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The study of what is right or good for human beings
The study of what is right or good for human beings in a business setting
individuals look to a central authority or set of rules to guide them in ethical decision making
asserts that actions must be judged by what individuals subjectivly feel is right or wrong for themselfs
one must judge a persons actions by first putting onesself in in the actors situation.
Moral actions are those that produce the greatest net pleasure over pain.
assesses each seperate act according to wheather it maximizes pleasure over pain
Supports rules that on balance produce the greatest pleasur for society
qualifies the benefits and cost of alternatives
holds that actions must be judged by their motives and means as wel as their results
Social Ethics Theories
Focus on a persons obligations to other members in society and and on the individuals rights and obligations within society
believe that scoiety should provide all its members with equal amounts of goods and services regardless of their relative contributions.
stresses equality of opportunity rather than results
stress market outcomes as the basis for distributing societys rewards.
a rational person posseses inherent power to assess the corectness of actions
individuals should seek out and emulate good role models
Kohlbergs stages of moral development
Preconventional (Childhood) - Self Perspective - Justification Punishment/Reward
Conventional (Adolecent) - Group Perspective - Justification Group Norms
PostConventional (Adult) - Universal Perspective - Justification Moral Principals
Corporations as Moral Agents
Corporations are statutorily created entitys it is not clear whether they should be held morally responsible
Regulation of Business
Governmental regulation has ben necessary because all conditions for a perfect competition has not been satisfied and free competition cannot by itself achieve other societal objectives
vast amounts of wealth and power have become concentrated in a small number of corporations, which in turn are controlled by a small group of corporate oficers
Arguments against social responsibility
- 1.) Profitability - becasue corporations are artificial entities established for profit making activities their only scoial obligation should be to return as muc money as possible to shareholders
- 2.) Unfairness - whenever corporations engage in social activities, such as supporting the arts/ education, they divert funds rightfully belonging to shareholders and or employees unrelated to third parties.
- 3.) Accontability - a corporation is subject to less public acountability than public bodies are
- 4.) Expertise - Although a corporation may have a high level of expertise in selling, there is absolutly no gaurantee that any promotion of social activities will be carried on with the same degree of competence.
Arguments in favor of social responsibility
- 1.) The social contract - because society allows for the creation of corporations and gives them special rights including a grant of limited liability corporaitons owe a responsibility to society
- 2.) Less Governement Regulation - by taking a more proactive role in addressing societys problems corporaitons create a climate of trust and respect tha thas the effect of reducing government regulation.
- 3.) Long-run profits - corporate involvment in social causes creates goodwill, which simply makes good business sense.