The Philosophical Approaches to Ethics Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


The main point of the argument is that philosophical approaches to business ethics provide guidelines for making ethical business decisions, but some of these approaches are controversial and have no support from most moral scholars. The philosophical approaches to ethics are deontology, consequentalism, and virtue ethics (Hill 148). They help business people to make ethical decisions.

Business people may also consider personal ethics, organisational policies, and legal provisions alongside the philosophical approaches to ethics as they make ethical decisions. The straw men approaches to business ethics consist of Friedman doctrine, the righteous moralist, cultural relativism, and naive moralist (Wyld 1-3).

Managers do not carefully evaluate these ideas, but they use them to find solutions. Utilitarian approach to ethics posits that the utmost benefits can only come from morally right decisions regardless of the method used like coercion, manipulation, or lies.

Kantian approach to ethics values the importance of people who should only be ends and not merely as means to the ends (Rachels 34). The essay covers main points of the straw men approaches to business ethics and their different concepts.

The straw men approaches

In business, people want to attribute weak points to opposing views. The aim of the straw man is to present weak points in an argument, which the opponent can easily contest and portray the opponent’s whole concept as disapproved (Wyld 1-3).

The Friedman doctrine asserts that a business should only have one social responsibility of making profits by using its resources legally in an open and free manner without perpetuating fraud or sham. Hence, social responsibility of any business entity should be to make proceeds without violation of the law.

According to this view, any business should not take any responsibility beyond those covered by the law. Social responsibility and business ethics have similar meanings to scholars who consider them as tantamount to ethical behaviours. However, some scholars have claimed that this concept does not support business ethics.

Scholars have also focused on cultural relativism under the straw man and business ethics. Cultural relativism claims that ethics is simply a reflection of a given culture. In other words, it is culture, which determines all aspects of ethics. Therefore, a company should only apply or adopt the concept of ethics within its culture.

Cultural relativism also shows that there is no advanced culture than other cultures when considered with regard to politics, laws, and morality among others. All cultures are valid and not the truth is a relative concept. However, this depends on a specific cultural environment.

Another straw man approach includes a righteous relativism. Home countries of multinational firms have the most suitable ethics for other countries in which they operate. Business managers in emerging countries tend to adopt business practices from the parent countries of firms when making ethical business decisions.

Finally, a naive immoralist claims that a manager of a multinational firm in a foreign country should only do what other managers of multinational firms do in their host countries i.e., if other managers do not adhere to ethical practices in foreign countries, then other managers should not adhere to them too. However, this argument does not provide sufficient support because ‘everyone is doing it’ is not too a strong argument in ethical issues.


The essay covers philosophical approaches in ethical decision-making approaches for business managers in areas in which they operate. While some of these approaches provide best guidelines, others have led managers to make inappropriate decisions for their firms and stakeholders. Overall, there some concepts of philosophical approaches to business ethics which are controversial and do not gain support from many moral scholars.

Works Cited

Hill, Charles. International Business : Competing in the Global Marketplace 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.

Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. Print.

Wyld, David C. Top 10 Management on The Straw Man Fallacy to Business Ethics: An Overview and Analysis of Why This Approach is Helpful. 16 Sept. 2011. Web.

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