Three Sources of Moral Obligations: The Root of Business Ethics

 

 Updated December 13, 2017 Duty: The Root of Ethics A duty is an obligation to act in a certain way. Though duties arise from various sources, all duties have a moral dimension. Duties create obligations and expectations. Companies, for example,  have many duties including an obligation to treat customers and employees fairly, to assure that their products and services are …

Role of the Ethics Officer

 

 The Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics posted a series of videos with Linda Trevino, Professor of Organizational Behavior and Ethics at Smeal College of Business, on their YouTube channel.  The videos cover topics such as: the intersection between CSR and ethics programs,  teaching business ethics, cheating in business schools, values-based vs. compliance-based ethics programs and dozens more.  The videos …

Ethics and Intentions

Ethics and Intentions

 

 During the Watergate probe, the question continually asked was, “What did President Nixon know and when did he know it?” Our judgment of his behavior depends on the answer to those questions. The more he knew and the earlier he knew it, the worse it was. The Iran-Contra investigation of the decision to sell arms to Iran and use the proceeds …

Virtue

Virtue

 

 Like other terminology of ethics, the term virtue can be used in non-moral and moral senses. Certain positive traits we call virtues such as prudence, cheerfulness, sense of humor, frugality, and cleanliness are prized not because they demonstrate morality but because they tend to lead to personal happiness and success. In the context of ethics, virtue refers to moral excellence …

13 Truths for HR Professionals

 

  Everyone rationalizes — including you. There are lots of things you don’t know and lots of people who hope you don’t find out. (The most dangerous problems are the ones you don’t know about). Complacency and overconfidence about ethics is a major vulnerability. (Everyone says it can’t happen here until it does). There’s never just one bad employee – …

Obeying the Law Is Not Always Enough

 

 A common source of ethical insensitivity is a legalistic attitude toward ethics that says that if an action is legal or within some set of “rules,” then it’s acceptable and therefore ethical. The prevalence of this notion explains why so many people accused of wrongdoing hide behind technical interpretations of the law. They boast that they were not indicted or …

When Ethical Principles Conflict

 

 When ethical principles conflict (e.g., when being honest may be unkind) and there is no clear-cut right response, you must choose which principle to honor.  Ethical conflicts are best resolved by decisions-making strategies that help you see the moral implications of diverse choices, sort out competing claims, and evaluate the consequences of each option.  The following methods may help you …

Decision Making Models: Consequentialism / Utilitarianism

 

 Utilitarianism  holds that we should judge the merit of an act by its foreseeable consequences.  Actions are good when they produce benefit or prevent harm.  There are two divisions: Act Utilitarianism – The ethical merit of an act is judged by the immediate and direct consequences of the action. Rule Utilitarianism – The ethical merit of an act is judged …