Importance of a Personal Code of Ethics
I find it critical to have a personal code of ethics. Integrity, patience, and empathy, are at the center of my personal ethics statement. These are the essential traits that have and continue to shape my behavior, temperament, and character. However, I will not overlook the fact that my code of ethics continue to take a structural shape as I continue to progress into adulthood.
The virtue ethics is the philosophical foundation that aligns with my perspective of life the most. I have always aspired to have the ‘ideal’ character traits because this is how I was brought up. This philosophical approach has guided my actions always to strive to practice integrity in my endeavors including my professional and personal life, empathy, and patience, for all. I have also strived to live by the proverbial rule of ‘do unto others as I would want them to do unto me.’
I am confident that I have been living by the guidance of the virtue ethics even before I knew I was. This is because since I started knowing who I was, I have always tried to be a ‘moral’ person. I have always questioned myself, ‘How am I supposed to live?’ and ‘What are the acceptable personal and social values that I should abide by?’ These are the main questions that have always guided my life and decisions which align well with the virtue ethics.
Integrity, love, empathy, loyalty, and patience are the values that have enabled me to be constructive, competent, and honorable friend, colleague, partner, and family member. These are the values that have to be upheld any time that I have to make ethical decisions. It is rare for me, and I find it wrong to emotionally or physically harm another person knowingly which includes the omission of actions. If there is a way that I can help someone, I would gladly do so. I hardly allow myself to do something that could be hurtful to another person in whatever form. I can describe myself as an empathetic person always trying to put myself in the shoes of another person and doing what is right which is at the center of virtue ethics.
I also strive not to discriminate against a person regardless especially for traits that they do not have control over. In this world that is characterized by a lot of discrimination by various factors including ethnicity, gender, race, or sexuality among others, being a person with a firm moral grounding of not being lured to this wave is critical. Love is the virtue or the value that has enabled me to avoid discriminating against others regardless of who they are. I strive to always reason from a humane point of view as opposed to reason from a specific discriminatory point of view.
Perspectives of Ethics
The virtue ethics has been developed through three perspectives or directions which include the ethics of care, the agent-based theories, as well as eudaimonism. Eudaimonism is one that bases virtues on human flourishing (Kamtekar, 2004). The human flourishing, in this case, has been equated to a person having to perform their distinctive function effectively. As Aristotle stated, the unique function of human beings is reasoning which then makes our lives ‘worth living’ when people reason well. This is where my integrity core value stems from. In everything that I undertake to do, I always intend to with transparency and honesty especially if my actions would have detrimental effects on other people.
As humans, we are social beings which mean that it is almost impossible to live without other people around us. We have to develop relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues. Therefore, I am always grounded by the fact that I always need to use my common-sense institution as I relate with other people. This is something that has helped me significantly in developing, nurturing, and maintaining my relationships because it drives me to identify some of the admirable traits that other people have. This perspective of thinking is derived from one of the directions of virtue ethics, the agent-based theory. This theory is based on the virtue of being able to identify the admirable traits in other people which I find to be crucial in developing long-lasting relationships with the people around me (Moore, 2005).
The care ethics has also been an ethical grounding for me. I always strive to think regarding care as opposed to just autonomy and justice. This is something that has a lot to do with self-sacrifice, the nurturing ability, patience, as well as being able to care for others around me. This is what guides my social practices and ethics. I try not to engage in actions that may jeopardize the welfare of the people around me. It drives away selfishness or even temptations to be greedy to get it all at the expense of others. The Care Ethics is one of the dimensions of virtue ethics which proposes that people need always to consider others in their undertakings (Merritt, 2000). Caring for others has always prevented me from undertaking in unethical behavior that would have detrimental effects on me and others around me.
Being patient is among the principles that guide my ethical behavior. ‘Patience is a virtue’ as it is commonly stated. I have always strived to be patient in everything that I do. The world seems to be moving fast, people want to achieve success fast, and studying seems to be time-consuming as well. However, most people fail to realize that in everything one has to be patient because more often than not, the things that are acquired fast, do not pretty much last. Patience for me gives me a sober and stable mindset to do my work, undertake my duties diligently and carefully, and I let it influence my decisions. I have discovered that being patient has always motivated to avoid conducting in unethical behavior.
Case Study One
I believe that as I continue to grow, I will face issues and scenarios where I will have to apply my ethical statement that I have discussed above. Being a student and an aspiring scholar in the future, I expect to do research probably when doing my thesis for the graduate degree. When undertaking research, the application of my ethical statement will come in handy to ensure that my research would be valid and reliable as it should be of academic studies.
Integrity would be vital in carrying out academic research. Being transparent and honest is critical in conducting research. This would mean that I stay open and honest with all the participants in the study where I inform them of the purpose of the study and what role they would be playing in the research. I would also be required to be honest in the data collection. Most researchers would often not collect data from all the sample population but just from a part of them and then fake the rest of the data. This is something that would jeopardize the validity and reliability of my research.
In the same light, researching with integrity would be one way of ensuring my success in academics. Research is primarily founded on combined findings of everyone who has been engaged in it and therefore, the validity of the study would be significantly dependent on the honest and transparent presentation of results holding the understanding that in the future, there will also be other people who would base their research on my findings.
Case Study Two
In the past, I have worked in a restaurant for my relative. The restaurant business was quite competitive in that area, and so every business owner was trying to do their best to gain the much needed competitive advantage. Knowing all this, although I was just like an intern in the restaurant, I tried my best to act and behave according to the set standards of the business. There was one employee who was just hired as the head waitress in the restaurant. This new employee was from the Hispanic background, so her language and appearance were entirely different from most of the other employees. In the beginning, everything was going well, up until about two weeks later. I realized that the manager and the supervisor began to treat her differently from how we were being treated. She would be working for long hours, given extra duties aside from her required tasks, and the way that they talked to her was harsh too.
In this case, I knew that it was my obligation to do something about it as it would not be appropriate to see another person being subjected to such differential treatment just because they are from a different background. One of the core values that guided my ethical reasoning was empathy. I was empathetic with my colleague, and for this reason, I decided to report the issue to my relative who was the owner who was very offended by this occurrence and took disciplinary action against the manager and supervisor. Eudaimonism, care ethics, and the age-based theory all of which form the grounding of my ethics guided me in ensuring that nobody around me is hurt either with my actions or omission of my actions. This is what motivated me to report the incident to the owner of the business to assure that necessary measures are taken to avoid any employee is not discriminated against just because of their background and ethnicity.