An Analysis of the Company Ethics and Morality in Business

The term moral can be taken to mean what is a generally acceptable standard of right and wrong in the society, morals define personal character. On the other hand, the term morality can be used to refer to a system of rules that modifies our behavior in a given a social set-up. It emphasizes the doing of good than harm and at the same time sets some standards for a virtuous act. The term ethics stresses a social set up in which these morals are applied. In other words, ethics refer to standard or code of behavior expected by a group to which the individual belongs. This could be company ethics, national ethics, social ethics or professional ethics or even family ethics. Both terms, that is, Moral and ethics can be used to refer to standards of right conduct and the judgment of a particular decision or action as being right or wrong by those standards (Paul 2002). When making moral decisions or judgments, moral principles provide a frame work upon which what is morally wrong is distinguished from what is morally right.

A moral theory or principle gives and account of the underlying justification of all our correct moral decisions or judgments. The moral principles act as guidelines in our decision making in situations where we do not know what to do. Another role of a moral theory is to explain why our correct moral beliefs are true and provide a framework to challenge those that are not. The most influential moral principle include: utilitarianism, virtue ethics and Devine command. In utilitarianism an action is considered morally right or ethical if it produces the greatest total amount of human wellbeing. That is, an action is morally right if it brings happiness to the majority. In virtue ethics, an action or decision is considered right if it respects each human person as a moral agent. In this case a moral agent is a person who is capable of formulating and pursuing purposes of his or her own and being accountable for the actions taken to fulfill those purposes.

Devine command theory of ethics emphasizes that morality cannot be evaluated apart from God and that what is morally good is by definition what God says is good and what is morally wrong of Tylenol from the shelves. This decision saved the company’s image and saved their famous brand “Tylenol’ (Lennon 2008). When we analyze this decision using the moral principles, it stands out to be a morally right one. When we look this situation from the virtue approach, it helped to boost the image of the company as a trustworthy partner in the eyes of the customers. The decision portrayed the company as a prudent one, that is concerned with full development of humanity and that will do anything not to put any of customers in danger. Also this action was for the good of all its customers who risked being poisoned by the tainted Tylenol, thus from the utilitarian point of view this decision also qualifies to as a morally correct one because it was for the interest or safety of many, that is the customers (Paul 2002).

An example of a moral wrong in logistics and services is in DWL billing issue that is the AT&T computer billing error of 1988. This blunder affected nearly two billion customers by billing payments that had already been made. The company made a moral blunder by submitting many of the accounts to collection agencies because of the problem. When this computer anomaly was discovered, it had already caused a lot of damage to the company. The company had to handle the angry customers over this issue at the same time communicate with the collection agencies that had been brought into the picture accidentally. The company seems to have made rush decision without even considering the moral consequences of its actions. The company acted in a manner that undermined its customer’s interest and expectation. The company subjected its customer to unnecessary stress. When we subject this decision to the principle of utilitarianism, the company’s decisions and way of handling the computer error was self-centered and failed to bring satisfaction or happiness to its customer, without whom, the company has no business. Another instance of a moral wrong occurred in 1992 when a television station recorded the raising of their television tower.

The company failed to put in place safety measures for its workers because the final piece was not the same as the first two and had baskets on either side. And as it was being hoisted, the baskets interfered with the cable lifting antennae and as a result the last piece went down with the workers. This accident portrayed the company in the bad light as an irresponsible one that does not give the safety of its workers the priority it deserves. The company also failed to compensate the victims or their families as required because the accident occurred while they were on duty under the responsibility of the company. This television company committed social injustice of the highest order in handling this matter. When we look this incident from the principle of virtue ethics, the company was morally wrong for failing to take into account the safety of its worker because their actions failed in any way to promote humanity. Their actions lacked ideal virtues that provide for full development of humanity instead the company portrayed itself as imprudent, self-centered and inhuman by failing even to compensate the victims of the accident. Therefore, their action can be considered morally wrong. Even when we look at this incident from the utilitarian perspective, it stands out as morally wrong, because it fails to bring happiness to anyone and instead it undermines the welfare of the victims of the accident (Rahilly 2000).

is by definition what God says is wrong (Rahilly 2000). Utilitarian stands out as the most common principle in making moral decisions regarding businesses.

When we take the example of EarthLink, a high speed internet provider for home, business and mobile phones which resorts to improve its customer relation management by creating a more personalized customer relation management that caters for all kinds of its customers based on the proverbial cannon law’ the customer is always right. By resorting to this system of handling its customers, the company was trying to show respect to their customers’ feeling and to bring satisfaction and happiness to as many customers as possible. When we base this decision on the moral principles that give guidelines in determining what is morally wrong or right, this decision is justified as a morally right decision. When we look this decision from the utilitarian perspective, this is a decision whose impact will bring great happiness and satisfaction to many of its customer or those who consume their services and products. According to utilitarian moral principle, whenever an action brings happiness and satisfaction to the majority it is considered to be morally right. By resorting to personalized way of handling its customers, EarthLink was not only doing what is morally right, but also trying to maintain loyal customers and appealing to prospective customers of its products and services, things that are fundamental for the survival of any business (Paul 2002).

Another example of a morally right decision made is in the case of Johnson

& Johnson in 1982 when one of their famous and most selling products ‘Tylenol’ was found to be tainted with traces of cyanide. This contamination caused a lot of harm to consumers before it was traced back to back to the Johnson & Johnson merchandise. The management of the company was faced with a dilemma and had to make a decision that will either destroy the image and reputation of the company forever or portray the company as a responsible one that can command trust from its loyal customers despite the catastrophic incident that had happened to the organization. The company resorted to recalling back the entire product line

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