THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: Answer these questions with original thought and references to the text or outside resources. How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?
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94 Comments for “Module 1”
We develop our ethics like most everything else; by our experiences. Taking this course can be that experience, or what we have been raised to think by parents, maybe mandated training from an employer has shaped our experience of ethics. Religion and ethical relativism as stated in the text could be primary sources for developing our ethical positions. It appears the topic of ethics have taken a change since the 1900s when when I was taught ethics and morality were separate, but complemented each other. Morality used to be a person’s convictions (from a source like religious or social beliefs) for rightness, where ethics were the application of those convictions. Looks like they are accepted as synonymous now.
Your point regarding morality is similar to what I have always thought. When I heard the word ethical I usually referenced to have something to do with a business or a formal organization. When it comes to morals I always referred to thinking of them as religious ideas or beliefs.
Yes I have a difficult time trying to differentiate between the two. For me, morals are something that is debatable within yourself. Like you can make a decision to do thes immoral thing like steal gum from a convenience store. But with ethics its more ingrained, it takes a lot of decision making to be unethical because its like going against everything you know about yourself. This is such a hard thing to articulate because you really take a look at yourself. I think ethics have more to do with culture, religion, and how you were raised, and morals are a standard you hold yourself to.
According to our text (Shaw, 2017, pg. 17), “accepting a moral principle involves a motivation to conform one’s conduct to that principle. Violating the principle will bother one’s conscience, but conscience is not a perfectly reliable guide to right and wrong,” so I can relate that to your discussion post this week. I believe these two topics were in the same section where the text explained in more detail how religion is not the most common reason for people to behave morally and that most people behave as such because that is just simply in their nature or just the person they are. I would agree that the topic of ethics has changed quite drastically for many people all over the world but I would also guess that there are some places that do practice ethics and moral standard in the similar ways as geography has a lot to do with the societal ethics that end up being normalized. I enjoyed contributing to your post!
According to Shaw (2017), the terms ethics and morals are broadly used as interchangeable. With this in mind, there are many ways a person develops their ethics. For instance, a person’s ethics might be influenced by their upbringing, explicit and implicit standards of their culture, and the behavior of people around them (Shaw, 2017). Notably, I believe a person’s organic personality aids in the development of ethics because the person might place extra values in areas like generosity. By placing value in areas like generosity, the person may be more inclined than others to help someone in need. Shaw (2017) discusses the lack of an impact by religion on the development of ethics; however, I disagree. From a cultural perspective, religion has the ability to interweave itself into a society; thus, being the foundation for societal norms and behaviors, which influences ethics. Yes, religion and culture are two different things, but the thickness of the line between them varies from region to region.
Although the text provided many different examples of how people develop their ethics, I think it is incredibly subjective. Shaw (2017) touches on this subjectivity by including the statement that philosophers focus on whether our ethics can be justified, rather than where they came from. In my opinion, the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position is our explicit and implicit standards of culture, behavior of people around us, and our upbringing (Shaw, 2017). I perceive these elements as valuable because as children, we are taught cultural norms and learn through modeling those around us. It is no surprise that these tendencies would lead us to develop similar ethical standards as those in our community; however, Shaw (2017) mentions the relativist’s theory of morality is not plausible. I would agree because the majority view on moral issues does not dictate accuracy, so an individual’s ethics begin as a composition of the society at large, but the individual is expected to continuously monitor their ethics, like we monitor biases.
In summary, ethics is a very subjective term and people develop their ethical position in different ways. Since the topic is so subjective, I’m looking forward to reading my classmate’s responses.
Shaw, W. (2017). Business ethics: Ninth edition. Cengage Learning.
McKiness, Brock A.says:
You made some interesting points and your comment is well structured. Your reference to the literature regarding “philosophers[’] focusâ€ being directed at the justification of ethics over the source inspired some thought. Is the justification for our ethics and the source for their development not intertwined or even synonymous? Whether we are justifying our actions or the actions of someone else, I believe, it is most often the perspective of the individual that plays the largest role. The source of our chosen ethics is within this perspective.
For example, murder is only murder and therefore wrong, in most opinions, if it is not due to some form of preservation. However, how you define self-defense plays a role in the justification, and who or what you learned this definition from would determine the parameters in which you use to gauge that justification. My point being, justification requires perspective and experience is part of perspective.
I would also like to say I agree with your conclusion that “people develop their ethical position in different ways.â€ In a good family unit with strong parents or guardians, ethics may come mostly from the parents, but in other situations people will find alternatives or even choose for themselves that their parents can only teach them what not to do. I also think that in situations where those in the parental role are young or inexperienced leaves children undeveloped until they can find a different mentor or their own experiences.
Really great post filled with great details. I really like when you said “I believe a person’s organic personality aids in the development of ethics because the person might place extra values in areas like generosity. By placing value in areas like generosity, the person may be more inclined than others to help someone in need.” I never even thought to think of a person’s personality and that impact it can have on the development of one’s ethics. After reading your post, it is very true that everyone’s personality really has a large impact when it comes to their ethics.
Secondly, I agree with the text and you when Shaw mentioned that religion is not a many source and does not have a large influence. In fact, I believe it is the complete opposite. I think so many people incorporate religion into their everyday lives that we sometimes do not realize the impact it has when developing our ethical positions. Again great post!
I really liked your use of references to back up all of your statements. I would have to agree with the fact that ethics and morals are used interchangeably. I see this in most criminal cases because there is no exact right or wrong that both sides can be argued on the side of ethics and with morals. There are always grey areas and sometimes its hard to see the sides. I also liked how you pointed out how much the role and understandings of ethics and morals have changed over the years as people have come to evolve. I see that religion is one of those topics where some have branched off from their original beliefs to evolve and believe in something more or less extreme than before. I really like how you pointed out religion because I see it as a major deciding factor in most things people do on a daily basis. Great post!
Cole Sudkamp Walkersays:
It’s interesting that Shaw would say that religion would’t influence ethics. I agree with you that while how important religion is in developing ethics varies, its seems that anything that would influence a culture would have an affect on ethics. It can be intertwined into government, philosophy, childhood, set a tone for what is and isn’t acceptable.
Ethics are inferior to the standard of laws and weighs, that vastly govern society. Ethics are what we ought to (insert verb). We can take the grey areas in science to be a great example. Science is the study of change, relative to a measurement. With that said, change does occur. In medicine, new trials are normally developed and implemented, very slowly. Development of a new synthetic drug requires years of study, to predict the impacts the serum will have on our biome. By this point, the target disease is fully understood and concurrently has been tested by the strains of serum to ensure the pathology would be correct. Releasing a serum sooner, could cause the population to be the guinea pigs and be completely unethical, perhaps illegal. For each strain of a virus, a new research and development process must take place. Will there for Covid-19… no just scientists for hire, to publish fake science. Our medical community superiority, is looking to cash in this disaster. So taking all of this information, i can state that the position of decision makers under our president, is jeopardized. There are those that end up, being replaced. They take a position and will not give in, no matter how much pressure. So to summarize, I look at leaders that stood for something, for their people, for what was right. They are my sources to develop my ethical position
I would have to disagree with you. I think that Ethics or morals are not inferior to the standards of laws but are more so the basis for said Law (In most cases). I think that laws are derived from those ethics or morals of a society. For example, Society says that murder is bad so there are laws to enforce those beliefs and keep people from committing murders. Page 8 of our book states that “Laws codifies a society’s customs, ideals, norms and moral value. Changes in law tend to reflect changes in what a society takes to be right and wrongâ€ (Shaw, 2017). While everyone may not feel the same way usually the majority does. So again I would say that ethics and morals are a strong basis for laws, rules, and regulations.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business ethics. Australia: Cengage Learning.
Thank you for sharing your stance on how we develop our ethics. I think your statement is interesting because I haven’t considered whether or not laws are superior to ethics, or vice versa. If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like you’re saying people in authority may not always act ethically, so there’s a conflict in politics between people who are ethical and those who are not. I’m curious, how do you feel about the current laws? Overall, do you find the laws to be ethical or not? According to Cortina (2000), Western society law was based on the ethics and societal norms of the time, which were deeply rooted in England’s hierarchical system. I feel like this relates to what you were saying about the power conflict in politics — at some point, someone will be above the law and untouchable, but it begs the question, is it an ethical conflict or a social issue? Or is it both? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!
Cortina, A. (2000). Civil ethics and the validity of law. Ethical Theory and Moral Principle, 3(1).
I feel it is a bold claim to say that ethics are inferior to laws. Both laws and ethics are subject to a wild amount of interpretation. Laws from country to country, and even state to state vary wildly, and were based on either beliefs of the time, or necessity. Ethics are commonly a driving factor behind laws, which is difficult considering our ethics can vary so much based on upbringing, religion, heritage, and societal influences. The flaw in that idea is that new generations tend to develop changes in ethics, but the process to
revise laws is both difficult and timely. This gives light to a different issue, that the governing bodies which pass new statutes are, typically, of an older generation. This can leave younger generations feeling unrepresented in new legislation, which poses the argument that law is actually inferior to ethics. One can be altered in a growing society much more quickly than others, and that time lapse breeds conflict in a society.
I understand and appreciate your post. Using the example of science helped myself better understand your point of view. While I understand completely where you state, “Ethics are inferior to the standard of laws and weighs, that vastly govern society.” I agree with you in in terms of ethics being” inferior”.According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, inferior defined as “lower in rank, status or quality”. In terms of crime and law, ethics do not really hold much weight or authority. This is in reference to the context of the act being done and it is in the governments hands. Many people are doing illegal things and they are not held accountable because the laws have different criteria and components to them when it comes time to charging them. Prior to someone doing something in which they are being ethically correct is different. Ethics and your ethically point of view comes from within and is influenced by everything around you. While I do believe laws are created and based of ethics and morals, I can agree with you when you state they are inferior.
I found your sentence to be interesting “Ethics are inferior to the standard of laws and weighs, that vastly govern society.” I find this to be true depending on your interpretation. Let’s say you end up going to court for committing a crime let’s also say that this crime could be perceived as ethically okay. And if you were to ask other members of society what they thought about the crime you committed they either assessed that you made a good ethical decision and if they were in your position would have done the same. But when the judge and jury send the judgment it turns you have been found guilty. Even if you are to argue that you you made the choice that anyone else would do. Nobody else thinks that you should be held accountable for those actions. yet you still have to take a prison sentence for what was deemed as the ethically right decision. So in that sense, I do agree that “Ethics are inferior to the standard of laws and weighs, that vastly govern society.”
Most of us see ethics development as a result of experiences. These experiences could be a major event in one’s life, or a culmination of smaller events that formulate an opinion. For example, someone who follows or was brought up as a christian will have different ethics than someone who was brought up as an atheist. Someone who grew up in a low socioeconomic environment will have different views than someone who was born a very wealthy individual. I would add that our ethics not only come from events in our life, but the influential figures in our lives. I’ve already seen some people bring up how parents usually pass on their ethic viewpoints. I agree, but I also feel that many of us are heavily influenced by sports coaches, teachers, religious leaders, or even our favorite celebrities. In addition, I think that most of us have a shared idea of basic ethical principles. This includes ideas like “murder is wrong” or “everyone deserves to be treated with respect”. There are some rare exceptions to this, of course. In summary, I feel that we all have a general sense of right and wrong, but our experiences and who we let influence us ultimately decide our ethics on a personal level.
I like your train of thought and I felt it was spot on, your ideas are in line with some of the same thoughts I had in reference to this subject of ethics. You touched on the early parenting influences, background, religion, and life experiences. Well done and good luck with the class this semester.
Hello! What a great post, i agree with the other post, that you are spot on. Being burnt on bad calls or close calls, can really adjust the perspective one gives on a situation. I appreciate the sociology you applied as well
I definitely agree with you that our experiences mostly govern our ethics and what we decide to do in certain situations, as well as social norms and upbringing. You make some solid points here, especially considering that most of us can agree on what is ethically right or wrong, in the basic sense of world, such as murder, rape, etc. are generally wrong. I think this course will be exploring the more gray areas as well as why we consider actions either morally good or reprehensible. Our experiences and the people in our lives definitely have something to do with why we think how we do and what our actions will be. Great points and good luck this semester.
This is a belief I share and one of the reasons I support travel and education so vehemently. It is easy to be selectively ethical (is that a thing? Can I coin that right now?) when you’re not able to see how your actions and decisions will affect another person.
I really liked your thoughts on how you think we develop ethics! I also agree that ethics can come from influential figures in our lives. During my childhood, I met many adults who suffered from drug and alcohol addiction which made me form my own personal ethics on drugs and alcohol. I do also agree that teachers and coaches play a major role in the development of our ethics as well.
I too agree with your statement about our experiences make up our ethical positions. It stands to reason, kind of like the term “You are what you eat.” Our text (Shaw, 2017) even states “…our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us,…, our own experiences, and our critical reflection on those experiences.” I feel your post nails it, thank you!
Ethics are created by factors or ideas that the individual is subjected to. These can be environmental factors, cultural surroundings, or ideas from religion, School environment, parents, society, or people surrounding you throughout your childhood and life. There are a large number of ways people come across and develop their ethics. Usually, people take bits and pieces from all of these factors they have come across throughout their lives and combined them in order to establish their ethics. The primary source for us to develop our ethics is rooted in a particular belief that the individual accepts. Usually, these beliefs vary from individual to individual; for example, some individuals do not believe that abortion should be legal because it is unethical to kill an unborn fetus. They reason that killing a child is terrible: they view the fetus as a child or will be a child. Which therefore makes it unjustifiable and unethical to do so. Sources to develop our ethics are very subjective; “each person draws portions, sometimes bits and pieces, of their personal and business ethics from an almost random variety of sources, such as their childhood upbringing, a dramatic or otherwise pivotal life experience, religious beliefs, discussions with family, colleagues, and friends, and the ethical teachings of whatever philosophers the person may have readâ€ (Head, 2006 ). It varies heavily from person to person. Different people justify their ethical position in different ways.
Head, George L. “Where Our Ethics Come From.â€ Where Our Ethics Come From | Expert Commentary | IRMI.com, 2006, http://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/where-our-ethics-come-from.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how we develop our ethics. We both have similar opinions of how ethics are developed and I appreciate your mention of religion, culture, and immediate surroundings. I’m a social work major so I get super excited when person-in-environment theory can be applied, which touches on how heavily influenced someone is by their environment. Ethics are an ever-developing thing, like you mention by referencing George Head’s article. What do you feel is the largest influencing factor for you?
For me, I’d say it’s religion. My family is deeply rooted in Christianity, which shapes a lot of our opinions, viewpoints, and ethics.
Nice post John, this hit a lot of the concepts I was trying to illustrate in an eloquent way. I especially like what you said about dramatic our pivotal experiences. In my post I was referring more to a negative experience. For example, there are people with a negative view on alcohol because perhaps someone close to them abused it. Your post made me realize that the pivotal event could be positive. Going back to the previous example, another person might not view drinking as unethical because it is part of their family traditions and therefore has a positive connotation associated with the activity. Look forward to hearing more from you as the semester progresses.
Many things influence what moral principles we accept as well as the ethical position we choose to take. As stated in our textbook, chapter 1 page 10, the primary sources that help up to develop these two things are our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards of our culture, and our critical reflections on those experiences.
Good Evening Alyssa,
I agree with your comments. However, I haven’t received my text yet as I’m sure a few others may probably in the same boats as well so it probably would have been good to give us a few extra deets on what you referenced in Chapter 1. No biggie though my book will be here soon enough and I’ll be sure to check it out. GOD Speed this semester.
I believe upbringing sets our initial understanding of ethics and morals. I feel for most people changing our ethical/moral standard is hard due to us getting that baseline at such a young age. However, as people age and get into different circumstances, their thought process will change. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post and agree.
Ethics are primarily developed through experiential circumstances, whether those are upbringing, significant events or learned over time by oneself. As humans, our ethics are derived from a complex combination of the circumstances above, which form our core principles. Society also helps shape our ethics, by giving us indicators on what actions are either “good” or “bad”, as well as giving us clues and insight on how to act and respond to certain situations. These are essentially the primary sources for which we derive our ethics. By applying what we have been taught, we develop a “moral compass”, founded on on our ethical position, to guide us.
Hey, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on how we develop our ethics. I like how you mention good versus bad because I feel like this is a key concept to discuss when we talk about ethics. The very foundation of good versus bad is our experiences, upbringing, and everything mentioned in both the text and this discussion thread. Do you think ethics are socially constructed? I know it’s an odd question, but you mentioned the evaluation of good versus bad gives us clues — are these clues societal norms or ethical principals? It’s just a thought. 🙂
I appreciate your inclusion of the moral compass, too. I didn’t touch on it in my original post, but I think the moral compass is excellent imagery to picture how our ethics guide us, like you mention. What do you feel like is the biggest influencing factor in developing your ethics?
We develop our “baselineâ€ ethics by how we are raised and the culture/community we are in, then they develop over time as you learn and grow. The more we learn about what is good and bad, legal and illegal, right and wrong, fair and unfair, develop how we feel and act. For example, I’m in the Army and the Army’s values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. These values further your ethical development on the kind of person you want to be. Ethical decisions will require you to weigh the consequence of the decision.
I basically said the same thing when I responded to a previous comment. I completely agree that our baseline ethics is how we were raised and who was around us. Teachers, family, and friends have such an impact on what we feel is right or wrong at a young age. People do and can change their feelings as they grow, but I think it’s difficult to change years of grooming.
It is my belief that ethics will be instilled in people through a combination of influences while you are growing up. As we work through our lives you will encounter different roll models(good or bad), societal pressures, cultural influences, and ethical dilemmas. These experiences are what shape what we view as right and wrong. This begins while we are so young that we may not recognize that we are forming opinions, biases, or beliefs.
Looking back on my life, I am able to realize that I have gained more from “Bad” role models then I have from good ones. A series of ethically questionable employers have shaped how I treat people who fall under my management. This circles back to “The Golden Rule” referenced in our text, but there really is truth to it. Having watched my peers fall victim to unjust decisions made by employers, will always guide my decision making as I move into leadership roles.
However, this cannot be the root of all of our beliefs. The impact that society and culture has on us is enormous. A prime example of this is one we everyday. After leaving the grocery store, have loaded our purchases into our vehicle, we are left with the dilemma of dealing with the cart. Somehow, as a society, we know that the right thing to do is to return it to the stall conveniently placed about fifty feet away. This ensures it wont roll away and damage another vehicle, block a needed parking spot, and it helps your fellow man that will be collecting them later on. This being the case, why are there so many carts scattered across the parking lot? Simply, one person left it there out of convenience, and other people will follow suit in that decision, even if they feel its wrong. One persons actions have now sculpted the routine of the herd.
Simply put, the ethics we believe in can be shaped by the experiences we go through in life, and the people we interact with. Whether its a conscious or subconscious, it is still driven by the factors that influence our lives.
I like your focus on the people we surround ourselves with as a major force in determining our personal ethics. I recall hearing somewhere many years ago the we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I have no idea how true that is, or if there’s anything to back that assertion up, but it’s always stuck with me as a reminder of how much the people around us can influence our thoughts and behavior. It makes me be a little more selective when possible on who I’m going to spend my time with.
I also thought your shopping cart example is interesting, it seems like there are many little societal indicators like this of a person’s true nature. It’s like people who litter, or in this current environment argue with the poor grocery store employees because they don’t want to wear a mask, it provides an interesting glimpse into how little they seem to care about the norms of the society they are in or the feelings of the people around them. And if enough people are engaging in the poor behavior it can slowly become normalized.
You make a good point that ethics are the result of a variety of sources, and they can be formed without realization. “The Golden Ruleâ€ is also is great example of a concept that helps people to form opinions and ethical standards. Sometimes the “badâ€ role models can provide a blueprint on what not to do, which is a helpful tool in striving to treat people fairly and finding efficient organizational methods. It sounds like this is exactly what you have done by analyzing past experiences with employers.
Dealing with grocery store shopping carts is also a good example of society’s unspoken expectations. This goes to show how complex the influence of culture can be in regards to ethics. Not only are there unspoken rules for public conduct, but I believe the likelihood of a person to follow these rules has a strong tie to the actions of the people surrounding them that they respect. If the people close to them disregard certain unspoken rules, it’s less likely that the given person will form an ethical standard to follow the rule.
Thanks for sharing! It’s very interesting to read through these posts and see the applications of this chapter to different people’s lives.
Good evening, I enjoyed reading your post. You have used real live examples , like the shopping cart handling. It really helps illustrate a topic in the text (Shaw, 2017) Individual Integrity and Responsibility and to me the term diffusion of responsibility. Thank you for the post!
We, as individuals, develop our ethics or morals through our interactions and life experience. It starts when we are young, and our parents or guardians try and teach us right from wrong. From there it continues and is ingrained in us through the law, our friends, and even our hero’s. Even some occupations require you to follow specific values. The Army for example, has the Warrior ethos, that is instilled in young soldiers from day one in basic training. Doctors, Lawyers, therapist, Law Enforcement, and other occupation all have some sort of moral oath that they take when begin their jobs. There are also cultural and religious impact on our ethics or morals.
One of the best examples that I can think of for a difference is cultural differences is when we grow up we are told that swearing is bad the bible says swearing is bad, but when your in the military everyone swears and its ok.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business ethics. Australia: Cengage Learning.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about how we develop our ethics. This reminds me of the person-in-environment theory, which describes the influence an environment has on a person. Ultimately, I agree with you. I believe our ethics are developed based on our interactions and life experiences. I appreciate your inclusion of Warrior Ethos because it demonstrates how our ethics continue to evolve. The Army recruits might’ve had different ethics before basic training, but now their ethics align to the Warrior Ethos, like you stated. Religion plays a big part in the development of my ethics and it’s neat how you include it here, too.
Also, great example of the difference in ethics based on culture! It made me laugh a little, but it’s true — cultural ethics vary. I think we see this on every societal level, shape, and form. What do you feel is the biggest influence on your ethics?
McKiness, Brock A.says:
Someone might think that the question of right or wrong is simple and can only have one answer. After all, there are only two choices. However, we know this to not be true. Every situation poses unique variables that change the answer. Information available, understanding, perspective, past experiences, individual morality, belief systems, and more are all variables that lead to variation in what is right and wrong. So how do individuals develop ethics that govern their perspective on right and wrong?
There are different stages of moral development and various moral development theories; these theories do not contradict each other and offer navigation though moral contemplation (Elliott, 1991). The primary time in life discussed for the development of ethics is youth and the transition through childhood into adulthood. Parents, and to a lesser extent educators, can be held accountable for this development in children (Schinkel & Ruyter, 2017). As individuals interact with peers, their moral progression can unintentionally be altered if the child “ownsâ€ it (Schinkel & Ruyter, 2017). As an adult, despite the many forms of invisible support a society provides, the moral progress they make is largely individualistic; it relies on refining sensitivities, strengthening commitments and virtues, and deepening more than the making of developmental leaps (Schinkel & Ruyter, 2017). It can be speculated that our ethics are developed as youths primarily through the influence of parents, guardians, and mentors. These values are then refined as adults primarily through experiences.
Elliott, D. (1991). Moral Development Theories and the Teaching of Ethics. Journalism
Educator, 46(3), 18—24. https://doi.org/10.1177/107769589104600302
Schinkel, A. a. schinkel@vu. n., & Ruyter, D. (2017). Individual Moral Development and Moral
Progress. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 20(1), 121—136.
Thank you for your thoughts on the development of ethics. When I read your comment I was really curious about your use of Schinkel & Ruyter’s paper and how a child has to “ownâ€ their ethical position to their peers before they actually progress morally (2017). After reading the paper it was clear to me how important it seems to be developmentally for this to occur. It was also really interesting how the paper talked about how often this progress does not happen intentionally on the child’s part. I also thought your comment about there not really being a right or wrong answer for all questions to be a good perspective to have. While there are right or wrong answers to many questions, I think that in many cases people are unwilling to listen to a perspective that they disagree with due to them thinking they are right. However, by listening to a different perspective they could see that what they are thinking is more complicated than they originally thought, or even that their perspective is wrong. Anyway, thanks for pointing me in the direction of these interesting articles!
I believe that our ethics are develop through a combination of things coming together at a very early stages in our lives and forming what I consider that foundations of our Ethical Beliefs.
Those things in no particular order are the background and beliefs of your Paternal/Maternal family, your upbringing, your home/surrounding environment where you grew up, your religious background, and your life experiences.
I further believe that the influences later in our adult lives such as where we attended college, military service, or our chosen profession that we decide to go into also makes impact in solidifying or sometimes changing our ethical beliefs as well. The last piece is the intangible referred to as how one’s moral compass is set, there’s no changing those people.
In my own personal experiences my basic ethical foundation started with always tell the truth, don’t steal, don’t cheat, and attend church every Sunday. Later as I grew up I learned more about ethics through life experiences, reading/maturing, and the years I spent serving in the military from Junior enlisted too Senior NCO.
Hi Chief, good post!
The military teaches so many ethics and morals for people. I think it is a great way to have a strong base and respect level for many individuals. I also believe how you talk about the upbringing and surroundings is very important. People grow up learning from their friends and families. It is very tough to do something else than what their normal morals and ethics are. For me everyone in my family played an instrument, i was the youngest in my family and guess what?! i played an instrument too! Overall good post and good comments on the mentioning the environment that influences ethics.
Your comment on how our chosen profession can influence our ethics really struck me as interesting. I’d considered the impact of coworkers on personal ethics but not necessarily the profession itself, it really makes a lot of sense though. Personally I work as an occupational health and safety professional, and after many years in that field I find that I’m actually more concerned about the well being of others than I had ever been in the past. Years of having to worry about the safety and health of my coworkers has slowly turned me into a more compassionate person, although I also now find myself constantly frustrated at the creative ways people find to hurt themselves. I would imagine this can work in the opposite direction as well, if a caring person ended up in a position where the only goal was profit even at the expense of others would they slowly become less caring and more predatory? I bet they would.
I believe a person’s ethics come from three main sources, two external and one internal. The first external source would be the people we are exposed to in our formative years, whether they are friends or family. This is where we learn what we think are societies ethical norms when we are young. Growing up you may be part of a family or group of friends who’s internal ethics differ greatly from the society you live in, and until you are old enough or mentally mature enough to understand the different then the actions of that group are going to be the basis for the development of your own ethics.
The second external source would be more societal, whether it is the society as a whole, or smaller subsets such as the company you work for. I think this is where many of us get our baseline for what is considered normal ethical behavior, things like don’t kill people, don’t steal, etc. It’s interesting to me to see how these societal standards can differ throughout the world, and if you grow up in one society and then later move to a society with differing ethical standards I can see where there could be challenges and misunderstandings. The example from the text describing the differences between Ireland and Japan on the subject of abortion come to mind. Or another example could be something a friend of mine who spent time stationed in Afghanistan described, where in that culture if you found yourself in a position of authority then hiring friends and family would be considered the ethical thing to do, where the same action would be frowned upon in the US.
Finally, I believe that there is a strong overall influence on each person’s personal ethics that is simply related to how each person’s brain is biologically wired. I think we’ve probably all spent time talking to someone who simply viewed the world differently than us, even if they live in the same society and had a similar upbringing. I remember a person that I used to work with who had a very strong sense of personal ethics related to legality, despite having a family that decidedly did not. There really wasn’t much in her upbringing or her friends and family that would have led her to develop in that direction, it just seemed to be the way her brain was wired.
We develop our ethics at a young age through trial and error. If our trials or actions were ‘right’, we may be rewarded (or at least not penalized) by family or society. However, if our actions were ‘wrong,’ we might be reprimanded by relatives, teachers, or figures of authority. It’s also possible for people to do something immoral and not get caught, which could also affect the formation of their ethics. These ideas of right and wrong are internalized so that a person who does something that they feel is unethical will usually feel guilty, and if they do something they consider ethical they may feel neutral or accomplished. Ethics are not only developed during our upbringing, but we can also form them from a variety of sources: the actions of people around us, the written and unwritten rules of culture, our experiences, as well as hindsight. Examples of these sources could include watching parents handle stressful situations, learning and following laws, internalizing advice from grandparents or religious services, meeting new people while volunteering and hearing their stories, or looking back at the way people mistreated others and deciding not to follow their behavior. As mentioned in the textbook, agreeing with a moral standard is not always intellectual or fully conscious (Shaw, 2017), and I believe that a person can be unaware of some of their own ethics until those standards are called into question or tested. For example, if someone was called for jury duty and selected, they may find themselves facing questions about the case or general ideas that they have never considered before, which could make them aware of an ethical position that they were previously unaware that they held. While they may form new ethical positions during this experience, they are most likely to first become conscious of the ideas regarding ethics that were formed from their past experiences that they had tucked away without critically analyzing.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business Ethics (Ninth). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning Inc.
Ethical development is the intersection of biology and experience – nature interacting with nurture. Science can explain the foundations of empathy. The innate capacity to empathize (imagine oneself in the other person’s place) appears to be present in humans from a very young age, as well as in other species. It begins with mimicking emotions and develops into empathy in the presence of a strong emotional bond with a caregiver 1. Empathy explains why a movie featuring complete strangers in fictional circumstances can elicit strong emotional responses.
Modeling behavior is an important aspect of ethical experience. Two examples: Our family didn’t have much, including electricity. One day, my father discovered a guy running away from the cooler behind our house where we kept perishables. Some food was missing. Dad explained to us that it was ok the man had stolen food; he must have needed it more than we did. In another instance, I remember being quite embarrassed when the 2nd grade teacher discovered my friends and I “savingâ€ the swings in the morning by removing the S-hooks connecting the seats to the chains. She directed her anger toward only me (which at the time I thought unfair), but later I came to understand that she probably expected more of me, and tried to live up to those expectations. In both these cases it can be argued that both empathy and the “virtue theoryâ€ of normative ethics discussed in the text were influential.
We never stop changing and learning about ethical behavior, as more experience interacting with the world gives context to actions and life choices. I hope that I’ve developed more awareness of the complex experiences and qualities other humans possess. Courses such as this one can also help develop ethical behavior: forcing us to think and write about ethics helps us to understand our own positions, and looking at specific examples can help us formulate a course of action in a given situation. Formal codes of ethics and ethics workshops can also help adults further refine their ethical decision making.
1. Volling, B. L., Kolak, A. M., & Kennedy, D. E. (2008). Empathy and compassionate love in early childhood: Development and family influence. In B. Fehr, S. Sprecher, & L. G. Underwood (Eds.), The science of compassionate love: Theory, research, and applications (p. 161—200). Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444303070.ch6
I believe that we develop our ethics in the same way we develop all of the other skills in our life. We see other people during it or using it and we learn from that. We develop opinions from our experiences and how we have learn about something. As far as ethics, we might gather a lot of our opinions on the subject based off the opinions of our parents. We as humans start off learning everything from our parents. Eventually you might start to form your own ethics that are different from your parents but in the end, you learned from someone else something that allowed you to form that new opinion.
I just became of age to vote and because I don’t know much about politics or read information on it, I am most likely to grasp onto the party that my parents are. Growing up I went to a private catholic school so from the second I was in kindergarten, I was taught the ways of the Catholic Church. Now that I am an adult I have created my own ethics that are different from the Catholic Church and what I was always taught. All of those new opinions and ethics I formed were all from my own learning and my own experiences that led me to think that way.
Different cultures, religions, tribes, cities, states and other categories all have their own morals, ethics, ways of life and so on. We learn things from how we are taught and through want we experience day to day. In text, the “Golden Rule” is referenced in the text which tries to sum up good ethics and good morals. That rule can be taken out of context and also can be used to try and justify something that doesn’t need it. Being able to understand that everyone has their own morals and own ethics and being able to accept their views is something not many people do and that is what makes some issues so difficult.
I agree with you on how our ethics evolve. At my early age I observed from my parents their ethical view. I think our parents are usually our first and biggest influence when forming our own personal ethical position. From there, I started to establish moral standards from my teachers, friends, church, and other people around me. Also School is an especially important place to compare our moral compasses. I agree that different cultures can shape our morals. Living abroad gave me insight on how different cultural upbringing can vary our ethical viewpoints.
According to the textbook “Business Ethicsâ€ by William H. Shaw, “ethics deals with individual character and the moral rules that govern and limit our conduct. It investigates questions of right and wrong, duty and obligation and moral responsibilityâ€ (Page 3). We develop our ethics by our own beliefs and the influences of those and things around us. When we are younger everyone is taught what is right and wrong and we use those ideas and beliefs in our lives. Primary sources can include our religious beliefs, home lives, school, cultures and society. Religion is one of the largest sources for ethics and what is right and wrong. For example, Christianity is one of the most popular and practiced religions in the world. Many Christians may base their morals and ethics off of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are found in the Bible and are principles for right and wrong. One of the commandments is “Thou shall not stealâ€. Another one is “Thou shall not killâ€. Many Christians who do not follow these commands will be sent to “hellâ€. There are many other religions that have a source for their principles and beliefs such as the Quran and the Torah. Every religion is different and can believe in many different ideas and morals.
In addition, our home life is another great source for individuals and developing our ethical positions. Everyone’s homelife is different and everyone is raised differently. From a young age we are taught right and wrong by our parents or guardians. Being young and taught from a young age, those home life experiences and families help us in knowing what is right and wrong and serve as a base foundation for us to grow and develop more understanding
. Education serves as another source for many children and young adults. Many children go to preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school and college. From a young child in preschool we are taught what is right and wrong by our teachers. This can be as small as a classroom rules poster your teacher once shared with you. These little components shape you and what you think in believing what is ethically correct.
We live in a world where we are exposed to so many different cultures. Every culture is different and brings uniqueness to the world we live in. Within cultures, there are different morals and ways of life that many who are a part of it will abide by these principles and use them in their own lives from an ethical standpoint.
Lastly, society as a whole is a source for us to help us develop our own ethical position. Living in such a large world we have the opportunity to decide what we believe is right and wrong and we can get these ideas from the society we live in. The environment we live in, the communities we are a part of all help us shape our ethical position and help us develop it more in depth by giving us real life situations that allow us to make those decisions.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business ethics (9th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning.
Thanks for expanding on the religion side of this. Religion does install some great tips on the morality and ethics side. I think wether someone is religious or not, they can still take from religious doctrine and apply these stories to real world problems.
Culture is also interesting because it can bring up different perspectives from those who may live and work a little differently than us. All of these examples can lay out a compass for us to determine how to maintain ethics.
Hello Class, as I currently am awaiting for my text to arrive I will give my input on what I believe how we develop our ethics. I believe we gain our ethical background and morals from your environment the way you were raised and religion and culture plays a big factor in this as well who your influencers are and what role you feel you fall into society. This all begins at a young age of course since one at that critical time is learning and taking in all the influence of those around them. Those experiences is what I believe shape a person and their character.
Great post! I agree with you when mentioning the sources of where we derive our ethical point of views from. Many may not realize, but the environments in which we grew up in all play a vital role. For example, growing up in a lower income community will have a completely different point of view then someone who grew up in an affluent community. Great point in mentioning this starts at a young age, because it does.
I do agree with you that basic morals and ethics begin at a young age, but it seems like you’re suggesting that those morals and ethics stay constant throughout life. If so, I would have to say morals and ethics are variable and ever-changing within our selves. For example, there are some days where we only care about our selves and doing what makes us happy. This was extremely prevalent at the beginning of COVID – 19, were plenty of people who didn’t care if they contracted the virus if they could continue doing what they wanted. Still, they also weren’t considering if they gave the virus to someone else. The next day the same person could be in a much better mood and practice social distancing.
So we develop our ethics by using empathy and a moral background to determine what is right and wrong. According to media smarts, we develop empathy at an early age and whether we continue to develop it or not depends mostly on how we are taught. Some primary sources would be the teachings of parents and their values upon young minds that helps an adult decide what is right and wrong as they grow older. Religion plays a role in determining what is right and wrong in a persons perspective depending on their religious stance. Life experience also helps to develop ethics as it can be easy to be unemphatic to a situation until you’ve had the opportunity to witness it from both perspectives.
Great post. I agree with you when mentioning ethics are developed by using our moral backgrounds. I did not really think of empathy as being a source, but now that you mention it, great piece of information. Everyone has a different personality and has a different level of empathy. Many who are empathetic, will feel the constant need to do good and some who do not sympathize with others may not take this into consideration! Thanks for sharing and helping me better understand the topic!
Unfortunately I’m still awaiting my textbook so I won’t be referencing it in this response, I still have an cultural anthropology textbook that discusses some ethics so I’ll reference that. Generally we use ethics to consider what is “rightâ€ or “wrongâ€. Right and wrong are subjective and thus what is considered ethical varies greatly within homogeneous and heterogeneous cultures. There are plenty of ways we develop ethics, some are within our control while others are external that have influence over us. A few that I can think of from “Cultural Anrthopology by Barbara Miller Chapter 9 social groups and social stratificationsâ€ are religion, culture, practicality, language, and choises. None of these exist in a vacuum so talking about them separately is an oversimplification. What most of these factors have in common is that most of them are external forces or are circumstances outside of our control. Barbarb miller discusses how we don’t choose our culture, religion, or our family yet these affect what a culture considers acceptable or moral. On a more individual level we have the most control on choices that we make, but even this isn’t fully in our control as what we choose isn’t necessarily what we want or need. This begs the question can a person be ethical while making unethical choices or unethical making ethical choices. However just because we don’t have full control over our choices doesn’t mean that we can’t choose to put ourselves in better conditions to make more ethical decisions. Our ethics are determined by our choices and culture but our choices and culture also determine our ethics.
I believe ethics comes from when you are younger and figuring out what the right and wrong actions that are responded through positive or negative feedback. Even to this day people adults are still figuring out there ethics that they were not taught back in the day. Life experiences are very important, trial and fail attempts help humans learn from these experiences.
Working has taught me very important life lessons and the formality of a business. We learn ethical actions from good employees and bad. How people respect you and how presenting yourself is important. One of my biggest morals would be treat people how you would like to be treated. As working in a customer service job being friendly opens many doors for yourself and respecting others morals. There are morals and beliefs everywhere in the world but not everyones are the same which makes it very interesting.
Hey Kenyetta here, I agree with your input from learning right and wrong from an early age and it coming from life experiences. I look forward to reading more discussions in the future.
I definitely agree with you that ethics are developed through life experience. Mistakes will always be made and I think that learning new things from the mistakes is a good thing to have because you can then bring it with you in your future life and maybe act in a different way if that situation comes up again.
Great post and good luck in this class!
I agree that as we grow and move into the professional world we become exposed to more positive and negative ethical behavior. The way we see that behavior rewarded or punished can radically influence the ethics we enter these systems within addition to new ones we may adopt. Seeing someone within your work circle perform unethical behaviors without consequence can begin to tip your perspective on where that behavior lands on your ethical spectrum. Being in a service industry; having an open mind about different culture’s morals and ethics is critical as the chance of being exposed to a series of beliefs and cultural norms that are well outside your previous experiences can be highly likely.
I think treat others how you want to be treated is a lesson that needs to be pushed much harder in schools. It was the central theme of the hippy era, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, and because of this we should love not only everyone but everything around us. We as individuals need to learn how to shed our ego every once in a while and realize that our actions have consequences and understand that even though we may have done things we regret, we can still change and become better people. Having been from a very materialistic area, Orange County CA, and moving to Alaska my view has really widened. The majority of people where I use to live get caught up in wanting to be popular and follow all the drama, instead of paying attention to what is going on all around the world and trying to help others. I believe until we start striving to be more educated instead of more comfortable, the further behind we will fall on the Human Development Index.
How do we develop our ethics?
Personally, I developed my ethics through learning from those around me and I learned a lot from my culture, taught to me by my parents, as well as from my education and some religious friends. I did not grow up attending church but I learned a lot from friends and it helped me a lot in decisions I made. According to our textbook Business Ethics by William Shaw “Ethics deals with individual character and the moral rules that govern and limit our conduct. It investigates questions of right and wrong, duty and obligation, and moral responsibility.â€ I can think of various examples of ethics I have learned from my parents regarding our culture and things we were taught not to do, things that were considered taboo.
Overall, I believe we all learn from the environment we grew up in and the education we receive.
What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?
In my opinion the primary source is our parents or those who represented parents for us. Our first knowledge of right and wrong was taught to us in our childhood. As we grew older, we were exposed to a school system and the ethics of our teachers, the ethics of our religion or culture, the ethics of our friends and people who we were surrounded by. We are also exposed to law and the ethics that surround that.
Good thoughts! I agree with you on how you developed your ethics. I, too, had learned so much ethics from my parents at my early age. From there, when I got into both middle school and high school, I continued to learned ethics from parents still, my teachers, coaches, and church leaders and other people around me. The experiences, life lessons, best and worst habits, the way they treat others, the way they react to situations were powerful and it got stick in my head and gives me thoughts and ideas of being an ethical person. Additionally, my culture too has a big impact in my life on ethics, as I got reminded by my parents about the value of culture and the things to do and not to do. Lastly, I really agree with your last thought that we all learn from the environment that we grew up and the education that we receive. To me it’s a combination of experiences, behaviors, and things we learned in life plus the education that we receive developed our ethics. 🙂
I believe that ethics are learned and, as Shaw (2017) stated, they are the beliefs of society. Socrates agreed with the former: he believed that ethical codes tell us what we should do, and because that is something that we can learn, then ethics can be taught (Velasquez et al., 1987). I believe that there are many primary sources for us to develop our ethical codes. Initially it starts when we are children: when we are taught the difference between right and wrong from our parents. Additionally, as Shaw (2017) stated, the behaviors of others, our individual experiences, the standards of society, and our critical reflections help us to develop our ethical position. Other people’s behavior and individual experiences can greatly affect individual ethics. For example, someone who grew up with abusive influences and crime, can develop different ethical codes when compared to someone who grew up in a crime free situation, and with people who were supportive. Furthermore, Velasquez et al. (1987) believed that education can significantly develop ethical positions. They found that education, especially ethics classes, challenged students to progress in their moral development (Velasquez et al., 1987). Overall, ethics are learned and experiences and standards can hinder or advance ethical thought.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition.
Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, M., Meyer, S. J., Meyer, M. J. (1987). Can Ethics Be Taught? Available at: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/can-ethics-be-taught/
Thank you for such a well thought out and expressed post. I appreciated how you touched upon those who may not grow up in an ideal home situation. While reading and re-reading this chapter I kept going back to the original question, how do we develop our ethics. It really had not dawned on me that our ethics is something that can change over time and that it can be taught even after becoming an adult. Another question that I thought of was, is it possible to reform a criminal’s conscience and moral standards. Your post was very thought-provoking. Thank you!
We develop our ethics from the environment we’re raised in and the character development we grow through on our own. In my culture there is a set standard of “ethicsâ€ we’re expected to live by in order to be a well rounded person. I am Gwich’in Athabascan and the set standard of ethics is based off of communal living and mostly sharing. Athabascan people are Indians in the interior of Alaska that lived a nomadic lifestyle through Canada. We lived nomadically because of the extreme weather conditions, they followed the game during the seasons. The ethics they taught their children and taught each other was to be caring, share what you have, and that you had a skill that was valuable to the survival of the tribe. Being respectful of others was a very necessary component. The primary sources for us to develop our ethical position is our own experiences and reflecting on what kind of person you’re okay with being. It’s really up to you to choose what’s ethical for you to do and what’s not. People across the world abide by totally different ethical reasoning. I think ethics can fluctuate, people find a way to reason with themselves to find a loophole of something being “okayâ€ when they know its not and when it makes them feel guilty. There are cultural influences, and then you decide what works for you individually.
Hi, that was a great post. I agree with you in how ethics fluctuate and how people can reason with themselves. However, I do think that some people do not feel guilty when making unethical decisions. I always like deontology. It tells us that it is our duty to do the right thing, that people should be treated with dignity and respect, and that we shouldn’t treat others the way we wouldn’t want to be treated. It also tells us that if we can not will our actions so they become universal, then the act is immoral.
Johnson, Robert and Cureton, Adam, “Kant’s Moral Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
Sorry, it cut off my link: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/
Thank you for your personalizing and sharing your culture with us in your response. I agree that your environment and ethical compass develop and are continually shaped, just like we grow and develop in life. Our experiences can help validate and challenge our morals and cultural beliefs. The book did a great job, as you have also stated that there is not one source alone is the independent filter for our ethical disposition. I found a really interesting article based on the work of Lawrence Kohlberg. “Kohlberg found that a person’s ability to deal with moral issues is not formed all at once” (Vasquez, 1987).
I believe that your beautiful cultural identity has absolutely had a huge impact on your personal ethics, and your morals and values. I feel like my earliest cultural influence on my personal ethics was influenced by my family’s cultural and religious beliefs as well. I found that the individuals in my life that I connect most strongly with as a young man, that I attempted to emulate their decisions, actions and behaviors and their reinforcement these, both positive and negative influenced and validated my future actions.
Santa Clara University. (n.d.). Can Ethics Be Taught? Retrieved May 24, 2020, from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/can-ethics-be-taught/
Good day everyone,
I believe we develop our ethics by the way our parents, church leaders, teachers, coaches, and community members treat us and the things they teach us, and we learn from them. Also, the people around us. When I was growing up, I remember my parents teaching me the concepts of the right and wrong behavior, like, be kind, be polite, be generous, think of others, call your parents regularly, always tell the truth, etc. These are all the same concepts I remember hearing it from my church leaders, teachers, coaches, community members, which go together with the meaning of “ethicsâ€ in chapter 1. As stated by William H. Shaw, ethics deals with individuals’ character and with the moral rules that govern and limit our conduct. It investigates questions of right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, good & bad, duty and obligation, justice and injustice, as well as the moral responsibility and the value that should guide our action. Additionally, when we grow older and become adults, we enter the business world, and we develop our ethics from our bosses and coworkers by the way they treat, train, and teach us. Which to me, its just the continuation of the behavior, character, values, and training that we learned from a young age. And then it depends on the persons how they want to live their lives. What sort of person should we strive to be? Ethical or unethical.
From my experience, I believe that the primary sources for us to develop our ethical decision come from our parents, teachers, and then leaders at work. Parents are our first teachers and we learn the good and bad from them when we first enter this world. For example, we learned from an early age from our parents that stealing is not good. So do not steal. And then when we go to school, we learn from our teachers. The teachers teach us and train us of how to develop ethical decision, which is what we are doing in this class, and I’m pretty exited about it. Lastly, our leaders at work. We observe and learn things from our leaders, we see their behavior, choices, and values, and we adopt them in our own practices, not only in our professional life but also our personal life.
Ethics are determined on how we are raised and taught the rights and wrongs when we are young and our environment affects what we become when we grow older. This environment includes social norms, cultures, and religion. This environment affects our actions and conscience as a person. Some people are raised in ethical atmospheres, but when we have ventured out into the world, like going to college or going to work, we meet and could be influenced by others who have unethical behaviors that go against our own behaviors and start inheriting the same behaviors. The outcomes of different behaviors that we experience or see around help us to develop the ethical position.
Good afternoon jlboyce,
Myself also believe that the way i view ethics in general are based upon my upbringing and how i was raised, especially being from a country outside the united states that has a different view in life…
Your comment, “… but when we have ventured out into the world, like going to college or going to work, we meet and could be influenced by others who have unethical behaviors that go against our own behaviors and start inheriting the same behaviors” stood out to me because this is probably common and true for many people but I would like to add that we can also better understand the reasoning behind such behavior before coining it to be unethical based on our own ethical code. Before we can coin someone else’s behavior to be inferior and therefore wrong, we must understand why the other party believes it to be acceptable. Once an understanding is formed, our ethical position may be changed to inherit the same behavior or to change/improve the behavior.
Yes I 100% agree with you when you say that environment affects who we become. Everyone’s ethical standpoint will be different. Even in my case where I grew up with siblings around the same age and were raised by the same people, we have drastically different view points on what we believe to be ethical. This is because , like you said, when we go out of the household we meet others that help mold our ethical standpoints. Thank you so much for sharing, I thought it was neat how you put into words a lot of what I was thinking as well.
The development of ethics in our life comes from experience and the way you live you life and a couple of big factors could be culture, religion or what our parents have raised us in thinking what is right or wrong. Shaw points out in the text that it has a lot do to with the people we have closest to us and the people who we spend most of our time with. Because we get influenced by certain things every day. I believe that culture is the biggest one that impacts our ethics and that can be hugely different from culture to culture. In one culture it might be acceptable to act in one situation but in another culture it might be wrong. That is why ethics is so broad and can be understood in different ways depending on which cultural norms you learned when you were raised and how much life experience you have got.
Both working in groups and playing in sports team has taught me ethics in how we should behave in work-related situations when we are working in a group and I think that will be of great value in the rest of my life as I start to work even more.
Filip Fornaa Svensson
Ethics is basically what is right or wrong. Ethics can be based off law, or organizational and societal norms. We develop our ethics from society. Early in life this society is family, friends, and teachers. You learn what they feel is right or wrong based off what they were taught and learned so far in their life. Later, your interaction in society changes. You adapt your opinions off social media, news, friends, and where you work. Ethics can change over time but can be hard to be accomplished. If you grew up knowing one thing then moved or started dealing with different groups of people, your views may change. The military is a great example, for the most part, they are thought to be honest and will always do the right thing. The military brings people from all walks of life and constantly train and remind members of their ethical standards. Also, society in general has a view of how the military is and members naturally want others to see that in them. Ethics can be based off society in regional areas or different cultures. Most areas feel that abortion is wrong and in other areas it is acceptable.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business ethics. Australia: Cengage Learning.
My ethics are all based on my upbringing and the people i had sorrounded myself with, from the day i was born until now. I also do believe that culturally as an individual will have different outlook in life, and teaches people like myself who grew up in a country outside of the united states to have a different point of view of what ethics might be. I sad that because there where many things in the country that i grew up in, that are considered ethical, but in comparisson to how we view those things here, they would be considered to be unethical.
I believe that our ethics are established and learned from experiences early in life. They can be developed in experiences within the home, school, socialization and religion. Our ethics are also influenced by what we are taught is right and wrong/good and bad. For example, an ethic that I have been taught my entire life and still hold true is the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I think that this is something a lot of us have heard whether at home, school, or work. A general definition of ethics is the systematic study of the riles for behavior and conduct. This quote is an example of the moral ethic of treating others how you want to be treated. I believe that ethics is a learned behavior by the experiences we encounter.
Ethics are usually developed from our uprbringing and reinforcement of good and bad behavior. It can come install from parents, teachers, media, books, religion, etc. We learn early about the consequences of selfish behavior through punishment. We learn the benefits of right behavior early as well. We devleop the ability to think more critically of what constitutes ethical/unethical behavior as we get older. Learn more in school as well as through situations we face and continue to face in every day life. As we learn more we might begin to question more things. Some harder and some less, because the information we acquire can lead us to make new cases for modern problems and different outlook on them. Its a part of human nature to be selfish and sometimes we cant even see it. Ethics should lay the ground work for acting in our best interests while ensuring equality and opportunity for everyone else so they can do likewise.
Experiences first comes to mind when considering where we develop our ethics. From childhood experiences and stemming from the first set of rules or guidelines given to us with various motives instilling obedience, productivity, empathy, compassion, love, etc. and now we come to understand why we were given such rules when we likely did not understand the rationales early on. Even into adulthood we continue to develop and grow our ethics as our experiences and society evolve. Many factors come into consideration when developing and growing our ethical position. Primarily, I believe we analyze and compare historical events and experiences of self and others to present and future events, much like risk-benefit scoring. Then we may take a stance ethically based on the vast majority to avoid being the only one going against the grain, take the easiest approach, or strategically choose the hill we wish to die on. At the end of the day we weigh in what is right versus wrong and the effects each may have on ourselves and others.
In my experience I’ve found that we develop our ethics through exposure to the culture and environment we grow up in. Shaw 2017 states “many things influence what moral principles we accept; our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards of our culture, our own experiences, and our critical reflections on those experiences.”
With this in mind this is not the only way we formulate our ethics and morals. There is an internal intellectual discourse that occurs as we observe the ethics and morals of those around us we use to process what we observe and determine if these are concepts we wish to adopt as our own. This can most easily be illustrated by observing a child that grows up in an abusive home environment where abuse is a common theme and considered normal. Not every child that exits that type of environment ends up adopting the ethics it promotes. Ideally in some cases as the child matures they assess the environment they were exposed to and make the intellectual decision to not adopt those ethics and morals as their core belief structure. Being exposed to a larger community of ethics helps this process. Humans than to prioritize the ethics of their primary caregivers. Being part of a larger community such as a neighborhood, school, company, or country creates opportunities for individuals to be exposed to and integrate ethics external to their immediate environment and ideally adopt ones that promote a better lifestyle than what they started out with.
Having attended a catholic high school, we spent a significant amount of time reflecting on our ethics and morals, which we’ve learned from our parents, church, and general life experiences. Our teacher would then tell us about a situation in the world, such as apparel manufacturing in India and how the laborers get paid very little in dangerous work environments. We would debate among each other trying to decide if it’s morally and ethically acceptable to allow companies to get away with it, or is it acceptable for us to buy clothes from these brands. Ethically, we choose to change our principles and purchase clothes made locally with cotton we picked our selves. In sum, we expand our morals based on life experiences. Still, we further develop our ethics and grow to understand them by discussing, among others, ultimately, we chose our final decision.
From the moment of our birth we begin a great journey with twists and turns. Daily we encounter situations where we must make a decision. Is it right to let the elderly gentleman at the store go in front of you at the grocery check-out or is that the wrong choice because it will anger the people that have been waiting behind? The choices we make in life are based on the ethics or moral principles and standards that we adopt to guide us in matters of responsibility, obligations, and morality.
We each have unique ethics which creates our individuals character of moral rules that we follow while making decisions. There are many sources in which we develop our ethical positions. This begins with our primary caregivers, observing the behaviors of others, cultural values, societal principles, religion, and introspection.
What fascinated me was that our individual ethics does not stagnate at a certain age. Our ethics continue to evolve. Lawrence Kohlberg, a developmental psychologist, theorized that there are actually six stages of moral development based on moral reasoning. Moral reasoning and contemplation are what motivates our ethical positions as well as our conscience to develop over time.
Ethics are developed from a variety of places in a person’s life. In early life ethics are primarily derived from parents, but as a person grows older and is exposed to more people and perspectives their moral framework has the potential to diverge from what their parents initially taught them. Parents, teachers, friends, books, tv shows, and many other sources can help develop a person’s ethical view. Ethics themselves are a moral framework in which one tries to maximize well-being through philosophical questioning (Shaw, 2017). Depending on what one views as maximizing well-being (and what one considers to be moral) their ethics can be affected. Societal norms, culture, religion, education, class, and many other factors can be at play when considering where ethics develop from. For example, someone who is raised to be Catholic would likely morally against abortion due to the religious influence in which they grew up. Furthermore, people who are part of a demographic are likely to interact with people who are also part of that demographic (for example people who are part of one religion are likely to interact mainly with people who share that religion) making their morals very tied to that demographic. Shaw also brought up critical reflection is also an important part of ethical development and synthesis (2017). It is not enough to have a group just state a position as moral for it to be ethically correct. I think this is why education is so important for a lot of people, because it helps expand thought methods and expose people to potentially new perspectives to aid in their critical thinking.
I think another important distinction that has to be made is whether we are considering ethics in a personal sense, or in a societal sense. A person could be against something personally, but think that society has an ethical obligation to protect that thing for society as a whole. For example, a person could be ethically against sex work personally, but still think that sex work should be decriminalized for overall societal benefit (especially if they thought that decriminalization would benefit those hurt by sex work and increase their ability to report abuse to the authorities). Furthermore, ethics in a societal sense can change over time when new moral questions are posed and thought through. However, in the United States changes have to be justified to be implemented and there is a system between lawmakers and courts in place to help make sure those changes are ethical.
Lots of interesting thoughts posted so far. Shaw spends some time discussing the developmental psychology behind having a conscience (p16), and I think for a lot of people their thoughts on morality go no further than the conditioning they received in their youth. The gut feeling of ‘doing something wrong’ that you get when you go against these ingrained moral principles is a powerful motivating force. However, I think the points that he raises about the agency people have to analyze, modify, and strengthen their morality are empowering considerations. On page 20, Shaw discusses Aristotle’s thoughts on virtuousness, and buried in those paragraphs is the idea that we can modify our behavior to become better people. This philosophy – that you are not stuck with the bad habits and morals you were raised with – is very important to me. I agree with Shaw, that while it is not easy for a selfish person to internalize the morals to become a generous one, it is achievable and those kinds of self-improvement should be foundational goals for every individual.
An entirely unrelated thought: in ethical relativism, how does one go about defining the groups to compare? The example raised in the text is relatively easy to separate: Ireland vs Japan is a comparison of two countries separated by thousands of miles. However, how would one go about defining the relative ethics of the US? Just using the same comparison Shaw made between Ireland and Japan, abortion, while legal, is a continuous moral debate between different parts of the US. But even if it were possible to cleanly separate states into cultural regions, there is so much overlap and movement between them that it seems impossible to analyze.
Before reading this week’s text, I thought I could answer this question from my past experiences and previous understandings. I mean, I have participated in all our Departments mandatory trainings and even in regular discussions about individual actions, decisions and comments considering the ethics involved in these so therefore, I know how we develop our ethics. Or so I thought. The depth of examples and explanation of ethical development is far more encompassing that I thought.
Late Harvard Psychologist Lawrence Kohler was convinced that Ethics develop in stages throughout our lives. “Kohlberg found that a person’s ability to deal with moral issues is not formed all at once. Just as there are stages of growth in physical development, the ability to think morally also develops in stagesâ€ (Vasquez, 1987). I would agree with this idea because as kids we are learned right and wrong from our parents. Regardless if their personal ethics are righteous, these morals and values are instilled through discipline and reinforcement, both positive and negative. As we grow, our independent decisions, driven from our morality, have very real consequences depending the laws and social allowances that exist.
I believe that we absolutely develop our morals through our interactions and inclusions within cultures and religion. We are social beings and when immersed within a culture, who share a set of standards and common morals, your ethics start to bear more conviction. Your internal measure of right versus wrong begins to clarify. For clarity, culture is not limited to racial or geographical heritage or residence. However, it can be exemplified in business and other congregational environments where individuals with a shared mission and the common morals (Shaw, 2017) from the product or service they provide typically exemplify relativism. The fire service is a very good example of influencing cultural morality and shared ethical conduct.
Santa Clara University. (n.d.). Can Ethics Be Taught? Retrieved May 24, 2020, from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/can-ethics-be-taught/
Shaw, W. (2017). Business ethics: Ninth edition. Cengage Learning.
First, I would like to say this is my second business ethics class, I found it interesting that Shaw (2017) states that he believes ethics and morals are one in the same (p.4). I agree with Shaw, however the last class I took at this same college said the complete opposite, that they were two separate things that were not the same.
I believe that we develop our ethics through culture and education. Let me be clear though when I say culture, I do not mean religion. I have an extremely strong personal stance that morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told, and religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right, even though there may be some good lessons from some religions. Saying culture develops our ethics may have been an overreach, I think it is education that ultimately develops a culture. But also note being born in a certain culture can give you big advantages or disadvantages from the get-go. Advantages can also mean some disadvantages though, for instance if you are lucky enough to be born in a place that has running water, you may take that for granted, and not think about those less fortunate then you. I think education also comes from many areas apart from just schooling, including personal experiences, and your cultures past experiences. I think logical and critical thinking are also necessary to make people come to certain realizations, an example being “treat others the way you want to be treatedâ€. The problem though is while all humans have the ability to think critically and logically, not everyone knows how to, and this is something that I didn’t fully comprehend until I was over 20. While certain individuals can develop critical thinking on their own, others must be taught this concept. This is why if you grow up in a household that is religious, it is likely going to be ingrained in you to be the truth, before you have learned the ability to critically think; and once you put faith ahead of logical and critical thinking, you start to have problems with people trying to balance morality with what they are being commanded to do. An example of this is male genital mutilation (circumcision), just like it should be a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her body, it should also be a man’s decision if he or she wants to be circumcised. Unfortunately it has been normalized because of religion, and a lot of people are having a hard time understanding why they should not harm their child. I do not believe anyone is truly morally perfect, because nobody has a knowledge of everything. As a civilized society we must strive to be as moral and just as possible ipso facto, education must be our top priority.
Shaw, W. (2017). Business ethics: Ninth edition. Cengage Learning.
Ethics as stated in the textbook investigates questions of right and wrong (Shaw 2017). Ethics can be heavily influenced by the people that govern our personal experiences. As a child our ethical stance is molded by the beliefs that our parents, teachers, and church leaders instilled to us. As a child it is easy to believe what is taught, and as we start to age and develop our own ethical and moral standpoints we may think that we are less susceptible to being influenced by the ideas and beliefs of others that do not align with our own. However, speaking from personal experience as an adult I continue to grow and mold my ethical standpoint continuously as I experience new things I have never gone through. I have worked at a court house and have had to follow state laws and help with criminal trials for people that I personally believed to be innocent or were misunderstood. It is hard to have to ignore your ethical and moral stance on a situation, and I have found it even more difficult to not only put aside my own beliefs but actively work against what I believed in even if it was the lawful thing to do. I continue to believe that ethics is developed by our personal experiences, and so long as we are living and going through new things, I believe our ethical and moral stance has the ability to adapt and evolve with us.
Shaw, W. H. (2017). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. Cengage Learning.
Great post, jayala.
I liked how you described how your ethical standards often come into conflict with your legal and professional obligations, That must be very difficult for you. I often wonder about the toll that following exacting requirements without allowing much for individual circumstances often imposes on people involved with the justice system – not just attorneys but police officers, parole officers, family services workers. I have a relative employed in the criminal justice system. In their case, they are very by-the-book. In their view, a lack of professionalism and ethical breaches among the staff are a problem for the institution, and bother them on a personal level.
You also talked about how we keep growing ethically as adults, I agree. Also experiences tailored to specific situations can be valuable in giving people the tools they need to navigate difficult or foreign situations. I recently served on a jury for the first time, and still think about it. There was some questionable ethical conduct in the jury room throughout the trial with respect to impartiality. If I’d had some prior juror experience in a less serious case I’d like to think I would have recognized the problem sooner and had better language tools to address it.
Our own ethics are developed as we grow up and gain experience, and where we live also influences this. Young kids don’t come out of the womb already knowing how to live life, they learn who they are by watching their parents. We learn what is right and wrong, what’s a good idea and a bad idea, we learn endless things from our parents. And along the way they learn lessons through their own experience that helps them stand out from their parents’ image. Let’s use Fairbanks as an example, all kids grow up relatively the same except it varies between family and location. A family that works a farm will likely have their kids help which gives them a sense of responsibility at a young age while a family that lives in the middle of town likely has their kids focusing on good grades and socializing through friends or afterschool activities. Neither are wrong, but they are different. When I was in Tokyo I was shocked to see young kids (around seven years old) meeting and walking about on the street and in malls. In America that is an uncommon sight. But in Japan it is alright to let kids go out like that because their culture revolves around keeping to yourself and only speaking when spoken to or to friends. This shows that location and culture play a big part in what ethics we develop as we grow up, and in turn they’ll help us make important decisions in the future.
I liked how you included in your post in relation to how different cultures’ ethics weren’t wrong. I think that there is a bit of a disconnect between cultures sometimes based on how each culture’s context may come to a head. Like in your example, a Japanese businessman may take offense to an American businessman’s culture of being “too direct” or “too demanding of time”. This is because Americans exhibit a low-context culture as opposed to a Japanese high-context culture. High-context cultures feel that time is not something that is needing to, nor able to, be rushed. This is opposed to most low-context cultures where “time = money”. 
I’d argue that there are many aspects of one’s self are developed that we don’t even notice! Like body language, interactions with people in tonality and attitude, “tells”, etc. I think it’s interesting that entire communities can exhibit similar if not the same ethics and morals foundations. Good response!
Source:  Posted August 18, 2016 | International Development. “Intercultural Communication: High and Low Context Cultures.â€ Southeastern University Online, 31 Jan. 2019, online.seu.edu/articles/high-and-low-context-cultures/.
I think ethics are developed both by environmental influences as well as personal experiences. A child is not born with the innate sense of right or wrong. Children will not think to themselves “Lying is wrong and I should never lie to anyone whatsoeverâ€ without someone teaching that to them. However, this ties back into the environmental influences because sometimes there are families that will teach their children it’s OK to lie if it’s a harmless lie. This is vastly different than the family that teaches their children that it is never OK to lie at all. On the other hand, ethics and morals can also be taught by someone not in the family. If I get a sick feeling in my stomach after lying to someone and they find out, this creates the disincentive to lie.
However, ethics cases are rarely easy. There’s almost always some gray area and some disagreements with how something or someone should act. “Shouldâ€ is the keyword in these case studies that are often looked at. For example. if an employee breaks the coffee pot in the break room, and changes it with a brand new one without anybody noticing, is it OK to not tell anybody you broke it? It depends on a lot of factors to some people: who purchased the coffee machine, was it sentimental to anybody, where is the money coming from to purchase it , etc. Adding extra information to a case study also creates a paradox where adding more information well answer some questions also add more.
Not to mention that everybody’s answers will be different from ethics that have been developed from their home life. You’ll get different answers from different coworkers if they find out from the person who broke the coffee pot. This all ties back to the original question, where do ethics develop? I think that ethics is a constantly developing for everybody. I don’t think it ever really stopped changing, it ultimately creates different interpretations to every scenario. And it all stems from how people are raised and how people go through life with these ethics.
Our parents are usually our first and biggest influence when forming our ethical position. Often, we don’t fully notice our moral influences till we meet others with differing views. Living abroad can come with so many new experiences and opportunities to delve into and immerse oneself in a culture. However, as a foreigner cultural misunderstanding are bound to happen. Coming new into a country and not knowing the all the local culture and customs mistakes are bound to happen and challenges will arise. Naturally a simple method to maintain a strategic distance from numerous social errors is to see what others do, and how they do it. If in any doubt, we will just ask! One thing I learned from living in Trinidad is that most people are happy to talk about their customs and will enjoy sharing their insider knowledge with you. Other than looking to society for hints towards acceptable ethical positions many also lean towards religion. According to Shaw, every religion has an ideology for its believers, part of which includes certain moral instructions, values and commitments. Believers follow these instructions and from this servitude stemming from a selfless concern for others one accumulates their personal moral compass.
Developing our ethics is a lifelong process evolving from the beginning with parental influences along with family members and friends of family. Further, nurtured in schools, by coaches, religions, socialization and more. Ethics development comes from a set of beliefs or moral values fostered by the culture from which you come from regarding how to behave, act and make decisions which are or are not (right or wrong) socially acceptable in your environment; it’s how you choose to live your life. In our text (Shaw, 2017) describes three characteristics of moral standards; 1) behavior that is of serious consequence to human welfare, 2) moral standards take priority over other standards, like self-interest, 3) the soundness of a moral standard depends on the adequacy of the reasons that justify them.
Primary sources for developing our ethical position come from the culture we live in. This is where we learn what the society as a general whole deems right or wrong. This is because human civilizations desire to be together as a collective whole, in general. For this collective to sustain, moral values are evolved to keep harmony and identify what is not acceptable which in turn generates ethical values for that society. Religion (Shaw, 2017) provides certain moral instruction like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto youâ€. Living with selflessness and love, truth and kindness will create a community with harmony and religion describes how to accomplish this. Moral principles are another source where our ethical position is developed. As stated, (Shaw,2017) at some point in our lives most people pause to reflect on their own principles and what standards are best justified.