The purpose of this week’s assignment was to read three peer reviewed/scholarly journals and compare and contrast each author’s ethical perspective. The articles were: What is Business Ethics by Peter F. Drucker, 1981, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits by Milton Friedman, 1970 and The Relevance of Responsibility to Ethical Business Decisions by Patrick E. Murphy, 2010.
Ethical Perspectives of Friedman, Drucker and Murphy
Peter F. Drucker is known as the man who invented management. Drucker wrote many books on management and influenced the way business and industry thinks about management.
“Peter F. Drucker ...view middle of the document...
Casuistry is not or cannot be the solution to the business ethics dilemma. It cannot be the solution, as the business executive rationalizes why a certain action is unethical for other individuals, but not unethical for himself. Unfortunately, in today’s business society, this mindset is the norm and not the exception. Drucker dismisses casuistry due to extortion and how many societies use extortion to employ their older government employees and business executives who have been displaced due to age or younger, brighter, fresher employees taking their jobs.
“The Ethics of Prudence do not spell out what right behavior is. They assume that what is wrong behavior is clear enough-and if there is any doubt, it is questionable and to be avoided. Prudence makes it an ethical duty for the leader to exemplify the precepts of ethics in his own behavior” (Drucker, p.27).
Ethics of Prudence cannot be the answer to the business ethics dilemma. Who is to say
what is right behavior? Society informs us what the norm is, but since we are raised in different households by different parents, everybody’s idea of right behavior is not the same. If everybody had the same sense of right and wrong, there would be no need for the judicial system or prisons. Also, there would not be the discussion for business ethics. Drucker identifies the reason for ethics of prudence not being the absolute answer as business ethics denying authority and ethics of prudence takes for granted authority exists. At the end of his paper he states: “…it is a society that must stress the Ethics of Prudence and self-development” (p.36).
“Confucian ethics elegantly sidesteps the trap into which the Casuists fell; it is a universal ethics, in which the same rules and imperative of behavior hold for every individual. There is no social responsibility overriding individual conscience, no cost benefit calculation, no greater good or higher measure than the individual and his behavior, and altogether no casuistry. In the Confucian ethics, the rules are the same for all….” (Drucker, p.30).
Drucker subscribes to the Confucian ethics and does not foresee the need for a separate
business ethics apart from personal ethics. Drucker recommends the adoption of the five key concepts of Confucian ethics:
“-clear definition of the fundamental relationships;
-universal and general rules of conduct-that is, rules that are binding on any one person
or organization, according to its rules, function, and relationships;
-focus on right behavior rather than on avoiding wrongdoing, and on behavior rather
than on motives or intentions; and finally,
-an effective organization ethic, indeed an organization ethic that deserves to be seriously considered as ethics, will have to define right behavior as the behavior which optimizes each party’s benefits and thus makes the relationship harmonious, constructive, and mutually...