The feature being referenced by the authors is morality. Goodpaster and Matthews opine that morality is depicted when an individual makes judgment consciously considering that the consequences of such judgment would have an effect on both the decision maker and others as well. In explaining the issue of morality, the authors bring in two traits that must be considered when assessing the morality of an entity. The two traits are rationality and respect. Rationality is a more self-centered consideration as it only looks at the effect the judgment made would have on the person working. A rational decision maker who is not respectful will only be concerned with the effect the judgment would have on him. This kind of decision maker would only respect others as means to an end.
On the other hand, a respectful decision maker puts the interests of others above his own. This kind of decision maker considers effects of his actions on other people’s well-being. A respectful person considers others not as tools in his decision making process, but as limiting conditions which change the perspectives in a self-centered environment (Goodpaster and Mathew, 134). In making a judgment, the first question that comes into the mind of this person is, “how is it going to affect my neighbor?”
The authors advise that a blend of these two traits is the most ideal characteristic of a moral entity. Corporates have a duty to the investors. The core goal of any business entity is to maximize the shareholders’ value. This is complicated by the fact that the society also has expectations from the corporate organization. While the managers would make decisions that would satisfy the shareholders (rationality), they are also obliged to satisfy the society (respect). The authors conclude that two people who subscribe to the moral view may not always agree on what is ethical between respect and rationality, but they will always have a common basis to have a dialogue.
b). The above statement relates to corporate entities in a number of ways. First, corporates have goals to achieve, key among them being to maximize shareholders’ value and making profits. These two goals supersede any other goal and obligation placed upon them by all other stakeholders including the government and other regulatory bodies. As such, any judgment made by corporates must first consider the two top most goals of business entities-maximizing shareholder’s value and making profits. This is what the authors refer to as rationality, i.e. how is the judgment going to affect me? However, such judgments also have to consider the repercussions that may follow should they be made contrary to regulations.
Whenever a corporate entity is making any decision, the first question that usually comes to fore is “what is the financial or economic impact of the decision to the organization?” While some of the decisions may not have immediate economic returns, the long run goal would be to gain some financial advantage through them, either through expected market growth or market retention. Market retention is achieved through customer loyalty to the corporation’s products or services.
After ascertaining the expected economic benefit, the corporate managers usually ask the next question; “is the decision in line with prevailing industry regulations?” In responding to this question, the corporates are in essence considering the feelings of others, therefore bringing the concept of respect. The relationship between corporates and other stakeholders is guided by regulations, and it is the regulations that guide the decision making. It is therefore true that corporates can uphold morality, whether by choice or by force.
a). According to Lowrance, highly trained people are definitely seen as having special status (233). This statement points to the high regard given to highly trained people in the society. In many communities, these people are regarded as experts and their views on any topic respected by laymen. They are regarded as having the ability to interpret any information and tell it to the less trained in a language they can well understand. Some of the topics these people tend to enjoy monopoly in understanding include science, politics and economics. While the laymen in the society may look at these topics at face value, the highly trained have the ability to analyze them to understand their impact on society as whole.
For a long time, political and business leaders have had a field day twisting any topic in their favor and the layman has had to rely on the opinion of these two groups of people to shape the opinion on any topic. They have taken advantage of their position in the society to twist important topics to their advantage. While the politicians use these topics to galvanize their political bases, the businessmen have only one agenda which is to safeguard their business interests. They never bother to set the record straight especially when the topic at hand has the potential to diminish their influence. This is the gap the highly trained group is trying to fill. This group approaches these topics with an open mind, and allowing everyone an opportunity to discuss the topic honestly.
b). The question that we need to ask is whether the highly trained in the society deserve the kind of adoration and high regard they are accorded by the members of the society. I agree with Lowrance’s views on this issue. According to Lowrance (233), the society has invested so much resources in training these experts and it is only fair that the less trained members of the society look up to them for guidance, warnings and protection whenever it is called for. This kind of attachment has given the highly trained members a raised status that they do enjoy in the society.
Most of the highly trained people belong to professional bodies like the ACCA and CPAs in different countries. These professional bodies have a certain code of conduct that guides the activities of their members whenever they are interacting with the society in their professional capacities. Since it is not possible to predict when one would be called upon to conduct himself professionally, these professional codes of conduct have become more or less part of the individual professionals’ lives. They therefore become some sort of role models and parents would like to raise their kids in line with these codes of conduct.
However in enjoying this raised status, some of the highly trained members have taken advantage and are now acting like lords over the rest. This attitude has brought about a sense of self-importance, and to some, it is like the society depends on them for everything. They may at some point think that without their input life would come to a standstill.