You are on page 1of 24

S N NAIR

BUSINESS ETHICS & CORPORATE
GOVERNANCE
AN INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
“ Eternal principle of truth is ethics”---Swami Vivekananda

“ What is right is right even if no one is doing it. What is wrong is
wrong even if every one is doing it”----Henry D. Thoreau


AN INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Ethics is derived from Latin language ‘ Ethicus ’
Ethics is derived from Greek word ‘Ethikos’
Ethics has originated from ‘ethos’ meaning character or manners
and ‘sentiment of the community’
Ethics pertains to Character
Ethics is said to be the science of conduct
Ethics is said to be the source of moral principles and recognised
rules of conduct
Ethics deals with certain standard of human conduct
Ethics systematizes, defends and recommends the concept of right
or wrong behaviour

AN INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Ethics is a set of values about what is right or wrong, true or false,
fair or unfair, proper or improper, just or unjust
Ethics is a fundamental , personal trait which one adopts and
follows as a guiding principles or basic Dharma in one’s life
Ethics implies moral conduct and honourable behaviour on the part
of an individual
Ethics in most cases run parallel to law and shows due consideration
to others’ rights and interests in a civilized society
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Ethics gives an idea of honesty, obedience, equality, fairness,
respect and then doing the right thing

Ethics guides the professionals to perform their duties with
integrity, independence, sincerity and honesty

What is right is ethical and what is wrong is unethical

Definition of ethics

Ethics is the study of morals and moral choices. It focuses on
standards, rules and codes of conduct that govern the behaviour of
individuals and groups.

According to Concise Oxford Dictionary, ‘ethics’ is defined as the
science of morals. It is the branch of philosophy which is concerned
with human character and conduct. It provides the basis for
deciding that a particular action is morally good or bad

Definition of ethics

According to Webster Dictionary, ‘ethics’ is defined as the principles
of conduct governing an individual or a group

It is the principles of behaviour that distinguish between right or
wrong

According to R Wayne Monday , Ethics is the discipline dealing with
what is good and bad or right and wrong or with moral duty and
obligation



Definition of ethics

Ethics describe what is right and what is wrong in human behaviour
and what ‘ought to be’

Ethics is a description of ‘observed’ as well as ‘desirable behaviour’
and ‘conduct‘ that attempts to articulate moral values

Shea in 1988 defines ethics as the principles of conduct governing
an individual or profession and ‘standards of behaviour’

Definition of ethics
As per Brian Harvey ethics stands for a practice as well as a
reflection on the practice. As a practise it can be described as the
conscious appeal to norms and values, to which , on reasonable
grounds we hold ourselves obliged , as, reciprocally , we hold others
obliged to the same norms and values. As a reflection, ethics is the
methodical and systematic elaboration of the norms and values we
appeal to in our daily activities.

Ethics is about keeping ones promises, respecting the sentiments of
beings and distributing benefits and burden in a fair and equitable
way
What is morality?


Morality is the belief or recognition that certain behaviours are
either “good” or “bad”. Some morals are very easy to accept and
only the fringes of society might question or reject them. These
people on the fringes may be good or bad, the mere act of rejecting
a socially accepted moral of the time is in no way an indicator of the
person’s goodness.
Differentiate ethics and morality



Ethics Morality
Right code of behaviour for a
group or profession
Prescribes right conduct for
everyone
Subject to change and
relative in nature
Absolute and not changeable
Applied in the social system
group or profession
Individual disposition
Arises out of specific
recommendations of conduct
in a particular profession
Nomo logical (rules of
reasoning) in origin
It is developed and goes on
evolving
Handed over from
generation to generation
primordial (having existed
from the beginning) in
origin
It is recommended to be
followed in a profession
It is prescriptive (telling
people what they should do)
Characteristics of moral standards
Moral standards deals with matters of serious consequences of
human well being
Moral standards cannot simply be established or changed by the
law or authority
Moral standards over-ride self interest
Moral standards are based on impartial consideration
Moral standards are associated with special moral vocabulary

Ten Moral rules
Bernard provides a list of ten moral rules in his book “Morality”
1. Don’t Kill
2. Don’t disable
3. Don’t deprive of pleasure
4. Keep your promise
5. Obey the law
6. Don’t cause pain
7. Don’t deprive of freedom
8. Don’t deceive
9. Don’t cheat
10. Do your duty
Meaning of Ethics
“ There is only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code that
of individual behaviour in which the same rules apply to every one
alike” --------------Peter F, Drucker
Ethics in Latin language is called ‘Ethicus’ and in Greek , it is called
‘Ethikos’. In fact this word is originated from ‘ethos’, meaning
character or manners.
Ethics is said to be the source of morals, moral principles and
recognised rules of conduct. The character of a man is expressed in
terms of his conduct. Ethics is considered as a source of character of
a person expressed as right or wrong conduct or action

Objectives of Ethics
i. The very basic objective is to define the greatest good of man
and establish a standard for the same
ii. Set/establish moral standard and norms of behaviour
iii. An overall study of human behaviour: what is moral or immoral
should be assessed
iv. Apply judgement upon human behaviour based on these
standards and norms
v. Suggest moral behaviour , Prescribes recommendation about
Do’s and Don’ts
vi. Ones opinion or attribute about human conduct is expressed
in general




Objectives of Ethics

Ethics prescribes moral standard behaviour and also provides
solutions about how to behave in specific situation

Ethics studies human conduct and evaluates these as moral or
immoral ,right or wrong and good or bad.

Expresses an opinion or attitude about human conduct in general


Ethics & Ethos
Ethics has originated from ‘ethos’ meaning character or manners
and ‘sentiment of the community. Ethos refers to the
trustworthiness or credibility. Ethos is often conveyed through tone
and style of the message and through the way one refers to his/her
differing views .It is the fundamental character or spirit of a culture;
the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or
practices of a group or society.
Ethics systematizes, defends and recommends the concept of right
or wrong behaviour. It is a fundamental, personal trait which one
adopts and follows as a guiding principles or basic Dharma in one’s
life. It implies moral conduct and honourable behaviour on the part
of an individual. In most cases ethics run parallel to law and shows
due consideration to others’ rights and interests in a civilized society

Ethical reasoning
It is otherwise called moral reasoning
Ethical reasoning refers to the reasoning process by which human
behaviour is judged to be in accordance with or in violation of moral
standards.
In ethical reasoning moral standard of any country or society can be
judged with reference to the set of universal moral standards.
Ethical reasoning or moral reasoning involves two essential
elements
 Understanding of reasonable moral standards
 Evidence of these moral standards in behaviour, institution and
policy
Ethical reasoning


Moral Standards

Factual information
concerning the
policy, institution or
behaviour under
consideration
Moral Judgement
on the rightness or
wrongness of the
policy, institution
or behaviour
Ethical reasoning ----Example


A country is unjust
if it does not treat
women equal to
men


In India male
literacy rate = 82.1%
and female literacy
rate = 65.5%


India is unjust
Branches of ethics
Normative Ethics
It studies the determination of the correct moral standard or norm.
Meta-Ethics
It seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties and
judgement
Applied Ethics
It tells us how a moral outcome can be achieved. It is concerned
with the practical application of doctrines of morality
Moral Ethics
It raises questions like (i) How people develop their morality

Branches of ethics
Moral Ethics
It raises questions like
 How people develop their morality?
 Why certain aspects of morality differ across cultures?
 Why certain aspects of morality are generally universally applicable?
Descriptive Ethics
It deals with the moral values that people in a society try to abide by.
Modern ethics
It concentrates on the deontological (duty-based) and consequential
aspects of moral development and human behaviour




Evaluation of moral reasoning
Moral reasoning must be logical
Factual evidence must be accurate ,relevant and complete
Moral standard involved n moral reasoning must be consistent
Thanks