We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Legal and Social Environment of Business Ethical Dilemmas

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Ethics is an essential component of all situations and decisions of life, whether personal or professional. Ethics defines itself as, a systemized set of generally accepted standards or moral values and also the academic study of such belief systems (Massey stream glossary). Ethics can further be divided into various categories depending on the issues and aspects of each respective case. An ethical dimension of business decision-making has been discussed in ‘A Sticky Situation’, which is faced by Kent Graham (Shaw, Barry, & Sansbury, 2009). In this particular case, Kent Graham faces various normative theories of ethics.

The situation faced by Kent Graham is very much important to be discussed as it deals with a very general situation which are faced by several people in their professional lives these days and also it gives a wide scope to study and analyze the various ethical dimensions of normative ethics. The situation faced by Kent Graham majorly constitutes of an ethical dilemma, which is the decision he has attempted and made. Kant’s ethics is also reasonably highlighted in this case as he is torn into two minds between a professional account manager and a responsible family head. One of the most important ethics that Kent Graham displays in this case is his egoism, which is compensated by his act as it also includes virtue ethics. Utilitarianism has also been highlighted in the decisions and situations faced by Kent Graham in this particular case study.

One of the most considered and repeatedly occurring problem in ethical dimensions is the ethical dilemma. Ethical dilemma defines itself as a situation in which there is no obvious right or wrong decision. These arguments can be refuted in various ways, for example by showing that the claimed ethical dilemma is only apparent and does not really exist (thus is not a paradox logically), or that the solution to the ethical dilemma involves choosing the greater good and lesser evil, or that the whole framing of the problem is omitting creative alternatives, or more recently that situational ethics or situated ethics must apply because the case cannot be removed from context and still be understood (wikipedia). Rules-based reasoning is concerned with how we make the decision, not its consequences. Rules-based reasoning argues that the ends can never really be known until long after we’ve made our decision, so therefore we can only guess as to the likely ends or consequences, and that this is very unreliable (Boyel, 2006). In this situation of the particular case study, Kant Graham tackles a major ethical dilemma. He is torn between the two completely different tracks of decision to make.

On one side he has to start closing some big accounts, which would benefit his company, and he would personally gain benefits, which would lead to his family welfare. On the other hand he feels tinged with uncertainty and guilt, as he has not revealed the truth to the Spray-On Inc. company. If the receiving company came to know that the deal was not completely true and the goods were out sourced, then the Dura-Stick Company as well as him personally will face many complicated problems. But he is bound to his duty and faces heavy confusion to make the right decision and faces the ethical dilemma. Today we tend to approach the study of ethics from the point of view of individuals, with each person having his or her own special personal interests and relationships (Roger ). Kant’s ethics is considered to be an important section of ethical dimension. Kant sought moral principles that do not rest on contingencies and that define actions as inherently right or wrong apart from any particular circumstances (Shaw & Barry).

He believed that moral rules in principle, be known as a result of reason alone and are not based on observations. Kant basically emphasizes on the good will hidden in the actions of an individual’s activities. For Kant, an absolute moral truth must b logical consistent, free from internal contradictions. For example if, it is contradiction to say that an effect does not have a cause. Kant aimed to ensure that his absolute moral law would avoid such contradictions. If he formulate such a rule, he maintained, everyone would be obliged to follow it without exception. Kant’s ethics can be well applied for this situation of Kent Graham. Kent is in a situation where his bonds of duty to his family hold him in making a decision that will profit him personally. He is under the pressure to support his family and this thought cannot be considered wrong or as a crime. Kent took the decision to negotiate the firm’s deal, which is an act that could be right or moral as it came from the cause of good will and duty. Like Rousseau and Hobbes, we at least think of the state as if it had arisen out of social contracts with people.

Another ethic to put light on for this situation is the Egoism. Ethics has defined egoism as the view that equates morality with self-interest. Egoism contends that an act is morally right if and only if it best promotes an agent’s long-term interest (Shaw & Barry). Moral philosophers distinguish between two kinds of egoism: personal and impersonal. Both are more overly based on the long-term interests. In this situation Kent Graham portrays a great deal of egoism, which can be further related to personal egoism. In order to retain his position in the firm and also for the welfare of his family, Kent graham goes ahead in negotiating his deal to Jack Olson at Spray-On Inc. and also his own company Dura-Stick. Kent also fears that his time with Dura-Stick might be limited unless he starts closing some big accounts. When Jack described his need for a seven-color label with very precise graphics, Kent welcomed it as his big account, which might in turn do well for his company as well as himself.

This power of egoism inside him made him to negotiate the larger prices to his company. Kent gave the sample to Marty Klein, who was responsible for coordinating the costs and price quotes for new opportunities. The company gave its quote on the basis of its profits, which itself portrays the impersonal egoism. Kent shadows importance to his professional life in order to live and maintain good standards for his family. This made Kent to hide the true fact that the products to be supplied will be out sourced from another company. Only by hiding this fact did he receive the good news that he had secured his largest order as an account manager. The activities of Kent can be traced back to his personal benefits, which is the core for egoism. The egoism can be neutralized by moral reasoning, which states itself as defining one’s decisions by moral standards. In this situation Kent can morally reason out his egoistic decision by the fact of his job as well as supporting his family.

An important ethic to highlight is the utilitarianism. Utilitarianism describes itself as “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” or in simpler terms emphasis the overall good. Utilitarianism is considered to be consequential as it focuses majorly on the final consequences, which is, the ends justify the means. There might be situations in which lying will produce greater overall good than telling the truth. In such a situation, it would be ethically right to tell a lie. Kant Graham’s decision in securing his largest order can be ethically right from this viewpoint of utilitarianism. This is because Kant’s decision has benefited the whole Dura-Stick Label Products Company, which will in turn increase the company’s profits. As the company’s profit increases, the stock market values will increase which increases the profits for stakeholders and share markets. In a famous passage, Mill claims that “of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all have experience of both give a decided preference…that is the most desirable pleasure”. Kent Graham had secured his largest order as an account manager for Dura Stick Label Products, which displays the utilitarianism involved in it.

Putting light on virtue ethics is quite considerable in this situation. Virtue ethics is based upon the belief that the most important thing in ethics and social relationships is not necessarily in action that are taken but rather the quality of the person who undertakes it. The book ‘The Affluent Society’ opened with the following quotation from Alfred Marshall: “The economist, like everyone else, must concern himself with the ultimate aims of man.” This perspective relies on developing character as opposed to discovering the right action in any particular case. Wide’s alternative to such approaches is to examine “the virtues and vices at stake” in manipulation advertising (1987, 73). Stanly Benn sounds the same note when he suggests that the key question about advertising is whether it promotes “a valuable kind of life,” with this determination depending on “some objective assessment of what constitutes excellence in human beings” (1987, 73). In this particular case Kent Graham displays virtue ethics as the root cause of his actions is his dedication and devotion to his family. On such a perspective his quality as man devoted for welfare of family is portrayed. His deal negotiation may not be considered wrong but as a result of the person he is with his priorities and preferences.

The case study “Sticky Situation” has helped to demonstrate the understanding and application of the ethical dimensions of business decision-making. Kant’s situation has neatly unfolded the various ethical issues in business studies. It explains how the situation faced by Kent Graham constitutes of an ethical dilemma and also many ethical theories that are relevant to this situation. Kant who faces the ethical dilemma has achieved to obtain the contract which is a positive thing and can be justified by the from the Kant’s ethics point of view. Kent Graham is motivated to make and negotiate the deal as a result of the egoism in him to gain maximum profits for himself that can be down tracked to the reasons of retaining his job and also supporting his family. The virtue ethics has actually brought out the core reasons of Kant’s qualities in life. Finally Kant has also considered the utilitarian point of view, which benefits his whole company to undertake a large deal and gain huge profits. According to my point of view, I feel that Kent Graham has made the right decision to go ahead in negotiating the deal. This is because business is all about profits and risk, thus he has the right decision to fulfill the same.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59