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Technical note
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Reference no. UVA-E-0092
Product 133 (UVA-E-0092) has no authors
Published by: Darden Business Publishing
Originally published in: 1994
Version: 1 May 2018
Revision date: 14-May-2018
Length: 11 pages
Data source: Published sources

Abstract

Business decisions, by their nature, involve ethical considerations because (1) most economic decisions are choices where the decision-maker could have done otherwise, (2) every decision or action affects people, and (3) every decision or set of decisions is embedded in a belief system that presupposes some basic values or their abrogation. The task of justifying moral beliefs and integrating them into business situations and the process of applying ethical standards to everyday decision-making are incomplete and can be exasperating. But the business manager has recourse to the long tradition of ethical study. This note outlines some of the basic terms used in the study of ethics and describes the task of business ethics. Most important, the text describes five theories of moral reasoning-utilitarianism, rule-based morality, a rights approach, a contemporary Aristotelian approach to virtuous character, and social justice. They lay out minimum standards for an acceptable moral decision that can serve as criterion for moral business judgments.

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Abstract

Business decisions, by their nature, involve ethical considerations because (1) most economic decisions are choices where the decision-maker could have done otherwise, (2) every decision or action affects people, and (3) every decision or set of decisions is embedded in a belief system that presupposes some basic values or their abrogation. The task of justifying moral beliefs and integrating them into business situations and the process of applying ethical standards to everyday decision-making are incomplete and can be exasperating. But the business manager has recourse to the long tradition of ethical study. This note outlines some of the basic terms used in the study of ethics and describes the task of business ethics. Most important, the text describes five theories of moral reasoning-utilitarianism, rule-based morality, a rights approach, a contemporary Aristotelian approach to virtuous character, and social justice. They lay out minimum standards for an acceptable moral decision that can serve as criterion for moral business judgments.

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