Morality Vs. Ethics Essay

1368 words - 6 pages

Module One Essay
Murder is wrong. One should always tell the truth. It is not right to steal. Most people would agree with the aforementioned phrases. However, what are they classified as? Do these expressions deal with morality, ethics, or both? Although these terms are often confused, morality and ethics are very distinct. On the surface this terminology may seem analogous, but their definitions are quite dissimilar. Morality and ethics are major components when examining the decision making of corporations. Despite having different meanings, morality and ethics are interrelated words that play a major part in business organizations.
The term morality deals with an ...view middle of the document...

However, these standards are not always pursued. The media shows stories on a daily basis about people acting immorally. Whether a politician is having an affair or a CEO is embezzling money, morality plays a major role in society.
Although ethics is often associated with morality, it has a variety of different meanings. The first definition of ethics is very similar to morality. It is described as the rules of conduct central to an individual or a group (Velasquez, 2006). The use of this definition is usually paired with another more specific word. It is used to describe the conduct of a particular group. For example, “accounting ethics” refers to the professional code that is followed by accountants (Velasquez, 2006). Similarly, “medical ethics” would explain the code of conduct for medical professionals.
The first definition of ethics can also be used to examine the core values of the United States Air Force. From the beginning of basic training, we were required to memorize the core values: they are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. They are used to help remind us what it takes to accomplish our missions and inspire us to do what is right at all times. These core values could also be described as the Air Force’s rules of conduct or ethics. They are the standards by which we should strive for in all aspects of our lives. The training we have experienced has helped infuse these standards into our own personal ethics.
Ethics also has another more important meaning. The second meaning of ethics is the study of morality (Velasquez, 2006). Ethics therefore, is more of an investigation. It deals with the act of investigating as well as the results of morality issues (Velasquez, 2006). Ethics is merely looking deeper into the moral standards accepted by individuals or society. A person who examines the reasonability of moral standards in various situations is actually examining ethics (Velasquez, 2006). For example, if one were to question whether or not to plagiarize an assignment, they would be doing ethics. Another would be looking at a financially struggling corporation’s decision to give out bonuses to upper management. One thing that sets ethics apart from other types of studies on morality is its objective. It is an attempt to reach a conclusion on issues and determine whether a moral standard is more or less correct (Velasquez, 2006). The term ethics can take on various different meanings.
Moral Responsibility
Morals standards and ethics play a major role in the decisions and operations of businesses today. But who should be held morally accountable for the choices made by a corporation or the product they output? Can the actions of a corporation be deemed moral or immoral in the same sense as the actions of humans? There are two major theories concerning the topic of moral culpability among business organizations.
The first view of a...

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