Parameters of Ethical Decision Making

1342 Words Jan 26th, 2014 6 Pages
Ethical decision making is an essential aspect in understanding and demonstrating the values of an organization. The intense pressures of business may not always allow time for reflection, and the high stakes may tempt us to compromise our ideals. Many of us already have well-developed ethical outlooks but by considering various approaches to ethical decision making, we are better equipped to make the right choices when the need arises. Joseph Weiss (2009) identifies fundamental ethical principles that guide decision making: utilitarianism, universalism, rights, justice, and ethical virtue. John Rawls contributes his Theory of Justice as Fairness as another approach for consideration in resolving ethical dilemmas.
Utilitarianism
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Justice The justice approach suggests that “moral authority is determined by the extent opportunities, wealth, and burdens are fairly distributed among all” (Weiss, 2009). This principle can be used to say that ethical actions treat all people equally.
Ethical Virtue The virtue approach to ethics tells that ethical actions ought to be consistent with ideal virtues that provide for the full development of our humanity. These virtues, such as truthfulness, integrity, and honesty, are dispositions and habits that enable us to act according to the highest potential of our character (scu.edu, 2012).
Theory of Justice as Fairness The original position is a fair, impartial point of view that should be applied to our reasoning about the fundamental principles of justice. With this point of view, we are asked to imagine ourselves as free and equal people who jointly agree upon and commit to principles of social and political justice (Freeman, 2012). The veil of ignorance plays a large part in the concept of original position. Freeman (2012) states, “to insure impartiality of judgment, the parties are deprived of all knowledge of their personal characteristics and social and historical circumstances.” This concept secures for everyone the means that individuals need to pursue their interests and to maintain their self-respect as free and equal people.
Compare and Contrast Principles Utilitarianism and universalism are similar in that they emphasize

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