The study of decision making has multiple implications for ‘business ethics’. There are some problems with this term, partly expressed in the tired, but largely true joke that business ethics is an oxymoron. Also, a lot of organizations are not businesses. Since it is used broadly within the field (to include public sector organizations for instance), and because the term is familiar, it is used in this chapter. The chapter begins with an outline of some commonly used frameworks for understanding choice in organizations and in society. It characterizes the dominant model for decision making in organizations as rational choice theory (RCT) and contrasts this with the naturalistic theory of decision making, image theory. The implications of using RCT and image theory to model decision making are discussed with reference to three ethical systems. RCT is shown to be consistent with Utilitarian ethics, but not with Kantian or Virtue-based ethics. Image theory is shown to be consistent with each. The chapter identifies a number of implications following from this analysis.
KeywordsDecision Maker Business Ethic Ethical Decision Virtue Ethic Image Theory
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