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Ethics in Business, Essay Example

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The second chapter of the book Ethical Issues in Business starts off with a case study on Italian tax mores. As stated in the case study, the Italians have a very different system from the United States. In Italy, the tax authorities assume that corporations typically submit an understated tax return and it is customary for authorities to issue an invitation that would facilitate a series of negotiations. This would eventually lead to a payment of a higher rate. However, an American company chose to ignore this but they soon eventually learned that they had to negotiate with the tax authorities.

This chapter reiterates the value of telling the truth and that this is an essential virtue within society. This is in fact, emphasized by Immanuel Kant, one of the well-known business ethicist. Kant states that good will is the highest good and that this is a form of duty. Therefore, it is the intention that makes an action good and morality can only be acquired if people see it as their duty. In addition, Kant states that a principle or maxim can be tested if it is moral by testing the categorical imperative and applying it universally.

Meanwhile, the approach of Aristotle towards business ethics focuses on the individual and their own ethical values. Therefore, Aristotle states that it is an individual’s integrity and values that matter and from this point, it would follow that these individuals will create and follow good corporate and social values. However, it is from this Aristotelian approach, that the concept of virtue ethics was created along with its six dimensions, namely: community, excellence, role identity, holism, integrity and judgment. These dimensions sum up a “good character”. Despite these things, there are many obstacles that face individuals in a daily basis. Thus, deliberation plays a key role in making ethical decisions.

References

Donaldson, P. et al. (2007).  Ethical Issues in Business. Pearson

 

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