Connock and Johns (1995) define ethics as the following 3 elements;
• Deciding what is right and wrong
• Practices and rules which underpin responsible conduct between groups and individuals
Billington (2003) lists five distinctive features of ethics;
• Nobody can avoid ethical decisions, we make ethical decisions every day of our lives • Ethical decisions matter, they affect the lives of others • Although ethics is about right and wrong, there are no definitive answers • Ethics is always about choice – a decision where the individual has no choice cannot be ethical
Billington (2003) also identifies three different approaches to ethics
• Absolutism – ethics are underpinned by absolute values which all in all societies and to all situations • Relativism – ethics depend on the situation and the cultural mores prevalent at a particular time or place • Unitarianism – The good of the greatest number is the criterion of right or wrong.
Carroll’s (1990) 11 ethical principles
|Name of Principle |Description | |Categorical imperative |You should not adopt principles of action unless they can be adopted by everyone | |Conventionalist ethic |Individuals should act to further their self interest as long as they do not violate| | |the law | |Golden Rule |Do unto others as you would have them do to you | |Hedonistic rule |If it feels good, do it! | |Disclosure rule |You should only take action or decision if you are comfortable with it after asking | | |yourself whether you would mind if all your associates, friends and family were | | |aware of it | |Intuition ethic |You do what your gut feeling tells you is right | |Means end rule |You should act if the end justifies the means | |Might–equal-right ethic |You should take whatever advantage you are powerful enough to take | |Organisation ethic |Be loyal to your organisation | |Professional ethic |Do only that which can be justified to your professional peers | |Utilitarian principles |The greatest good of the greatest number |
The ethical scoring guidelines on page 355 in Kew and Stredwick is quite interesting.
Whistleblowing describes a situation where an individual is so concerned about the behaviour of an organisation or of individuals within it that he/she feels constrained to raise this with a third party, which may be inside an organisation. But is normally outside.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
The PIDA gives some protection to whistleblowers, although it does a right to whistleblow, as strict criteria are laid down which must be met. The act also places the burden of proof on the complainant.
The following words are often used to describe what it means to be a professional;
Lawton (1998) suggests 10 functions foe a code of professional ethics;
• To promote ethical, and deter unethical...