Is a Business a Profit?

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Increasingly, corporations view business ethics as a bottom-line matter – not an optional one. This embrace of ethics, leading to collective operational gains or losses, means they are garnering renewed attention. This is because “acting ethically and responsibly” may be a timely decision, as doing the right thing may also prove to be the profitable thing. (Mitchell, 2003, p. 2) From this perspective, we realize that corporations didn’t prioritize business ethics in the past. Some companies perceived it to be an unnecessary aspect of company operations.

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“The optional one of ethics” (Mitchell, 2003, p. 2) implies that corporations either overlooked ethical philosophies altogether or only considered them when convenient. However, times have changed, and so has the business landscape. Today’s corporations recognize the importance of business ethics.

Kantian philosophy, which is the deontological concept, is perhaps the most challenging of all the moral systems we encounter. The term ‘deontology’ originates from the Greek word ‘Deon’, meaning “duty”. This moral method is primarily associated with one’s obligations. It is also known as a moral philosophy or absolutism.

Many academic studies in business ethics involve applying historically significant ethical theories to problems deemed characteristic of business environments. These theories include consequentialism – a popular version of which is utilitarianism, deontology – the rule-based morality, rooted in the philosophy of German Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel Kant; and virtue theory, based on Aristotelian ethics. [1]

Businesspeople generally operate based on meaningful actions, like management by objectives, for instance. A teleological analysis of business ethics involves scrutinizing the entire range of stakeholders impacted by business decisions, including the organization, employees, customers, shareholders, the country, society, and the environment.

There are primarily two sets of moral theories: Teleological, representing consequential hypotheses, and Deontological, representing non-consequential hypotheses. These can be further subdivided into moral egoism, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics for Teleological theories and Kantian and judicial philosophies for Deontological theories. We will delve into these theories before determining which concept is most crucial in making business decisions.

Metaethical relativist stances are typically contrasted with ethical objectivism. Assuming that ethical objectivism maintains ethical judgments are universally true or false, some of them are true, and individuals are sometimes justified in accepting true moral judgments (and rejecting false ones) based on evidence available to any reasonable and well-informed person. Several methods can challenge ethical objectivism.

What does moral relativism constitute? Relativism posits that all viewpoints are equally valid and that individuals define what’s real and relative for them. Relativism argues that truth varies amongst people, not just that people perceive different things as truths. Though there are relativists in research and science fields, moral relativism is the most common type. Nearly everyone has come across a relativist phrase:

The discussion on moral relativism and general ethics, which is still public, has significant effects on both business ethics and cross-cultural management. Some opt for accepting moral relativism, while others present powerful arguments against it. Additionally, some events, such as corporate scandals and dishonesty, infringement of specific fundamental human rights, and environmental issues, question moral relativism at least in some respects.

Much academic scholarship in business ethics involves the application of historically significant ethical theories to problems perceived to be characteristic of business environments. These theories include consequentialism – a popular specific version of which is utilitarianism; deontology, or rule-based morality based on the thought of the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant; and virtue theory, which has its basis in Aristotelian ethics.

For Chin Moody, ethics and profit are not mutually exclusive. “It’s about having the highest standards of ethics in business,” he says, “And we see that as a competitive advantage.”

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Is A Business A Profit?. (2019, Mar 20). Retrieved from