The content of ethics is determined by the value categories of duty and justice. As professional ethics, marketing ethics has its own philosophical and methodological origins, which go back primarily to utilitarian theories. Ethical responsibility issues arise concerning the firm’s actions regarding personal and social needs, truthfulness in relationships with others, and justice, such as damage caused by low-quality goods or services.
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The ethics of utilitarianism is a subjective-idealistic theory of morality, the main content of which is reduced to the human striving for happiness. In this case, the action is not judged by itself, but by the result’s quality. When good outweighs bad, such an action tends to be considered positive; and if the bad exceeds the good, this action is evaluated as negative. Thus, according to utilitarianism, the question is not whether advertising an organization is a deception, but whether it will benefit society.
Utilitarianism and deontological approaches are usually regarded as two diametrically opposite directions. The latter is the ethics of duty, therefore its main category is due, which affects the content of the moral motivation of activity. The problem with the practical application arises when a firm loses profits by putting debt first, which would undoubtedly happen to the tobacco giants if they stopped selling cigarettes.
To summarize, utilitarianism is a better framework for marketing, if its rationalistic nature is fully utilized. Therefore, it must be used without unduly extending the application beyond the conformity of the intended action with the moral criterion. I follow a similar choice of ethics in my own life. Simultaneously, marketing ethics based on utilitarianism must use its capabilities to harmonize with general principles and goals. Thus, firms must do their part to improve society’s welfare, behave with integrity in business dealings, and seek a fair solution.