Research Paper: Professional Values and Ethics

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Ethics, Values, And Professional Success

Defining Values and Ethics

The topic of ethical values and professional ethics is tremendously important to contemporary society. Without respect for fundamental rules and definitions of acceptable and unacceptable business practices, the general public would be at great risk from selfish business decisions and actions initiated by for-profit organizations to maximize their revenue regardless of the potential harm caused to others in the process. Newspaper headlines seem to be perpetually full of major ethical violations at almost any given time. Currently, the Gulf of Mexico is being devastated by the uncontrollable release of crude oil specifically because BP, a giant oil conglomerate, chose not to install a relatively cheap piece of equipment to guard against such disasters. Moreover, it seems that the company also purposely misrepresented its technical ability to deal with this type of uncontrolled release to government regulators to avoid tighter regulation that could have threatened it profit margin. That is only the most recent and largest example of the consequences of ethical violations in modern business among many.

Sources of Values and Ethics

Generally, ethical values are sets of moral beliefs and expectations that are transmitted by society to its members through the socialization process (Zimbardo, 2007). In that regard, there is a large degree of variation from society to society simply because social norms and fundamental beliefs are substantially different in different parts of the world. Nevertheless, ethical values form the same general function in every society: they establish codes of personal behavior. In the conduct of business, they differentiate acceptable business practices from unacceptable and impermissible practices. The other principle sources of ethical values are the family system, codified laws and government regulations, and industry-specific rules governing particular industries (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008).

Contemporary Examples of Large-Scale Business Ethics Violations

The United States is currently in the process of recovering from the most significant economic recession since the Great Depression that followed the infamous Stock Market Crash of 1929. The cause of that economic recession can be traced directly to a systemic ethical problem that originated in the housing market and in the financial sector, particularly with respect to the intersection of those two industries in the first decade of the 21st century (Phillips, 2009). Specifically, the deregulation of investment banking toward the end of the Clinton administration essentially eliminated the natural incentive of banks and other lending institutions to make sure that their mortgage loan applicants were qualified for their mortgages. Previously, mortgage lenders could not afford to issue loans to borrowers who could not pay back their mortgage loans because every default remained on the books of the lending institutions. However, deregulation allowed lenders to sell of their outstanding debt obligations to investment institutions which purchased them for the purpose of converting large numbers of them… [END OF PREVIEW]

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