Ethics and Morals help
us in making the correct decisions which are suitable for us and the people around
us. Ethics in business are equally important and provide the guidelines of how
a company must act. For easier decision, there are 4 ethical theories which can
be considered namely Kantianism, Egoism, Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics
This scandal also violates the
theory of Utilitarianism as Mylan only thought about its profit and did not
consider the needs of American people who need the EpiPen. It did not do what
was best for the interest of majority of people and instead only took advantage
of people by charging them exorbitant prices.
Mylan’s EpiPen is a medicine
for those suffering an anaphylactic allergic reaction. It’s a very common disease
in America hence, it’s a very crucial drug for these patients. However, Mylan sells
a pack of 2 EpiPens for $600 even though its retail cost is $10.The government supports
Mylan and does not let any other company come out with a cheaper alternative
and tries everything from rejecting their proposal to banning them for 30
months for patent infringement to prevent them from entering the market. Many American
families are stuck between a rock and a hard place as Mylan has a near monopoly
on such products (Paul 2016).
Despite these benefits many
businesses resort to unethical business practices. One such scandal was the EpiPen
scandal which is the perfect example of Capitalism. Capitalism is when a
company owns all the economic resources and is capable of taking all the decisions
in its own self-interest. Businesses often indulge in capitalism because it
allows them private ownership of their goods, control over the market and high
profits (Vitez 2017).
But ethical business behavior has its own benefits
like it attracts customers, makes employees want to continue to work in the
company thereby saving recruitment cost and increases the goodwill of the
company thereby attracting investors (Business Case Studies 2017).
Acting ethically doesn’t
ensure a profitable outcome whereas unethical business act doesn’t mean the
business will be punished (Luu 2015, p6).
But what is business ethics exactly?
Business ethics gives what is right and wrong combined with the studies of moral
standard, philosophy, politics and law.It acts as a guideline for businesses to
act ethically towards people and environment.
There is lot of talk about business
ethics nowadays. Businesses have started to recognize the responsibility they
have towards people and environment.
I remember that once in school there was once
a Hindi extempore competition and a person of the team which was supposed to
represent our school fell sick on the day of the competition. The team asked me
to replace that person since I was the Hindi topper of my section. Even though
I had a test next day, I agreed to join the team and go for the competition as
it was in the best interest of the school, teachers and students. Thus,
following the theory of Utilitarianism.
The other 3 theories don’t make sense to me as
in the theory of Virtue Ethics, there is no proper definition of what virtues are
and its quite difficult to identify the virtues in a person. Similarly, Kantianism
is not a viable theory because this theory is violated at every stage of our
life as in this competitive world we need to keep other persons goals below
ours to succeed. On the contrary the theory of Egoism only focuses on self
interest which can be at many times harmful to the people around us.
Among the 4 theories, the
theory which speaks to me the most is Utilitarianism since it focuses on what’s
best for the majority of people. In today’s world if everyone follows Utilitarianism
and thinks about public interest before themselves, the world can be a
beautiful place to live in where everyone thinks about each other
At last, the fourth theory is Egoism
which focuses on self-interest and specifies that we don’t have any obligation
towards anyone else’s interest (Westacott 2017).
The third theory of ethics is
Kantianism which says that we should treat people as human beings and not as a means
to complete our goals. To put it simply, Kantianism doesn’t allow anything that
defies another human being’s goals (Sirotkin 2014).
According to Filip et al. (2016),
the first theory is Utilitarianism which says that an action is morally correct
only if it is in the best interest of the majority of people. The second theory
is called Virtue-based ethics which foster virtue as a way of shaping one’s
character and ethical behavior. Virtues are learned behaviors and virtues such
as accountability, bravery, commitment, compassion, courage, dignity,
determination, endurance, fairness, loyalty, moderation, reliability,
thankfulness, and trustworthiness support the moral excellence and anticipate
the societal wellbeing.
Ethics and morals are the
basis of life and define right and wrong for us. There are 4 ethical theories
which are the basis of decision making and can greatly influence our decisions.
So often ethics and morals are
confused as the same thing. However, ethics are the rules of conduct for a
particular individual, culture or class and morality is what defines right and
wrong according to an individual’s perspective (Diffen n.d.).
“If you don’t have integrity,
you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world,
but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing” (Kravis n.d.).
and Morals are the very basis of our existence and the same thing also applies
to a business. In this essay I highlight the importance of ethics and morals in
business and why businesses should follow them. To support the idea of ethics I
have given the 4 ethical theories and exemplified the one that speaks to me the
most. However, there are companies who still don’t understand the idea and
continue to run unethically defying the ethical norms and morals.