Philosophy Surrounding the Topic of Ethics Term Paper

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¶ … philosophy surrounding the topic of Ethics. Your beliefs, values, attitudes and expectations should be among the key points.

I believe that ethical obligations arise solely as a function of the respective rights and autonomy of other human beings and also as a function of the sensibilities of other living creatures. In the most general sense, we have an ethical responsibility that is very similar to the Hippocratic Oath that physicians swear: "to do no harm" to others in this world. Of course, in actual practice, defining ethical obligations is much more complicated simply because, like other philosophical issues, ethical questions are rarely black and white. Therefore, the more accurate formulation of the general principle to do no harm to others might have to be to do no unjustified harm to others.

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With respect to out ethical obligation to other human beings, we have a duty to respect all of the same rights, privileges, and privacies that we would wish to have others respect of ours. The so-called "Golden Rule" sets forth exactly that concept: to treat others as we wish to be treated by others. That relatively simple idea has applications in every conceivable aspect of life. It requires us to deal with other people honestly and fairly in both business and personal affairs; it requires us to be considerate to neighbors and to strangers; and it requires us to be as compassionate and benevolent as reasonably possible to other living beings in every way that we interact with and affect them.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Philosophy Surrounding the Topic of Ethics. Your Assignment

In many respects, abiding by the law is a large part of our ethical duties but abiding by the law does not always necessarily correspond to ethics: in some situations, the law allows conduct that is decidedly unethical; in other instances, the law prohibits that which would not necessarily be unethical. The fact that formal law does not necessarily determine what is ethical is further illustrated by the existence of very different laws in different cultures and contemporary societies. Meanwhile, ethics, unlike formal law, is an objective concept that does not depend on legislation.

In business, ethical practice means following the spirit of applicable laws as well as the letter of law. While it may be perfectly legal to exploit so-called "loopholes" in existing law, it is unethical to do so when one realizes that those loopholes are unintentional and that the conduct that is contemplated violates the intent of applicable rules even if it is technically permissible. In that respect, ethics represents a much higher duty than mere legal compliance because it requires avoiding certain types of behavior even though they are not prohibited. Examples of that difference exist all around us in everyday life. A person selling a used car is prohibited by law from actually stating objective facts about the car that he knows to be untrue: he may not legally state that the car has no known mechanical problems if his mechanic just told him that the car's engine is on its last legs. However, there is no law that requires him to offer that information if the prospective buyer does not ask about the engine. Regardless of what the law says, the ethical duty of honesty and the golden rule prohibit him from failing to disclose any information about the car that he would want to know if he were in the same position as the buyer. Ethics also applies to human relationships. For example, no law prohibits a person from violating the clear rules or understandings of an intimate relationship between unmarried couples. Yet ethics precludes doing so.

Finally, ethics also requires that we be as compassionate as possible to non-human creatures simply because they have the same capacity as we do to suffer pain. Ethics does not require us to avoid eating meat, but it does obligate us to raise and slaughter the animals we eat as humanely as possible.

2) Explain the differences between a strategic plan and a business plan. What is the approach you would take in each type of planning process?

A strategic plan is a course of action, or a set of actions, whose purpose is to allow an entity to achieve a specific objective or set of objectives. A strategic plan can apply to virtually any type of endeavor: it can be a plan to secure election to political office; it can be a plan to achieve economic success; it can be a plan to acquire an education or professional credential; and it can be a plan to meet a life partner. In principle, a strategic plan is an outline of individual actions that must be completed in order to achieve a desired outcome in any context.

In business, a strategic plan generally consists of concrete steps that include the following: (1) identification of long-term strategic goals; (2) identification of intermediate goals; (3) identification of short-term goals; (4) consideration of various approaches to achieving each of those different types of goals; (5) selection of the best conceivable approach for achieving each of those goals from the range of all possible approaches identified; (6) evaluation and assessment of the relative success of each approach after its initial implementation; (7) the implementation of any changes identified as being necessary during the pursuit of short-range, medium-range, and long-range goals.

In an ongoing business concern, strategic planning would also include a process of retrospective review to allow the entity or organization to determine, after the fact, whether its approach to achieving its stated goals were the best possible choice. The long-term strategic goal would, therefore, also provide a means of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the original strategic plan so that it can be adjusted and improved in the future.

A business plan is a much more specific concept than a strategic plan, mainly because the former relates only to business enterprises and objectives whereas the latter might apply to virtually any concern, whether or not it has to do with business. Generally, a business plan must provide a means of calculating the various expenses of establishing a new business venture. That typically includes start-up costs such as property leases, insurance, licensing fees, equipment, materials, as well as the cost of hiring and training staff.

The business plan must provide technical detail sufficient to project the likely time period required for the new business to begin turning a profit and it must provide a reasonably reliable source of funding for its immediate needs in the interim between its opening and reaching the point of self-sufficiency and growth. In many cases, an initial business plan will require an outline of external funding in the forms of business loans that will allow the enterprise to meet its start-up costs and to operate initially. Therefore, the business plan must also incorporate detailed financial plans for repaying those loans in a manner that minimizes the cost of relying on financed credit as much as possible.

The business plan must account for elements such as the ability of the projected market anticipated to support the envisioned business. In addition to assessing the initial demand for the products and services of the business, the business plan must also consider the potential for business growth and it must account for any plateau or potential for market saturation after the initial introduction of the business. In essence, the business plan provides an empirical means of calculating whether or not a given business that is envisioned is likely to be profitable and successful within the given market and environment in which its founders hope it will operate.

3) How did you learn (gain) from this course? What did you like or not like about this course? How will you apply what you learned (gained) from this class? What should be changed/enhanced or preserved/retained? How can we improve?

One of the more important things I learned in this course is that it is necessary to approach any business venture logically and methodically and in accordance with established business management principles. I learned that it is possible for certain ideas for potential businesses to seem viable superficially but to reveal fundamental problems on a closer and more formal analysis. I will certainly apply that lesson throughout my career because I have no intention of ever starting a business venture that ultimately fails only because I neglected to conduct an appropriate study and research of all of the applicable factors and variables that were available prospectively.

Another lesson from the course was that both strategic planning and business planning are indispensable steps in the process of business venture formation and management. I learned that it is perfectly acceptable for a general vision to fuel a business plan but that before any such plan can be implemented and before any significant resources can be responsibly allocated to a given business vision, all of the relative risks and potential liabilities and worst possible case scenarios must be identified and anticipated in case they materialize. Sometimes, those risks will be manageable… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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