Philosophy of ethics: ( expantion)

Philosophy of Ethics: Case Study Grade (11th, March. Philosophy of Ethics: Case Study The ethical theories that are applicable to this case are. moral relativism, egoism, utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. However, among them, one theory strongly applies. This is because, while the positions reached by the other theories regarding the morality and ethicalness of the actions taken by both Lewis and her director are vivid and not definitive, the moral and ethical position held by the utilitarianism ethical theory is well defined, reaching a clear conclusion as to who between Lewis and her director is morally and ethically right, and who is wrong (Mill & Piest, 1985). According to the utilitarianism ethical theory, the best moral and ethical position is the one that maximizes utility (Troyer, 2003). The theory holds that an action can be judged to be moral and ethical, or immoral and unethical, depending on its ability to satisfy the majority, give them happiness and reduce their suffering (Hinman, 2013). Thus, when an action contributes to the greater happiness of the majority and ensures that they benefit as opposed to causing them more suffering, then, the action is moral and ethical (Mill, Bentham & Ryan, 1987). A business comprises of several stakeholders, who may include the owners, the management, the customers, and surrounding community, the employees and the government. Therefore, while judging the morality of an action regarding a business position, the interest of all these groups should be put at the forefront, since an ethical position will only amount to being moral and ethical, if only it satisfies the interest of a majority of these groups, according to the provisions of the utilitarianism ethical theory (Troyer, 2003).

Utilitarianism ethical theory applies best, because it evaluates how all the stakeholders are affected by Lewis and her director’s position, and thus arrives at a definitive conclusion on which is the correct moral and ethical position. This is because. the interests of different stakeholders in business normally differ (Flynn, 2008). The owners seek after maximum returns to their investment, customer seek for optimal satisfaction, the government seek for optimal taxes payment, the wider public seek for employment and development initiated by the business, the employees seek for maximal remuneration and suitable working conditions, while the management seeks for maximal returns and good business image (Paliwal, 2006). While most of these interests, from different stakeholders are conflicting, there is one that serves the interest of all. maximum returns. This will benefit the government with higher taxes. produce high returns for owners, maximal pay for employees, development and employment to the community and good image to the management. Therefore, the correct moral and ethical action is that which ensures maximum returns, which is that of employing Lewis, since she is experienced and able to deliver. Therefore, it can be seen that the application of the utilitarianism helps to reach at a definitive moral and ethical position, with a conclusion that Lewis position is moral and ethical, while that of her director is immoral and unethical, since it would hinder the benefits and consequent happiness obtainable by the majority (Hinman, 2013).

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The ethical theories of moral relativism, egoism, utilitarianism and Kantian ethics seeks to establish the correct ethical and moral position in a situation that raises an ethical dilemma. All these theories are interrelated, especially egoism, utilitarianism and Kantian ethics, since they focus on the interests of the parties involved. According to the three theories, a moral position is right or wrong, depending on how it serves the interested party. All the three theories concur that the right, moral and ethical position or course of action, is that which favors the interest of the parties involved. Egoism requires that an ethical position benefits the individuals involved, utilitarianism requires that an ethical position gives the individuals happiness and reduce their suffering, while Kantian ethics requires that the right moral position emanates from the goodwill of the individuals involved.


Flynn, G. (2008). Leadership and business ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.

Hinman, L. M. (2013). Ethics: A pluralistic approach to moral theory. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co.

Mill, J. S., & Piest, O. (1985). Utilitarianism. New York: Macmillan

Mill, J. S., Bentham, J., & Ryan, A. (1987). Utilitarianism and other essays. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.

Paliwal, M. (2006). Business ethics. New Delhi: New Age International.

Troyer, J. (2003). The classical utilitarians: Bentham and Mill. I ndianapolis [u.a.: Hackett Publ.

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