Ethics Development, Understanding & Application

Essay by djdatnasty July 2004

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Decision-making is a process that identifies all available options to determine the most appropriate course of action given a specific situation. If this process is not followed, the decision maker risks overlooking important information, which may result in negative outcomes. Decisions are important because it creates change. When individuals make decisions, they are acting according to their personal needs or wants. Ethics also affect the decision making process. Ethics affect how an individual makes a decision based on right from wrong and good from bad.

What is ethics? The word ethics is derived from the Greek work ethos, which refers to the character and sentiment of the community and standards of behavior. Ethical means conforming to the standards of a given profession or group. Any group can set its own ethical standards and then live by them or not. Ethical standards, whether established by an individual, a corporation, a profession, or a nation, help guide a person's decisions and actions.

The commonly accepted definition of ethics is rules or standards that govern behavior and decision-making.

So what are the ground rules of ethics and, more importantly, who establishes them? I believe the ground rules of ethics are the moral principles and values that are set or established by our society as a whole. There are so many instances in life where ethics play a major role in decisions that we make. Whether as an individual, group, or organization, we have to do our part ensure that the decisions we make does not cause harm or create a climate of contempt and distrust to others. Failure to do so, depending on the decision-maker's role, position, or profession and the degree of severity, will have a negative impact on others or even our society.

Decision-making also requires risks to be taken.