Normative Ethics Essay, Research Paper
Normative Ethics is a theory of ethics that is based on what ought to be morally right. Most ethical theories are based from a normative base. Normative ethics are based on what ought to be good or bad, right or wrong, and just or unjust. The ethical principles are ways to describe the actions and behaviors that we perform. There are several theories that apply to normative ethics like utilitarianism, pluralism, and rights based ethics.
Utilitarianism is a principle, which approves or disapproves of every action according to whether it increases or diminishes the amount of happiness or good of the interested party. This issue is deeply imbedded in the ever-expanding world of information technology. New technologies like personnel monitoring hit this issue directly. Employers may see short-term benefits of monitoring employees, such as insider trading, efficiency, or performance. But, employers must consider what effect that the monitoring will have on the employees. The overall happiness or good for all the parties involved are not always addressed. The company may see results from their end but the employees may receive an adverse effect. To successfully make a utility-based decision managers must take in to consideration who is going to be influenced by the decision to be made.
Pluralism or duty based ethical principles outline some different ideas. Immanuael Kant say the worth of an action is not found in what the person is trying to accomplish but rather the intention that they had. People must perform actions as a function of duty regardless of the consequences. Duty is an obligation to follow universal moral laws. These moral laws are outlined to make sure that projects or objectives do not superceded the worth of human beings. An important IT example would be the use of private customer information in a negative manner. Managers have a right to ensure that customer information especially financial information like credit cards or asset holdings. The managers have a duty to the customers to respect their privacy of information. Companies that provide hardware and software solutions to companies have a duty to provide a quality product. Reliant companies need those systems to run the companies. Manufacturers have a duty to balance profit maximization and quality to ensure that the product is functional for everyone.
Rights based ethics focuses on the rights of individuals and respect of people s rights. There are two different types of rights in this theory. Negative rights are rights that are free from outside interference. Therefore these rights allow people to have certain rights without someone interfering. Positive rights on the other hand are rights that people are entitled to. Examining ethical aspects using this theory people consider whether the action will impede on human or legal rights. Information management has great rights implications. Consumer s information is located on many databases throughout the nation. Companies have to ensure that consumer s rights to privacy maintained. Companies often sell information to marketing organizations who put you on other lists that they may sell. Many organizations make a point of telling consumers that their information will remain private. Consumers also want their information to be current and accurate. Information about peoples credit histories and financial information need to be accurate otherwise the customer may be negatively impacted.
People make ethical and moral decisions every day. But, what really influences people when they are making decisions. Family has a large part to play in the way that a person views the world. Values and moral are instituted in children by their parents as they grow. The structure of the family may influence the way that children view the actions of their parents and others. Also integrated with the aspect of family are the areas of religion and culture. There are certain practices in different religions that may shape the way an individual view a decision as either moral or ethical. Subjects like sex or drugs may be accepted in various forms from one religion or culture but not another. This may determine how a person may view a decision in the future. Practices vary from country to country. Therefore, a practice like corporate spying my be acceptable in one culture but is frowned upon in ours. Companies may endorse sweatshops in other countries but it is not ethical to do it in the US.
Other factors that may influence how someone makes a decision may be based on their socio-economic position in life. A person desperate for money or food my have a different outlook on some moral or ethical decisions. Personal crises alter a persons view on the world and what should be done. Age also plays an important part of how situations are solved. Younger people may view moral and ethical issues lightly because they don t understand the consequences of the actions. As people grow older their outlook on life becomes altered. Experience makes a person view the whole picture when a decision needs to be made. People s values change making their moral and ethical instincts stronger. While people age education level varies. Educated people have a different outlook on life than an uneducated person. Having more tools to access allow people to make a more informed decision. All of these different ideas shape the outlook that people have on the world. Individual views of society shape the moral and ethical decision-making process.
The factors outlined above and some of the ethical theories we can speculate how ethical dilemmas might be resolved. Ethical dilemmas need to be examined in various steps. First of all you need to assess the ethical issues in the problem. Determine what issues will become a factor in your decision making process. Decide what your moral intuition says on the issue. How do your own personal views shape the issue? Once you have determined your personal stance on the issue, you must examine the ethical frameworks to decide how the issue can be applied. What course of action do the theories point you to? You must decide what conclusions should you follow as well as considering public policy implications. The actual decision needs to be a very informed one. Every side of the issue needs to be addressed from the different ethical theories. The informed decision will create a better outcome because the pros and cons have been addressed before a solution is designed.