The phenomenon of ethics in the workplace can be approached from several theoretical standpoints. These ethical theories are divided into two key types, which are consequentialist and non-consequentialist theories. As the name suggests, consequential theories evaluate the ethical potential of a specific decision based on the effects that it produces. Respectively, a non-consequentialist approach suggests that choices are ethical only when the action itself is believed to meet the existing ethical standards. Thus, each of the theories focuses on selecting the criteria for addressing a moral dilemma, yet the reasoning behind the ethicality of a decision is different.
The main advantage of the consequentialist approach is that it allows improving the outcomes of every decision made. However, the disadvantage of consequentialist theories is rooted in the possibility of acting against one’s ethical standards, thus creating a dilemma. Non-consequential theories, in turn, allow one to meet the set ethical standards for decision-making, yet they may lead to a negative outcome. Specifically, the naturalistic fallacy in non-consequential theories has been the subject of numerous debates, which makes it only a partial solution to ethical dilemmas.