Personal vs Professional Ethics
There are a number of differences between personal ethics and professional ethics though ethics, in general, work as guidelines that direct individual behavior. Ethics states the dos and don’ts in a specific setting. Personal ethics, on the one hand, refers to the sense of rights and wrongs of a person. Professional ethics, on the other hand, refers to the guidelines that are imposed on employees within the industrial setting. However, one cannot claim that personal ethics and professional ethics are restricted within two separate dichotomies. On the contrary, these often overlap. This article attempts to highlight the differences between the two concepts, while elucidating the two.
What is Personal Ethics?
First, when examining the concept of personal ethics, this can be understood as individual codes of conduct. Honesty, integrity, accountability, fairness, commitment, doing what is morally correct can be considered as some examples of personal ethics. These are cultivated within the individual from childhood itself. A person’s background and socialization process play a significant role in cultivating these qualities. For example, a child who is being taught honesty by his parents from a tender age itself begins to internalize this quality. As the child grows, his words and actions are influenced by this particular quality. Also, personal ethics has a wide scope that applies in different contexts. When interacting with friends, family and even within the industrial setting, personal ethics of an individual naturally comes out through his conduct. For example, if a person is very committed towards his work and also to those who are close to him, this naturally comes out in his actions. At times, personal ethics of the individual clashes with his professional ethics. In such cases, it creates a dilemma within the individual.
What is Professional Ethics?
On the other hand, professional ethics is codes of conduct that are stated by a particular governing body of an organization. These are compulsory and are imposed on all professionals. However, professional ethics is different from personal ethics. In personal ethics, the individual has a choice whether to follow or not. But, when it comes to professional ethics, the individual has no choice. Professional ethics is important for organizations as it increases the reputation of the organization. In all professions, there are certain ethical codes that should be adhered. Confidentiality, competency, impartiality, transparency are some of the professional ethics. These professional ethics guarantee that the individual is accountable for his actions. This also imposes a great sense of responsibility as well. When an individual goes against his ethical code, he is not only jeopardizing his career but also tainting the entire profession.
What is the difference between Personal and Professional Ethics?
• Personal ethics refers to the sense of rights and wrongs of a person whereas professional ethics refers to the guidelines that are imposed on employees within the industrial setting.
• An individual has the choice of changing his personal ethics but not the professional ethics.
• In personal ethics, the accountability is on the individual alone but, in professional ethics, it is not only one the individual but also the organization as well.
• Sometimes clashes between personal ethics and professional ethics can occur resulting a dilemma within the individual.
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- Competent employee by Dell’s Official Flickr Page (CC BY 2.0)