Policy Decision-Making Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Business - Ethics Type: Essay Paper: #46854823 Related Topics: Ethical Decision Making, Calculus, Public Policy, Decision Making Process
Excerpt from Essay :

Public Institutions

Professional ethics refer to the ethics that surround a particular profession. These are the ethical standards that surround the job, and they will typically encompass a range of job-specific ethics and basic ethical standards in general. Organizational ethics are the set of ethical standards by which the organization operates. Each organization has its own culture, and that culture will have a built-in set of ethics that may be different from those of similar organizations. Social ethics are the ethics of a society.

At their heart, each code of ethics reflects the standards by which the group of people agrees to operate. So a society, a firm and a professional body are three different groups of people, and each can therefore have their own set of ethical standards and guidelines. Ethical guidelines are part of an agreed structure for any group of people. When one belongs to a group, there is an expectation that the person will, more or less, conform to the norms of that group. Ethical standards are very much fluid, and reflective of their times.

Professional ethics and organizational ethics in particular are similar in that they are often explicit, and operationalized for the benefit of group members. Such best practices usually reflect the typical ethical dilemmas faced by people in a given profession or organization, as an attempt to provide specific guidance on these same


The implication for organizational and professional ethics is that they may differ from the ethics of the society as a whole. Otherwise, there would not be any need to elaborate with specific codes. The ethics for the society would be sufficient.

Social ethics, on the other hand, are the predominant form of ethics in society. There is no one specific set of social ethics, at least not in a heterogeneous society, but there are basic norms that are understood by almost all members of society, and those form the basis of the common ethical code of a given people. These can differ dramatically from one society to the next, based on a variety of factors. These differences, and the unpredictability of social ethics, is in part why professional and organizational ethics are demanded, so that there is no misinterpretation of what constitutes ethical behavior within a given professional or organizational context.

Ethical standards can be useful in solving real-world problems, but their usefulness is probably overstated. The reason for the latter statement is because genuine ethical dilemmas are not actually that frequent -- where one must choose between two "right" courses of action that will result in suffering to some party. Normally, ethical dilemmas are misinterpreted as the choice between doing the wrong thing and the right thing; restated choosing something that benefits you or benefits society. This reflects public choice theory, but does not reflect a genuine ethical dilemma because in most professional or political instances one is supposed to act in the interests of society or organization, not oneself.

Where there is a genuine ethical dilemma, an effective code of conduct can provide guidance. While the social ethics are supposed to be understood by all members of society, professional and organizational ethics are a unique subset thereof, and any person should have written guidance as to what their ethical responsibilies and obligations are. Preferably, those professional and organizational ethical codes are operationalized to the extent that the individual can apply the ethical standard to assist in the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Marcoux, A. (2008). Business ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-business/

Johnson, P. (2005). Rational-comprehensive decision-making. Auburn University. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/rational-comprehensive

Cite this Document:

"Policy Decision-Making" (2014, November 22) Retrieved August 10, 2022, from

"Policy Decision-Making" 22 November 2014. Web.10 August. 2022. <

"Policy Decision-Making", 22 November 2014, Accessed.10 August. 2022,

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