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By Mike Harrison

This article offers an advent to a few of the foremost demanding situations dealing with somebody desirous about criteria of behaviour in organisations. It starts off from a attention of the assets supplied through philosophical ethics and strikes directly to think about the demanding situations inherent in operating in a aggressive company atmosphere.

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Practical advice for students of business ethics In this section we introduce a number of ideas linked with some practical advice relating to studying business ethics either as part of a programme in business or some other discipline or as a topic in itself. Of particular importance is the development of good technique in crafting and communicating a compelling argument. The above is particularly true of experienced managers who, after overcoming a natural resistance to the feeling that some fundamental ways in which they behave and relate to their world of work are being questioned, can become very forceful in debate and introduce new and exciting challenges to received ideas in ethics.

For example, for utilitarianism to make any sense we have to be able to say whose utility counts in the ‘calculus’. Assuming we agree that including ‘everyone’ would be hard to operationalise and ‘shareholders’ is hardly in the spirit of utilitarianism then we have a problem! Perhaps the only way forward is to explicitly and openly agree who counts in a given instance. In this case the focus of our ethical analysis turns to the process of deciding who counts and how their utility is to be taken into account.

This is partly because philosophers often write in response to previous work and some modern writings are simply unintelligible without a good knowledge of the background debate. Some philosophers, such as Hegel, are extremely demanding, to say nothing of some ‘continental’ or post-modern writers whose dense style can seem obscure. Also it is important to realise, in order to maintain one’s own self-confidence, that some topics are intrinsically difficult. For example logic, beyond an introductory level, is either extremely subtle (as in philosophical logic) or akin to studying advanced mathematics.

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