Personal Code of Ethics

This is another learning diary from Sustainability and International Business ethics class at University of Vaasa produced in April, 2015.

The purpose of the code of ethics (COE) is to guide the moral and ethical behavior. The development of the personal COE belongs to the final stage of cognitive moral development model (Kohlberg, 1976). On this stage, the individual follows the autonomous decision-making according to principles rather than external influences (Wurtz, 2015). According to the extended model, the universal ethical principles drive the behavior rather than external influences do (Wurtz, 2015). In developing the personal COE, I take the position of the ethical absolutism. This perspective allows me to have a shorter, focused and standardized COE for the majority imaginable situations.

Continue reading “Personal Code of Ethics”

Main Learning Points from Sustainability and International Business Ethics Class

This is a learning diary produced at the end of the Sustainability and International Business Ethics class in April, 2015.


The Sustainability and International Business Ethics class raised the important issues that have no easy, so-called “black and white” answers. The context of business raises numerous concerns requiring truly complex and multilateral approach. Business practice and work remuneration promises to create a context for the pursuit of happiness to those hardworking individuals that pursue it, meanwhile, creating the favorable environment for development of manipulation with truths and right-and-wrongs in the process of reaching the goals. This class successfully reveals the conflicting nature of business with many controversies between the various goals of stakeholders. The various goals create the opposing tensions that go beyond the reach of legal requirement and require ethical approach from businesses. Beyond all, I enjoyed not the answers that the presented material provides with numerous ethical approaches to the issues, solutions and perspectives but the questions that it raises leaving me to answer them for myself.

During the class, I have discovered a number of topics that broadened my perception of ethical issues a business faces. The other topics raised resistance and the need in deeper reflection. The concept of 1) sustainability and the sustainable development, 2) the components of sustainability from the triple bottom-line model, 3) the stakeholders’ theory of the firm (especially the broad version) and 4) the pragmatic ethical theory has widened the understanding about the ways businesses approach ethics. On the other hand, the cultural relatedness of the ethics especially in the context of developing the global code of ethics has puzzled me. Next, I will briefly cover on these points. Continue reading “Main Learning Points from Sustainability and International Business Ethics Class”

Business ethics challenge: when balancing the different perspectives in business life, whose ethics matters the most

During the Sustainability and International Business Ethics class taken during the spring semester of the year 2015 (19.04.2015), we had a problem-based learning session. During the session, we discussed the ethics of premium pricing on cancer treating medicine. As a part of the learning process, we were organized in groups. Based on the learned material and the voiced during the session problem, the groups had to come up with the relevant question, which later needed to be answered individually by each student within the limits of 3-4 pages. The group I was a part of produced exactly the question, which is the topic of the post. Below is my reflection about the challenge.

So, the question is when balancing the different perspectives in business life, whose ethics matters the most. This question clearly considers three aspects: the ethics (see the “different perspectives”), applicable context (see the “business life”) and stakeholders (see the “whose ethics matter the most”). Surely, the easiest way is to start with the list of most spread ethical approaches. Those approaches one can synthesize with the voiced during the problem-based learning (PBL) session three important perspectives in the business context: company, customers and institutions. After that, one can write a paragraph or two of personal analysis and page assignment is ready for the submission.

I advise a different approach. Perhaps, instead of looking for a ready-made ethical point of view, one needs to look at the starting point of each ethical position, the metaphysics, and decide for oneself. The honest answer will determine the answering pattern to the current discussion and will affect the ultimate result generated by each ethical approach. In my opinion, the answer is not what is good or bad and whose opinion is more important but where the reasoning starts. The answer to this question simplifies the understanding of the following to the starting point argumentation flow, which I find more important than identifying the smaller details of the answer. Continue reading “Business ethics challenge: when balancing the different perspectives in business life, whose ethics matters the most”