Law vs. Ethics MGT 101 Seminar Five Summer 2010 Laws and ethics are a touchy subject, even the brightest minds in the world have a tough time coming up with the “right” answer. When applying social responsibility with ethics, we must look at it from multiple sides; let’s use an example, Robert was interested in learning about the workings of professional burglars. Several years ago, he made contact with someone who could put him in touch with a professional burglar, although the burglar had retired several years ago.
He contacted this person, who forwarded his interest on to the “retired” professional burglar. The burglar agreed to participate in a series of interviews. The first two interviews went fine, but on the third occasion, his subject indicated that he was planning a burglary in a new development. This was to be a one-time event (rather than a return from retirement) involving burglarizing the home of a wealthy resident in this development. Robert promised his subject anonymity and confidentiality at the outset of his research, but he now had information indicating that a crime was about to be committed.
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In analyzing laws and ethics in this case, if Robert was being ethical for the integrity of the burglar and did not inform the police of his deeds, he was being unethical in the social responsibility aspect of ethics! When respecting people’s rights, dignity, and diversity, people are going to be affected negatively either way in certain situations. What we need to ask ourselves is, do we act unethically to the side that is committing a crime, or unethically to those who are not? Professionally, Robert could choose not to disclose any information that he has received from the burglar and still be doing an ethical thing.
Professional competence allows this to be ethical while many people believe in the patient confidentiality agreements fully. Decisions like this being made by Robert are the type he would have to live with and possible regret for the rest of his life. Let’s just say for instance the homeowners came home unexpectedly and there was a confrontation and the burglar was killed. Now Robert is thinking this could have been prevented by him and he begins losing sleep at night. Personally and lawfully, Robert could contact the police and inform them of the burglary and uphold the integrity of the law and what Robert feels is right.
This is not a safe bet either, let’s say for instance, Robert warned the police of the burglary and as the police went to investigate, the burglar got scared and killed an officer. Robert is now carrying the burden of an innocent police officer killed because he informed the police of the act. If he only would have let the burglar do his deed, the insurance company would have just paid for their losses and everyone would still be alive. As you can see there was no right answer in this case; any decision made by Robert has the potential to end up in disaster.
That does make this a true ethical dilemma and it is up to Robert in this case to realize that whatever decision he makes could end up not going perfectly and at the same time remembering the other decision could have the same consequences. Wikipedia defines these moral standards as follows: Business ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. Social responsibility is an ethical or ideological theory that an entity whether it is a government, corporation, organization or individual has a responsibility to society at large.
That being said, you can see that social responsibility is a form of business ethics. Business ethics are not a theory but rather beliefs that are defined by the norm in a business world. Social responsibility is a theory that a business has a responsibility to society to perform on an ethical level. (Business ethics level) Is it ever ethical to murder? That is the debate crushed down, condensed, and liquefied to the smallest possible form on capital punishment. In other words, this one sentence can be viewed as an atom bomb, ready to explode into all the questions that this debate brings on about morals and ethical decisions.
Capital Punishment is morally acceptable when you look at it through ethical theories, depending on your definitions of happiness. For example, I stated above that the action of killing another human being would not make me happy, but if killing that human being meant he would not kill someone I care about in the future or simply kill anyone else in the future, then yes, it would maximize happiness to kill another human being. The only problem is, there is no way of knowing he would ever kill again. Or if he was to spend his life in jail, how could he kill again, unless he killed in prison.
If my views on the subject were accepted by the lawmakers, it would cause many people to protest, but how is that much different than what is going on today? People will realize eventually that these murderers and rapists do not belong in our society or on this planet. It is very sad that it takes something tragic to happen to a lover, family member, or close friend before some realize that they are not immune to the darkness within these human beings that should be put to death for what they have done.
References Criminology & Public Policy??8. 4 ?? Tomislav V. Kovandzic,??Lynne M. Vieraitis??and??Denise Paquette Boots (Nov 2009):??p803(41). Reading Level (Lexile): N/A. http://en. wikipedia. org Richard Paul, Linda Elder (2006), Critical thinking-Learn the tools the best thinkers use. Pearson Education Inc. Henslin, J. M. (2010). Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston, MA:?? Allyn and Bacon. Exploring Business, Karen Collins,??Flatworld Knowledge Publishing 978-0-9820430-0-4, 2009