Ethical Framework Essay

  • Length: 7 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Ethics / Morality
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #97779307

Excerpt from Essay :

Definition of an Ethical Framework

An ethical framework that would be useful to me is one which I can use it to assess how to go about behaving in a given circumstance. The framework should be based on the virtue-ethics perspective. As Lutz (1996) points out, “Piaget and Kohlberg belong to the cognitive-developmental tradition of developmental psychology” in which the moral development of a child is decided through social interaction and comes about naturally rather than through formal education (p. 1). Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is that there are six stages of moral development. First, there is the stage in which the child does what is right to avoid being punished. Second comes the stage in which the child does what is right because he perceives it serves his own interests. Third comes the stage in which the child desires to see himself as a good person and for others to see himself as a good person too. Fourth comes the stage in which the person now does what is right because there is a need to serve a larger body or community, which can only be achieved by doing what is right (this is the development of the conscience towards the social system stage). Fifth is the stage at which the person does what is right out of a sense of duty or obligation to the law. Sixth comes the stage in which the person does what is right because of a sense of the validity of the universal moral principles that he perceives to govern the world and to which he has a personal commitment (Lutz, 1996). This theory is useful in developing my own framework for ethical decision-making.

Description of How I Developed My Framework

I developed my framework, first, by going through the six stages of Kohlberg’s moral develop model as if I were passing through them for the first time. First, I asked, “What is right to engage with customers?” The answer was what I had been taught—to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. I have since learned that this is what is known as the Golden Rule, and it applies perfectly well in business ethics. One cannot go wrong if one adheres to the Golden Rule. Second, I asked, “Does following the Golden Rule benefit myself?” I answered that, yes, it certainly does because when you treat others the way you want to be treated you cannot expect that anyone will be hurt by your actions, as I would never set out to hurt myself. Third, I asked, “Can I see myself as a good person if I follow the Golden Rule as my ethical framework?” I answered that, yes, of course I can, as there is nothing about that Golden Rule that anyone has ever objected to: it is universally acknowledged and accepted as one of the most righteous principles on earth. Therefore, if I adhere to it I can most certainly regard myself as a good person and would likely be regarded by others as a good person as well. Fourth, I asked, “Does adhering to the Golden Rule serve the wider community and the interests of my own organization?” I answered that, yes, doing good unto others is the very definition of serving the wider community and my own organization: it enables me to put the needs of others before my own and to serve those needs so that the community and the company can grow and develop successfully. Fifth, I asked, “Do I feel an obligation or sense of duty with regards to adhering to the Golden Rule?” I answered that, yes, I certainly do and I feel that if I violated that rule I should lose whatever dignity, respect and reputation I have earned. Sixth, I asked, “Can I commit myself to the Golden Rule as a universal principle of rightness?” I answered that, yes, I certainly can because the Golden Rule is a universal principle and…

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…a practice that encourages humility and honesty, for it is no easy thing to tell someone to his face that something he has done has upset you—but when you learn how to handle these situations with delicacy and compassion, you yourself begin to feel like you are growing as a person. I have certainly felt that in my own life and that is the main reason I have always made an effort to use this framework.


My final conclusions about my framework and its usefulness are that it works and I would recommend it for anyone who does not yet have a framework or who finds their framework to be less than adequate. One simply cannot go wrong when it comes to applying the Golden Rule. Even in the example described above, the outcome was not what I envisioned and we did not end up becoming friends but it was still better than holding my anger in and trying to get revenge because he actually thanked me later and said that my words had given him something to reflect on and he ended up changing his manner in certain ways. We never had any more problems with one another but we never did become friends either. Nonetheless, by treating him with respect even though I felt I had been wronged, I ended up turning the wrong into a right. All I had to do was put myself in his shoes and thing how I would like to be treated if I had been the one to make him upset. When we do this it opens our eyes to a whole new reality and can really help guide one to making the right decisions. This rule can apply to anything in life, even if it is something that is unlikely to impact another person. For instance, so you want to engage in a victimless crime: well, there are no such things as victimless crimes if we really think about it, and the Golden…

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