Business Ethics for the 21st Century: Chapter 1 (pp. 1 -12): "Ethics and Business " (Introduction)
1. Why do some people believe that "business ethics" is an oxymoron or contradiction in terms? How does the editor defend against that view? [What is the purpose or aim of business? If there is more than one end or "good," how may these be ranked or prioritized?] What types of important issues or values are dealt with in business ethics?
2. What do the terms "business" and "ethics" refer to? What aspects of ethical reasoning are revealed in the example of finding Acme's confidential business plan? [Discuss ends, means, principles, facts.]
The Corporation, Social Responsibility, and the World Market
3. What is meant by "corporate responsibility"? Responsibility to whom or what? How does the "profit motive" square with corporate responsibility? [Discuss the idea of the "common good" or the well-being of society as a whole.]
4. What are some of the "non-economic" goals listed by the author? Do you agree or disagree?
5. How has "globalization" affected problems of corporate responsibility? What relationship should a multinational company have to its host or "mother" country?
6. What was GATT and what were some of the consequences of its passage? Was there really ever an "implied contract" between management and labor? Between business and society?
7. What is meant by "multinational corporations"? Do they have a "host" country? Do they have responsibilities to any one society?
8. How does "globalism" result in the loss of jobs in a given country, such as the United States?
9. How has the effectiveness of labor unions been diminished by globalism? Do corporations bear responsibility for jobs and working conditions both in the United States and in foreign countries?
Philosophy and Ethics
10. According to the author, what are some relevant questions raised by ethics? What bearing do these questions have on managers and workers?
11. Explain what is mean by egoism. How is psychological egoism distinguished from ethical egoism?
12. How would the psychological egoist explain apparent instances of working with others or peforming acts of "altruism"?
13. What objections does the author raise to this view? Is satisfaction of desire always selfish?
14. What criticisms can one make of ethical egoism? [Can one distinguish between enlightened self-interest and unenlightened self-interest, long-term self-interest and short-term self-interest? Discuss.]
15. [Is stealing wrong "in itself" or because of the harm it brings to others (e.g., the Acme file)?]
16. What is meant by saying. "morality is inherently subjective?" Discuss the distinction between "facts" and "values."
17. Can moral values be proved or disproved, as scientific theories can be proved or disproved? Discuss.
18. How does the author deall with the notion of verification in science vs. morality? [Is this satisfactory? How are scientific theories really verified? What is the nature of experiment?] How can the principle, "torture is wrong," be verified?
19. How do moral values differ from "judgments of taste"? Are moral values more important than judgments of taste? Why or why not?
20. Explain amoralism. [Is such a position possible?]
CASE STUDY: Cooking the Books, by Doug Wallace (Preliminary Examination)
1. What persons are involved? How far does this "circle of persons" extend?
2. What ends or goals are at stake? How should things turn out for each person and/or for all together? What is best?
3. What conditions are present? Which seem like obstacles? Which seem like resources?
4. What moral principles (prohibitions and requirements) come into play?
5. What possible courses of action can be imagined? Of these, which ones are ruled out by principles? Which ones are ruled out by facts (actual conditions)? Which ones are consistent with the facts? Which ones will make things better?
6. Evaluate the contributed solutions. Evaluate the actual outcome.
Cyrenaic and Epicurean Egoism and Hedonism
7. Examine and discuss the "principles" of Cyrenaic Hedonism. How does it view mental pleasure (fond memories and anticipations), long-term planning, "relativism," and social relations?
8. In what ways does Epicureanism seem to be an advance over Cyrenaic hedonism? What are its priorities? How does it view anticipation of consequences? Does it regard endless desire for satisfaction or greed as a good thing? Why or why not? How does it view social relations and friendship?
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