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Why People Make Unethical Choices

People behave unethically for many reasons. The reason can vary from selfishness, misguided loyalty and personal gain. Today professional values and ethics play a vital role not only in law enforcement, but everyday life in general. To lead a life full of purpose and maintain a successful career, one must follow the guiding principle of value and ethics.

Any individual in any profession who chooses not to follow the principles of value and ethics will not have a very successful career.

Lack of value and ethics may bring scrutiny, ridicule, and embarrassment to that individual and his or her corporation or law enforcement agency. Therefore, displaying superior value and ethics should be the corporation and individuals main focus; doing so will help them to be successful and grow.

Values and ethics are a part of everyday life. They are the decisions that people make; value and ethics makes someone who he or she is. By young adults, personalities are established, and personalities are based on values and ethics.

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Values and ethics are the guides that drive decision making.

Ethics is a system of moral principles. Acting upon what is right and wrong is a simpler way of defining ethics. If one is acting in an unethical way, it means he or she is acting indecent and is disobeying his or her values. Ethics are about one’s actions and behavior, and values are about one’s beliefs. Values are what are right and wrong, and good and bad. Acting unethical, immoral, and dishonest is value based.

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Values are the way people carry themselves through professionalism, integrity, fairness, and honesty. If one says, “my boss has good work ethics and professional values.” One is that expressing that his or her boss is a hard worker, dependable, reliable, and on time. Ethics and values are good to have and help lead a more healthy and successful life.

Throughout an individual’s career, he or she will draw upon his or her various professional values and ethics. Some values and ethics used by individuals may be professional integrity, academic integrity, and personal values. Personal values evolve from situations with an individual’s environment and can change over time.

Personal values tell an individual what is good, beneficial, important, useful, etc. Values are the motivation for why people do what they do.

Academic integrity or in layman’s terms “don’t cheat” applies not only to learning in a school environment but nearly any environment; this also applies to law enforcement. For instance, for an academic life to flourish, these five values must be present; honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility (University of Maryland University College, 2002.)

The core of professional integrity is derived from the elemental goals or purpose of the profession (Wakin, 1996, p. 26). A police force should also follow the “don’t cheat” rules of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility because professions exist to serve society, the manner and the individual should both retain morale decency. In more direct terms a good professional should be a good person.

Ethical behavior respects the dignity, diversity and rights of individuals and groups of people even when it is inconvenient to do so. Ethical behavior can be taught and learned. Ethical behavior can start by a person in a leadership role setting examples for fellow co-workers or subordinates.

Also workshops and courses are able to help individuals brush up on ethics they already possess. If an individual has no ethics, workshops could teach them but only if the individual is open and willing to learn them.

Value and ethics should be incorporated into all aspects of life, as they are used to help individuals grow. No matter the industry, possessing good ethics will carry a company a long way versus where it would be without them.

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Why People Make Unethical Choices. (2019, Nov 28). Retrieved from

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