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Ethical Framework and Its Importance
Ethics refers to a set of values or virtues that are morally and socially acceptable. Although many people have sought to establish sets of ethics that would be accepted globally, it has been evident over the years that different people will view different actions differently (Krueger, 2012). What may appear ethical or fair to one person would not be ethical or fair to another one. An ethical framework refers to a model that puts across a process that can be executed in order to facilitate ethical decision-making processes. For organizations, ethical frameworks are documented to give the stakeholders appropriate guidelines of what is expected of them in order to achieve the goals and objectives of an organization (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2009). On the other hand, individuals may also prepare ethical frameworks based on personal moral values, principles, beliefs, and qualities. In a nutshell, ethics is tied to the spiritual, moral, or cultural values and beliefs of an individual. According to Shalvi (2011), the ethical choices made by an individual are usually formed based on personal feelings or emotions.
In my opinion, having an ethical framework is important because it helps in ensuring that all decisions made when faced with various challenges are rational, coherent, and ethically acceptable. An ethical framework helps in ensuring that the integrity and veracity of an individual are always upheld during decision-making processes. An ethical framework aids an individual in making rational decisions and in taking actions that are ethically acceptable. An ethical framework also helps one in building strong interpersonal relationships with other people. Boatright (2012) also affirms that an ethical framework helps in building trust and reliance with people because they believe and view one as a responsible, rational, and ethical individual. An ethical framework also makes one more responsible and accountable for their decisions and actions. An ethical framework is also essential for ones personal growth and development because it helps in instilling desirable values, qualities and characteristics, such as high integrity within one, which are very essential for personal growth in the society as well as at the workplace. Thus, an ethical framework is an important tool for shaping the life and career of an individual.
Personal Experience When Developing an Ethical Framework
My experience during the development of a personal ethical framework has been really enjoyable and pleasurable. Since my childhood to date, I have asked myself some key questions pertaining to the situation at hand before I make any decision or take any action. I also carefully examine and analyze the situation and issues at hand and try to come up with all the possible solutions or alternatives that would help me solve the problem appropriately. In most cases, I always seek the alternative solutions that would give the best outcomes, at the same time trying to be fair and considerate about other people who are involved or might be affected by my decisions and actions. I usually want the best outcomes or benefits from any challenging situation. I am often faced with the question of whether what I am going to do is right or wrong for me as an individual and for others. In some cases, one will find out that what is right may not necessarily be very beneficial to them while what is good for them may hurt other people. A good example is stealing. A person who steals money from other people benefits from the act because he/she gains money to cater for his/her needs and does that easily. But the very same action hurts the person whose money has been stolen. However, one major question that lingers in our minds about stealing other peoples properties is even if the thief has nothing or has been hungry for several days, and the victim has a lot to spare, is the action right?
I developed my ethical framework by first defining what I want to achieve. Then I set up a clear-cut methodology of how I intend to achieve my goals and the kind of life I aspire to have. Therefore, my decision-making processes have involved a series of enquiries and self-questioning whereby I ask myself several questions before I decide on doing something.
The Basis of My Ethical Framework
I was born in a strictly religious family and throughout my childhood I had been attending religious classes and teachings, which I do to date. I can say that the religious teachings I have received all through have contributed to strengthening my religious convictions, which have formed the basis of my ethical framework. Most of my decision-making processes or scenarios have involved ensuring that my decisions and actions are right according to my religious values and beliefs. In addition, I also usually take into deep consideration the impact of my decisions and actions on the well-being of others. For instance, I usually work hard to ensure that my decisions and actions do not have any adverse effects on the welfare of other people.
Comparison with Ethical Framework Theories
Various scholars and sociologists have come up with different theories on ethical frameworks. One of these theories is utilitarianism, which proposes that what is good should be beneficial to a large number of people. According to Boatright (2012), the utilitarian theory was developed and explained by John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham who lived between 1832 and 1974. Another theory on an ethical framework is hedonism, which states that a decision is good if it leads to ones pleasure, satisfaction or welfare. The third theory on ethical frameworks is Aristotles theory, which states that a virtuous way of life is what leads to a fulfilling life (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2009). Aristotles theory is based on personal values and virtues.
Most theories on ethical frameworks discussed in the textbook basically revolve around an ethical framework based on virtues, an ethical framework based on the achievement of social wellbeing of the community, and one based on personal welfare.
In my view, my ethical framework and Aristotles theory are closely related in a number of ways because my decision-making processes are always focused on ensuring that what I am doing is right. Contrary to the utilitarian theory of focusing on benefits to other people, or hedonism, which focuses on personal fulfillment, my ethical framework focuses on making decisions on the basis of what is right and not what is beneficial to me or other people.
Impact of the Ethical Framework on Decision-Making and Behavior
The personal ethical framework has had a great influence on my decision-making processes and behaviors because I usually make decisions and take actions based on the guidelines and provisions of the ethical framework. For my part, I would not be at peace knowing that my decisions are not right according to my personal convictions. Therefore, all my decision-making processes have been based on the ethical framework and not on personal feelings, impulses or judgments. I have become a person who is not guided by desires but an individual who rationally weighs the available options before making any decisions or taking any action. As I mentioned earlier, I usually ask myself several key questions about a situation to determine whether what I would decide or do is right or wrong, based on my religious convictions.
Basically, I would not term my ethical framework as an ideal one, but I would assert that it is an essential tool for decision-making that has brought a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life. This is because I always believe that what I have decided or done is right and beneficial and does not affect other people adversely. The ethical framework has been very helpful and useful because it has enabled me to keep myself in check by ensuring that the decisions I made and the actions I take in my day-to-day life are right and ethical. The ethical framework has also made me a better person. It has also made other people view me as a just, honest, and fair person, which is highly significant in our daily lives. Possessing these traits has also earned me respect in the society as well as enabled me to grow and develop in my career and at the workplace. In my view, an ethical framework is an important decision-making tool that every individual should have.