Welcome to Ethics in Management

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					 Moral Reasoning

  Ethics in Management
Business & Administration
The University of Winnipeg
      Giving Voice to Values

• “How to speak our mind when we know
  what’s right”

  – Based on fundamental values such as honesty,
    fairness, respect, responsibility, compassion
            Value Conflicts
• Explicit or implicit / External or internal
  pressure to
  – Act in a way inconsistent with our values
  – Suppress expression of our values

• How do we “give voice” to our values
  effectively, to have positive impact with
  minimal “collateral damage”
      Giving Voice to Values

• “How to speak our mind when we know
  what’s right”

  – But suppose it’s not obvious what’s “right”?
          Ethical Dilemmas
• Conflicts of legitimate responsibilities that
  cannot be reconciled without some tradeoff
  among our values

  – Moral theories may enhance our perspective on
    such situations, but in the end our actions will
    still be determined by our values.
 Fundamental Moral Theories
• Approaches for considering the ethical
  merit of actions / decisions
  – Principles – standards of conduct
  – Consequences for relevant stakeholders
  – Character – who / what we are, want to be
     • Character is closely tied to values
• Also useful reference for discussing ethical
  challenges with others
• Accepted, expected standards of conduct
  arising from fundamental values
• Focus on means, not end results
• Broadly generalizable
  – Applicable to all parties in all situations
      Examples of Principles
• Keep your promises
  – Underlying values: Honesty, Responsibility
• The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you
  would have others do unto you”
  – Underlying values: Compassion, Fairness
• Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  – includes freedom of speech, gender equality
     • Underlying values: Respect, Fairness
    Importance of Principles
• Fundamental to providing stability to
  society (and an economy)
• Guard against inappropriate means even
  for desirable ends
• Can be a compelling basis for consensus,
  unity, collective action
     Limitations of Principles
• Principles by nature are very general
  – Often difficult to relate principles to specific
    actions / situations
• Are independent of consequences
• Moral worth of actions assessed in terms of
  their anticipated consequences in relation to
  worthy purposes
  – Consequences can be positive and / or negative,
    and of various natures
            Examples of
• “Ends justify the means”
• Cost / benefit analysis
• Utilitarianism
  – “The greatest good for the greatest number”
• Ethical egoism
  – “What’s in it for me?”
           Importance of
• Practical – keeps us in touch with reality
  and with the fact that our actions (or choice
  not to act) will have consequences
• Easy to understand, discuss; good basis for
  communicating rationales to others
           Challenges of
• Consequences for whom?
• Consequences over what time frame?
  – “In the long run, we are all dead.”
• How do we net positive consequences of
  one type with negative consequences of a
  totally different nature?
• Consequences are uncertain
       Checks and Balances
• Principled Reasoning
  – Keeps us on the “straight and narrow”
• Consequential Reasoning
  – Keeps us in touch with reality, and the fact that
    our actions will have consequences.
• Who are we, who do we want to be
          what do we stand for?
  – Closely related to values

• Values, Virtues and vices (traits), Beliefs

• Acting with integrity in relation to our
  personal values
    Importance of Character
• Emphasizes our responsibility to ourselves,
  as well as to others, for our actions.
• Can be extremely motivating

• Is very important to sound relationships,
  both personal and commercial

“This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And then it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not be false to any man.”

                                 William Shakespeare,
                                Hamlet: Act I, Scene III
   Moral Theories in Practice
• Approaches for considering the ethical
  merit of actions / decisions
  – Principles – standards of conduct
  – Consequences for relevant stakeholders

• When the above pull in different directions,
  Character is the basis for prioritizing among
  conflicting responsibilities
  Framework for Deliberation
• Clarify what you know
  – Identify / separate facts and assumptions
• Clarify the decision making process
  – Who deserves / has a right to be involved?
• What principles are relevant
• What is at stake (consequences) and for whom
• What decision is consistent with character
• The concepts and structure of this presentation draw upon
  the following articles, potential follow up reading.

• Moral Theory and Frameworks, Andrew C. Wicks, Jared D. Harris,
  Bidhan Parmar; Darden Business Publishing, 2003 (UV1039)
• An Introduction to Ethics, Andrew C. Wicks, Bidhan Parmar;
  Darden Business Publishing, 2003 (UV1040)
• Ethics: A Basic Framework, Lynn Sharp Paine;
  Harvard Business School Publishing, 2007 (HBS 9-307-059)
• A Framework for Ethical Reasoning, Sandra J. Sucher;
  Harvard Business School Publishing, 2007 (HBS 9-610-050)

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