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Moral Philosophies Essay

1161 words - 5 pages

Ethical dilemmas challenge business because there are different moral philosophies held by each individual and subjective to each situation. Companies have different moral philosophies that shape the ethical climate. Two moral philosophies that effect how a company handles ethics are Utilitarianism and Ethical Egoism. “The utilitarian seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people” while doing the least harm (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2011, p. 156). Ethical Egoism states that consequences are only relevant to the individual and, “each person ought to pursue his or her own self-interest exclusively” (Rachels & Rachels, 2010, p. 63).
The concern with a Utilitarian approach in business is that the perspective of greater good is subjective. A company may not be able to increase their operational budget and believes the only way to maintain their current functionality is to cut jobs. The Utilitarian perspective is that continued functionality is the greater good and that the loss of jobs is the lesser harm. Best Buy has plans to close 50 stores and cut 400 corporate jobs in order to continue to satisfy their customers (Anderson & Chapman, 2012). Best Buy sees this as the greater good so they can remain competitive while those individuals who are losing their jobs do not. Utilitarianism in business weighs decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis (Ferrell et al., 2011). Best Buy made the decision to close 50 stores and lay off 400 employees because they believe this solution offered the greatest cost-benefit. Companies have to find a balance as job cuts lead to higher unemployment and lower consumer spending. Finding balance causes companies to change their moral philosophy. The CEO of Best Buy has an obligation to the company to ensure the business continues to earn profits. If he does not then his job is at stake. Therefore, Ethical Egoism motivates the CEO to seek solutions that help him keep his job while balancing the Utilitarian philosophy to keep the company in business and satisfy the consumer.
Ethical Egoism in business can manifest in many ways. Ethical egoism is the belief that the individual should only seek what they desire and look out for their own interest. Most often, ethical egoism will present in individual ethical dilemmas. Individuals in a business may seek their own interest by way of cooperation with others in the business (Shaver, 2010). An ethical egoist may socialize with individuals in the business that they do not get along with in order to seek favor with those individuals. This can only be true if the egoist sees the outcome, possibly a promotion, as more important than the sacrifice they make. In a business, philanthropy is Ethical Egoism because the business is seeking its own interest by giving. “However, Ethical Egoism does not say that you should avoid actions that help others. Sometimes your interest will coincide with the interest of others, so by helping yourself...

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