Consequential Theories of Ethics
Consequential theories of ethics emphasize the consequences or results of behavior. John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism, a well-known consequential theory, suggests that the consequences of an action determine whether it is right or wrong. Good is the ultimate moral value, and good effects should be maximized for the greatest number of people. However, right actions do not always produce good consequences, and good consequences do not always follow right actions. And, using the greatest-number criterion may mean that minorities (less than 50 percent) are excluded in evaluating the morality of actions. An issue that matters to a minority but not to the majority might be ignored. These are two of the dilemmas raised by utilitarianism.
Consequentialists look beyond self-interest to consider impartially the interests of all persons affected by an action. Consequentialists recognize that trade-offs exist in decision making. Consequential theory is concerned with making decisions that maximize net benefits and minimize overall harms for all stakeholders.
Rule-Based Theories of Ethics
Rule-based theories of ethics emphasize the character of the act itself, not its effects, in arriving at universal moral rights and wrongs. Moral rights, the basis for legal rights, are associated with such theories. Immanuel Kant worked toward the ultimate moral principle in formulating his categorical imperative, a universal standard of behavior. Kant argued that individuals should be treated with respect and dignity and that they should not be used as a means to an end. He argued that one should put himself or herself in the other person’s position and ask whether he or she would make the same decision if he or she were in that person’s situation.
An example of a moral rule might be the widely-known admonishment to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Rules bind one to duty and observing the rule is paramount even if it leads to negative consequences for those affected by the decision.
Character Theories of Ethics
Virtue ethics, of which character theories of ethics are a type, offer an alternative to understanding behavior in terms of self-interest or rules. Character theories of ethics emphasize the character of the individual and the intent of the actor instead of the character of the act itself or its consequences. These virtue-ethics theories are based on Aristotle’s view of ethics, which focused on an individual’s inner character and virtuousness rather than on outward behavior. Thus, the good person who acted out of virtuous and right intentions was one with integrity and ultimately good ethical standards. Robert Solomon is the best known advocate of this Aristotelian approach to business ethics. He advocates a business ethics theory centered on the individual within the corporation, emphasizing personal virtues as well as corporate roles.
Judgment is exercised not through a set of rules, but as a result of possessing the character traits, or virtues that enable choices to be made about what is good and holding in check desires for something other than what will help to achieve this goal. The focus is on acting due to right intentions; that is, because one is deeply and thoroughly disposed to act from a desirable character trait rather than on the acts themselves (rules-based) or the outcomes of the actions (consequential theory).about what the best response to the situation would be. Each one has two experts who weigh in and I’d like you to think about which of the experts you most agree with as well.
In addition, I’d like you to think about what ethical perspective you’ve adopted. We generally identify three ethical perspectives. Think about what you think the right solution is, and then write about which of these perspectives your solution is the most consistent with.
For the discussion boards, I want you to read a case study from the Harvard Business Review and think For the discussion boards, I want you to read a case study from the Harvard Business Review and think about what the best response to the situation would be. Each one has two experts who weigh in and I’d like you to think about which of the experts you most agree with as well. In addition, I’d like you to think about what ethical perspective you’ve adopted. We generally identify three ethical perspectives. Think about what you think the right solution is, and then write about which of these perspectives your solution is the most consistent with.
- Discussion 1 Response (130 Words): CASE STUDY CAN YOU FIX A TOXIC CULTURE WITHOUT FIRING PEOPLE?
- Discussion 2 Response (130 Words): CASE STUDY: WAS THAT HARASSMENT?