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Professional Values and Ethics Promote Career Success, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 977

Essay

Ethics serve as the application of moral principles (Koehler, 2003) where as values are things we consider important in the way we live our private and professional lives (MindTools). Professional values and ethics may come from various sources which include professional organizations, business leaders and mentors, organizational cultures, personalities who inspire us on personal and professional levels, our belief system, and our cultural background.

Professional organizations such as the  American Association of Finance & Accounting (AAFA) and American Nurses Association (ANA) have published “Code of Ethics” that they expect their members as well as the general practitioners of the profession to follow. The aim of the code of ethics is to ensure a minimum level of performance and integrity by everyone involved in the profession. This helps build the clients’ confidence in the profession and projects the profession in a positive light. It is also to ensure a high level of performance because the members and the practitioners are expected to demonstrate a minimum level of skill set and performance to serve the best interests of the clients. Moreover, as members of the society, we also have responsibility to other stakeholders in the society besides the clients. Our professional values and ethics help us being a responsible member of the society. Business leaders and mentors have the ability to influence their subordinates due to their own experience and expertise and often serve as an example and guidance for the newcomers.

Similarly, organizational cultures dictate what are acceptable and non-acceptable behaviors and norms. Thus, the success also depends upon one’s ability to follow the professional values and ethics dominant within the organization. Some organizations with strong organizational cultures such as Apple and GE are known to be highly selective in their hiring process and expect their employees to follow the professional values and ethics exemplified by their leaders. Apple fired retail store employees for obtaining leaked copies of its Mac OS X Leopard operating system before official release (Huynh, 2006) because the company strongly believes in protection of intellectual property and enforcement of copyright laws. When we are inspired by someone on personal or professional level, we want to adopt their personal and professional ethical principles and values. This is because we attribute part of their success to their values and principles. Similarly, our belief systems including religion and our cultural backgrounds influence our perceptions of right and wrong.       

Professional values and ethics are essential for long term career success because not only do they help us build a positive professional reputation but are also seen by organizations as an asset. This is because instances of unethical conduct also hurt the organizations’ image in the minds of the clients and the public and could even threaten its very existence. Enron serves as a great example who was once a multi-billion dollar energy company but went out of existence due to the personal failures and unethical conduct of few individuals such as its founder Kenneth Lay, CEO Jeffrey Skilling, and CFO Andrew Fastow (The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)).

Trust is important in any profession and when our followers trust us, they will be more likely to follow our vision and put efforts towards making organizational goals a success. Organizations will be more likely to hire us and promote us because they will trust us to set personal examples for others and help develop an organizational culture of professional integrity. In addition, we will also be a low risk to the organizations’ reputation which once damaged is not easily rebuilt. Probably the greatest investor in history, Warren Buffet is so protective of his own as well as Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation that he didn’t hesitate to lose probably his most important deputy, David Sokol. David Sokol was considered to be the next head of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffet admitted that Sokol’s conduct was not unlawful. But Buffet feared that keeping Sokol could have damaged the company’s reputation in the public’s mind and he stated the importance of organizational culture in a memo to his managers in the following words, “Culture, more than rule books, determines how an organization behaves.” (Ovide, 2011). Ethics Resource Center’s 2000 National Business Ethics Survey (2000 NBES) found that senior and middle managers in all types of organizations were more positive about workplace ethics than lower-level employees who often feared backlash from their colleagues for reporting misconduct (Joseph, 2000). If true, our ethical reputation will only increase our professional appeal to the recruiters at the early stages of our career.

Our professional values and ethics also promote our business as entrepreneurs because customers know what they can expect from us. Our professional values and ethics may also become our differentiation points from the competition. One cannot discount the influence of organizational culture on professional values and ethics. GE has a reputation for producing capable executives because the company’s organizational culture encourages its managers to get experience in different GE units. Thus, it’s no wonder that GE’s executives have gone on to lead Home Depot, 3M, Albertsons, Honeywell, and IKON Office Solutions (Kratz, 2005). One cannot expect the same demand for executives who might have served at Enron, WorldCom, Lehman Brothers, or Bear Sterns.

References

Huynh, A. T. (2006, August 22). Apple Fires Retail Employees for Downloading Leopard. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.dailytech.com/Apple+Fires+Retail+Employees+for+Downloading+Leopard/article3889.htm

Joseph, J. (2000, October). Ethics in the Workplace. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/articledetail.cfm?ItemNumber=13073

Koehler, W. (2003, Spring). Professional Values and Ethics as Defined by “The LIS Discipline”. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science , p. 99.

Kratz, E. F. (2005, April 18). Get Me a CEO from GE! Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2005/04/18/8257015/index.htm

MindTools. (n.d.). What Are Your Values? Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_85.htm

Ovide, S. (2011, March 31). Warren Buffett on Ethics: ‘We Can’t Afford to Lose Reputation’. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/03/31/warren-buffett-on-ethics-we-cant-afford-to-lose-reputation/

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). (n.d.). Major Players in the Enron Trial. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-enrontrial-0602.html

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