Professional Ethics, Values and Career Success

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Professional Ethics, Values, and Career Success:
United States Presidents
Learning Team C
Adrian Munoz, Delores Oniyide-Smith and McKenzie Linstrom
University of Phoenix
Professional Values, Ethics, and Career Success

United States Presidents

Values and ethics are central to any organization; those operating in the national security arena are no exception. What exactly do we mean by values and ethics? Both are extremely broad terms, and we need to focus in on the aspects most relevant for strategic leaders and decision makers. What we will first discuss is the distinctive nature of ethics for public officials; second, the forces which influence the ethical behavior of individuals in organizations; and third, explore the actions strategic leaders can take to build ethical climates in their organizations.

Values and Ethics

Values can be defined as those things that are important to or valued by someone. They include integrity, professionalism, caring, teamwork, and stewardship. When values are shared by all members of an organization, they are extraordinarily important tools for making judgments, assessing probable outcomes of contemplated actions, and choosing among alternatives. Values are what we, as professionals, judge to be right. They are more than words-they are the moral, ethical, and professional attributes of character. Values are the embodiment of what an organization stands for, and should be the basis for the behavior of its members.

Ethics is behavior in a manner that is consistent with what is generally considered to be right or moral. Most of an individual's ethical development occurs before entering an organization. The influence of family, church, community, and school will determine individual values.

There are three qualities individuals must possess to make ethical decisions. The first is the ability to recognize ethical issues and to reason through the ethical consequences of decisions. The ability to see second and third order effects, one of the elements of strategic thinking, is very important. The second is the ability to look at alternative points of view, deciding what is right in a particular set of circumstances. The third is the ability to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty; making a decision on the best information available. (_Strategic Leader Development Inventory_. 1993. Alexandria, VA: The Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences). Trust

York Willbern, in an article entitled "Types and Levels of Public Morality," argues for six types or levels of morality (or ethics). The six levels he differentiates are: basic honesty and conformity to law; conflicts of interest; service orientation and procedural fairness; the ethic of democratic responsibility; the ethic of public policy determination; and the ethic of compromise and social integration.

Honesty and Conformity to Law - The ethic to be morally bound, to tell the truth, to keep promises, to respect the person and the property of others, and to abide by the requirements of the law.

Conflict of Interest - The ethic to ensure that the public interest comes first.
Service Orientation and Procedural Fairness - The ethic to follow established procedures.

The ethic to carry out the will of the people -

The Ethic of Public Policy Determination

The ethic to make moral policies. This level deals with the necessity for compromise in a society. (National Defense University, Strategic Leadership & Decision Making, pt. 4, Ch. 15).

Three sources of professional values and ethics are personal, social and religious. In a professional setting, those three sources are the strongest ideals that guide an individual’s decisions. These values and ethics are developed and taught beginning at childhood.

A good example of these three professional values and ethics is our 44th President Barrack Obama. President Obama came into office with our nation at war, a...
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