Confidential Individual Report on Ethics in Practice
We should all consider ourselves lucky for living in a country such as Canada where our basic rights are protected through law and democracy. We have property rights, and therefore the ability to prosper as we progress day to day in a democratic, capitalistic society that allows one to further themselves; so as long as they are within the boundaries of the law. However, we find ourselves living among many of those who will compose themselves in such a way that they are obeying the laws but, while doing so, may do so in an immoral or unethical way. While the legal system and our constitution have been created to create law, order, and democracy wherein individual’s right and freedoms are protected, it fails to be fair as it does not place an equitable emphasis towards acknowledging the rights of some unconventional constituents: environment, future generations, animals, etc. Instead, there are various ethical obligations that have been created that individuals may use when deciding on how to act when being met with an ethical dilemma that may fall outside the realm of the legal system. In the J&J case for instance, the board was faced with a decision on whether or not to recall Advil bottles that were perceived as being dangerous. Although they had no legal obligation to so, as it was found that a third party individual was responsible, they did so anyway because it was the ethical thing to do. There decision to meet their ethical obligations was the decent thing to do. The board of J&J made this decision because their organizational structure had created an internal culture that prioritized ethical decision making. This had been achieved through the implementation of their credo. In doing so, they in essence had created their own organizational “law” by creating a code that is to be followed when one may need to meet ethical obligations. Law is one of the many mechanisms preventing chaos, which during its evolution has been fashioned by ethics and religion, but does not provide fairness and justice in all situations. Instead, individuals must assess situations and understand what their ethical obligations are towards determining how they should act ethically and morally. Audi (2009) lists various points of ethical views ranging from utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, etc. An individual faced with an ethical dilemma will have his or her own opinion on the difference between what is right and wrong. Morals and ethical obligations will both assist an individual in determining the difference between what is right and wrong, while also guiding his actions and decision making process on how to make it right.
There are many different aspects that determine how one may decide on what is right and wrong. Some more common variables that may determine the ethical position that an individual may take include their religion, culture, ethnicity and social uprising. These aspects are all part of an individual’s day to day life and will help guide and influence one’s moral clock. The other element that will shape an individual’s ethical point of view are hereditary genes. The biological make up of a person has a major influence on how an individual will act. People say that individuals are either ethical or they are not, and that you cannot be taught ethics. I disagree with this. I believe that ethics are taught in an individual’s day to day life and are guided by our upbringing, interests, role models, religion, etc. Above, I discussed the difference between ethical obligations and legal obligations. Individuals will follow the law because they are self-serving and do not want to go to jail. The consequences of making illegal decisions conditions people to obey the law and prevent anarchy in our society. There are also various mechanisms that condition and guide individual’s ethical decision making as well. With regards to social