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Business Ethics as Rational Choice Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jan 21st, 2021

Evaluate the choices faced by Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz (in Badaracco’s article) from the standpoints of the generalizability, utilitarian, and virtue ethics tests

From a generalizability perspective, Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz argue that it is impossible to figure out the impacts of a decision before making a choice (Badaracco 117). They support this claim by arguing that when an individual focuses so much on the repercussions; it hinders the process of making rational choices. They also admit that choices compel an individual to identify latent abilities. Proper choices are required for a person to identify and utilize personal talents, abilities, and competencies. After hidden abilities have been identified, an individual can optimize productivity. Therefore, it is irrational to make general assumptions on issues that are specific (Badaracco 114). Also, some conclusions may be biased owing to poor analysis of situations. After a critical review of the literature, it is evident that Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz discourage the habit of generalization. They reiterate that choices made out of generalizations are most likely to be irrational and unethical. Therefore, it is fundamental to avoid generalizing issues.

Furthermore, Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz concur that it is rational to make choices without assuming the possible outcomes when arguing from a utilitarian point of view. They observe that it is important to decrease from predetermining the utility of our actions before making appropriate choices. However, they are convinced that the utilitarian test is not sufficient to justify choices made by individuals (Hooker 115). This implies that a given line of action may be unethical and irrational depending on how it has been executed or implemented (Badaracco 117). They emphasize that the utilitarian test often results in negative outcomes for other people. For instance, a student who cheats in an examination may affect the wellbeing of all the other peers in the same class. For example, if results for a whole class are canceled, all the students will be affected. The latter is a typical case example of applying the utilitarian test.

In regards to the perspective of virtue ethics test, Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz conceptualize that the latter enables an individual to make a judgment on the rationality or ethicality of action even before executing it. However, pieces of evidence from literature reveal that upholding certain virtues might be challenging especially when there are conflicting choices to be made. Human beings are certainly rational creatures who are well endowed with virtues such as friendship, loyalty, trust, and honor. Moreover, they have an inherent aesthetic sense (Hooker 117). Steve Lewis, Peter Addario, and Eduard Sakiz conclude that besides applying utilitarian and generalizability tests, virtue tests should be embraced and adopted when making choices.

Does Badaracco’s concept of character illuminate Hooker’s discussion of integrity?

Badaracco’s definition of character is parallel to Hooker’s discussion on integrity. Badaracco (116) argues that character is influenced by experiences or defining moments when critical choices are being made. Moreover, the author asserts that character is not in-built. In other words, character emanates from personal life experiences. In a real sense, the character is the total sum of cumulative choices and decisions made daily. Moreover, it is vivid from the literature that character influences personal choices. It is important to note that character also defines our professional and personal identities (Badaracco 117). On the other hand, Hooker asserts that integrity results from what we do consistently since our actions define our overall character traits.

After comparing both pieces of literature, Hooker conceptualizes that rational choice made by an individual shape his or her character and can be used to measure the degree of personal integrity (Hooker 117). At this point, it is vivid that character is depicted by crucial moments. Besides, it is possible to compromise the degree of integrity. Therefore, the decisions we make regularly tend to influence both character and integrity.

Maintaining the integrity and desirable character can be a challenging task. For example, Badarocco (123) elucidates that an individual may change his or her character to evade a challenging or demanding situation such as family strife. Since it is cumbersome to maintain a decent character all the time, it is inevitable to forego some virtues such as empathy and loyalty. Integrity is also a cumbersome component to build especially when one cannot exercise some key virtues such as loyalty, friendship, and kindness (Hooker 118). In both cases, the authors acknowledge that there are conflicting feelings that may prevent an individual from revealing actual identity especially in regards to character.

Can organizations exhibit character, integrity, and virtue?

Empirical research studies depict that organizations can effectively exhibit character, integrity, and virtue. A stable organization does not have any other viable choice apart from practicing and exhibiting the aforementioned values. It is vital to mention that these values collectively portray the nature of organizational culture. The concepts are inseparable and are equally interrelated. Therefore, it is impossible to define one concept without referring to the other one (Levine and Boaks 229). For example, Character can be described as a pattern of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that are based on moral virtues, universal principles, and integrity (Hooker 114). Besides, integrity refers to the act of implementing rational choices that usually influence our behaviors, thoughts, and virtues. On the same note, virtues entail values or instincts that constitute a good or desirable character. These include honesty, kindness, hard work, loyalty, and integrity. From these definitions, it is irrefutable that the concepts are interrelated and can indeed be used to define one other.

Successful organizations usually embrace, adopt, and strive to apply these concepts daily. Levine and Boaks (240) point out that the aspects are key determinants of successful firms. In other words, whenever one of the three aspects is ignored in the workplace, it may be inevitable to elude problems or undesired outcomes. Levine and Boaks (227) think that these aspects are instrumental in modern organizations largely due to stiff market competition and the dynamic nature of most worksite environments. Therefore, one cannot take the place of the other. Integrity, virtues, and a decent character are vital assets that organizations must seek from employees and utilize for the sake of improving productivity. As already hinted out, these values usually create the overall reputation of a firm. Members of the public can easily acknowledge the organizational culture of a particular firm through the established values. Needless to say, one of the most dominant ways of attaining a competitive advantage is through a robust organizational culture. Nonetheless, character, integrity, and virtue can only be exercised by an organization when there is a close collaboration between employers and employees (Levine and Boaks 234). In summary, it is indeed possible for organizations to exhibit character, integrity, and virtue. In any case, these values enhance organizational productivity and overall trust from the public.

Works Cited

Badaracco, Joseph. “The discipline of building character.” Harvard Business Review 76 (1998): 114-125. Print.

Hooker, John. Business Ethics as Rational Choice. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

Levine, Michael, and Jacqueline Boaks. “What Does Ethics Have To Do With Leadership”? Journal of Business Ethics 124.2 (2014): 225-242. Print.

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