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Ethical relativism is generally defined as the tendency to make ethical choices only on the basis of what looks right or reasonable according to one's own belief or value system. 1 The concept of ethical relativism is the idea that there is no one standard of right and wrong and that each culture sets its own rules. In the most basic terms, ethical relativism is the way that a person or group of people have the tendency to make their ethical choices. These choices that are made are based on what looks right or reasonable. The choice that is made is based on what that person's belief or their own personal value system. It is important to understand that ethical relativism can be either a sociological or an observational conclusion. It is not an ethical doctrine.
In the American culture the norm is often the majority rules. This means that the culture shares the same beliefs, values, and norms. However, there are many subcultures in the United States. These subcultures affect the majority rules norm. The subculture is known as a conflictual political culture.
There are several different types of corrupt behavior. When discussing the corrupt behavior that transpired at the Kentucky Fried Chicken, it is important to not only have an understanding of ethical relativism, but to also understand corruption. When most people think of corruption they think of clearly bad or damaging behavior. Even with this understanding, the concept may be a bit vague. Since corruption is a complex element, it must not only identified but understood.
There are classifications of corruptions. The primary classifications of corruption include bribery, nepotism, embezzlement, fraud, clientelism, and rent-seeking. 2 Each of these corrupt behaviors can and do occur in both public and private situations.
The behavior by the health inspector was corrupt. Rather than doing his job,and siting the restaurant for the health code violations, he would accept a bribe. He made a decision to talk with management and receive food, and perhaps something else, such as money, in return for granting the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant a clean bill of health.
This type of corrupt behavior is, unfortunately, considered norm. This type of one hand washes the other transaction, occurs in all types of businesses. For example, one person will promote another person in exchange for a professional courtesy. Another example is in government. This type of corruption happens quite often. One group will throw their support for a particular candidate. Then, if the candidate is elected in office, that candidate is asked to grant favors to that group of business that provided support to get him or here elected in office.
The fact that this behavior is considered a norm is bad. By being considered norm, this makes this type of corrupt behavior almost acceptable as the cost of doing business. That is when polices become overlooked and the line between right and wrong and moral versus immoral become even more blurred.
EVen if the majority considered this type of behavior acceptable, it would still be considered corrupt. Whether or not then management at the KFC restaurant was not displaying a corrupt behavior, the fact is that he was trading safe and healthy conditions for a bribe. The fact is that the people who ate the food from the restaurant could still become ill from the unsanitary conditions that were not being addressed by the health inspector and the management of the restaurant.
By applying the concepts of ethical relativism, there are a few ways in which I would suggest preventing or, even limiting, the corruption issue of bribery, in this case between the management of the KFC management and the health inspector. The first method would be to change the mindset, and unfortunately, the reality, of employees being afraid to blow the whistle on corrupt behavior for fear of loosing their job. This is a major element that perpetuates corrupt behavior of all types. When a third party is privy to corrupt behavior, so often is the case that he or she will not report the corruption to the appropriate parties for fear of loosing their job. A positive first step would be to enact a law that rewards, monetarily, those who report corrupt behavior. If it is found that the report is valid, the person responsible for the report would receive some type of monetary compensation. By verifying the allegation,this makes it necessary to reward only truthful claims. In this case, if the employee were to be compensated, he or she would be more apt to report this to the health department.
What this would accomplish is two fold. First, there may be a decreased level of corruption. Second, the norm behavior, and the ethical behavior would be changed from corruption being some what acceptable to being unacceptable. As previously mentioned, ethical relativism is defined as the tendency to make choices based on what looks right or acceptable. Part of the issue is that for many, not getting involved is considered acceptable. This is a misconception that must be changed. In this case, by not ding anything, such as reporting what was witnessed between the management and the health inspector to the health department, the health of every person who consumed food from this restaurant is at risk. Not reporting that unhealthy and unsanitary conditions exists at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant is acceptable, and this needs to not be the norm or accepted behavior. Once this is changed, and the acceptable behavior is to indeed get involved in situations such as this, the issue of corrupt behavior will begin to decline and change for the better.
2. www.parliamentarystrengthening.org/corruptionmodule/pdf/corrupti...It was a pleasure doing this for you. Please remember to click one of the happy or excited icons so that I may be paid, and please feel free to request me, LisaLKawecki, in the future.
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