There are different ethical theories, and their implications can vary regarding the same situation. Thus, different theories can be implemented for different situations and activities. In this paper, the most appropriate ethical theory for students who are enrolled in graduate business programs will be discussed.
There are three main ethical theories – utility, virtue, and duty ethics. They all have their specific features and implications. In particular, utility ethics states that the most right actions are those that lead to the highest utility and satisfaction for people. Virtue ethics states that good actions should be based on universal virtues that work in any situation. Finally, duty ethics states that people should focus on their duties and responsibilities if they make decisions. In my opinion, students who are enrolled in graduate business programs should focus on duty ethics as the most appropriate theory for the environment in which they live and act. Duty ethics requires that they should act according to their duties and do what is perceived to be right, but not necessarily self-serving by motive. In my opinion, duty ethics is the best for students in business programs, because being a student and getting professional education requires performing a wide range of duties and obligations. The student should perform required obligations if he/she wants to become a professional and meet educational goals. If student duties are not followed, a student may fail to become properly educated and a professional in labor market. Thus, in making any decisions, students should focus on their duties and obligations. For example, if a student is limited in time and has to decide whether to study and perform educational duties or to perform some other actions that are not related to education, he/she should select studying actions, as they correspond to the main duties of any student.
For a student, duty ethics should be prevalent over utilitarianism, because education and professional development do not always correspond to personal satisfaction of other benefits. For instance, students should report if they notice someone cheating in class, and such reporting usually refers to their duties. For instance, if a student notices his/her friend cheating, it is necessary to report about that to a tutor, because such action is based on a duty. Regarding utilitarianism, such action is not ethical, because it leads to a dissatisfaction for a friend of student and the student him/herself as their personal relationships can significantly worsen.
Duty ethics should be used for most situations in students’ life, because those ethical principles are likely to assist any student in becoming educated, professional, and meeting personal goals. However, in some situations, duty ethics may not be prevalent, because virtue ethics seems more suitable. For example, if a student is not in the university currently or does not have to study at the moment, he/she may not use the principles of duty ethics and shift to virtue ethics as the most appropriate theory for a real life situation. For instance, if a student is not in the university and notices that someone needs help, he/she would try to help under virtue ethics, because help is a universal virtue that should be followed in any situation. Thus, it is better to select ethical theories depending on the situation.
In conclusion, there are many ethical theories, and the most popular of them are utility, virtue, and duty ethics. For students who are enrolled in graduate business programs, duty ethics seems to be the most appropriate, because students should follow particular professional duties in order to satisfy educational and professional goals. However, in some situation, it is better to focus on virtue ethics.
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