What are Values, Morals, and Ethics? | Business Ethics, Culture and Performance
What are the differences between values, morals and ethics? n: beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or. Ethical conduct is very necessary for the long term sustainability of the business. At the same time, values and moral are also very much posavski-obzor.info there some. One of the most important characteristics of moral judgments is that they express our values. Not all expressions of values are also moral.
Our relative moral values must be constantly examined to make sure that they are always performing their life-protecting mission. Courage can become foolish martyrdom, commitment can become irrational fanaticism, honor can become self-righteousness, conceit, and disrespect for others.
Our enemies have their own standard of honor, they have courage, and they are surely committed. What sets us apart? Respect for the universal life value sets us apart from our enemies. A person who knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses right is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in his willingness to do the right thing — even if it is hard or dangerous — is ethical.
Ethics are moral values in action. Being ethical id an imperative because morality protects life and is respectful of others — all others. As warriors it is our duty to be protectors and defenders of the life value and to perform the unique and difficult mission of taking the lives of those acting immorally against life when necessary to protect the lives of innocent others.
When you must kill protecting life it is still hard, but it is moral. Those who kill those not observant of their narrow relative religious, ethnic or criminal values — in other words, kill over relative values — are immoral. A dedication to protecting the life value of self and others — all others — makes the Ethical Warrior different and moral.
The Definitions in Action — Sample Story: You are a kid in the schoolyard. You see a bully. That perception is a relative value. Here is the rule: You see the bully picking on the other kid. Perhaps the first place to look in determining what is right or wrong is society. Virtually every society makes some determination of morally correct behavior. In Islamic countries, a determination of what is right or moral is tied to religious strictures. In societies more secular, the influence of religious beliefs may be less obvious, but still a key factor.
Values and Ethics
In the United States much of what is believed to be right or wrong is based in Judeo-Christian heritage. The Ten Commandments, for many people, define what is morally right or wrong. Societies not only regulate the behavior of their members, but also define their societal core values. Experience often has led societies to develop beliefs about what is of value for the common good.
Note that societies differ from one another in the specifics, but not in the general principles. One example is the notion of reciprocity.
These "shoulds" define collective effort because they are fundamental to trust and to team relationships that entail risk. The greater the potential risk, the more important ethical practices become.
Organizations, to some extent, define what is right or wrong for the members of the organization. Ethical codes, such as West Point's "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do," make clear what the organization considers to be right or wrong. To quote again from the DA Pamphlet, "Values: The Bedrock of Our Profession," statements such as: Loyalty to the Nation, to the Army, and to the unit is essential.
Selfless service puts the welfare of the Nation and the accomplishment of the assigned mission before individual welfare. All who serve the Nation must resist the temptation to pursue self-gain, personal advantage, and self-interest ahead of the collective good.
Furthermore, integrity is demonstrated by propriety in one's personal life. All one needs to do is to look at the positive values of society and the organizations one belongs to, and what is right or wrong should be evident.
There is another aspect to be considered, however, and that is the influence of societal or organizational norms.
Norms are the unstated rules, usually informally reached by the members of a group, which govern the behavior of the group's members. Norms often have a greater effect on what is and isn't done by the members of a group than formal rules and regulations. The reason norms are important for a discussion of ethics and values is that norms may allow or even encourage certain behavior as "OK" that is not in keeping with society's or an organization's stated values.
When there is a disconnect between stated and operating values, it may be difficult to determine what is "right. Do those in the organization know that the behavior is wrong, but condone it nevertheless? Is it clear to the Bosnian Serbs that ethnic cleansing is unethical and wrong, or would it fall under the mantle of behavior that is considered to be acceptable in that society? Listen to the arguments in support of ethnic cleansing that have been made, and you will find that many of the perpetrators argued that they did nothing wrong, and were only righting previous wrongs done to them.
York Willbern, in an article entitled "Types and Levels of Public Morality," argues for six types or levels of morality or ethics for public officials. By public officials, he means those who are in policy making positions in public institutions; in other words, strategic decision makers in the government, including the national security arena.
The six levels he differentiates are: In many ways, this level only describes the basic adherence to moral codes that is expected of all members of a group or society. There are some basics of behavior that are expected of all if a society is to function for the collective good. For public officials, there is an additional reason why it is important to adhere to these basic moral codes and laws: There also is the negative example that misconduct by public officials provides.
This relates to public officials, because it deals with the conflict between advancing the public interest, which a public official is charged to do, and advancing one's self-interest.
Difference Between Morals and Ethics
The duty here is to ensure that the public interest comes first, and that one does not advance his own personal interest at the expense of the public. Willbern uses embezzlement of public funds, bribery, and contract kickbacks as examples of pursuing personal interests at the expense of those of the public.
- Values, Morals and Ethics.
The requirements for public officials to divest themselves of investments that might be influenced by the performance of their duties or put them in trust and to recuse themselves in situations where they have a personal interest are designed to help public officials avoid conflicts of interest. Ultimately, it still comes down to the individual making an ethical decision.
Avoidance of conflict of interest is often difficult because it is often hard to separate personal and public interests, and because individuals as private citizens are encouraged to pursue private interests through any legal means. One of the areas where there is the greatest potential for conflicts of interest is where public officials deal with private organizations which are pursuing their private interests, and where any decision by a public official on allocation of resources will favor some private interest.
The fields of government contracting and acquisition are two areas where the possibility of conflicts of interest is high. This level relates closely to the last, and deals with the responsibility of public officials to ensure their actions serve the public, and that the power they wield is used only for that purpose.
It is easy to abuse the power that comes with public office. Procedural safeguards are designed to prevent that abuse. The moral obligation of public servants is to follow established procedures, and not to use their power to circumvent those procedures for their own convenience or benefit. Power must be used fairly and for the benefit of the public.
One can again think of examples of public officials who have violated this moral charge by using their influence and power for their own benefit or for the benefit of special interest groups, or who have circumvented established procedures for their own benefit or convenience.
One frequent example is the use of government vehicles or aircraft for nonofficial business. These first three levels of public morality share one important characteristic: These three levels are the areas that get most of the attention in discussions of ethics, this is where public officials are most likely to get in trouble.
However, there are three additional levels of public morality equally important. These deal with the content of what public officials do, "the moral choices involved in deciding what to do, in pursuing the purposes of the state and the society" Willbern.
Given that public officials are operating within a democratic system, they either are elected by the people or appointed by an elected official.
Values, morals and ethics
This confers upon them the obligation to carry out the will of the people. However, public officials also have the responsibility to make moral choices consistent with their own values, and that may be in conflict with what they perceive to be the will of the people.
Willbern contends that the public official acts according to his or her own judgment, rationalizing that it would be the will of the people if they were well enough informed on the issue. To give one example of this level of public morality, consider whether or not the representative in Congress is morally bound to support policies and legislation which his constituents overwhelmingly support but he personally opposes. This level involves the most difficult ethical choices, because it concerns making moral judgments about public policies.
The responsibility is to make moral policies; the difficulty is in determining how moral a policy is. Public policies almost always deal with very complex issues, where ethical choices are rarely clear, and it is often difficult to determine if a policy is right or wrong.
For example, many public policies deal with the distribution of limited resources. Is it right or wrong to slash funding for one program, or to increase funding for another? In almost any decision, there will be winners and losers, and there will be some benefit for some and cost to others.
Equity and fairness are important considerations, but not always easy to discern.