Personal ethics might be described within three ways of understanding:
- Personal ethics is chosen ethical system in order to guide moral life connected to personal values. It is an individual moral commitment and practical use of them. Also called: committed ethics or active ethics.
- Personal ethics is embedded in the context, and stays in opposite to universal principle of ethics. Called also particular ethics or contextual ethics.
- Personal ethics is any ethical system that is centred impersonally so on concepts such as God, principles, rules or rights.
Luño A. R. describes that personal ethics influences personal conducts directly. It means that all individual actions which are performed, coming from personal evaluation of morality or justice. As an example of personal ethics case (but also political ethics) will be paying taxes. Personal ethics is connected to other kind of named ethics, such as:
- professional ethics,
- economic ethics,
- social ethics,
- political ethics.
Personal ethics in leadership
Good leadership is potentially coming from strong personal ethics. Moreover, if the leader understands his personal ethics and is able to name them, he has chance to communicate with teams better - the assumption behind it, is that if people understand concepts they are more willing to trust and follow it. In that way, the whole organisation might be more ethical and might bring better results. On the other hand, there are several aspects in the policy of organisation that helps to create and keep strong personal ethics. They should be managed at the top level of organisation crucial aspects of supporting personal ethics in the organisation would be:
- Have clear mission that communicates values in the organisation.
- Creating detailed code of ethics. The code of ethics should not enforce but follow corporate culture - it is changeable but develops long-term ethical program with standards at all levels of the organisation.
- Keeping ethical culture alive by conducting ethical seminars, discussions about ethics and engaging CEOs to promote ethical behaviours.
- Promote participative decision-making to engage employees in creating frameworks of ethics in the organisation and have them engaged in the process. Valuable is also having policy of an open door.
- Performing periodically ethical reviews to adjust any changes if needed.
Many of daily decisions in the company are set in contex therefore it might be challenge to estimate and support them from personal ethical point of view. For example the person who has limited proffesional experience, has to found himself in making business decisions but his values are coming from other than business experiences. Complex business decisions might be about quality, pricing, advertising, hiring practices, control of pollution etc. Values of that person are coming from family, school or religion and might be not adequate to complexity of decision making process in the organisation.
- Jacorzynski W. (2010), p.1-2
- Luño A. R. (2013), p.1-6
- Waggoner J. (2010)
- Ferrell O. C., Fraedrich J. (2009), p.10-11
- Ferrell O. C., Fraedrich J. (2009), Business Ethics 2009 Update: Ethical Decision Making and Cases, Cengage Learning, USA
- Jacorzynski W. (2010), Personal Ethics, in "Institutional issues involving ethics and justice - Vol. I - Personal Ethics"
- Luño A. R. (2013), Personal Ethics and Political Ethics
- Waggoner J. (2010), Ethics and Leadership: How Personal Ethics Produce Effective Leaders, CMC Senior Theses. Paper 26
Author: Andżelika Stefańska