Ethics and Values

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What are ethics and values? Ethics and values can seem rather similar, but there is a basic difference. Values define one’s personal character while ethics stresses more of a system in which those values are applied or expected. In other words, ethics point to a standard of codes or rules expected to be followed by the group or organization to which the individual belongs. This could be anything from religion, clubs, the workplace or even family. So while a person’s values are usually unchanging, the ethics he or she practices can be greatly different. A definition of values and ethics is important in understanding its fundamentals. Different sources of ethics and values can then be considered, and examples that may or may not have used values and ethics to get ahead in career success are examined. Values can be defined as things that are important to or valued by someone. That someone can be an individual or, collectively, an organization. One place where values are important is in relation to vision. According to Dictionary.com (2010), values are “beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something); ‘he has very conservative values’.” Ethics are considered the moral standards by which people judge behavior. Ethics are often summed up in what is considered the “golden rule”—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Ethics is defined as “a system of moral principles” Dictionary.com (2010). One source of professional ethics and values can be found in international development. “Development ethicists assess the ends and means of local, national, regional, and global development” (Crocker, 2004, para. 1). Workers involved in international development include policy makers, project managers, grassroots communities, and international aid donors. Each of these confronts moral questions in their work. Thus, ethical principles are implemented to work in bringing social change to poor, developing countries. Ethical principles come from people who have set standards in values and ethics in the past, such as Mohandas Gandhi in India. He actively criticized colonialism and orthodox imperialism. His demonstration of kindness and self-giving provides a code of ethics for people working in International Development.

Another source of ethics and values in international development is the work of economist Paul Streeten. He successfully addressed injustices such as hunger and economic inequality by introducing a new idea of development based on ethical principles. He called the idea his “basic human needs strategy” (Crocker, 2004, para. 4). He stresses the value of self-respect and respect of others. In doing so he sheds an ethical light on development, arguing that “development should be understood ultimately not as economic growth, industrialization, or modernization… but as the expansion of people’s valuable capabilities and functionings” (Crocker, 2004, para. 4). Having good values and ethics on the professional setting is important. Many people read their jobs rules and regulations when they first start. Knowing these rules can make the job easier, which can lead to great success. Different sources that can be used to ensure all business matters are handled properly include but are not limited to: the code of conduct that the individual business uses, the bylaws governing ethics, and the state in which the person is employed. The code of conduct is where the values and ethics for a company or school can be found (Wikipedia, 2010). This source provides all the rules any employee of that particular company must follow. Some of these rules can affect personal life. Most companies have a drug-free work environment and conduct extensive background checks to ensure the person being hired will not be at risk for breaking code. Most large companies - especially ones with multiple offices or stores - also have a set of bylaws. According to The Free Dictionary (2005),...
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