Ethical Integrity Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2537 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

Ethics and Morality:

Ethics is basically about what we do and not about what we say or what we intend to do. Ethics is the core of integrity which is demonstrating steadiness between the ethical principles and ethical practices. On the other hand, integrity is the essential measure of character ("How do I Maintain," n.d.). It's important to note that many people think that they understand morality and ethics. For example, a common person will most likely define morals and ethical behavior as being right and good as compared to being evil and bad.

While this response is basically circular logic, morality and ethical behavior mean one and the same thing without any additional explanations of what composes good or moral behavior. However, when asked for additional information of these definitions, the common man is normally unable to state exactly what is good, right, moral, and ethical. As a result, this will possibly cause a discussion of examples of both ethical and unethical behaviors without exclusively explaining these terms.

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The discussion of examples of both ethical and unethical behaviors occurs because Ethics and Morality is not something that the common man thinks about more often. Therefore, morality and ethics are unclear to many people as well as subjective for each person. Consequently, these two terms have a very broad series of the most likely definitions and examples. Morality can be defined as the principles of ethical behavior judged by the family, society, culture, education and religion (Phil n.d.).

Research Paper on Ethical Integrity Assignment

This definition of morality points out two interesting facts about morality and ethics. First, each person has a unique definition of morality and ethical beliefs because each person is brought up differently with very diverse experiences. Secondly, ethics and morality are always changing since the society is usually changing its viewpoints and technological capabilities. This change in ethics and morality continues to happen despite the fact that organizations particularly religious organizations seek to make people to believe that morality is constant. Ethics and morality will always be imprecise and not truly definable because the society changes continuously whether people want it to or not (Gert, 2008).

For thousands of years, ethics and morality has been the subject of debate by Western philosophers and a definition for them is yet to be formalized. Considering the fact that the greatest philosophers throughout history have been debating ethics and morality for thousands of years, it's therefore hard for the common man to truly understand ethics and morals. Nonetheless, as earlier mentioned, average people still believe that they understand the subject of morality. Contrary to their thoughts that they are very ethical, these people are actually deceiving themselves because no one can truly know what ethical really is.

Although it is only logical that no group of people can lay claim of understanding morality completely, people believe that they are ethical according to their personal or internal definitions of morality instead of a collective common definition. For instance, religious folks rationalize their morality from religious books and teachings while non-religious folks substantiate their morality on logic and/or the beliefs that they were brought up and educated with. Therefore, conflicts and strife will always be prevalent as long as people continue justifying their morals on differing standards.

Most importantly, ethics and values are inseparable because ethics has something to do with values. While values determine what is right and what is wrong, ethics is doing what is right or wrong. Therefore, to behave morally is to behave in a way that is consistent with what is right or moral. However, there is difficulty in deciding whether or not behavior is ethical because of the difficulty in determining what is right or wrong ("Values and Ethics" n.d.).

In order to determine what is right or wrong, the first place to look at is the society. This is because almost every society has some determination of morally correct behavior. Most societies not only control the behavior of their members but they also define their societal core values. Even though societies differ from each other in specific principles, the general principles of societies remain the same. To establish the specific principles, experience has been the key factor for societies in developing beliefs about what is of value for the common good.

By looking at the positive values of society and the organizations one belongs to, it is evident that one will identify what is right or wrong should be evident. The other aspect which influences societal or organizational standards is the unstated rules. These unstated rules or norms are always unofficially made by the members of a group which manage the behavior of the group's members. These unstated rules also have a greater effect on what is and isn't done by the group members than the official rules and regulations.

Norms are remarkable in the discussion of ethics and values because these norms may permit or even encourage certain behavior which is not in line with the society's or an organization's stated values (Richard, 2005). However, when there is inconsistency between the stated and operating values, it may be difficult to determine what is right. For a society to function for the collective good of its members, there are some basics of behavior which are expected from the members.

In organizations, there are three aspects which influence ethical behavior. These three aspects are the prior development of an individual as an ethical person, the organization as an ethical environment and the procedures that encourage ethical behavior. A person's ethical development takes place before the individual joins an organization. This ethical development, which determines a person's values, is enhanced by the influence of family, church, community, and school. By and large, the organization is therefore dealing with individuals whose value base has been established.

Although these internalized values of individuals are significant, the organization has a major impact on the behavior of its members. The organization can either have a positive or negative influence on its members' values. Service academies are good examples of the development of ethical individuals. The academies usually attempt to get persons of good character with the values integral to the military profession during their admissions processes. These academies devote substantial efforts to the development and internalization of their core values because they recognize that their core values may be different from those already established in society.

In order to make ethical decisions, there are three qualities which an individual must possess. First, an individual must have the ability to identify ethical issues and to reason through the ethical consequences of decisions. Secondly, an individual must possess the ability to look at other points-of-view and decide what is right in a particular set of circumstances. Finally, a person must have the ability to handle doubt and uncertainty and make a decision on the best information available.

As much as these individual characteristics are important, the influence of the organization on the person's ethical behavior is equally important. This is because the ethical standards that an individual observes in the organization will have a major effect on the individual behavior. The reward of ethical behavior is more intrinsic than economic incentives because behaving ethically is the right thing to do for most people. Many people are directed by their personal value systems and often choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong particularly as a result of the intrinsic values of what is right.

Practical Obligations in Ethical Integrity:

Given the recent technology advancements, there is an equally powerful demand on our ability to make responsible ethical decisions. For instance, the civilian tools of production and the military's tools of war are readily positioned upon a moment's decision to influence millions of lives for better or worse. In addition, current communications technology allows both responsible and irresponsible decisions which affect entire societies to travel toward the implementation at the speed of light. In order to maintain ethical integrity under the demands of this age, we need to survey the technique of moral decisions. This technique is divided into three perspectives which are:

The Benefit Perspective:

In this perspective, an individual considers how an action will cause pleasure or pain and benefit or harm to everyone affected. The application of this perspective is commonly referred to as seeking the greatest good for the greatest number ("Ethics," n.d.). The first step in the reflection process involves the division of the consequences of the action into two categories i.e. beneficial ones and harmful ones. The second step involves the consideration of the number of people who will be affected by these consequences as well as the intensity of the benefit and harm they will experience. A course of action is deemed morally right if it creates more pleasure than pain or more benefit than harm while deemed morally wrong if it generates more pain over pleasure.

This perspective usually appears very straightforward and instinctive at first. Nonetheless, the benefit perspective may lead us to judge as rightful numerous types of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ethical Integrity" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ethical Integrity.  (2010, April 12).  Retrieved June 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Ethical Integrity."  12 April 2010.  Web.  21 June 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethical Integrity."  April 12, 2010.  Accessed June 21, 2021.