Professional ethics is related to any work that a person does for an occupation and his concern towards the society. Professional ethics carries additional moral responsibilities. Professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications which make them unique in a society. Ethics is defined as the philosophical study of moral values and rules. ‘Profession’ means a type of job requires special training and that brings a fairly high status, for example – work connected with medicine, law and education. Professional ethics are the rules governing the conduct, transactions and relationships within a profession and among its publics. The quality of action of any professional, will necessarily, be adjudged upon their individual perceptions as well as the broad and supreme vision deployed in day to day activities and interrelations among their own brethren and others outside. The word professional ethics may at first blush, though may signify mere moral conduct, as been rightly chosen to normatively provide empirical evidence of the essentially to conform to professional standards and conduct, benefiting the importance of the profession itself. Various criteria and practices regarding professional ethics are described below.
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How to practice Professional Ethics
Here 3 criteria is mentioned to practice Professional Ethics
The job must include complicated skills, theoretical knowledge, a clear judgment and caution. Preparation of a person to do a job requires some formal education like technical studies as well as humanistic studies. This includes professional ethics.
Some organizations must be formed for the profession. These must be accepted by the public to set the standards for that profession, writing code of professional ethics and also these organizations have to represent that profession to the public. For e.g. societies like ISTE and IEEE.
3. Public Good
The job must help the public by doing a favour to them quoted in its code of ethics.
So generally it can be said that an occupation is considered as a profession only when professionals have got all the above mentioned criteria.
Responsibilities mentioned related with Professional Ethics
Professional responsibilities are considered to be the most basic and comprehensive professional virtue in regard with Professional ethics. Responsibility refers to being morally responsible as a professional. Responsibilities related with professional ethics include a variety of specific virtues which are important in particular situations. These virtues are:
1. Self direction
These virtues in professional ethics are essential in exercising the moral autonomy and the responsibility. These virtues are divided into 2 groups.
i) Virtues which give focus on understanding and gaining knowledge through perception. Examples are self-understanding and humble attitude of mind in assessing a character.
ii) The second group focuses its attention towards commitment and understanding the actions such as courage, self-discipline, perseverance, loyalty to commitments, self respect and integrity.
2. Public spirited virtues
These virtues are based on the benefits of clients as well as general public who are affected by the work of others. Examples are justice, a sense of community and generosity. Justice includes a sense of respect for rights of others in making their own decisions on the risks. In a sense of community, there should be a clear and proper faith even without any slight mistake; hope of factors for meaningful life within professional and public communities. Generosity means helping others beyond minimum requirements. With respect to professional ethics generosity include the voluntary services and spending time, talent and money to the professional societies such as ISTE, IEEE and local communities.
1. Team work virtues
These virtues are known as intellectual virtues. These are base on the proficiency of an individual about his technical skills and jobs. These virtues include competence i.e. being well prepared for the tasks, diligence i.e. alertness to danger and careful attention the tasks and creativity.
In professional ethics above said 4 categories may partially coincide with some general virtues. They can be interrelated with other virtues known as ‘Cardinal Virtues’ or ‘Chief Virtues’ such as wisdom, courage, temperament and justice.
Moral integrity refers to the unity on the basis of moral concern and honesty. Integrity is the unity between responsibility of an individual in his personal and professional life.
Virtues of self respect and pride in the job can be made possible only with the help of the integrity. Integrity prevents the attitude among the individuals that they are not responsible for their wrong doings in the job. It creates an enthusiasm among the individuals for achieving excellent performance in their job and also makes them to see that the job is done well.
While talking about professional ethics maintaining integrity is possible only with the attitude of compromise. They are the possible ways to keep relationships when difference arises. Sometimes, they may lead to severe conflict between working life and personal life. So, for maintaining integrity, an individual must have the ability to identify reasonable compromises and be should also be willing to reasonable compromises.
Honesty is also a basic thing needed for integrity in addition to unity. Honesty is based on the aspects of truthfulness and trustworthiness.
In professional ethics truthfulness and trustworthiness are based on the following virtues.
i) Honesty in act means the individual should not steal, manipulate accounts or get bribes and kickbacks.
ii) Honesty in Speech means an individual should not mislead others by his speech. He should not tell lies and also not withhold the information pertaining to others.
iii) Honesty in beliefs is nothing but intellectual honesty. An individual should not be deceptive and he should not avoid tricky the unpleasant truths and should not hide the evidences favourable to others self-esteem and biases.
iv) Discretion means that an employee should not interfere in the decisions taken by the employer or the client. He should not interfere with matters confidential information.
Honesty is the basic virtue which is essential for professionals to engage a good relationship with the society and to fulfill the requirements in professional ethics.
i) Self respect
Valuing oneself in some morally suitable ways is known as the self-respect. To some extent both terms self respect and self esteem are synonymous. But there are some peculiar differences. First, Self respect is a moral concept and self esteem is a psychological concept when talking about professional ethics. Secondly, self respect means valuing oneself whereas self esteem refers to having a positive attitude may be excessive or unwarranted.
Self respect has 2 forms namely ‘recognition’ and ‘appraisal’.
Recognition is giving respect to other people as an individual. As per this, we have responsibility to show recognition – respect towards others and we should respect the rights of others as a sense of our own rights.
Appraisal means properly valuing ourselves as how well we face moral standards and our personal aims. Because of their good character, some people deserve higher respect. This is a goal of professional ethics.
A sense of honour emphasizes the intensive feelings of self respect and its minimum requirements. It conveys directly the pride in maintaining high professional stds, mental agony in failing to meet minimum standards of professionalism and a feeling of guilt for wrong doings.
Self control is the virtue of maintaining personal discipline in professional ethics. It implies how to avoid weakness of will because of lack of effort, halfhearted commitments, temptation, self deception and excessive or distorting fear or hatred. Self respect gives a strong motive for avoiding these weaknesses.
Courage is the tendency to face dangers and difficult jobs in rational ways and with self control. On the basis of the dangers confronted-courage takes many forms such as physical courage, social courage and intellectual courage.
Last Word about Professional Ethics
All above mentioned virtues are the important facts while we practice professional ethics as a professional. Business ethics won’t make a sense to lead a meaningful life. It is a must to implement professional ethics in a professional’s life. Professional ethics will act as a standard to keep a healthy life of a social wellbeing.
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Arul on December 19, 2016:
vaibhav on March 08, 2014:
very nice article
ansonabey (author) from Bangalore, India on August 01, 2013:
Dennis AuBuchon on July 22, 2013:
A wealth of information. We have something in common with the topic of ethics. I voted up, awesome, useful and interesting along with pinning, tweeting and liking.
Muthuraj on July 26, 2012:
sahil dhingra on June 28, 2012:
anbu anbu on March 17, 2012:
milion biftu on January 16, 2012:
Akhil Anil on April 25, 2011:
Nice info.. votes up!
Emma from Houston TX on March 11, 2011:
Nice article and thanks for sharing.