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Business Ethics And Deontology Essay

1541 words - 7 pages

Introduction
In all of today’s businesses and organizations ethics play a critical role in effectively accomplishing day-to-day operations and ensuring the organizations future. If ethics could be packaged as a tangible commodity, it would be a major resource for many businesses and organizations. While specifics of defining ethics can vary from one organization to another, it can be summarized into the accepted set of moral values and corporate standards of conduct in a business organization. Whether intended or not, these ethics/standards can have a major impact on an organization bottom-line – it can add value to an organization by showing that it can be trustworthy across all spectrums ...view middle of the document...

The guiding framework of business ethics permeates all levels of the organization. It is about having the wisdom and a duty to determine the difference between right actions and wrong decisions. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one many philosophers that had a theory of deontological or duty-based ethics. (Williams, 2008)
Kant is responsible for the most prominent and well-known form of deontological ethics. Kant’s moral theory is based on his view of the human being as having the unique capacity for rationality. No other animal possesses such a propensity for reasoned thought and action, and it is exactly this ability, which obliges us to act according to the moral law/duty. (Williams, 2008) Kant’s moral theory emphasizes acting in accordance with and for the sake of duty. Kant believed that inclinations, emotions and consequences should play no role in moral action. This means that the motivation for action must be based on obligation. Morality should provide us with a framework of rational principles (rules) that guide and restrict action - independent of personal intentions and desires.
Kant believed that duty-based ethics should judge morality by examining the nature of actions and the will of agents rather than goals or outcomes achieved. One reason that duties are at the forefront of decision-making is that, in spite of our best efforts, we cannot control the future. (Williams, 2008) We are praised or blamed for actions within our control, and that includes our willing, not our achieving. This is not to say that Kant did not care about the outcomes of our actions - we all wish for good things. Rather Kant insisted that as far as the moral evaluation of our actions was concerned, consequences did not matter.
Adelphia
Timothy Rigas joined Adelphia Communications Corporation, his family business, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Timothy Rigas became Adelphia’s executive vice president, chief financial officer, chief accounting officer, and treasurer. Timothy Rigas and father John Rigas were responsible for the collapse of the fifth largest cable provider in the United States (Hemingway, 2007). In 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Adelphia in one of the most extensive financial frauds ever to take place at a public company (Cutler, 2002). According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Director of Enforcement, “This case presents a deeply troubling picture of greed and deception at a large, publicly - held company" (Cutler, 2002).
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Adelphia fraudulently excluded billions of dollars in liabilities from its consolidated financial statements by hiding them; falsified operations statistics and inflated earnings to meet Wall Street’s expectations; and concealed self -dealing of corporate funds to pay for corporate executives’ lavish lifestyles. In addition, the United States Attorney’s Office for the...

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