- A person of integrity is consistent and their actions go align with their beliefs.
- With a high level of professional competence, one can set an example for other people, and create a working environment that will provide the best results
- People that do not easily reveal the secrets of others are often considered more mature and reliable.
Ethics is a system of moral principles, and while there are ethics that apply to the entire society, or at least the majority of it, there are those that are more specific. Speaking in broad terms, most companies or fields of expertise follow their own ethical principles. These are guidelines that help people included in these activities perform them better. We call this type of ethics - professional ethics.
These types of ethics work in a professional environment, but this does not mean that the values they represent are not something people won’t respect outside of that environment. The five most commonly cited ethical principles are integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality, and professional behavior. In this article we will talk about those five principles in greater detail, and why they are important.
Integrity means that a person should be honest and truthful, as well as straightforward in all of their relationships. A person should never be associated with any wrongful behavior, relationships, or information. A person of integrity is honest and has strong moral values and principles. A person with the ethical principle of integrity should be able to stand behind their actions at all times.
The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy. This is because a person of integrity is consistent, and their actions go together with whatever their beliefs are. There are no conflicting values in a person that has integrity, which is the opposite of what can be said about hypocritical people. Throughout history, integrity has had different meanings, but they all followed similar principles. It can also mean that a person is “whole,” which would be a way of describing that someone is honest and consistent in their character. If someone acts according to their beliefs and principles, we often say that they have integrity.
Objectivity means that a person should not allow bias or a conflict of interest to influence their opinion or judgment. It actually started out as a concept in philosophy, but it expanded much further than that. Objectivity means that a person can think without being influenced by its individual subjectivity. Emotions should not interfere with objective judgment, and neither should imagination.
A person that is objective should be unbiased and only look at facts. No external influence should be able to have an impact on the judgment of an objective person. A person that is objective can also often be described as neutral. Naturally, we can’t always think like that, and we all often fall under the influence of emotion and highly personal opinions. However, it is important to try and be objective in professional settings, and situations where the fate of other people is involved.
3. Professional Competence And Due Care
Professional competence and due care are often defined as a commitment to maintaining a high level of skill and professional knowledge. This ethical principle is of course tied to a professional setting but is also extremely important. People that share a workplace together should all strive to keep a high level of competence, because only then can they be considered true professionals.
This principle can tie into objectivity. With a high level of professional competence, one can set an example for other people, and create a working environment that will provide the best results. A person should strive to attain the professional knowledge and skills that will give them the ability to perform in their workplace at a high level. They should also try to maintain that knowledge and skill.
Another principle that is mostly tied to a professional setting, confidentiality most often means that a person should not disclose professional information unless they have the permission or it is their duty. It often involves a set of rules that are executed through various agreements. These agreements often limit access to specific types of information. The principle of confidentiality is important in the medical, judicial, and banking worlds, among others.
However, even outside the professional world, confidentiality is admired as a trait and a principle. People that do not easily reveal the secrets of others are often considered more mature and reliable.
1. Professional Behavior
This ethical principle is completely tied to the workplace. A person should be able to completely comply with the laws and regulations that are relevant to their workplace. One of their goals should be to avoid any type of behavior that could negatively impact the reputation of their profession. Various professions require various levels of professional behavior, and one should strive to comply with them in order to perform better at their job, as well as society in general.