"Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value." Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher (1872-1970) Good, bad, right, wrong, moral, immoral. In researching a definition of values, one happens across all these terms. So how does one decide? How are values shaped and identified not to mention adhered to? One consistent definition that could be given is: "values are ideals that guide or qualify personal conduct, interaction with others, and career involvement. Like morals, they help to distinguish what is right from what is wrong and provide information on how one can conduct their life in a meaningful way." Values can be classified into four categories: Personal Values, Cultural Values, Social Values and Work Values. (http://ilearn.senecac.on.ca/careers/goals/values.html, 4-6-2001)
This paper will address the role that personal, organizational (work) and cultural values play in decision-making in personal and professional situations. This paper will also address how ethical dilemmas arise when conflict between values surface between different individuals or groups. Personal Values
Personal values are individually defined main beliefs that establish how one interacts with the world and connects with people. "The key point to keep in mind about values is that implementing them energizes everything concerned with it. For an individual, committing to and applying values releases fresh energies, which always attracts success, achievement, and well-being. Likewise, when companies or other institutions adopt values, individuals working at the organization become energized, as do its customers, its products and services, and everyone and everything else associated with that organization." (Posner, 4-2-06) Organizational Values
Work values are morals that guide personal behavior in professional scenarios. They define how one works and relates to his or her associates, peers, and clients and colleagues while revealing your potential for advancement. Just as individuals subscribe to values, so do organizations and institutions. Most companies adopt a Code of Ethics based on the core values of the company and in doing so; create from the top, down, criteria of behavior expectations. This corporate or organizational Code of Ethics permeates the cultural of the company not only in its four walls but as the organization does business within society as well. Cultural Values
Cultural values are ethics that sustain connections with your cultural roots. Cultural values can assist in helping you feel connected to a larger society of people with similar backgrounds and heritages. For example, faith or certain ethnic customs could be seen as cultural values. "International research has shown that most cultures adhere to five common values. They are: Trustworthiness (truthfulness, sincerity, candor, loyalty, promise keeping, honesty), Respect (autonomy, courtesy), Responsibility (diligence, continuous improvement, self-restraint), Justice (fairness, impartiality, equity), Caring (kindness, compassion)." (Campbell, 4-2-06) How Values Affect Personal and Professional Decision-Making
Values differ between individuals. In making decisions, one needs to look at his or her own personal Code of Ethics. I respect that my values may not be shared by a coworker or acquaintance. I also recognize that my sense of right/wrong or good/bad may not necessarily be shared by others or may vary slightly from person to person. In making decisions in my life I always try to answer the question "Will this choice define who I am as a person?" If the answer is yes, I proceed. If the answer is no, I make a different choice that would define my character, integrity and value system. That is not always so black and white in the workplace. There are pressures that make one question whether the companies Code of Ethics supersede...