Merck Ethics Alignment
For an individual whose ethical perspective, as determined by the Williams Institute Ethics Awareness Inventory, is based on moral character, following the rules is a minor part of ethics. From this viewpoint, mere compliance with rules does not make a person ethical. A consistent effort to be a morally good person must accompany the effort. Integrity, honesty, trustworthy, wisdom, and honor are key concepts used in determining the ethics of an individual. This also requires the belief that ethics relies on the ability of individuals to make a sound moral judgment. It is not enough to comply with preset standards or principles of right and wrong to find solutions to complex dilemmas. It is more important for a person to demonstrate the qualities of honesty and integrity than just following the rules. Ethical decision making mandates developing these principles in individuals to guide them.
There are many frustrations that one must face when addressing ethical decisions from the perspective of a moral character. The primary issue is realizing that not all people have the same set of values. Because of societal differences, not everyone has the same opportunity to develop values of a moral character. Another issue facing society is the “quick fix” mentality, when developing the virtues for a moral character is a slow process (Williams Institute for Ethics and Management, 2011).
The moral character viewpoint can lead to other disappointments in the workplace. Although an individual may believe compliance, alone with organizational rules is not sufficient to develop ethical characteristics within employees, he or she may work for an organization that relies heavily on a system of rules and values. This creates disillusionment of an “artificial” ethical environment.
Many corporations publish a code of conduct for their employees and management to follow, but this does not always correspond with the use of honesty, wisdom, and...