Use of moral theory to analyse the ethical codes of built environment professional organisations: A case study of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Poon, Joanna and Hoxley, Mike 2010, Use of moral theory to analyse the ethical codes of built environment professional organisations: A case study of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 260-275.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of moral theory as a philosophical analytical framework for built environment organisations' ethical codes of practice. The identified moral theories under consideration are “deontology”, “consequentialism” and “virtue ethics”.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a case study to examine the use of moral theory to explain the ethical codes of practice of built environment professional organisations. The chosen organisation is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The approach for conducting the case study is through semi-structured interviews with experienced RICS members which gather views on the application of moral theory to explain the RICS ethical principles.
Findings – The case study revealed that there are mixed views on the use of moral theory to explain the RICS code of practice. The general view is that deontology is the most suitable theory to explain the fact that the work or process has been undertaken correctly. On the other hand, there is also a view amongst senior professionals that virtue ethics is most appropriate as it addresses the importance of both the correct “result” and the correct “process”.
Research limitations/implications – The paper uses a case study approach to examine the ethical code of one built environment professional organisation. This research does not therefore claim empirical generalisation but instead provides illustrations on the use of moral theory to explain the code of practice of a built environment professional organisation. The paper is based on a series of interviews. The findings should be understood as the aggregated opinions of the interviewees.
Originality/value – The paper makes an original contribution to existing literature on the theoretical analysis of codes of practice for built environment professional organisations. It describes research which is the first to use moral theory as a framework for analysing rules of conduct of built environment professional organisations.
Field of Research
159999 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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