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Theories of Approaches of Ethical Standards

This step summarises some theories or approaches when look at ethical organisation leadership and decision making.

As we have learnt in the previous activity, leaders and other organisational members make ethically important decisions every day, and whether they do this consciously or not they always do that according to a theory of ethical behaviour.

“A basic understanding of the most important theories or approaches can help employees think clearly about ethical problems or dilemmas and make well-informed decisions” (Sims, 2017, 299).

Regarding the task of deciding on a set of rules, guidelines, or principles to follow in organisations, many will agree that it is difficult for everybody to agree on one due to the complexities of dealing with human nature. Therefore, to a certain extent, the field of business ethics tries to come up with solutions to handle problems that arise within the business environment. On the other hand, one should not be confused with the meaning of morality and ethical theory. As we have seen in week one, morality has got to do with principles or rules that are used by people to decide between wrong and right.

Whereas, ethical theory tends to provide guidelines that justify an action to be right or wrong when settling human conflicts (Sims, 2017).

In the next step we will identify the difference between descriptive and normative ethics. This will be used to help explain later theories and can be applied to your own context.


Sims R. R. (2017) A Contemporary Look at Business Ethics. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing (Contemporary Human Resources Management: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities)

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Ethical Leadership and Ethical Decision Making

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