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What are the three most important things you have learned in this course?

What are two things you will take with you and use in future courses, your career, or both?

What is one question you still have about ethics and the law in business environments?

Week 2 Journal Ethical Relativism

Ethical relativism refers to how morals could be right for an individual while being wrong for other people. The theory of ethical relativism decodes the systems of beliefs and practices related to how human beings behaved in their environment (Koistinen, 2019). While the same actions will be right for people of a particular region, the same could be wrong for others in different societies. In my previous occupation as a secretary, the issue of ethical relativism was used in arriving at better decisions. Two employees constantly battled in our organization concerning the issue of death and killing. During break time when people were conversing, they often got into heated arguments concerning the difference in their ethical guidelines. In the society of the first employee, killing one’s parents after reaching some age was common since their community members believe that life after death was better. However, such practices were condemned in the other employee’s society.

These employees also argued about their differences in dress codes and how they behaved around the office and work premises. Such differences contributed to heated arguments between these two employees who both held firm positions on their beliefs. In these two communities, cases of moral beliefs are different in how they relate culturally. The two views of these individuals often made them engage in conflict. The values involved in the arguments were all ethical since both parties believed that their moral obligations were tuned to their ideologies. The case continued with no proper solution reached since there was no proper understanding of how the right or wrong perspectives. However, the employee that argued that killing parents was alright was convinced to believe that their ideas were wrong. Both employees were inclined to believe whatever their primary views held. Reaching an agreement and winning over one party to joining the other was hence difficult. The resolution could also not be reached since they all held firm opinions about their perspectives. However, after a tense conversation, the other party believed.

In my opinion, the outcome was not fair. The outcome was not fair since it is unethical to force people to develop a better understanding and perspective besides their original ideologies. The same actions might be morally right in one community and will be followed by members of these groups. However, other individuals might hold different opinions like in the case of the two employees. Forcing people to believe in one’s ideologies was completely wrong and should not have been conducted. The decision was also wrong since it made one party change his original perception and join another ideology which they were not sure of the credibility. Such activities are ineffective and should not be carried out.

I do not accept this philosophical approach since it goes against the concept of ethical relativism. According to the theory of ethical relativism, everyone can possess independent beliefs and ideas that should be respected by everyone, and no attempt should be made to alter these ideologies. I do not accept this philosophical approach since it is ethically wrong and does not hold any philosophical benefits. I believe that it is important to consider every culture in the world and respect their decisions and beliefs. Despite some people thinking that others have lesser beneficial cultures and ways of life, they need to understand that respecting these traditions is beneficial to the entire society (Koistinen, 2019). Even if there are differences that exist in these cultural perspectives, it is wise for human beings to accept these cultures and look for ways to live with each other despite differences. I believe that every human being should be left to have their own culture and beliefs.

Ethical Decision Making

The US District Judge Louis Sands sentenced the senior executives of Peanut Corporation of America after finding them guilty of distributing tainted food across cities in the country. The judge jailed Mary Wilkerson, the quality-control manager in the company, for five years due to her obstruction of justice. Mary, being an employee, was directed by the executive Michael Parnell and Stewart Parnell to decline the findings that peanuts had salmonella bacteria. Her decision to discard the findings raises questions about the philosophical framework she used in making it. Mary would have used human rights and duties ethical philosophy to decide the action to execute after the findings.

Parnell pressured Mary to allow food shipping to the consumers despite having salmonella bacteria. However, Mary could resist or quit her job to ensure she is not involved in the case directly. She continued working as the quality-control manager and let the food crime occur in her presence in the company. Her decision was driven by the ethical relativism ethical philosophy that holds an action to be moral when the society where it is being practiced claims so. The corporation executive held that the food products had to be distributed to consumers regardless of the bacteria present, so Mary also decided to work under the company’s morality (Richardson


al., 2018). Her decision was ill because she understood the potential negative impacts of food on society.

Mary would have used human rights and duties ethical philosophy to act in her capacity after realizing peanuts had salmonella. The philosophy is an ideal foundation to make decisions for most people because it minds the wellness of everyone in the community. It places the people at the center of decision-making, and decision-makers use it to assess and address potential harm to people (Campos, 2022). Mary would have placed her concern on the danger facing the consumers. She would then decline the directives and pressure from her senior managers and, to some point, report them to the responsible authorities. Even though she would potentially lose her job, she would have saved peanut consumers from harm.

Moreover, human rights and duties at the forefront would have eliminated subjective elements in ethics and achieved justice. The human rights approach would aid in persuading the managers to consider their business conduct and practices to attain respect for public justice. The organization would consider observing legal, regulatory, moral, and human rights in decision-making (Campos, 2022). This way, they would avoid food crime and continue their business


carefully without law violation.

A rational decision-making model would have assisted Mary in taking steps toward the dilemmas. One identifies the problem to solve in their situation through the model. Mary had the problem of solving the task of ensuring the corporate consumers receive quality food. She wondered how she would solve the problem because the professional solution was against the management’s wish. Parnell’s directive to Mary that tainted food had to be distributed interfered with Mary’s decision-making sobriety.

Information gathering and organization of the problems under consideration are vital in the rational decision-making model. The decision-maker must be able to seek information about the problem they want to solve before deciding on what course to take towards providing a considerable solution. Mary was a quality control manager in the organization and had all information concerning the status of the food products. Laboratory tests and results indicated clearly that peanut butter had salmonella bacteria that threatened human health, and thus she could proceed with her decision-making process.

Situational analysis and the development of options are also crucial in the decision-making process. In these steps, the decision-makers should evaluate the internal and external conditions affecting their work and develop choices that will aid them in deciding favorably on their business practices. Mary knew she had two options: ignore the management directives and risk her employment or remain submissive and distribute contaminated food across the country. She remained submissive and hindered the human right to safe and clean food.

Another crucial step in the rational model is valuing the options and choosing the one deemed to be the best. The best choice should


the human rights and duties, and its intention should be people-centered rather than self-centered (Buckley & Casson, 2019). In the corporation, Mary’s options were difficult to settle on one of them. She feared management would terminate her job if she did not allow the distribution of contaminated peanut butter. Additionally, she was afraid that the distribution would cause illnesses and deaths. In this scenario, she would base her decision on the utilitarian theory of ethics. The theory suggests that one should decide if its outcome benefits the majority in society (Campos, 2022). It would be decisive for her to oppose the distribution of tainted food and ensure consumers access to safe food. This decision would negatively impact the corporation owners and herself, while the majority, consumers in the society, would be safe from harm. At the same time, she would have catered to the human rights to access safe food.

To conclude, Mary’s decision to spare her job and the corporation business was self-centered and did not cater to justice. Her ethics philosophy was faulty in that she was not considerate in terms of human rights. She would have taken human rights and duties approach in deciding on the distribution of contaminated food. Using the rational decision-making model, she would have considered taking care of the human rights and responsibilities to promote the wellness of society. Furthermore, her decision ought to have been guided by the utilitarian theory to make informed decisions. Integration of the philosophy of ethics and the model would be ideal for her in hindering the progress of food crime by the Peanut Corporation of America.

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