The Growth and Formation of Individual Ethics
Personal ethics materialize at an early age, and evolve throughout a person’s life based on many internal and external influences. These internal and external influences form the basis for each individual ethical system and determine how that system will interact with all the other individual ethical systems in which it will contact and interact within and outside of the professional environment. Most individual’s ethical system will be similar but not a carbon copy of immediate family and friends because they have a strong influence on belief development and share many common experiences. Social interactions over a lifetime of associations in many diverse communal environments formulate
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This change can manifest itself either positively or negatively. In some cases the affected individual will start a program to combat drunk driving as a way of resolving the disruption of him or her belief system. The belief that if he or she obeyed the speed limit and other traffic rules his or her children would be safe. The belief or value shatters in an instant with the death of their loved one. The individual could become some kind of vigilante trying to punish all drunk drivers by seeking him or her while leaving a bar and running him or her off the road to protect other families. Most influencers are far more subtle than the extreme example I outlined. Here are a few more examples of more common influences. A parent grounds his or her child for staying out after curfew. The child then learns disobedience has a consequence. Another would be a child receiving a reward for achieving good grades in school. The child then learns the value hard work and dedication in life. This one act of encouragement may not establish a norm, but with repeated positive and negative influences from the family and school this norm will become engrained in the child’s character.
The definition of what a social norm is and how it influences character development throughout a person’s life. The website changing minds.org (2010) explains social norms as “the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These