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Ethics & Behavior

Jumbled Words : Ethics, Morals, Truth

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person's behavior and are considered the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. Many philosophers have held that moral rules and principles must apply universally. What is right for one person to do must be right for anyone else, unless there are some morally relevant differences between the cases.

Humanity's moral principles are not written down in one book and are not agreed upon by everyone. However, there appear to be some basic human universal principles that are adhered to by most.

1. Do good; avoid evil. This most basic moral principle, the starting point for morality, was articulated by Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, and is held by all the world's major religions.

2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule is well-known and sometimes called the ethic of reciprocity. It is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.

3. The end does not justify the means. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

4. Follow what nature intends. This is an approach to making decisions that respects the nature of things, especially human nature.

Many organizations write down their moral expectations for employees. This makes it easier for everyone to understand the company's expectation when responding to certain situations. A code of ethics outlines a set of principles, standards and values which guide employees' conduct. A given profession may have differing ethical standards. They are intended to protect both the client and the employee. Consequently, it is imperative that employees follow these written and verbal guidelines. This is especially true if the ethics pertain to federal and state mandated rules and policies.

Are you aware of your own company's code of ethics? How do you feel they align with your own moral principles?

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