free essays
Free essays

Ethical Theories in Business

EthicalTheories in Business


Concerningutilitarianism Consequentialism, GMO products serve the interests ofMonsanto Company. Its owners and shareholders are reaping highprofits because sales are high. Additionally, the government isbenefitting from revenues emanating from taxation. For starvingpopulation, it offers reprieve because GMO products will alleviatetheir hunger concerns. The dictum for this ethic is that the endjustifies the means (Treviño &amp Nelson, 2011). As long as thecompany can make profits and generate revenues for the government, itserves their interest and that should rest the case.

However,the ethical theory is invalid from a wider perspective. For smallfarmers, it does not serve their interest because it spells doom totheir stability. Consequentialism operates of the dictum that the“morally right action is the one with the best overall interest”(Jeurissen &amp Rijst, 2007, p.23). GMO products do not portend thebest overall interest. The genetic uniformity inherent in GMO is abig threat to food supply to the world. If unabated, Monsanto isplaying games with the future of humankind.


Aristotle’sdoctrine propounds that pleasure and pain dictates humans’ actions(Cory, 2005). However, people must have the practical wisdom todistinguish between good and bad. Monsanto Company is operating on apleasure-seeking principle. It has put profits ahead of humanwelfare. This is repugnant to Aristotle’s doctrine that demandspractical wisdom. If the company distributes GMO and wipe out certainspecies, it would cause an upset to the ecosystem and spiral effectsto human beings. Its actions therefore lack practical wisdom.

Moreover,Aristotle’s doctrine describes something as good if “it performsits proper function” (Halbert &amp Ingulli, 2012, p.24). Theproper function of food is to solve hunger. If Monsanto Companypushes on with the project to have GMO products, there isoverwhelming evidence that it would lead to food shortage in thefuture. GMO products are genetically uniform. If a disease strikes,entire crop species will be under danger of extinction. Furthermore,the danger of cross-pollinating other crops is real and the prospectis very dangerous.

VirtueEthics Theory (non- Consequentialism)

Concerningvirtue ethics theory, Monsanto Company can produce and sell GMOproducts if it deems it virtuous. In other words, the discretion ison the company and it is under no obligation to mind the consequencesof its actions. In business, the right thing to do is make profitsfor shareholders and pay taxes to the government. Even if the actionsmay cause harm to many people, the company has the discretion tocontinue with it if it considers it ethical. Standards are personaland there is no uniform code of conduct (Shaw, 2008). A few hungrypeople will benefit from GMO products because it would solve theirfood situation. This is in total disregard for the consequences thatwill emanate including decimating animal and plant species andcausing food insecurity in the future.


MonsantoCompany has adopted egoism ethical perspective. According to thistheory, people act purely on interest (Weiss, 2009). In spite of theevidence that GMO products would be disastrous, the company hasdecided to push on with the project. The descriptive aspect of egoismdoes not conceive that anything can stand between a person and hispursuit of an interest. Monsanto Company is in a similar situation.The normative aspect emphasizes the role of motivation in pursuing aninterest. Profits motivate the company’s actions.


Cory,J. (2005). Activistbusiness ethics.Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Halbert,T., &amp Ingulli, E. (2012). Law&amp ethics in the business environment.Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Jeurissen,R., &amp Rijst, M. W. (2007). Ethicsin business.Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum.

Shaw,W. H. (2008). Businessethics.Belmont: Wadsworth.

Treviño,L. K., &amp Nelson, K. A. (2011). Managingbusiness ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right.New York: John Wiley.

Weiss,J. W. (2009). Businessethics: A stakeholders and issues management approach.Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.