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1. Wh#t is Ethics?

We he'r the word ‘ethicsʼ now 'nd then. Often we confuse between the
words ethics, v'lues 'nd mor'ls. In this 'rticle, we sh'll try to cle'r
these confusions.
Ethics is ' wider term encomp'ssing v'lues 'nd mor'ls. It is the br'nch
of knowledge th't de'ls with mor'l principles. Ethics is ' br'nch of
philosophy which de'ls with the questions like wh't is good or b'd 'nd
why. In our society there 're m'ny institutions th't tell us wh't is good
or b'd, right from our f'mily. Ethics 's ' br'nch of knowledge tries to
'n'lyse the v'rious systems.The v'rious influences in our ethic'l
thoughts 're the soci'l norms, l'w of l'nd(constitution), religion,
knowledge etc.

1.1 Ethics vs Mor'ls vs V'lues

The difference is expl'ined by the following di'gr'm

1.2 How do we know wh't is ethic'l?

In our d'ily life, we c'n follow the following principles to know wh't is
Is it sensible?
• Use of our own senses to judge the 'ction.
• For ex'mple, you 're going to che't on your friend. Is it
ple's'nt to you 'nd your friend? No. Then the 'ction is unethic'l.
• Thus ‘TRUSTʼ becomes ' virtue
Is it desir'ble? 
• Check with the C'tegoric'l imper'tive – “Act 's if the m'xim of
thy 'ction were to become by thy will ' univers'l l'w of n'ture.”
• Which me'ns “Are you willing to permit everyone to 'dopt the
'ction?” If Yes, your 'ction is mor'l. If No, your 'ction is immor'l.
• For ex'mple, 's ' civil engineer, you decided to go for '
subst'nd'rd building m'teri'l, for f'vouring ' p'rticul'r contr'ctor.
Think whether you permit this if the s'me is going to be your own
house? No. Then your 'ction is unethic'l
• Thus ‘Adhering to Qu'lityʼ becomes ' mor'l
Will it bring gre'test good to gre'test number of people?
• Utilit'ri'nism s'ys th't 'ctions 're right if they 're useful or for
the benefit of ' m'jority
• Finds 'pplic'tions in govern'nce
• For ex'mple, t'ke l'bour reforms. It will help 90% of workers,
where 's the 10% who 're 'lre'dy enjoying the protective l'ws will
lose. Utilit'ri'n principle will give ‘yesʼ for the reforms
Will it viol'tes others b'sic rights?
• B'sed on the belief th't 'll hum'n h've the right to live with
• If 'n 'ction viol'tes the b'sic rights of 'nyone else, it is
• For ex'mple, A r'ilw'y engineer decided to skip the m'nd'tory
s'fety checks of the tr'ck, owing to work pressure. But this negligence
c'n cost life of tr'vellers, if 'ccident h'ppens. He/she c'nnot t'ke the
right to life of others for gr'nted
• Thus ‘Adhering to s'fety pr'cticesʼ is ' mor'l responsibility
The ethic'lity of 'n 'ction c'n be judged in different w'ys

The br'nch of ethics which explores mor'lity is c'lled META ETHICS

1.3 Deciding f'ctors in 'n 'ction
The mor'lity of 'n 'ction depends on its
1 Situ'tion
2 Individu'lʼs role
3 Sc'le of the effect of 'ctions
So the 'ction should be judged b'sed on 
1 The motive of the 'ction
2 How the 'ction is done, ie the w'y 'dopted
3 The consequences of the 'ction
4 The situ'tion of the 'ctor, whether he or she h'd the free will to
5 The options 'v'il'ble to the 'ctor 
1.4 Ethic'l vs Leg'l vs Norms
Ethic'l or Mor'l
The 'ctions 're judged b'sed on cert'in principles 's discussed 'bove
Aims to m'int'in mor'lity

M'y be codified or un codified

H's ' mech'nism to enforce it
Are rules of beh'viour in society or org'nis'tion

They comes from v'lues.

They 're specific like codes of conduct
Every mor'l things m'y not be leg'l

Every illeg'l things m'y not be immor'l

All leg'l m'y not be mor'l

Ex- Triple t'l'q, which discrimin'tes women, w's leg'l untill the court
decl'red it 's unconstitution'l
 Ex: Do not use cell phones in cl'ss room

Give se't to elders in ' public pl'ce etc

The br'nch of ethics which de'ls the question wh't is good 'nd b'd is
2. V#lues #nd Virtues
If v'lues 're the go'l, virtues 're the w'y to get there. Virtues 're
inn'te good qu'lities or mor'ls within people.
For ex'mple integrity is ' v'lue. Openness,Honesty, Sincerity,
Forthrightness, Incorruptibility, Righteousness, Probity etc 're the
virtues th't helps to 'tt'in integrity.
2.1 Integrity
Integrity refers to qu'lity of ' personʼs ch'r'cter
1 Me'ns 'bsence of conflicts within ' person
2 The person will h've cl'rity in thoughts
3 He or she will be confident
4 There will be no conflict 'nd confusion between priorities in life
5 Absence of integrity m'kes one vulner'ble

3. Ethic#l dilemm#s
Are situ'tions in which there is ' choice to be m'de between two
options, neither of which resolves the situ'tion in 'n ethic'lly
'ccept'ble f'shion . The common ethic'l dilemm's 're
1 To prioritize one ethic'l principle over 'nother
2 When person'l v'lues come into conflict with the profession'l
v'lues – This is norm'lly c'lled 's conflict of interest.
3.1 Conflict of Interest
Is ' situ'tion th't h's the potenti'l to undermine the imp'rti'lity of '
person bec'use of the possibility of ' cl'sh between the personʼs self-
interest 'nd profession'l interest or public interest.
The common dilemm's 're
1 Receiving gifts – You 're working 's 'n engineer, 'nd the
contr'ctor who c'rries out projects in your dep'rtment 'nd you 're
good friends. C'n you 'ccept gifts from him during festiv'ls?
2 Bre'ching confidenti'lity – When your spouse or rel'tives 'sk
for critic'l inform'tion from our office, which is not supposed to be
3 Affecting imp'rti'lity – You h'ppens to be in 'n interview p'nel
to select c'ndid'tes for job, in which your rel'tive or friend is 'lso
4 Reporting m'lpr'ctices – When you come to know th't your
friend or rel'tive is doing m'lpr'ctice, will you report to 'uthority?
3.2 How to solve?
For ethic'l dilemm's there is no e'sy 'nswer, 'nd sometimes there is
no right 'nswer. You h've to decide wh'tʼs best for your person'l
rel'tions 'nd your profession. But some b'sic principles c'n be
followed. They 're
1 Listen to your voice of conscience – This will buy time 'nd
prevents impulsive 'ctions
2 Be responsible – Do not ignore your responsibility. For ex'mple,
'n engineer h's to t'ke c're of s'fety, however compelling the other
f'ctors m'y be
3 Respect otherʼs fund'ment'l rights
4 Give preference to l'rger good, comp'red to ' sm'ller
good(Soci'l responsibility) 
5 Decl're 'ny conflict of interest e'rly,  in c'ses like 'ny
commerci'l interests conflicting with office work
6 Rescue yourself from situ'tions like being in 'n interview p'nel
where friend is 'lso p'rticip'ting

4. Emotion#l Intelligence
Ac'demic 'ptitude (IQ) w's once considered the most import'nt p'rt
of intelligence. But now Emotion'l Intelligence is recognised 's pl'ying
' m'jor role in ' personʼs success. Tod'y comp'nies worldwide
routinely look through the lens of EI in hiring, promoting, 'nd
developing their employees.
4.1 Emotions
Emotions  're recorded experiences in the br'in. H've s'lience, ie the
emotions 're either  +ve or -ve. Emotion'l decisions seems to be
spont'neous or impulsive. These emotions h've ' signific'nt role in
decision m'king 'long with re'soning. While re'soning is used in
exploring v'rious options; emotions 're used to decide 'mong v'rious
4.2 Components of EI
The emotion'l intelligence is the 'bility to  to identify 'nd m'n'ge your
own emotions 'nd the emotions of others. This requires
1 Perception – 're you correctly recognising your emotions? Wonʼt
you confuse sometimes whether you 're s'd, or 'ngry or disgusted?
Observe c'refully own emotions 'nd recognise them.
2 Attribution – is 'ssigning re'sons for your emotions. H'snʼt
there be situ'tions where you just do not know why 're you s'd?
An'lyse wh't h'ppened 'nd find the 'ctu'l c'use
3 M'n'gement – is knowledge when 'nd how to use your
emotions. Once you h've proper perception 'nd correct 'ttribution,
you know when 'nd how your emotions occur. Thus you c'n m'n'ge
4 Expression – emotions 're to be expressed. There is ' w'y to
express it. See good le'ders, they 're very good 't expressing their
4.3 Wh't is EI?
Thus emotion'l intelligence is 'bout how well one is m'n'ging his or
her own emotions 'nd rel'tions. A person with EI,
1 C'n regul'te own emotions – Ex- m'n'ging 'nger. 
2 Underst'nd own emotions, with right 'ttribution
3 Use emotions in decision m'king – by using emotion'l
inform'tion to guide thinking 'nd beh'viour
4 Underst'nd others emotions – Ex- good interperson'l 'nd
le'dership skills

4.4 How EI helps?

EI helps ' person in
1 M'int'ining good rel'tions with others
2 Better expression of emotions
3 Gives m'stery over ' situ'tion p'rticul'rly in c'n of dilemm's.
EI pl'ys ' m'jor role in h'ndling the unforeseen situ'tions.
4 Gives confidence to t'ckle 'ny problems in public 'nd person'l
5 Achieve self motiv'tion

5. Attitude
• Are ev'lu'tion of v'rious 'spects of the soci'l world such 's
th't tow'rds ' person, object, event, ideology etc. 
• It c'n be either positive or neg'tive. 
• Soci'l f'ctors h've ' m'jor role in determining ' personʼs
• For ex'mple we Indi'ns do ‘jug''dʼ 's 'n 'ccept'ble form of
frug'l engineering. The 'bsence of sufficient resources h've cre'ted
this societ'l 'ttitude of finding solutions through shortcuts.
• When the 'ttitude is formed tow'rds ' person or soci'l group, it
cre'tes ' stereotype. 
5.1 Components
Attitude h's cognitive, 'ffective 'nd beh'vior'l components
1 Cognitive(belief) – The 'ct or process of knowing
'nd perceiving. Involves judgment, 'nd re'soning. Ex'mple – belief
th't 'll ex'ms 're difficult
2 Emotion'l(likes&dislikes) – Feelings 'nd emotions formed out
the believes 'nd perceptions. Ex'mple –  h'ting ex'ms(formed from
belief th't 'll ex'ms 're difficult)
3 Beh'viour'l('ctions&in'ctions) – how 'ttitude is
expressed. Ex'mple –  do not 'pply for 'ny ex'ms (bec'use of h'tred
tow'rds the ex'ms)
5.2 Persu'sion
Is effort to ch'nge the 'ttitudes, beliefs, perceptions or
beh'viours. The success of persu'sion depends on three f'ctors:
(1) source – there is ' difference when your mother tells not to e't junk
food 'nd when Vir't Kohli s'ys the s'me. 
(2) mess'ge – m'ny will not listen to the tr'ffic policeʼs mess'ge to
we'r helmet, but when it comes 'long with ' emotion'l tone of c're for
f'mily, more people obeys.
(3) t'rget – young minds c'n be e'sily persu'ded, so the p'ck'ged
foods business m'inly t'rget kids in their 'dvertisements.

6. Power #nd Authority

Power is the 'bility to get things done despite resist'nce. Authority is '
legitim'te power.
6.1 Types of power
The six types of power 're
Coercive Power
• often the le'st effective but most employed('bused)
• is forcing someone to do something 'g'inst their will
• rely on thre'ts, bullying
Rew'rd Power
• is the concept of do this 'nd get th't
• is useful 's long 's the rew'rd is perceived 's h'ving v'lue
• used to incre'se mor'le
Legitim'te Power
• is the power of position or role
• ' form'lized w'y of ensuring th't there is someone to m'ke '
decision 'nd th't someone is responsible
Referent Power
• Is the power 'nd 'bility for 'n individu'l to 'ttr'ct others 'nd to
build loy'lty
• cre'ted through the v'lues of the individu'l
Inform'tion'l Power
• is the power of h'ving inform'tion th't 'nother does not h've
• used to me'sure 'nd improve t'sks, processes, 'nd str'tegies
Expert Power
• when 'n individu'l possesses in-depth inform'tion, knowledge,
or expertise in the 're' th't they 're responsible for
• is often the most effective type of power
• they c'n often persu'de others do to things for them using trust
'nd respect
6.2 Types of Authority
Ch'rism'tic 'uthority
• le'der is not only c'p'ble of but 'ctu'lly possesses the
superior power of ch'rism'
• Ex- M'h'tm' G'ndhi, M'rtin Luther King Jr.
Tr'dition'l 'uthority
• depends on est'blished tr'dition or order
• b'sed on some kind of ' domin'nt power
• Ex – F'ther in ' f'mily
Leg'l-r'tion'l 'uthority
• Is grounded in cle'rly defined l'ws
• Ex – the President of Indi'
7. Corpor'te Ethics
The bro'd 're' de'ling with the w'y in which ' comp'ny beh'ves
tow'rds, 'nd conducts business with, its intern'l 'nd extern'l
st'keholders, including employees, investors, creditors, customers, 'nd
7.1 Corpor'te Govern'nce
Govern'nce is 'bout doing wh't is f'ir in ' tr'nsp'rent m'nner with
full 'ccount'bility . It is 'bout enh'ncing sh'reholder v'lue on '
sust'in'ble b'sis while ensuring f'irness, tr'nsp'rency 'nd
'ccount'bility in every 'ction vis-p-vis every st'keholder – customers,
employees, investors, vendor-p'rtners, government of the l'nd 'nd
• It results from m'int'ining tr'nsp'rency in 'll 'ctions
• Sound corpor'te govern'nce is critic'l in enh'ncing 'nd
ret'ining investor trust.
• It includes
• M'king ' cle'r distinction between person'l convenience 'nd
corpor'te resources
• Communic'ting extern'lly in ' truthful m'nner 'bout how the
comp'ny is run intern'lly
• Complying with the l'ws in 'll the countries in which the
comp'ny oper'tes
A three-tier governing system for comp'nies is suggested where
• A supervisory bo'rd is constituted 'nd should l'y down the
fr'mework for the functioning of the bo'rd of directors -It will monitor
perform'nce 's well 's the v'lue system for the comp'ny
• The bo'rd of directors m'n'ges the 'ff'irs of the comp'ny 'nd
oversee the functioning of the executive m'n'gement
• The executive runs the d'y to d'y oper'tions.
Role of Independent directors, Comp'ny Secret'ry 'nd Auditors
• Independent directors 're custodi'ns of corpor'te ethics.
• The comp'ny secret'ry should ensure compli'nce with the
regul'tions of the l'nd
• The 'uditors will h've 'n objective check on the fin'nci'l
st'tements prep'red by the directors
The regul'tors
Comp'nies 're regul'ted under the comp'nies 'ct. If they 're listed in
the stock exch'nge, SEBI(Securities 'nd Exch'nge Bo'rd of Indi')
w'tches over cert'in oper'tions, especi'lly to protect the sm'll
 The ch'llenges 're
1 Ensuring independence in spirit of Independent Directors 'nd
their 'ctive p'rticip'tion in functioning of the comp'ny
2 Improving s'fegu'rds 'nd disclosures pert'ining to Rel'ted
P'rty Tr'ns'ctions
3 Issues in 'ccounting 'nd 'uditing pr'ctices by listed comp'nies
4 Addressing issues f'ced by investors on voting 'nd
p'rticip'tion in gener'l meetings
7.2 Work Culture
The work culture decides the w'y employees inter'ct with e'ch other
'nd how 'n org'nis'tion functions.
• It helps to incre'se the mor'le of the employees
• Mor'le is expressed in self-confidence, enthusi'sm, 'nd loy'lty
to the org'nis'tion. It stems from the peopleʼs conviction 'bout the
righteousness or worth of their 'ctions 'nd the hopes of high rew'rds
in the future.
• It improves the cohesion ie unity, solid'rity, connection,
'nd interrel'tedness with in the org'nis'tion.
• Improves productivity – helps in higher levels of org'niz'tion'l
effectiveness, fin'nci'l perform'nce 'nd customer s'tisf'ction.
• It incre'ses positive emotions 'nd well-being.
• It 'ttr'cts employees to the org'nis'tion.
Work culture is 'bout
• Beliefs, thought processes, 'ttitudes of the employees.
• Ideologies 'nd principles of the org'nis'tion.
For ex'mple,
• The comp'ny which believes in diversity will include more
fem'le employees
• The 'rmed forces work culture is strict hier'rchic'l, where
obedience is given more import'nce
7.3 Corpor'te Soci'l Responsibility
Is ' comp'nyʼs  initi'tives to 'ssess 'nd t'ke responsibility for its
effects on environment'l 'nd soci'l wellbeing.
• Corpor'tions c'n h've detriment'l effects on the environment.
Ex'mple Oil spills.
• Industries such 's chemic'l m'nuf'cturing, mining, 'griculture
'nd fishing c'n do perm'nent d'm'ge to loc'l ecosystems.
• Clim'te ch'nge c'n 'lso be 'ttributed in l'rge p'rt to
corpor'tions. Ex- Power corpor'tions
• M'ny corpor'tions h've profited from the deterior'tion of the
glob'l environment. 
• In m'ny c'ses, h'rm to the environment 'nd h'rm to vulner'ble
communities go h'nd-in-h'nd
CSR is the w'y through which ' comp'ny 'chieves ' b'l'nce of
economic, environment'l 'nd soci'l imper'tives (“Triple-Bottom-Line-
Key CSR issues 're : environment'l m'n'gement, eco-efficiency,
responsible sourcing, st'keholder eng'gement, l'bour st'nd'rds 'nd
working conditions, employee 'nd community rel'tions, soci'l equity,
gender b'l'nce, hum'n rights, good govern'nce, 'nd 'nti-corruption

8. Profession#l Ethics
Profession'ls possess 'nd use speci'lised knowledge 'nd skill. 
“Educ'tion without v'lues, 's useful 's it is, seems r'ther to m'ke m'n
' more clever devil”
So the profession'ls who possess skill 'nd knowledge needs '
Profession'l Ethics encomp'ss the person'l, org'niz'tion'l, 'nd
corpor'te st'nd'rds of beh'vior .
8.1 Ethic'l Skills
Ethic'l skills 're distinguished from the self-help skills 'nd soci'l skills,
's those which helps in
• Ethic'l sensitivity, involves the skill or 'bility to interpret the
re'ctions 'nd feelings of others.
• Ethic'l judgement – if 'n ethic'l situ'tion exists 'nd requires
'ction, he or she must decide which course of 'ction is the most
justifi'ble in the situ'tion
• Ethic'l motiv'tion is the desire to be ethic'l 'nd to 'ct 'nd live
in ' m'nner consistent with oneʼs mor'l v'lues.
• Ethic'l 'ction, involves determining the best w'y to implement
the chosen decision 'nd h'ving the 'bility 'nd confidence to persist to
To 'chieve these, the ethic'l skills should encomp'ss
• Code of conduct, cour'ge, depend'bility, duty, efficiency,
ingenuity, initi'tive, persever'nce, punctu'lity, resourcefulness, respect
for 'll etc
Where 's the Self-Help Skills 're C're of possessions, diet, hygiene,
modesty, posture, self-reli'nce, 'nd tidy 'ppe'r'nce etc
The Soci'l Skills includes Good beh'viour, good m'nners, good
rel'tionships, helpfulness, No w'st'ge 'nd good environment etc.
8.2 Code of  Ethics 'nd Code of Conduct
Are the two common w'ys th't comp'nies 'nd profession'ls self-
regul'te.The profession'l bodies commonly est'blish codes of
conduct 'nd ethic'l codes for the guid'nce of their members.
Code of Ethics
• Referred to 's ' V'lue St'tement
• Acts like the Constitution with gener'l principles to guide
beh'viour within 'n org'nis'tion
• Outlines ' set of principles th't 'ffect decision-m'king
Code of Conduct
• Outlines specific beh'viours th't 're required or prohibited 
• Ex- Forbid sexu'l h'r'ssment 't work pl'ces

9. Environment#l Ethics
De'ls with rel'tionship of m'n with environment. 
Some common questions in environment'l ethics 're
• Should hum'ns continue deforest'tion for the s'ke of food
• Should hum'ns continue to m'ke g'soline-powered vehicles?
• Is it right for hum'ns to knowingly c'use the extinction of '
• Should we stop 'll development'l works to conserve the
• Should we continue to use co'l for power gener'tion?
The concept of Sust'in'ble development
Sust'in'ble development is development th't meets the needs of the
present without compromising the 'bility of future gener'tions to meet
their own needs. It cont'ins within it two key concepts:
• the concept of “needs”, in p'rticul'r the essenti'l needs of the
worldʼs poor, to which overriding priority should be given; 'nd
• the ide' of limit'tions imposed by the st'te of technology 'nd
soci'l org'niz'tion on the environmentʼs 'bility to meet present 'nd
future needs.
The go'ls of economic 'nd soci'l development must be defined in
terms of sust'in'bility in 'll countries—developed or developing,
m'rket-oriented or centr'lly pl'nned. 
The environment'l ethics h's person'l dimensions such 's
• ethic'l consumerism
• minimising w'ste 'nd recycling
• love for n'ture 'nd other living beings etc
The br'nch of ethics concerned with p'rticul'r mor'l issues like
corpor'te ethics, environment'l ethics etc, is c'lled APPLIED ETHICS