Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Five guiding principles to thinking ethically..

Ethics is a standard of behaviour that guides how one should act in different situations we come across in our daily life. 

It is guided by the following five principles, which makes lot of sense. These five principles have been codified by the Markula Centre for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, US. 

1. Utilitarian principle - the good from whatever we do should b more than the harm from that action

2. Rights principle - none of our actions should violate the rights of others

3. Fairness principle - be fair to everyone in society, no partiality

4. Common Good principle - whatever we do should contribute to the common good of the society

5. Virtue principle - all our actions should be consistent with some of the ideal virtues of life, like                          
                     - honesty or being truthful come what may,
                     - compassion or concern for others,
                     - generosity or being willing to share what we have with others,
                     - tolerance or being broadminded to accept another persons thoughts                                                and actions,
                     - integrity or holding steadfast to certain values and not compromising,
                     - self-control or having control over oneself and one's emotions and                    
                     - fidelity or faithfulness

Here is an Ethical Framework to guide our everyday actions :

1. Does my action affect any group of people (or the environment and other living beings) negatively ?  
2. Make sure all facts are known before an option is exercised, like what is the impact of the action and what are the options available 
3. Evaluate all the options available based on the above five guiding principles 
4. Identify the best option and if in doubt, get it clarified from a respectable, reliable  source 
5. In retrospect, look at the effect and impact of your decision and get the learning from it to improve upon it the next time. 

If we follow these five principles of ethics and stick to the framework when we have to take any decision, I am sure, the world will become a fairer and just place for all living beings ..


(reference to Operations Management by William J Stevenson, McGraw Hill India, 11e, 2015)

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