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Ethics

Correlation with morale and values

Ethics, Morality and Values

Ethics is the study of morality Morals are the standards used to judge right and wrong Values are the degree of conviction about the way to conduct life

Conviction

The degree of conviction to your values can be described as primary, secondary, or peripheral
Primary core values, unchanging Secondary Important, but changeable occasionally Peripheral Values that are known but not lived by

How Do We Get Values?

Parents, family and friends Experiences The environment (media, education)

Identifying Ethics: Principles of ethics should provide us guidance as we make choices in a complicated world. Ideally, an account of ethics should help us to identify moral principles and morally relevant features of the choices we face.

There is no simple recipe for ethical decision making. Philosophical and religious theories about ethics do not remove our need (obligation?) to exercise deliberative judgment and to evaluate alternative values that are at play in concrete cases.

Ethics: Ethical codes of conduct instruct us on what we ought or ought not to do. Typical ethical theories or ethical codes include basic principles that are intended to be used to guide conduct.

Values: Values underlie ethical codes. For any ethical code, we can evaluate it by considering the values that support it.

Values and Wants: The things we want are usually among the things we value, but values and wants are different. It is possible to want what one does not value, and possible to value what one does not want.

Role of Religious Belief in Ethics: For those of us who have religious beliefs, often these beliefs are intimately tied to our values and to the ethical principles we accept. But it would be a mistake to suppose that ethical values are simply religious valuesat least, the relationship is more complex than people sometimes realize.

Any time says that we should do X because it is what God wants us to do, it is appropriate to consider the reasons we have for thinking that this is what God wants. Once we ask this question, were doing philosophy.

Question: Are Ethical Judgments Relative, Subjective, and Incomparable?

Relative: Different people make different judgments, and the evaluative judgments people make are wholly relative to the values that they hold.

Subjective: Different people just have different values, and there is no way to argue or reason about the evaluative assumptions that lie behind different ethical judgments or choices. There are no evaluative facts in the way that there are facts about the physical universe.

Incomparable: There is no way to compare the judgments of different people, and no one's evaluative judgments are any better than the evaluative judgments of anyone else.

Claim: If it were true that ethical values are all relative, subjective, and incomparable, then talking about ethics would be useless.

Why might one believe this? Is it true?

Claim: Because we have many values in common, discussions in ethics often involve appeals to commonly shared values.

Claim: Often discussions in ethics involve appeals to values one believes that others accept, or values one believes that others have reason to accept.

Ethical argument and discussion requires an informed and sympathetic understanding of other peoples values and other peoples point of view. We get no where if we simply preach our own values without making an effort to understand others.

How To Stop Unethical Behavior

A combination of external regulations and compliance programs and voluntary corporate ethics programs is the most effective way to combat inappropriate corporate behavior

External Regulations
Requires CEOs and CFOs to sign statements making them personally responsible for the accuracy of the quarterly financial statements
Knowingly misrepresenting the financials opens them up to punishments including fines and jail time.

Other External Regulations

Other external regulations include regulations related to:


Minimum wage Overtime compensation Discrimination Health and Safety Privacy

Organizational Responses

Codes of ethics including:


Explicit standards of rules to be followed Corporate values statements

Explicit Standards

Explicit standards define precisely acceptable and unacceptable conduct.

Corporate Values Statements

Describes the core values the company wants its employees to exhibit including:
How employees are to treat one another How employees are to treat customers and stockholders

Effective Values Statements

Must come from the top with the CEO being directly involved in its development Top management must actively disseminate the values statement and then live by it The values statement must be focused

HR Responses

Conduct surveys to determine:


What behaviors are routinely being rewarded and reinforced What values and attitudes are prevalent How strong the pressure to engage in misconduct is

HR Responses Continued

Take steps to eliminate and discourage reasons for misbehavior and introduce and encourage reasons to behave ethically

HR Responses Continued

Develop an appraisal system that rewards individuals for ethical behaviors and punishes those who act unethically

HR Responses Continued

HR can use its expertise to communicate with the workforce to get out the ethical message

Costs of Corporate Ethics Violations

$7 trillion in stock market losses Loss of jobs and retirement savings by employees

Costs of Corporate Ethics Programs

It also Costs a lot in implementing and maintaining compliance to create an ethical business environment .

Human Costs

Unethical business environments can:


Demotivate individuals Make good employees leave the company Attract unethical employees Lead to the lack of trust by the employees for the company

Guidelines for Fostering an Ethical Culture

Have a well developed policy and procedures manual Enforce policies Reward compliance Recruit ethical employees Create a division to oversee ethics

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