Ethical Systems Table – PHL 323

PHL/323 – Ethical Systems Table

Theory/System and Brief Definition Other Names Real-World Example Workplace Example
Duty-based ethics
Regardless of consequences, certain moral principles are binding, focusing on duty rather than results or moral obligation over what the individual would prefer to do (Treviño & Nelson, 2011, Ch. 2).In ethics, deontological ethics, or deontology (Greek: deon meaning obligation or duty), is a theory holding that decisions should be made solely or primarily by considering one’s duties and the rights of others. Some systems are based on biblical or tenets from sacred.
Deontology, pluralism, moral rights, rights-based

Categorical imperative

Golden rule

C. I believe people should be able to eat sand because it is the right thing to do. It is my duty to follow through with instructions my boss gives me, even if I do not agree with the concept. It is my moral obligation to respect authority figures.
Consequence-based ethics
“Focuses on the outcome or final purpose, which may be localized, as in business, or universal, as in feeding all the hungry children in the world” (University of Phoenix, 2013).
Goal oriented



G. I believe I will eat sand because it is the standard meal for my community. A shipping where house has the goal of remaining injury free for 100 days. The staff is focused on the final outcome 100 days away. The team is working towards the final purpose, so they are practicing consequence-based ethics.
Rights-based ethics
“Certain things are acceptable in a community because the majority of people in the community agree the behavior is acceptable. Consider laws and civil rights” (University of Phoenix, 2013).


Equal rights

B. I believe that if sand is going to be eaten, it should be available for everyone to eat. The break room has vending machines and soda machines that are available to every worker. Rights-based ethics are applied to the break room, or else perhaps the woman workers would not have access to the soda machine.
Human nature ethics
“Beliefs based on the extremes of human behavior, both good and bad, without the direction of an outside authority” (University of Phoenix, 2013).


Virtue system

F. I believe people should be able to eat sand if they want to because they are free to make the decision themselves. The workers who visit the break room sometimes practice Human nature ethics. They will choose this virtue system by selecting the same unhealthy sugar filled products from the vending machine, instead of opting for the healthy fresh items that are good for their health.
Relativistic ethics
“Relativism often uses the personalized approach to ethics. It is subjective and focuses on personal experience as a form of judgment, and many different factors play a role in determining how a person uses this system. There are no absolutes within this type of ethical approach” (University of Phoenix, 2013).
Morally subjective

Feelings based

A. I believe people should be able to eat sand if they like the taste of it. One workers enters the break room and finds a co-worker eating a chocolate treat from the vending machine. The worker warns that those chocolate treats will lead to obesity. The worker is sharing their own Relativistic ethics based on their own personal experience with the treats making themself fat.
Entitlement-based ethics
“Moral decisions are based entirely on what is in the best interest of the individual, regardless of relationships, the needs of others, or business” (University of Phoenix, 2013).
Feelings based

Equality based

E. I believe people should be able to eat sand if they decide they want to, regardless of whether it is someone else’s sand. A worker enters the break room who forgets to bring his lunch. He looks through the refrigerator to see if anyone has brought a sandwich. He finds one that should be his, since it was not his fault he forgot his lunch. He enjoys the sandwich with his Entitlement-based ethics.
Virtue-based ethics
According to University of Phoenix  Key Terms (2013), “Virtue is determined by community standards or religious training. It is the highest standard available. The integrity, character, intentions, and motivation of the person are more important than the act itself.”
Disclosure rule

Human nature ethics

Community standards

D. I believe people should be able to eat sand because it is good for one’s health. The business owners provide fresh snacks in the break room vending machines. This act of providing the highest quality nourishment available to it’s workers is an example of Virtue-based ethics.

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Treviño, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2011). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right by Wiley

University of Phoenix. (2013). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction by Oxford University Press

University of Phoenix. (2013). Key Terms. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, PHL323 website.

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