Professional Ethics

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Study Objectives:
To investigate the broad topic of professional ethics.

Study Logistics and Methodologies:

In an attempt to be fully comprehensive- we have decided to study a number of sub-topics under the broad heading of professional ethics. This paper will be separated into the following categories: psychology; statistics; management and accounting; law; journalism and medicine. In each of the sub-categories, we will outline the various codes of ethics and briefly describe the more important rules of such codes. In certain cases, we may even discuss organizations that are established to ensure the ethical rules are enforced in the various professions.


We have used a number of different means to acquire the information presented in the analysis. The internet was a major source of our information and we also used texts related to the various professions. In addition to the above sources, through our own knowledge we were aware of certain ethical principles that were necessary.


Ethics is a branch of philosophy that studies the difference between right and wrong. At some point in time everyone is faced with the difficult task of having to make an ethical decision. The decisions professionals make however are faced with great responsibility as the consequences of their actions impact not only the decision maker but also affects various stakeholders. The unethical decisions made by the CEO of one company not only affected his reputation but also had far reaching effects on the employees of the company and the shareholders who had invested large amounts of resources into the company. This incident illustrates the anarchy which can take place when professionals fail to abide by ethical codes of conduct. This paper is aimed at examining various professions and their respective codes of ethics. Some of the ethical issues involved in these various professions shall be highlighted and the possible consequences of using these codes to make decisions shall be evaluated. Focus will be placed on the areas of Ethics in Education, Management and Accounting, Journalism, Law, Medicine and Psychology.

What is Professional Ethics?

One definition of professional ethics states that it concerns one's conduct of behaviour and practice when carrying out professional work. Such work may include consulting, researching, teaching and writing. The institutionalisation of Codes of Conduct and Codes of Practice is common with many professional bodies for their members to adhere to. A professional possesses special knowledge and expertise in his particular field and as a result they are expected to make informed ethical decisions. With knowledge comes power and responsibility and as a result many professionals are expected to abide by their respective professional body’s code of ethics. A code of ethics simply outlines the responsibilities and ideals of a profession. These codes not only seek to protect the client but also aim to preserve the integrity profession. Failure to abide by these codes of ethics may result in disciplinary action (banning or license suspension) from the governing professional body. Whilst having an established code of ethics aids in the distinction between right and wrong, each situation which professionals may encounter will be unique. The professional’s interpretation of the code of ethics is what may be the impetus for the ethical decision made. Sometimes the ethical code outlined may not be applicable, feasible or even culturally relevant. Therefore the reality of the situation is that even though codes of ethics seek to establish universal standards which professionals should abide by, many times there heterogeneous aspects involved in the actual practice of the profession and standard rules and regulations may not always be helpful when deciding what is best for the client.

As mentioned before, this paper aims to deliver a...
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