Business Ethics unit iii discussion


What is the difference in your mind, and in your common usage, between a perception, a generalization and a stereotype? Please give an example of each. Are each or all consistently unethical judgments or are they sometimes or always ethically justified in their use and implementation? Under what conditions?



A perception in my experience is an idea that we might learn from a series of experiences. If I run too fast and loose my footing, I will fall and falling is painful. I have the perception that running is dangerous. Sure it can be dangerous but is it dangerous every time? No but maybe I fell twice in a row and skinned both my knees.  That can make for a pretty strong perception. Two people can be standing apart and looking at a box that’s ten feet away and have completely different perceptions of what that box looks like. I like to say that perception has everything to do with where you’re standing. A generalization can also be a compendium of ideas and experiences that a person has making them feel a specific way about a group of things. I can look at 5 samples of red paint that vary in shade and say they are all red. While on the surface they are all red, when we go a little deeper we see the slight variation in their tones. A stereotype is another centrally focused idea based on experience. I can read a article about how dangerous grizzly bears are and how they are more likely to attack people than say a chipmunk but that doesn’t mean they attack people every time they encounter one another in the wild. If I see a grizzly bear while hiking a trail (I have) I might immediately assume I’ll be killed at any moment (I did) based on something I read or saw on television but that bear could just turn and head back into the brush leaving me unharmed (it did).

In many ways perception, generalization, and stereotype are synonyms as they all have very similar meanings. They vary mostly in their usage. I believe that central idea of ethics doing the right things in all circumstances.  As such, the ethical usage or judgments made or considered with regard to these words is highly subjective and dependant on the individual….or I’ve completely missed the point. Sorry this one was a little long winded.

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