Morality: concerned with social practices defining right and wrong.
Ethical theory and moral philosophy point to reflection on the nature and justification of right actions. These words refer to attempts to introduce clarity, substance, and precision of argument into the domain of morality.
Prudence: self-interest as “oughts” and “ought not”
Law is the public’s agency for translating morality into explicit social guidelines and practices and for stipulating punishments for offenses.
Conscience良心: vary radically from person to person and time to time, altered by circumstance, religious belief, childhood, and training
Approaches to the Study of Morality and Ethical Theory
1. Descriptive: scientific study of ethics, as moral attitudes, codes, and beliefs that are described include corporate policies on sexual harassment and codes of ethics in trade associations
2. Conceptual: right, obligation, justice, good, virtue, and responsibility
3. Normative (prescriptive): what ought to be done
Maximization of the good and the minimization of harm and evil
Theory of good: good as a means to other ends
Measurement and comparison of goods Deontology (Kant)
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law
Never treat another person merely as a means to your own goals (even if doing so creates a net balance or even a positive balance)
Virtue ethics (Aristole)
Life the way you want, your own life-style
The end justify the means
Employees, managers, customers, suppliers, local community, stockholders have a voluntary contractual relationship
Maximum profits and only shareholders are concerned.
Firms have responsibilities to societies including economic, legal, ethical and discretionary (or philanthropic). Whistle blower:
Employee: future, current, or former
Deliberate act (purposely)
Thesis: “one does not have an obligation of loyalty to a company… because companies are not the kinds of things which are proper objects of loyalty…” Therefore, “The issue of the permissibility of whistle blowing is not a real issue.”
a. Attempts to define whistle blowing more precisely
b. Debates about whether and when it is permissible
c. Debates about whether and when one has an obligation to do so
d. Appropriate mechanisms for institutionalizing the act
Loyalty in a company?
“a taste of being constant and faithful in a relation requiring trust of confidence.”
Relationships not groups
Requires one to surrender (放弃) self-interest
Business: goal = make profit
The profit of work determines the quality of work
Goal is profit
“Dissolves (消失) the type of relationship that requires loyalty”
Loyalty misguided (误导)
“Functions on the basis of enlightened (启迪) self interest.”
Business if not a person
Appeal (上诉) = competition
Ideal would be an employee loyal to the will of the company
Not defined by context (环境)
“Permeates (渗透) the whole of society in its influence”
“The issue of the permissibility of whistle-blowing is not a real issue, since there is no obligation of loyalty to a company”
Conclusion: does an employee have an obligation to society to be a whistle blower?
No obligation to do good, just an obligation to not harm others
If whistle blowing can prevent harm, then it is sometimes permissible.
For non-profit organization
Commercialization argument is irrelevant
The employee must have…