Difference Between Moral And Ethics

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Morals vs. Ethics Distinguishing between morals and ethics can be a difficult thing to do. Even after presenting definitions of both words, scholars sometimes decide to use the two interchangeably. This may be because the definitions are so closely related. One definition of morals is “proper ideas and beliefs about how to behave in a way that is considered right and good by most people” (Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, n.d.). The same dictionary defines ethics as “ the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”, “a set of moral principles” (Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, n.d.). The dictionary definition presents some help, but do not necessarily clear distinction between the two terms. …show more content…
Morals are subjective and intuitive. A person’s morals are not rational or critically examined. An individual’s morals are up to them, and can largely be based on their upbringing or religious foundations. The individual determines these internally. Ethics are objective. These are rational, clear cut, and impartial. They are drawn from an external system, governing body, or a society, and described by L.T. Hosmer (1994) as “the basic rules or first principles that have been proposed” to ensure a society “in which people willingly cooperate for the benefit of all” (p. 20). Whereas an individual can always maintain their morals, they may be forced to live and operate within a certain code of ethics. Undeniably, morals and ethics are connected. In his article entitled Ethics Education of Military Leaders, A Edward Major describes ethics as serving to mediate tension that arise for military officers faced with difficult decisions about how to accomplish a mission and personal morality (2014). This description provides a useful distinction between morals and ethics. An individual will always have his or her own set of morals, regardless of the situation, but ethics can be unique to a profession or society. The ethical code can serve as a guide for leaders, even when their morality causes internal …show more content…
In business it could mean increased legal fees, loss or trust with clients, and possibly the demise of the organization altogether. In military organizations, unethical acts can erode unit cohesion, morale, and result in the lack of mission effectiveness or even unnecessary loss of life. Leaders are constantly forced to make value based decisions, regardless of what type of organization they lead. A leader’s own set of morals will determine the way they view and prioritize certain problems, and more importantly if they are viewed as an ethical leader. Ethical leadership has been defined as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and ethical decision-making” (Brown, Trevino, and Harrison, 2005, p. 120). This type of leadership can be very important to the success or failure of an

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