Personality and Ethics

Topics: Personality psychology, Psychology, Personality Pages: 25 (8599 words) Published: March 3, 2013
1.0 Introduction
By 2012, our world population stands at 7 billion and counting (Nasser, 2011). And not a single person is without a personality. Our personality is what makes who we are, what we do, who we interact with and how we live our life. It is a vital aspect that drives most of the decisions and choices an individual makes in his lifespan, and throughout this lifespan, the individual’s personality are tempered by external factors. In spite of all that, the nature of an individual’s personality still commands a degree of stability across time and situations as they grow from childhood to old age. And every individual’s personality begins the moment they are capable of perceiving the world. The development of one’s personality depends on two factors which are nature and nurture. As cited in Carducci (2009) Plomin, DeFries, McClearn & McGuffin (2001) it’s stated that biological factors do contribute to the physical and personality characteristic such as genetic heritability; however, this does not shows that all individuals’ personality is determined only from the biological process. Every individual contains a unique group of genes that require environments during an individual’s entire life to produce a recognizable individual (Larsen & Buss, 2005). It is often debated which of the two factors has a stronger impact on the development of personality, as supported by Carducci (2009) stating about the nature versus nurture controversy. Nature refers to biological factors such as hormones and genetics inherited from one’s parents whereas nurture emphasizes on environmental factors such as parenting styles, education opportunities and the circumstances in which one goes through in their life as well as perceptions, reasoning and beliefs. To understand an individual’s personality, society strives to understand the traits of individuals. Trait is the internal psychological disposition that remains largely unchanged throughout the lifespan and determines differences among individuals. According to Funder (1997) as cited in Chamorro-Premuzic (2007) personality traits refer to an individual‘s characteristic pattern of thought, emotion and behavior. Traits make people unique, identifiable, and generally predictable across time. So how do people think and act differently? Human behavior is difficult to predict (Nairne, 2009); therefore people tend to use personality as a reference to predict people behavior. Different personality will have different perception, judgment and behavior in any given situation. According to Velasquez (2001, p.1), he defined ethics as “The principle of conduct or behavior that govern an individual or a group of people.” Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell (2010, p.6) have also defined ethics as “Inquiry into the nature and ground of morality…” Morality is the judgment of standards and conducts which an individual or group has about what is right and wrong, or good and bad. Essentially, ethics is the process of examining the moral standards of a person or society in which the degree of reasonableness in applying the moral standards to concrete situations is determined. In regards to this, developing a body of moral standards that are reasonable for people to accept and apply to the choices people have to make in life, is the ultimate aim of ethics (Velasquez, 2001). The relationship between personality and ethics is reflected from an individual’s behavior. Behavior is the physical reflection of an individual's personality which is visible to outsiders. With certain personalities that people have, they will reflect their personalities towards their social group by repeating such behavior every day. Social groups will then comment or judge the behavior, whether the behavior is right or wrong, good or bad. Such judgments and comments can be from the viewpoint of religious, cultural, education or society perspective that fits to the standard behaviors and rules. The moral standards for certain...
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