Teaching Ethics 1

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  • 8/9/2019 Teaching Ethics 1


  • 8/9/2019 Teaching Ethics 1



    Prominent thinkers: Bentham & J.S Mill

    Give priority to good over right. good is thepurpose or goal of human actions. Humanactions should bring greatest happinessfor greatest no. of people.

    Results or consequences determine the

    rightness or wrongness of moral actions. Right action is one which maximizes the


  • 8/9/2019 Teaching Ethics 1



    Defines rightness or goodness of an action by theresults.

    Right actions are those that have good effect on ourhealth , reputation, economic and social well being ,

    environment etc. and also on well being of others . It holds that what makes an action right or wrong is its

    consequences only.

    2 forms of consequentialism :

    (i) Theory of Ethical Egoism: right actions bring

    happiness to individuals performing the action. measuresconsequences to themselves i.e. their own self interest,and to anyone else . An action is morally right if theconsequences of that action are more favorable thanunfavorable ,only to the agent performing the action.

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    Right actions bring happiness to greatest no.

    of people.

    Any action which brings greatest happinessto the greatest no. of people is a desirable


    Finally , these are the theories that deal with

    goals and end results of actions.

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    2.Deontological theories2.Deontological theories

    Rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by itsmorality and not its consequences.

    Deal with duties and obligations . Prominent thinkers areKant, Ross and Rawls .

    Give priority to right over good. right action may notnecessarily maximize the good. right actions may or maynot bring happiness to all people.

    2 approaches: ( I) Act Deontology : does not follow rules

    for performing specific actions . (ii) Rule deontology: moral duties or values consist of

    general rules and not actions acco. To circumstances.do not depend on circumstances of particular situations.

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    Business ethicsBusiness ethics

    Is concerned primarily with the relationship ofbusiness goals and technology to specificallyhuman ends . Studies the impact of good onindividual , the firm , the business community

    and society as a whole. Issues in Teaching Business Ethics

    Is challenging to put business ethics intopractice especially when the wider environment

    seems to reward unethical business practicesuch as bribery, the challenge for both educationand management is still to learn how to copewith these challenges.

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    2 models of teaching business2 models of teaching business


    1. Principle based model: focus ontheoretical aspects of teaching businessethics.

    2. Virtual based model: focuses onpractical aspects of teaching businessethics. emphasis is on looking at the

    company as a virtue seeking beingstruggling to create an ethics for itself andgain a distinct character.

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    Ethical issues to be taughtEthical issues to be taught

    Concern with ethics help us to see that in each

    area of business and management there is an

    ethical dimension which needs to be addressed.

    In language of virtue ethics , we might say that a

    company implicitly or explicitly decides what kind

    of company it intends to be . It creates a form of

    character for itself and its employees and

    expects certain kind of behavior to flow from

    such a character.

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    If we reemphasize the basic social values suchas love, kindness , honesty, integrity,uprightness, social responsibility, etc. we would

    be certainly on the right track. The question is how to regain these values on

    the lost paradise ?

    The simple solution to this problem is to make

    ethics and values an integral part ofmanagement education. Students need thephilosophical perspective as a base to developthis thinking process.

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    Importance of teaching EthicsImportance of teaching Ethics

    Study carried out at Harvard business school by three of its faculties, response of students:

    One student says that earlier he didnt consider ethical issues asimportant ones but after taking course on ethics , he has becomeaware of the need to ask the question of , what is going to be the

    impact of this decision on the people , that live in that area andenvironment.

    Another, student says that the difference such a course has made isthe level of analysis.

    Teaching ethics goes a long way in shaping the culture of a person& through him the culture of the institution where he works and thesociety where he lives. It transforms the consciousness andcommitment of a person to his self work & workplace.

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    Barriers to teaching ethicsBarriers to teaching ethics

    Some people are embedded with the idea thattheoretical wisdom is sufficient to bring moral wisdom . Itneed not be taught as a part of curriculum.

    There is an expectation that teachers present a variety

    of moral theories and potential applications neutrally ,they do not advocate a particular point of view.

    In some cases , faculty also fears teaching ethics as adistinct subject as it has very few professional awards.

    Some believe that learning ethics is a concept thatdevelops in the inner self of a person . It cannot betaught or learnt in classrooms.

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    Arguments against teaching ethicsArguments against teaching ethics

    People are born with certain values . It issaid that ethics are inborn . People cannotlearn by lectures.

    Values are cultured in homes . It is thehome where a child learns the values .Home is the primary school for any

    person. Values are internal : ethics are internal ,there cannot be any external ethics.

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    Arguments in favorArguments in favor

    1. Values shaped by external environment.

    Values cannot be fully developed on their own.

    they develop in a conductive environment.

    2. value is relative : we delegate our one valuewith other value. It means we have to prioritize

    our values/ethics.

    Thus courses in business ethics inundergraduate and MBA program or in business

    setting are essential.

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