Ethical Behavior

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Ethical Behavior, a Myth of the Past or a Necessity for Future Development
With the ever increasing pressures of life, philosophers, psychologists and intellectuals are striving to answer the question, Are ethics basically becoming a myth of the past? The question calls for stepping beyond the yes or no answers, to analyze and investigate the factors influencing ethical behaviors today. Whether personal, organizational, contextual or environmental, they all play a significant role in shaping the behaviors of people and thus act as tremendous forces for building the societies we live within.

Ethics, a term that has long been used yet no clear definition has been made about till present date. Simply put, ethics is considered as the code of moral principle, setting the standards of what is good or bad or right or wrong in a person’s conduct. It is the careful study of behavioral standards that give guidance through real-world problems and decisions. It provides an insight about what should and should not be done. The word メshouldモ often refers to ethics. For example, the process of hiring and promoting should -or should not- take gender in account. Although ethics attempts to differentiate between right and wrong, it is not a regulation or constraint that derives the same behavior from everyone. With the ever increasing pressures of life, philosophers, psychologists and intellectuals are striving to answer the question; Are ethics basically becoming a myth of the past? The question calls for stepping beyond the yes or no answers, to analyze and investigate the factors influencing ethical behaviors today. Whether personal, organizational, contextual, or environmental, they all play a significant role in shaping the behaviors of people and thus act as tremendous forces for building the societies we live within.

Based on what the media presents on a daily basis, one has to wonder if the news broadcasted to us is exaggerated or whether the ethical values are undeniably vanishing. The economic, social and business pressures of everyday life are higher than ever before. Circumstances and needs can wipe away the ethical principles of anyone. With the desire to achieve and gain more, people can easily forsake their ethical principles, causing irreversible damage not only to themselves but to the very moral framework of the society itself. As stated by Dwight David Eisenhower, A person that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. (Schweitzer, 1999) The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos meaning character. (Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia, 1987) The character of a person stems from core values like honesty, respect and trust. In the early studies of Barnett and Dalton, the environment, personality characteristics and moral commitment were tightly related to ethics.

People should understand how their personal characteristics play an important role in influencing their ethical behavior. Tieger and Barron state that this knowledge will help disseminate awareness of their intrinsic tendencies. Thus, preventing them from engaging in ethical misconduct especially when faced with pressures and anxieties. This can also help internalize ethical values and set them as lifelong building blocks for behavior guidance. Among the many personal traits people are likely to possess is individual competitiveness. Individual competitiveness is described as the personal desire to outperform counterparts. Examples include the competition for acquiring a certain position. i.e. promotion- or the competition for achieving a certain goal so as to gain a commission. In general, people possessing high levels of competitiveness are likely to be vulnerable to ethically questionable decisions. In my experience, as a project manager in an Advertising Agency, I have witnessed some of my colleagues trying to take over each other’s accounts. For example, offering their coworker’s clients better advertising price packages using...
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