Professional Values and Ethics Learning Team A GEN200 November 15, 2010 Lisa Wittenhagen Ethical standards and an individual’s personal code of moral values are extremely subjective topics often based on belief systems. Furthermore, upbringing commonly influences an individual’s code of ethics thus affecting important personal and professional decisions. Renowned Brazilian professor Valdemar W. Setzer once said of moral values, “Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feelings” (Thinkexist, 2010, para. ). Setzer’s idea that moral values are indefinable may be facetious, and ethics and values are definable; nevertheless thought and emotion are typically a basis for individual ethics. Obviously companies set a foundation for business principles based on an ethically sound, value-based system, but individuals define his or her own personal ethics and values. Nevertheless, developing one’s ethical system and beliefs is not an easy task; however, discovering and employing available resources to help with an emergent ethical system is essential.
Although personal beliefs and upbringing are a basis for ethics and values, one’s moral principles can positively influence but may also adversely affect career success. Defining Values and Ethics Values and ethics are inherently similar terms with regard to definition. In fact, the two terms are often mistaken for one another, and although the definitions vary slightly, each term has its own distinct characteristics thus making defining the term value and ethics essential for the business world.
Values, for instance, are main beliefs that individuals consider he or she personally accountable for. Furthermore, values are a personal assessment list that represents an individual’s highest priorities with regard to human behavior. In addition, an individual’s value system is often contingent on an emotional investment to the aforementioned beliefs. For example, one may base his or her value system on the desire to be successful in business; whereas, another individual may base his or her values on generosity.
Undoubtedly the elements by which an individual bases his or her value systems are vast. Ethics, or moral conduct, helps to establish an understanding of the concept right and wrong within one’s personal as well as business life, respectively. Quintessentially, business ethics entail the written and unwritten codes of conduct that govern all relative aspects of business and the execution of decisions in the company’s daily operations. In other words, from a strictly business standpoint, ethics are the chief policies upon which an organization lays its business-related groundwork.
Without doubt value and ethical systems are indissoluble and often help define an individual; thus morally setting him or her apart by establishing discernable differences professionally and personally. Clearly developing values and ethics as well as applying the two in one’s professional life is essential to becoming successful in business. Developing Ethics and Values in Business Baha’u’llah, a 19th century Persian aristocrat and religion originator once profoundly said, “Commerce is a heaven, whose sun is trustworthiness and whose moon is truthfulness” (Value Quotes, 2010, para. ). Baha’u’llah’s quote has transcended time and is still very relevant in business today nearly 200 years later. Values and Ethics are a significant component of all organizations regardless of business model. Furthermore, establishing values and ethics requires work and the commitment to maintain through times of success as well as times of turmoil; however, one does not have to develop his or her moral value system alone. After all one does not wake up one morning and decide what their beliefs are.
Clearly following lineage, one will discover sources were present to help mold his or her value and ethical systems from infancy. Moreover, community influences and experiences have assisted in developing his or her beliefs, at the same time helping to develop the professional he or she will eventually aspire to be. Additional sources of professional values and ethics may include parents, personal and professional experiences as well as company culture. Unmistakably, parents are the most influential moral value sources in an individual’s life.
Even though most individuals remain in conflict with his or her parents throughout upbringing, predictably there comes a time in life when one may realize he or she just said something similar to what his or her parent might have said. Though most may not realize it, professional ethics and values begins with one’s parent helping to lay the necessary foundation by which his or her son or daughter may build upon throughout life. An experience that one may draw from is another excellent source that will assist with the emerging professional moral values of an individual.
Furthermore, this emergence is often equally derived from both life and work experiences, which will help shape what eventually establishes one’s professional belief of right and wrong. For example, most have experienced some form of unfairness in the business place; therefore these experiences help guide the ethical decision-making process in one’s personal life as well as professional experiences. Business culture albeit dictated by leadership may have a lasting influence on an individual as he or she develops professional values and ethics.
Cody Hodge, an American writer, stated, “Perhaps the culture of the business is going to shape you as well” (Hodge, 2010, para. 6). Hodge went on to say about how a business’s cultural affect may influence one’s ethics and values, “The culture of your profession will teach you what is right, wrong, and what you can get away with” (Hodge, 2010, para. 6). Hodge’s statement, although rhetorical, captures an important point; often employees let management’s unethical behavior influence his or her interpretation of company rules and regulations.
In other words, the business environment in which one works often dictates how he or she perceives right and wrong. For example, a manager who leaves early on a regular basis may send the message that the behavior is acceptable; thus affecting ethical development of his or her subordinates. However, this is one of many situations when an individual’s ethical background, typically stemming from childhood, comes into play. For instance, an individual who has a strong moral foundation will find it easier to avoid the prevalent unethical behavior in the workplace.
Business leaders decide what ethics are good for his or her individual organizations, but those with strong ethical influences early in life are more apt to excel professionally from a moral value perspective. Although ethics are subjective and no one person has the same values, it takes time, experience, and influences to help develop as well as maintain well-built professional ethical groundwork. Establishing and understanding of one’s own business ethics and values systems is vitally important but may also negatively impede career success if not properly maintained.
Ethics, Values, and Career Success As a professional the responsibility to maintain a specific level of ethical standards within the workplace is essential to meeting company mandated requirements; however, an individual must critically evaluate his or her moral values to avoid impeding professional success. Furthermore, ethically sound individuals throughout his or her career may face challenges with requests that test one’s ethical resolve; thus potentially hindering career success.
Clearly these effects may be devastating for the company’s reputation as well as the personnel directly involved; therefore, adversely affecting one’s career success. Employing moral values in business is essential for achieving professional goals. Moreover, one is far better off enlisting the rules and regulations that describe the mission, purpose and position of one’s professional career as well as the relationship between the company and the individual. Furthermore, the subsequent examples represent the affect one’s values and ethics may have on his or her career success;
Trustworthiness is a value that most employers and coworkers hold to be extremely important. For example, individuals in a work milieu must count on each other to perform duties in an honest manner. Therefore, dependability will assist an individual with achieving professional success. Ethical business practice and how it relates to the public perception of a company is another impactful element that will affect professional success for an individual as well as a company.
For example, considering the stake in the business a consumer has; he or she must be believe that there is not the slightest measure of unethical conduct practiced within the company’s setting. After all the purpose of a company is to obtain repeat business; therefore, a consumer who believes the company is operating in an ethical manner may continue to support the business resulting in continued professional success. Professional values and ethics are an integral part of business.
Moreover, ethics and values support what is most important for the success and achievement relative to an individual’s career. Summary Often faced with difficult daily decisions, it is a responsibility each member of humanity to rely on his or her ethical framework to overcome adversity both in personal and professional aspects of life. Furthermore, values and ethics are innately vital for establishing oneself as a professional, leader, as well as a solid citizen in society and workforce alike.
Well-known author and management consultant Peter Drucker once overpoweringly stated, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” (Value Quotes, 2010, para. 29). Clearly, ethics and values can affect an individual’s ability to succeed in business; however, it is the responsibility of an individual to decide if the impact will be helpful or harmful by establishing sound values and morals in one’s personal life and incorporating into his or her professional life.
References Hodge, C. 2010) Business Management, The sources of professional values and ethics, Retrieved 111010 from HYPERLINK “http://www. helium. com/” http://www. helium. com Thinkexist Website (2010). Retrieved November 11, 2010, from HYPERLINK “http://thinkexist. com/quotes/valdemar_w. _setzer/” http://thinkexist. com/quotes/valdemar_w. _setzer/ Value Quotes Website (2010). Retrieved November 13, 2010, from HYPERLINK “http://www. valuequotes. net/” http://www. valuequotes. net/ Professional Values and Ethics PAGE * Arabic 1