Morality In Business Ethics

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Here I discuss whether business professionals may perform actions otherwise considered morally wrong. This requires for their role to come with special moral permissions. I approach this problem by investigating how role morality relates to ordinary morality and whether conflicts between the two arise for special permissions to try to resolve. I shall argue to the contrary: that there is no distinction between role and ordinary morality by attacking the various proposed justifications for role moral permissions. I will then conclude that it will be wrong for the business professional to do on their client’s behalf what is wrong of the clients to do themselves. This paper will be structured as follows: it will start off by defining roles and…show more content…
Within business, roles are largely voluntary and contractual, presupposing a certain level of responsibility and associated obligations e.g. the promise of honouring contracts. There is a further implicit promise on the part of professionals to act in a way which is defined by their role and which is expected of them as occupants of it. McMahon (1981) further talks about the implicit morality of the market, a common feature of which is perfect information. It makes markets complete as it renders deceit and exploitation of the ignorance of market participants impossible, thus being consistent with the requirements of common morality. Finally, Gibson (2003) emphasises that businesses are created to serve a particular social purpose: fulfilling certain societal needs by providing goods and services. On the basis of the aforementioned, it can be concluded that roles have a moral substance. On the other hand, however, Duska (2000) stipulates that morality and business can be incompatible if following the rules of the latter inevitably leads to immoral actions, one such action suggested to be the exclusive pursuit of self-interest by profit maximisation. Furthermore, business practices can make use of morally wrong tactics such as deceit or coercion in the pursuit of end goals, outlining how business can cross moral…show more content…
(1991). Role Morality as a Complex Instance of Ordinary Morality. American Philosophical Quarterly 28 (1):73 – 80. Applbaum, A. I. (2000). Ethics for Adversaries: The Morality of Roles in Public and Professional Life, Chapter 6: Rules of the Game and Fair Play, pp 113 – 135. Princeton University Press. Duska, R. (2000). Business Ethics: Oxymoron or good business?. Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (1):111-129. Gaie, J. (2004). The ethics of medical involvement in capital punishment, Chapter 2: Role/professional versus ordinary morality. Kluwer Academic. Gibson, K. (2003). Contrasting role morality and professional morality: Implications for practice. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (1):17–29. Hardimon, M. O. (1994). Role obligations. Journal of Philosophy 91 (7):333-363. McMahon, C. (1981). Morality and the invisible hand. Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (3):247-277. Simmons, J. (1979). The principle of fair play. Philosophy and Public Affairs 8

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