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Relative Moral Theories vs. Universal Moral Theories in Team Success Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2022

The working methods of various organizations are changing and adapting to current trends. The provision of a quality product adapted to the consumer’s requirements and attention to working processes come to the fore. These features create prerequisites for the project form of work that is most effective due to teams’ work. As a result, employees can work in a group, as well as leaders who can manage them are in great demand. Many factors affect the work of the team: the competence of employees, the actions of the leader, the format of the work, and other aspects. In some cases, teams cannot work despite professional employees, as one of the key influencers is morality and ethics determining participant behavior.

There are two main approaches to morality – relative and universal. According to the first, people themselves create morality, and there can be no universal moral principles (Boss, 2016). Universalists, in turn, argue that morality should be united and guide all people (Boss, 2016). Within each of the approaches, several theories are developed. Relativistic theories are ethical subjectivists and cultural relativism, and universal theories are utilitarianism, deontology, natural-rights ethics, and virtual ethics. While relativistic theories contrast with each other, universalist theories are complementary.

The philosophy of morality can also be divided into teleological and deontological frameworks. According to the first approach, the degree of moral justification of a specific action is judged by the consequences that it led to (Heisle & Hannay, 2015). Thus, egoists act to gain benefit for themselves, which echoes the relativistic theory of ethical subjectivism, and utilitarians work in the name of the common good, as in universal utilitarianism. The deontological approach, in turn, focuses on actions that lead to goals, whether they were justified morally; therefore, it focused on the process. These approaches are traditionally opposed to each other among scientists.

The lack of shared moral and ethical principles can have a devastating effect on the team of specialists working together. The world is becoming more multicultural and developing technologically, which affects the composition of groups and their work formats. Professionals from different countries and cultures can work online on one project. Such features involve additional difficulties in the work, such as misunderstanding, lack of trust, contradicting habits and pace of work, and other obstacles. If the leader is not able to manage the team in this format, disputes and contradictions will arise that will be difficult to resolve. Subsequently, work will slow down, and the project will not be completed as necessary.

Considering the increasing diversity of team members, it may seem worth applying the theory of cultural relativism, which considers the differences in cultures and societies. However, this approach, implying contrasts in different cultures’ morality, can create distrust and cannot unite the team. The rejection of this theory for team formation does not mean disrespect for colleagues’ culture and the intention to ignore the differences completely. Applying only one of the universal theories is also not enough. For example, using a deontological approach, multiculturalism is necessary since its opposite – excluding representatives of a particular culture is not justified morally (Gotsis & Kortezi, 2013). However, including incompetent people in a team just for the sake of diversity can also be ineffective.

The best approach to establishing trust in the team will be to use universal morality theories together – their advantages. Virtual ethics emphasizes the importance of human character, which implies that a team needs talented professionals. According to rights-based ethics, people can promote their interests until they harm other people’s interests – respect may be established in this way. Deontology and utilitarianism can be combined as well as teleological and deontological frameworks also do not have to exclude each other mutually. Achieving the project’s objective is an essential task that staff must keep in mind, but the goal depends on the process of achieving it.

For the team to work effectively, it is critical to establish general principles and rules of conduct before starting work, which will suit everyone. Leaders have vital roles as they should be sensitive to the cultural differences of employees. Together, the team can discuss the purpose of the work, their expectations and habits, find compromises. Communication, decision-making, and resolution of contentious issues are key issues to be addressed (Dyer et al., 2013). By making efforts to respect diversity and find ways to collaborate, teams will create their own unique working culture.

Thus, the working conditions are transforming in response to consumers’ needs, and the format of the commands is changing. They are becoming more diverse in cultural identity and the design of work. To remain successful, they need to build relationships based on trust in each other. To achieve this goal, shared morality is necessary, which determines the behavior of employees. There are relative and universal moral theories – the first believes that morality depends on the people or the circumstances, and the second – that the existence of a single morality is possible. To create teams, universal theories are more suitable since they allow to take into account both the differences of employees and general goals. Teamwork significantly depends on the quality of communication between employees – under the guidance of a sensitive leader, they can reach compromises and develop a working culture suitable for them.

References

Boss, J. A. (2016). Think: Critical thinking and logic skills for everyday life (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Dyer, W. G. Jr., Dyer, J. H. & Dyer, W. G. (2013). Team building: Proven strategies for improving team performance (5th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Gotsis, G., & Kortezi, Z. (2013). Ethical paradigms as potential foundations of diversity management initiatives in business organizations. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(6), 948-976. Web.

Heisler, W. J., & Hannay, M. (2015). A question of ethics: An examination of stakeholder perspectives in the performance appraisal process. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 12(4), 31-44. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Relative Moral Theories vs. Universal Moral Theories in Team Success." June 22, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/relative-moral-theories-vs-universal-moral-theories-in-team-success/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Relative Moral Theories vs. Universal Moral Theories in Team Success'. 22 June.

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