Business Ethics According to Aristotle and Confucius


Originating from Ancient Greece, the philosophy of ethics was developed largely by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. The latter contended that ethics must be rooted in principal virtues and assumed that happiness, or eudaimonia, had to be the telos, or the end goal, of any human being (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). Based on the described premise, happiness should also be the main goal of interactions between individual. In turn, according to Aristotle, to achieve happiness, one must act upon the principal virtues, which Aristotle divided into intellectual and practical wisdom (Byars & Stanberry, 2018).


In turn, the behavior that people must exhibit, according to Aristotle, must be connected to the virtues in question. These include prudence, temperance, and patience, among others. Thus, according to Aristotelian ethics, people must exhibit the behavior that shows the ability to engage in ethical reasoning and approach a moral dilemma from a thoughtful and meticulous perspective.



In turn, the Eastern ethics and moral philosophy have been represented by Confucius’ teachings. Remarkably, Confucius also supported the idea of virtue ethic as the foundation for decision-making and addressing moral dilemmas (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). According to the philosopher, the main characteristics of the specified ethics is encapsulated in the notion of junzi, namely, the individual code of honor that allowed one to remain objective and ethically unbiased when making a specific decision (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). Placing sincerity ad truthfulness at the heart of his ethical philosophy, Confucius promoted the idea of virtue ethics in its purest form.


In turn, compliance with the principles of virtue ethics as it was interpreted by Confucius suggested that an individual should balance between the extremes suggested by the opposing perspectives and choose the constant mean as the ideal solution that will allow one to retain one’s moral compass and ensure that it pints in the right direction.

Personal and Professional Roles

Applying ethical principles to the workplace setting, one should adjust the proposed moral principles to the organizational environment and design the code of ethics in the way that will allow meeting the needs of key stakeholders while aligning with the corporate hierarchy. For example, for employees, it is crucial to show their loyalty to the company by the actions that they take. Namely, staff members must make ethics-related choices with regard to the needs of the company’s customers, as well as based on the organization’s goals, mission, and vision (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). The specified approach nullifies the threat of corporate fraud, while also promoting a stronger bond between employees and their organizations.

In turn, employers have slightly different ethical responsibilities given the power differentials between them and their staff members. Specifically, during decision-making, companies must ensure that the rights of all parties are acknowledged and met, with no infringement upon the rights of any party taking place. Furthermore, employers owe their staff inclusion and the workplace environment where the notion of diversity is prioritized to “challenge their own and others’ thinking” (Byars & Stanberry, 2018, para. 2). Furthermore, employers have the onus of listening to their staff members, as well as other stakeholders including customers and the global community, to ensure that all those involved are heard and recognized.

Universal Ethics

To meet the goals listed above, corporations need to implement a homogenous ethical framework that allows encompassing the needs of all participants, paying specific attention to marginalized groups. For this reason, the notion of universal ethics has been built at the groundwork for creating corporate ethics. Universal ethics is comprised of several notions, such as responsibility, trust, respect, caring, justice, and citizenship (Byars & Stanberry, 2018). The principles listed above allow upholding and maintaining ethical decision-making in the workplace.

Personal Reflection

The second chapter of the book has suggested several important ideas for further contemplation. The nature of ethics both as a phenomenon and a field of study was particularly interesting to examine since it has helped to understand the transformation that the philosophy of ethics has undergone. It appears that upholding ethical standards has been increasingly difficult with the expansion of organizations and the rise in the number of perspectives incorporated into the workplace setting. However, with the emphasis on the well-being and benefit of all stakeholders’ involved and particular attention paid to vulnerable groups, maintaining an ethical stance will be possible for an organization.

What You Found Most Applicable

The chapter has provided a number of crucial insights into the issue of corporate ethics. However, some of the passages were especially prominent and useful for business-related application. Namely, the summary of universal ethics as it is applied to business was vital for developing a corporate ethical code.


Due to a broad range of stakeholders, it is crucial for an organization to adopt the ethical framework that allows for a compromise and helps to ensure that the rights and needs of the stakeholders in question are met. For this reason, a company must build the ethical approach that will cater to the needs of all parties involved, while encouraging these parties to use ethical decision-making strategies as well. The universal ethics principles appear to be the most efficient way of promoting ethical decision-making in the workplace.


Byars, S. M., & Stanberry, K. (2018). Business ethics. OpenStax.

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BusinessEssay. "Business Ethics According to Aristotle and Confucius." September 12, 2022.