CHAPTER 1 OBJECTIVES • • • • • • Define basic terms related to morality and ethics. Appreciate the importance of ethics to individuals, organizations, and society. List and explain some of the governing factors of an individual’s ethics. Comprehend how ethical behavior is influenced by context. Value the importance of ethical behavior. Define and explain the concepts of life skills and emotional intelligence. TERMINOLOGY MORAL is defined as : “concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour” “a lesson that can be derived from a story or experience” (OAL Dictionary) Morality is derived from the Latin word moralitas, meaning manner, customs, or proper behavior. • • • ‘Principles governing right and wrong and good and bad behavior.’ ‘The degree to which something is right or wrong, good, or bad, and so on.’ ‘A system of moral principles followed by a particular group of people.’ Morality can be classified into : • • Descriptive morality - in its simplest form, refers to a moral code of conduct formulated by a group of people. Normative morality - denotes a code of conduct, but it specifies the conditions under which it is valid and considered acceptable by all rational people. ETHICS • • • Ethics is a branch of philosophy that studies the ethical codes required for moral behavior, and is considered identical to morality. Ethics is defined as ‘the moral principles that control or influence a person’s behavior or a system of moral principles or rules of behavior’. (OAL Dictionary) A branch of philosophy, or specifically moral philosophy, that studies the evolution of concepts such as right and wrong behavior. Classification Of Ethics: • • • Meta Ethics - deals with the origin of ethical principles that govern the specification of right and wrong behavior. A major issue of debate in this category is whether ethical principles are eternal truths that evolve from a spiritual world or whether they are simply created by humans. Descriptive Ethics It refers to the study of moral beliefs of people. It is a field of empirical research into what people or societies consider right or wrong. Normative Ethics is concerned with arriving at a set of moral conduct rules against which behaviors are judged.
• Applied Ethics primarily denotes the study of ethically controversial issues, such as imposition of death penalty and cloning. Applied ethics, thus, can be classified further into a large number of categories such as bioethics, computer ethics, and medical ethics. VALUES are defined as ‘beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life’. (OALD).In this sense, values are closely related to morality and ethics. Individuals hold certain values for their personal behavior. Societal values are those that are accepted by a majority of individuals, whereas universal values are adhered to by the whole world. SPIRITUALITY is defined as ‘concerned with the human spirit, rather than the body or physical things’; ‘concerned with religion’. (OALD) The word spirituality means ‘the quality of being concerned with religion or the human spirit’. Spirituality is believed to concern matters that are not physical, temporal, or worldly. In common parlance, it is said to refer to matters concerning the soul. STAKE HOLDERS IN MORAL ISSUES • • • • • • • • • • • Individuals make up organizations and the society. The morality individuals is more important in the holistic view of things. There exist numerous moral codes, etiquettes, legal directions, and religious edicts. The fact that the existence of all these does not ensure ethical behavior of citizens shows that individual perceptions and convictions matter considerably. Individuals thus form the major stakeholders in ensuring a just and morally correct society Organizations They denote entities that employ groups of people such as a company, an office, or an institution. Many organizations lay emphasis on certain codes of ethical conduct while others do not. Often, organizations do not have any control over an individual’s conduct outside its premises. Organizations should lay out its ethical codes and inform or train employees to adhere to good conduct, not only within the organization and works related to the organization, but also outside. Society Individuals and organizations form part of the society. Appropriate behavior in societal conduct evolves over time. It denotes a dynamic system of code of conduct that changes with time. The current moral conduct codes have a big influence on our behavior. As societies are formed by large groups of people, each individual may not subscribe to all that the code of conduct prescribes. GOVERNING EDICTS ‘Ethics is a way of living one’s life in pursuit of excellence. Ethics is not just a private matter. It has its private and public sides—but it cannot be just personal.’ [Dr Damien Grace]
Religious Edicts • • • Religion plays an important role in our lives. Religion has an influence in the way we behave. All religions formulate some form of code of conduct for its followers.Individuals are expected to follow the code of conduct Social Edicts • • • • Evolve over a period of time by consent of majority. They are also dynamic and change with time. Conflicts arise if some do not accept the majority view. They may also conflict with the law of the land. Constitutional Edicts • • • • Constitution provides some rights and responsibilities to individuals. The laws created under its umbrella also provide guidelines for correct behavior. Conflicts with social/religious edicts. Constitution needs to be considered supreme and people educated about the laws to follow them. UNIVERSALITY AND CONTEXT • • • • • Some ethical principles are universal. Norms for behavior are contextual. They vary widely with communities and cultures. Globalization has brought this into focus. People from different backgrounds work together.People also work in different social and cultural settings PERSONAL ETHICS • • • • • • • • • • Refrain from causing harm to others by your actions. Sometimes, the ethical codes refer to least harm actions. Our attempt must be to ensure that we do not harm the interests of others by our behavior. Be benevolent or do good to others and the society on the whole. Show concern for the well-being of others. Respect individual freedom and accept that others have autonomy in their thinking and behavior, hence, refrain from imposing your will on others. Ensure that justice is meted to all. Respect the law willingly and voluntarily. Many ills in the society are caused by ignorance and lack of respect for the laws of the land. Adopt and practice values such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and truthfulness. Do not be an opportunist and take unfair advantage of a situation. Practice non-violence and end discords through peaceful means as violent means only accentuate the divide.
• • • • • • • • • • Provide service to the poor, which includes any disadvantaged individual. Sadhu Vaswani, for instance, has emphasized, ‘Service of the poor is the worship of God’. Openness is a desirable virtue in professionals, Transparency in all actions must be the motto. You should be impartial while dealing with people and in your actions. An impartial judgment is a very desirable attribute in professionals. Be objective so that you are not influenced by any personal bias while taking decisions. Maintain confidentiality of the information available to you as a professional (or as decided by the organization) for the sake of organizational growth. Carry out the work allotted by the organization diligently, which includes care as well as conscientiousness while performing your work. Make professional judgments impartially, showing your innate sense of responsibility. Be loyal to your organization and develop a sense of belongingness with the organization. Many people take pride in being part of their organization and care for the organization above their own well-being. Avoid situations that might lead to conflicts. This may not always be possible as your personal ethical beliefs may sometimes lead to conflicts. ETHICAL DILEMMA Ethical dilemma is a situation where a decision is very difficult to take or a decision taken becomes controversial.Some dilemmas are: • • • • • Death penalty Euthanasia Cloning Surrogacy Genetic research MORAL DILEMMAS • • • • • • • There are a variety of moral issues that come up and have to be solved. Micro-ethical issues are those that are faced in day to day situations and need solutions. These are generally faced by individuals. Macro-ethical issues are those that have a bearing on society. Initial neglect makes them big later on. Individuals are not generally responsible for these and have to be tackled by teams and generally categorized as societal issues. Moral dilemmas are problems with a moral bearing, either of individual or a community. Conflict of interest situations or situations where the actions based on moral principles can also lead to harm result in dilemmas. Conflict of moral principles, lack of clarity and difference of opinion on the right course of action can lead to moral dilemmas. Considering all options and arriving at an acceptable solution is the difficult task here.