Ethics is a branch
of philosophy that is concerned with ethics and values. Ethics as a study of
human “activities, for a specific purpose, is to determine whether a
particular action or behaviour is right or wrong, Ethics act as an important
factor during make a right decision, as the intention is based on the level of
moral values and principals.
In today’s business
environment, ethics means the morals and values that can be classified into
business specific groups such as medical, legal and social media ethics.
Business ethics seek
to understand ethical issues arising from business practices, institutions,
decision-making and their relationship to universal human values and they are
based on the principle of fairness and integrity and focus on the benefits of
stakeholders. Stakeholders include those individuals and groups without which
the organization does not exist. It includes shareholders, employees,
customers, government etc…
The first section of
this report will evaluate the main philosophical approaches to morals and
The second section
of this report will explore the wide range of contemporary issues involving
business, management and ethics including corporate social responsibility,
radical perspectives and capitalism
The third section of
this report will apply and analyse different theories of moral philosophy from
an ethical case study.
The growing use of zero-hours contacts
within the United Kingdom Retail, hospitality and factory sectors.
There are serious
ethical issues over zero hour’s contracts. These contracts are commonly used to
employ people without guarantying that working hours will be offered. This
ethical issue arises in the recent years especially in retail, fast food and
hospitality sector after the economic crises in 2007.
Zero hours contracts
are highly beneficial for companies and organizations to minimize staffing
costs and enabling them to respond flexibly in a rapidly changing marketplace
but have a negative impact on the feelings and the attitudes of employees
within the UK.
As an example of the
fast-food chain, MacDonald’s has been one of the biggest users of Zero Hours
Contracts in Britain, these contracts allowed the fast-food chain to reduce
staff if they are not required which means MacDonald’s do not provide any
guarantee on the employees’ income which leading to lower levels of
productivity and job security.
Zero hours contracts
are important for the success of the jobs market, but they must be fair and
work for both parties. Some employees actually value the flexibility zero hours
contacts provided in a minority of cases but on the other hand, most employees
accept these contracts because they have no other options.
Many people have
problems with these kinds of contracts and many companies misused these
flexible contract types. Ethically, such contracts can cause employees to feel
like slaves, as they can’t work when they are available and need for money but
they have to work when the employers want.
There are many
philosophical approaches and ethical theories that can be used to define the
ethical issues in zero hour’s contacts. Like deontology, utilitarianism and
different approaches to morality and ethics:
differ from religious, cultural, legal approaches to ethics by seeking to study
ethics through a rational, secular view based on the concepts of human
happiness or well-being. The
main advantage of the philosophical approach to ethics is that it avoids the
authoritarian foundations of religion and law, as well as the subjective,
arbitrary and irrationality that may characterize purely moral or cultural
moral views. There are few main different ways in which people can
approach morality and ethics. These include:
deontologists, morality consists in the fulfilment of moral obligations or
duties. People are
morally required to do certain acts in order to uphold a rule of law. The right
or wrong is determined by an ethical rule independent from its consequences or
how happiness or pleasure is distributed as a result of compliance with or
non-compliance with this rule.
Many people think
that zero hours contracts are wrong, even though organizations and companies in
general, economically benefited from these kinds of contracts. Suppose also
that employers are able to conditions the employees to the point where they
actually enjoyed working under zero hours contracts. A deontologist, however, would argue that even
if organizations conduct a detail cost/benefit analysis of zero-hours contracts
and decided that it created more pleasure in society than pain, it would still
be wrong. Therefore, deontologists believe that right and wrong have
nothing to do with pleasure, pain, or consequences. Morality is based on whether acts conflict with
moral rules or not, and the motivation behind those acts.
Ethics is possible
only in societies that possess the natural qualities of rationality and free
will. We cannot hold a person responsible for his actions unless that person is
able to know the right from wrong and is able to do the right and avoid the wrong.
So the morality of people action cannot be separated from intent. Good actions
arise out of good intentions and bad actions arise out of bad intentions.
To evaluate zero
hour’s contracts According to Kantian theory there is a difference between good
companies ethically and a good company legally. A good company ethically
behaves in accordance with the universal ethical rules that are ratified at all
times in all places and there is no need to threaten good companies by law to
do the right thing and avoid employed people with zero hours contracts as they
act as a goodwill and avoid using these kinds of contracts from the ethical
viewpoint. On the other hand, a good company legally do the right thing out of
fear of getting in trouble and breaking the rules.