right or wrong. They generally learn these values and principles through the socialization process with family members, social groups, and religion and in their formal education. (Ferrell et al., 2009)

In other words, individual factors affect the ethical decision-making process insofar as they form the foundation of a person's or group of persons' ethical perspective. Similarly, the organizational factors -- consisting of "a set of values, beliefs, goals, norms, and ways of solving problems" within an organization -- inform the decision-making process of people within that organization, while opportunity represents the "conditions in an organization that limit or permit ethical or unethical behavior" (Ferrell et al., 2009). The more encouraging of ethical decisions these conditions are, the more likely a person is to behave ethically as opposed unethically.

Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J. & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. (7th ed.) Mason: South-Western Cenage Learning.

PwC. (2011). Framework for ethical decision making. Retrieved Jan. 30, 2011 from http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ethics-business-conduct/ethical-decision-making-framework.jhtml

7. Describe the three types of justice which provide a framework for evaluating the fairness of different situations. Give examples of each type of justice to support your response.

The three types of justice are commutative, distributive, and social. Commutative justice demands equal respect for all people, regardless of race, gender, age, nationality, etc. In all situations. For example, an employer is required to compensate all workers equally for equal work according to commutative justice (Catholic Social Teaching, 2011).

Distributive justice requires that wealth and resources be distributed according to need, towards the purpose of ensuring that the basic needs of all people are met. For example, all employees of a particular business should be given access to the same resources and materials according to distributive justice (Catholic Social Teaching, 2011).

And finally, "Social justice implies that persons have an obligation to be active and productive participants in the life of society and that society has a duty to enable them to participate in this way" (Catholic Social Teaching, 2011). An example of Social justice would be the establishment of a code of ethics and compliance program such as the one developed by Lawrence C. Benjamin of the U.S. Food service (Ferrell et al., 2009). Lawrence did his part by establishing the program, while U.S. Food service employees do their part by complying with the program.

Catholic Social Teaching. (2011). Notable quotations from Catholic social teaching on the topic of Types of Justice. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2011 from http://www.osjspm.org/types_of_justice.aspx

Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J. & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. (7th ed.) Mason: South-Western Cenage Learning.

8. What are the three levels of ethical concern found in Kohlberg's model for moral development? Please explain. What impact has Kohlberg's model of cognitive moral development had on ethical decision making?

Kohlberg's three levels of ethical concern are Pre-Conventional, Conventional, and Post-Conventional (Crain, 1985). During the Pre-Conventional phase of morality, a person is concerned with immediate self-interest. During the Post-Conventional phase, a person's primary concern is social expectations, and during the final, Post-Conventional phase of morality, the person has progressed to develop a generalized perspective of ethics as balanced between self-interest and social expectations (Cain, 1985).

Kohlberg's model of ethical development varies from previous models insofar as development is not the product of maturation or socialization alone, but rather the product of one's cognitive contemplation of moral problems (Cain, 1985). Kohlberg's model coincides with character development specialist Thomas I. White's assertion that ethical character development is the result of ethical reasoning as opposed to a focus on "being a good person" (Ferrell et al., 2009). Studying ethics and contemplating ethical frameworks, therefore, is imperative to the development of an ethical character and the ability make ethically informed decisions.

Crain, W.C. (1985). Theories of Development. Prentice-Hall. pp. 118-136. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2011 from http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J. & Ferrell, L. (2009).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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