Explore BrainMass

Business Ethics (ethics development): examines one's personal ethical system and ground rules, including its origins and development

I am writing a paper on ethics development that examines one's personal ethical system and ground rules, including its origins and development. I
Incorporating the following ETHICAL TERMS

Character: Moral actions based on duty-driven ethical principles. These include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship (Josephson Institute, 2009).

Ethical Business Behavior: "Behavior that is consistent with the principles, norms, and standards of business practice that have been agreed upon by society" (Treviño & Nelson, 2007, p. 19)
Ethical Dilemma: "Situations concerning right and wrong where values are in conflict" either for the individual or for the organization (Treviño & Nelson, 2007, p. 3)

Ethical System: Underlying ethical principles, which a person uses to make decisions
Ethics: "The principles, norms, and standards of conduct governing an individual or organization" (Treviño & Nelson, 2007, p. 13); ethics form the basis for determining the correct action, or moral behavior, in a particular situation.

Morals: Actions based on one's underlying ethical principles
Values: Those things or actions upon which the individual or organization spends time and money


Duty-based: A moral obligation or commitment to act in a certain manner, with clear right and wrong being determined by an outside authority
Entitlement-based: Moral decisions are based entirely on what is in the best interest of the individual, regardless of relationships, the needs of others, or business.

Goal-based: Focuses on the outcome or final purpose, which may be localized, as in business, or universal, as in feeding all the hungry children in the world
Humanistic (secular humanism or human nature ethics): Beliefs based on the extremes of human behavior, both good and bad, without the direction of an outside authority

Relativistic: Relativism often uses the personalized approach to ethics. It is subjective and focuses on personal experience as a form of judgment, and many different factors play a role in determining how a person uses this system. There are no absolutes within this type of ethical approach.

Rights-based: Certain things are acceptable in a community because the majority of people in the community agree the behavior is acceptable. Consider laws and civil rights.


Josephson Institute (2009). Six Pillars of Character. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from Josephson Institute Web site:

ANSWERING THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS...Please list any references

1. Focus on the developmental aspect of one's ethics rather than on a particular position on any issue.

2. Define a persons underlying ethical system, its primary principles, the sources that helped shape one's ethics?such as people, institutions, events, and so forth?and the criteria and decision-making factors used to revise them.

3. Discuss the potential effect of one's ethics on performance or use of them in a workplace using a specific example.

4. Explain why ethics are needed in an organization and how ethics are integrated into the organization to achieve its direction and goals. What effect does the application of these ethics have on individuals, organizations, and society?

Solution Preview

Dear Student,

Thank you for using BM.
Below are my answers.

Anna Liza Gaspar


Personal Ethical Development

Given the almost collapse of the very foundation of the financial industry in the United States which then rapidly metastasized to a financial and economic crisis with global proportions, ethics and ethical behaviours in doing business and the lack of it was one of the major factors why the mortgage meltdown happened. Thus, it is even more necessary now that organizations focus on the personal ethical developments of all of its individual members. This paper aims to explore the developmental aspect of one's ethics including the importance of ethics and ethical systems.

It is interesting that the above observation was also made by Wong and Beckham (1992) almost two decades ago in doing a post mortem for the failure of several savings and loan financial institutions. Furthermore, Wong and Beckham (1992) identified two ethical theories that can guide the development of one's ethics: 1) utilitarianism and 2) Ross's prima facie dutie.

In the development of one's ethical persona, it is possible that ethical decisions will be based on whether the proposed action, which is morally right, leads to the greatest ratio of benefits compared to costs. In other words, the action should result to the highest utility to all people affected by the decision. On the other hand, personal ethics development primarily based on the utility model could result to ethical decisions that are moral, but didn't account for "justice and other principles that society embraces" (Wong & Beckham, 1992, p. 175). In other words, the ethical character of an individual is at best should be developed from both the utilitarian model and the principles that society follows.

According to Rae (2000), an ethical system can be classified as "either-oriented systems ...