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By Peter Fewings

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Sample text

In business terms, ethical service is good business, as their profits have improved. In Kantian terms, this may be considered as driven by selfish interest – ‘the company cannot survive without doing better’. In justice and virtue ethics terms, public pressure has led to a fair service and a responsible company which can bask in the virtue of a good reputation. Situational ethics applied to business Situational ethics may well be suited to a business or project in managing stakeholders. The four working principles of business situational ethics, according to Bowie and Werhane (2005)22 are: 1 Pragmatism, where an emphasis is put on satisfying as many people as possible to get the job done.

Thus, situational ethics applied in this context could be dependent on any, or all, of the reputation of those making the decision, the context of the act and the culture and past experiences of the people who are affected. It might Development of an ethical framework 23 come up with different ethical solutions and by itself would use the sensitivity of the people around to find clues for an ethical solution. In a very real sense, it is subjective, but business can adopt it as a way of personalising the corporate approach to their customers and employees.

Kant recognised explicitly and implicitly that corruption existed. An example of Kantianism is the application of a strict code of professional 22 Development of an ethical framework conduct to the actions of a professional regarding confidentiality. He believed that a rule such as ‘keep the confidentiality of a client’ was sacrosanct unless there was a case where the law was broken by the client. The rule should be maintained even if it meant some degree of discomfort or injustice to others who might be affected.

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