What kind of ethics do you practice?
This one's a real poser, because many people believe they are ethical? But how are they ethical?
Tne definition of ethical conduct is that you are no different when alone, than you behave in a group of friends. Machiavellian ethical conduct dictates the ends as justifying the means. Then there is a group of ethical moderates who believe that there are some times it is possible to do right without moral absolutes or imperatives. Still other folks simply say the Golden Rule is enough. Moral absolutists might argue a case for the Ten Commandments.
First is to decide which of these camps you belong in. Then, you have to determine what each group believes. Next, you have to examine your own conduct in the light of the beliefs of one of these groups. Finally, you have to be willing to practice what the group practices. That will make you ethical, by practice, and identify you ethically based on your practice in and outside the group.
Why is the question important to begin with?
Let's see... every month I read the bulletins that come out for Realtors® and mortgage brokers, appraisers and the like. I have this morbid fascination with the disciplinary actions taken against practitioners. Each moth I find someone I have met or known who has had their hands slapped, paid a fine, gone to jail, or lost a license to practice due to some act they committed in violation of the rules.
It really saddens me to learn of people with their whole lives invested in a great career throwing their lives down the tubes. I have to ask as I read the actions against them, and the descriptions of their acts that made the rulings necessary "How could they do that?" I ask because of a genuine concern for them and for my profession, and I ask because often the actions were something common sense would have dictated against.
Courtesy Regis University
I don't know about you, but I get tempted often. I can easily admit it. The difference is that I never act on those temptations. It isn't out of fear of being caught that I am able to withstand those little urges. They are like weeds in a garden to me - best killed when small. I simply put myself in another person's shoes, and think how they would feel if their trust were violated. I remember when people I have trusted have betrayed me, too. That stops any thought dead in their tracks.
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Is it difficult to behave ethically? It depends on which camp you are in. when the ends justify the means, it is easy to cross the threshold and behave unethically, because you stop watching for temptation, and behave in a manner to get what the object of your desire is. So, Group Two, the Machiavellians may come to certain conclusions quickly, but behave poorly. The first and last groups will behave similarly, either offer of reprisal (Group One), or fear of God (Group Five). Either of these groups behaves with a moral compass that provides certain prohibitions against certain thoughts or actions, and has a fear of "crossing the line.." Group Three, the group I like to call the wanderers, looks for excuses when they fail to perform in a morally correct fashion, and seeks some manner of self justification in determining its course. The problem is that lacking some form of compass, they can' go in a particular direction, because they cannot fix on a point and navigate to it. This group is always traveling on thin ice at all time, waiting to fall through. Group Four (the golden Rulers) at least has a point they fix on. Their problem is that they can get a lazy application going and suddenly find themselves becoming Machiavellian.
This leads to the inevitable question: How can we behave in an unquestionably ethical manner?
I await your replies.
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