The typical unethical business practice which is associated with working conditions and environments is discrimination. Although the issue of discrimination is actively discussed and addressed in the world business environment, there are still many situations when managers discriminate the other employees according to such factors as gender, age, and ethnicity. Following the principles of Ethics of Virtue, it is possible to note that the acts of such managers are not virtuous because they allow their vices to win in the situation. In order to discuss ethical concerns from the point of Ethics of Virtue, it is necessary to focus on the situation in detail, to formulate the ethical problem, and provide solutions.
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Thus, discrimination in the workplace environment is the ethical problem which should be discussed from the perspective of Ethics of Virtue because those persons who demonstrate discriminative behaviours do not develop their virtuous character and violate the idea of fairness in judging people.
While focusing on discrimination as the unethical business situation, it is important to note that many modern human resource managers take responsibility of judging people according to such factors as gender, age, and ethnicity. For instance, the HR manager of the large British Company avoided hiring the specialist in the field of IT because of the man’s age. The fact that the candidate working for the subsidiary company was a 48-year-old male made the HR manager think about the man as a bad professional because of the necessity to focus on new talents in the field.
The manager’s act was discussed as discrimination according to the age factor because the manager ignored 25 years of the candidate’s experience in the sphere. As a result, the candidate did not receive a chance to improve his working conditions, improve qualification, and contribute to the company’s development.
The presented situation should be discussed from the perspective of such a moral framework as Ethics of Virtue. This moral framework is based on the idea that a person can be discussed as good or making good things when the character of this person is virtuous and when the focus on virtues plays the key role in directing the actions (Darwall 2003, p. 112). The principles of Ethics of Virtue are based on the idea of acting according to such virtues as courage, sincerity, fairness, wisdom, and prudence. A person is a main ethical agent, and his or her virtuous character is in following the listed internal attributes (Faunce & Jefferys 2007, p. 567; Nussbaum 2013, p. 12).
The individual’s insincerity and lack of wisdom can become the origin of such unreasonable actions as discrimination and the loss of a good candidate. The principle of fairness was violated because the HR manager did not express his concerns as the virtuous person in order to receive the necessary explanation and plan the further actions. Instead, he chose to judge a person according to such a factor as age.
The discussed ethical problem can be resolved while focusing on the manager’s approach to judging people. The virtuous person should not make decisions only while focusing on the first impression. This approach is not ethical, and it cannot provide the information about the candidate’s potential. Virtuous leaders do not provide verdicts because their discussion, evaluations, and appraisals are objective (Russell 2013, p. 115).
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It is important for the virtuous manager to judge persons according to their activities and performance because this approach is basic while referring to the principles of Ethics of Virtue. From this perspective, the first solution to the problem is the fair conversation with the candidate to provide him with the opportunity to be assessed in relation to performance. The next solution is the avoidance of discriminative practices as the basic ones to make decision in the working environments because they cannot be virtuous and based on the principles of wisdom and fairness.
Discrimination is one of major ethical issues which are associated with working conditions. In order to address this problem with references to Ethics of Virtue, it is necessary to provide people with the opportunity to demonstrate their virtues. To become virtuous means to be fair, while acting according to the principles of wisdom and logics instead of pragmatism.
Darwall, S 2003, Virtue ethics, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. Web.
Faunce, T & Jefferys, S 2007, ‘Whistleblowing and scientific misconduct: renewing legal and virtue ethics foundations’, Journal of Medicine and Law, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 567-584. Web.
Nussbaum, M 2013, Creating capabilities: the human development approach, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Web.
Russell, D 2013, The Cambridge companion to virtue ethics, Cambridge University Press, New York. Web.