Situation ethics essay introduction

People use moral reasoning in an attempt to do the right thing. Such judgements are made by considering the objective and the likely consequences of an action. Moral reasoning is the consideration of the factors relevant to making these types of assessments. Studies have uncovered four skill sets that play a decisive role in the exercise of moral expertise.

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When a student identified a critical design flaw in the building during a routine class exercise, LeMesseur responded not by shooting the messenger but by developing an intricate and effective plan for correcting the problem before it resulted in drastic real-world consequences. Culture reflects the moral values and ethical norms governing how people should behave and interact with others. Culture describes a collective way of life, or way of doing things. It is the sum of attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by individuals in a group, organization, or society.

Cultures vary over time periods, between countries and geographic regions, and among groups and organizations. Culture reflects the moral and ethical beliefs and standards that speak to how people should behave and interact with others. Cultural map of the world : This diagram attempts to plot different countries by the importance of different types of values.

One axis represents traditional values to secular-rational values, while the other axis accounts for survival values and self-expression values. Different groups of countries can be grouped into certain categories, such as Catholic Europe, English speaking, and Ex-Communist.

Cultural norms are the shared, sanctioned, and integrated systems of beliefs and practices that are passed down through generations and characterize a cultural group. Norms cultivate reliable guidelines for daily living and contribute to the health and well-being of a culture. They act as prescriptions for correct and moral behavior, lend meaning and coherence to life, and provide a means of achieving a sense of integrity, safety, and belonging.

These normative beliefs, together with related cultural values and rituals, impose a sense of order and control on aspects of life that might otherwise appear chaotic or unpredictable. This is where culture intersects with ethics. Since interpretations of what is moral are influenced by cultural norms, the possibility exists that what is ethical to one group will not be considered so by someone living in a different culture. According to cultural relativists this means that there is no singular truth on which to base ethical or moral behavior for all time and geographic space, as our interpretations of truths are influenced by our own culture.

This approach is in contrast to universalism, which holds the position that moral values are the same for everyone. Cultural relativists consider this to be an ethnocentric view, as the universal set of values proposed by universalists are based on their set of values. Cultural relativism is also considered more tolerant than universalism because, if there is no basis for making moral judgments between cultures, then cultures have to be tolerant of each other.

The French and Americans have different views on whistle-blowing. Compared to the French, American companies consider it to be a natural part of business.

Aristotle's Ethics: Sample student essay

So natural, in fact, that they set up anonymous hotlines. The French, on the other hand, tend to view whistle-blowing as undermining solidarity among coworkers. Personal values provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, and constructive. Over time, the public expression of personal values has laid the foundations of law, custom, and tradition.

Personal values in this way exist in relation to cultural values, either in agreement with or divergent from prevailing norms. Personal values take on greater meaning in adulthood as they are meant to influence how we carry out our responsibilities to others. This is true in the workplace, especially for managers and leaders, who are charged with overseeing resources for the benefit of others.

Ethics for A-Level

Because of their authority structures, social norms, and cultures, organizations can have a powerful influence on their employees. In this way they seek to promote their standards of ethical behavior. Since moral judgments are based on the analysis of the consequences of behavior, they involve interpretations and assessments. One might be asked to do something that violates a personal belief but is considered appropriate by others.

Without that awareness, it can be difficult to justify a decision on ethical or moral grounds in a way that others would find persuasive. If you value equal rights for all and you go to work for an organization that treats its managers much better than it does its workers, you may form the attitude that the company is an unfair place to work; consequently, you may not produce well or may even leave the company.

It is likely that if the company had a more egalitarian policy, your attitude and behaviors would have been more positive. Ethical decisions involve judgments of facts and situations that are subject to interpretation and other influences. Law and ethics are not the same thing. Both exist to influence behavior, but complying with the law is mandatory, while adhering to an ethical code is voluntary. Laws define what is permissible, while ethics speak to what is right, good, and just.

Lawyers and judges are responsible for clarifying the meaning of a law when there is ambiguity or when a matter is subject to interpretation. Where ethics are concerned, that responsibility lies with each individual. In organizations, employees can look to the code of ethics or the statement of values for guidance about how to handle ethical gray areas. Even when an individual has a clear sense of right and wrong, or good and bad, it can be difficult to know what is ethical in a given situation.

One analyzes ethical issues by asking questions such as: What could happen? How likely is it happen? What might the harm be? Who might be hurt? The answers are not always clear cut. Individual judgments can be influenced, even clouded, by a number of factors. In addition, there are times when people believe that the ends justify the means. His theory was in opposition to the more traditional ideas of morality at the time, the most important two being Antinomian and Legalistic approaches.

The Antinomian approach is the lawless approach which is where there are no set principles. The situation should tell us what is the right or wrong thing to do and if we are required to take any kind of action.


The legalistic approach to moral issues is based on a set of absolute laws that everyone has to apply. It is said we should try to apply these moral rules to our everyday lives and to do this there must be a system, made up of sub rules and regulations that we all must follow. Fletcher saw the only fair way to deal with moral issues was to use the situation ethics approach. This was developed in opposition to natural law and is a very subjective or relative theory.

Fletcher believed that we must take into consideration the different situations that things happen in. He said that individual people and situations take precedence over general moral rules.

The idea of situation ethics totally revolves around the one idea of love. Fletcher said that if we always did the most loving thing in every situation then this would always be the right thing to do. He put forward four major principles being; relativism, pragmatism, positivism and personalism all of these have flaws but are quite powerful as well, one of the problems with them is that as all situations are different, there will hardly ever be a time where all of these can link well without any discrepancies.

An Introduction to Situation Ethics

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