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Ethics Essay Sample

Ethics is essentially what a person believes is good or bad. By definition ethics is “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good or bad” (Merriam-Webster, 2013). There are different theories of ethics which include virtue ethics, utilitarianism ethics, and the deontology theory. Virtue ethics is the theory that basically says that a person throughout their life should strive for moral excellence through life experiences. This theory looks at a person over a period of time to determine if they have good morals and considered an ethical person versus basing it off of one incident or “slip-up”. These “slip-ups” can be forgiven taking in account past deeds of moral turpitude and ethical acts. The utilitarianism theory is acting morally for the good of a group or society. This theory is very popular in the United States and other Western capitalistic democracies. Utilitarianism works when the people in that particular group or society agree on what is considered moral and what would be deemed good for them as a whole.

The utilitarianism theory can also be seen as social responsibility with the actual definition being the “obligation of an organization’s management towards the welfare and interests of the society in which it operates” (BusinessDictionary.com, 2013). The deontology theory states that someone’s actions are based on that is inherently right with no other calculations being taken into consideration such as consequences of the action. Deontology is based simply on principle and is justified through the structure of action, nature of reason, and the operation of the will (Boylan, 2009). Ethics and social responsibility play a significant role in the development of a strategic plan especially when considering stakeholders needs and agendas. Company’s primary mission is to make money and turn a profit for their stakeholders. This is done in many different ways and are outlined in the strategic plan.

The company however needs to ensure that their operations are ethical and not harmful to society or the community surrounding. Many companies walk a fine line between ethical and unethical when making efforts to perform for their stakeholders. Stakeholders primary objective is to make as much profit as possible and in most cases in the shortest amount of time possible. This is where companies are sometimes found crossing the line of ethics and social responsibility. This may include cutting corners to have a better competitive edge within the industry thus veering away from the company’s original strategic plan. In years past some companies have been caught conducting unethical operations in the name of profit (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010). The government has enacted legislation to make these activities less appealing to companies. Companies are now tasked with developing strategic agendas to accommodate their stakeholders needs and agendas while still considering ethics and social responsibility.

Essentially a company has to make it clear to stakeholders that their best interests are foremost but ethics and social responsibility will take precedence when developing a strategic plan to lead the company to success. The most popular and remembered company for overstepping ethical boundaries for stakeholders agendas would be Enron. Enron who began as a struggling energy provider climbed its way to the top of the food chain in the industry to essentially become a broker of energy. The company appeared to have a great deal of ethics and social responsibility from the outside looking in but things were not as they appeared after the company unraveled. It was found that top executives of the company were falsifying documents about earnings and essentially bleeding the company of all of its assets over the years until its inevitable fall.

This included making not so ethical business partnerships and making attempts to hide its debt through clever accounting tricks to avoid recording the information on balance sheets (Sims & Brinkmann, 2003). This all in an attempt to keep stock prices climbing to pad the pockets of the executives and stakeholders alike. Many steps could have been taken within Enron to avoid this situation while still staying successful. The first step would have been to develop a strategic plan that not only provided direction for the company but set milestones for the company to succeed.

Other steps to avoid this type of activity is to develop checks and balances within the company and not allowing a select few top executives to control everything without any accountability. The executives of the company set the tone for the company and when employees see them acting unethically then it is believed this acceptable within the company. Executives should be setting a positive example and encouraging their employees to take the same approach.


Ethics and social responsibility come hand in hand when dealing with the world of business. When developing a strategic plan a company needs to ensure these areas are addressed and balanced when considering the needs and agendas of its stakeholders. This can as simple as keeping stakeholders informed that it is essential to act ethically for the long term health of the company. Enron is a prime example of the hardships a company as well as its employees and stakeholders can face when a company puts ethics and social responsibility to the side. This also reinforces the fact that companies should develop their strategic plan with these in mind and then sticking to the plan then taking appropriate steps to keep the plan updated to continue on the road to success.

Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. BusinessDictionary.com. (2013). Social responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/social-responsibility.html Merriam-Webster. (2013). Ethic. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethic Sims, R. R., & Brinkmann, J. (2003, July). Enron ethics: Culture matters more than codes. Journal of Business Ethics, 45(3), 243. Retrieved from http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/dunnweb/rprnts.enronethics.html Wheelen, T. L., & Hunger, J. D. (2010). Concepts in strategic management and business policy (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

An ethics essay is an assignment that many students will receive during their higher education. What is ethics exactly? It’s the moral principles that keep our society intact. However, people tend to disagree with the various ethics and it can be a good topic to tackle when it comes to writing an argumentative or persuasive essay.

Professional ethics, personal ethics and general ethical guidelines are just a few of the places you can start your essay. Leave some time for research, since you’ll want some good, solid resources behind your arguments on ethical responsibility. As you do the research, make note of any sources you use. These should be reputable enough that you can trust the information coming from them.

The sources you use will also be listed at the end of your essay so readers can see where the information came from. You can create the bibliography as you go.

Introduction of Ethics Essay

Before writing your introduction, make sure you have a decent topic. Many ethical issues are ripe for exploring as you create your paper, so look at what is available and make sure you include the thesis statement. This will give the reader a clear idea of what you are for or against. From there, you can work to prove this to the reader, through the use of reputable resources.

Create an outline that covers your main points. If you just start writing, you’re likely to end up with a mess, rather than a properly formatted essay. It takes some planning to work it all out ahead, but the actual essay will be much easier to write.

Start the paper off with a great introduction paragraph. This should state the problem that you will be addressing and include a thesis statement. The thesis is the main point that the entire paper will be based around.

Importance of Ethics Essay

Without ethics, anyone would feel free to do anything to everyone else. The importance of ethics should be included in your essay on ethics. The body of the paper will be at least three paragraphs long and every paragraph should relate back to the thesis statement. Begin with an outline of your essay, to ensure you have all the information laid out clearly and in logical order. Having an essay will help you write the actual essay on ethics faster, too.

As you write, be sure to work in valid reasons for your claims. While you may feel strongly about things, you will get better results if you can back your statements up with actual studies and scientific facts. Using expert quotes can also lend some weight to your arguments. Remember that most people have high ethical standards, but not everyone has the same ethics.

If you need a little extra help for your essay on ethics, consider using a template. You can also look at an ethics essay example to learn more about how others structure their essays and present their claims.

Conclusion for an Ethics Essay

Once you have made your points clear, sum them all up in a final paragraph that will let your reader know your thinking once and for all. This conclusion should also include the thesis statement made in the first paragraph of the essay. Just make sure you rewrite it so that it will sound different.

Finally, check your ethics essay for any mistakes you may have made. Spelling and grammatical errors can destroy your paper, so it’s important to catch these. You should also try reading the paper aloud to see how it flows. If you find that it catches and is choppy, you need to rewrite the transitions between paragraphs to make sure it flows.

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