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What Are the Consequences When Individuals and Societies Disagree on Ethical Standards and Behavior?

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During the past 30 years, the study of ethical issues in the life sciences has become a public concern, debated in the press and, increasingly, guided by governmental commissions, professional societies, and community organizations. The word "ethical" is often used interchangeably with the word "moral," although both words also have narrower and more specific meanings (e.g., "ethical" may refer to an issue such as conflict of interest in political settings; "moral" may refer to an issue such as sexual conduct as well as very broad and undefined meanings referring to human values in general). It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to define precisely what these words mean.

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Ethical standards are the standards of our environment that are acceptable to most people. In the western world these standardsare, in large part, based on Judeo-Christian principles.Generally referred to as mores, ethical standards are what the majority accepts as good, and the way they behave without imposed rules and regulations.Within our societal structure, sanctions are often imposed on those who fail to follow ethical standards, and laws dictate consequences for those found guilty of unethical behaviors. Ethical thinking involves the intricate process used to consider the impact of our actions on the individuals or institution we serve. While most decisions are routine, we can unexpectedly face an ethical dilemma when unusual situations occur suddenly for which an immediate response is needed.When people work closely together on a project, individuals tend to take on the core values of the group. Individuals within a group often compromise their own values in favor of those held by the group. Because of this, groups should use the three rules of management to assess whether their organizational decisions are ethical. Since group dynamics are an increasingly vital measure of organizational success, and standards of behavior are viewed within the context of profit and integrity, it is imperative that the group conceptualize the impact of their decisions. To be truly comprehensive, advisor development programs must address ethics and the role culture and values play in ethical decision-making. Our institutions have become more diverse. This is true in regard to easily recognizable differences, such as race and age, but also in terms of hidden differences, such as culture and disability. Care must be given to the reexamination of values and perspective,and how these influence so many ethical dilemmas. We must understand that values are acquired in childhood and manifest themselves on our campuses as permanent perceptions that shape and influence the nature of our behaviors. Values involve emotion, knowledge, thought, and ultimately choice of response. Values vary between individuals and, because values govern behavior, they color the way individuals view and respond to their world. It is important to understand the impact values have on choice. While values can, and do, change over time, they represent a significant component of personality. It is through individual values that culture is defined, and provides broad social guidelines for desirable standards. Generally described as normal societal standards, or norms, values influence how people make choices.

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Ethical behavior in business has remained a major subject of discussion in almost every business environment and company boardroom. Many company managers and businessmen invest heavily in programs that are aimed at instilling and nurturing reputable business behavior to augment good business performance, image and winning the loyalty of customers. Despite these efforts, cases of unethical behavior are frequently reported in countless companies around the world (Ronald, 1992). For instance, former chairman of NASDAQ, Bernie Madoff was arrested in Namibia for unethical conduct. Hewlett Packard, a respected company in the world found Patricia Dunn to be the mastermind of several unethical scandals in the company. The list for companies that have had to suspend managers and employers for unethical behavior is endless and grows daily. In every direction we face in the business world, we encounter an array of ethical scandals affecting companies, individuals and businesses. Is it possible to maintain ethical behavior? Maintaining ethical standards is possible and crucial for every business through corporate efforts and holistic management approach. This research paper critically analyses ethical behavior in business, how it can be realized and nurtured among other issues commonly discussed in the context of the topic.The concept of ethics is well described with reference to philosophical approach of thinking and defining human behavior and how we make decisions based on what we believe and accept to be morally right. Although such decisions may be made independently, they may have far-reaching impact on individuals or the entire group of people involved. Importantly, decisions in business are not only governed by rules and regulations but also by ethical practices that may have been nurtured for years by an organization or business (Boatright, 2009). This is usually aimed at promoting fairness and equity in ensuring that business activities are carried out within the confines of moral standards.

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All things considered, short cases, such as the ones in this text, may leave out details you think are important. Yet you have to resolve them anyway. Finally, consensus, though likely in this format, is not guaranteed. One overall story may emerge, but it may not. This is often the case in medical diagnoses. Two doctors may reach different conclusions about what is wrong with a patient. Differences in values, perspectives, and definitions of “facts” may keep ethical decision makers apart.

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Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the conduct of business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Christopher, M. (2004). Institutional Culture and Individual Behavior: Creating an Ethical Environment. Science & Engineering Ethics, 10 (2), 269-276.

Eliot, S. (2005). Business Ethics Regulation. Vital Speeches of the Day, 71(10), 298-304.

Ferrell, O., & Fraedrich, J. (2012). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases. Stamford, Connecticut, U.S: Cengage Learning.

George, S. (1993). Business and law respondents: What is ethical behavior? Journal of Education for Business, 68(6), 348.

Lattal, A., & Clark, R. (2006). A good day’s work: sustaining ethical behavior and business success. New York City, U.S: McGraw-Hill Professional.

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What Are the Consequences When Individuals and Societies Disagree on Ethical Standards and Behavior?
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