Value (ethics) - Wikipedia
In ethics, value denotes the degree of importance of some thing or action, with the aim of determining what actions are best to do or what way is best to live ( normative ethics), or to describe the significance of different actions. Value systems are proscriptive and prescriptive beliefs, they affect ethical Personal values exist in relation to cultural values, either in. Value systems can be different from culture to culture. (1) Relationship values - Relationship values reflect how you relate to other people in your life, i.e. Moral values are relative values that protect life and are respectful of the the difference between right and wrong and chooses right is moral.
To the extent they differ from stated values, the organization will not only suffer from doing things less effectively, but also from the cynicism of its members, who have yet another reason for mistrusting the leadership, or doubting its wisdom.
So, there are some disconnects, and these disconnects create problems. However, the central purpose of values remains. They state either an actual or an idealized set of criteria for evaluating options and deciding what is appropriate, based on long experience. The relevance of the Army's values, for example, is apparent. When soldiers may be called upon to expose themselves to mortal danger in the performance of their duty, they must be absolutely able to trust their fellow soldiers to do their fair share and to help in the event of need and their leaders to guard them from unnecessary risk.
So the Army's values prescribe conditions that facilitate trust, a necessary element in willingness to face danger. Without trust, risk tolerance will be low, as will combat effectiveness. So how do values relate to ethics, and what do we mean by ethics? One of the keys is in the phrase we quoted above from the DA pamphlet: To behave ethically is to behave in a manner consistent with what is right or moral.
What does "generally considered to be right" mean? That is a critical question, and part of the difficulty in deciding whether or not behavior is ethical is in determining what is right or wrong.
Perhaps the first place to look in determining what is right or wrong is society. Virtually every society makes some determination of morally correct behavior.
In Islamic countries, a determination of what is right or moral is tied to religious strictures. In societies more secular, the influence of religious beliefs may be less obvious, but still a key factor. In the United States much of what is believed to be right or wrong is based in Judeo-Christian heritage. The Ten Commandments, for many people, define what is morally right or wrong.
Societies not only regulate the behavior of their members, but also define their societal core values. Experience often has led societies to develop beliefs about what is of value for the common good. Note that societies differ from one another in the specifics, but not in the general principles. One example is the notion of reciprocity.
These "shoulds" define collective effort because they are fundamental to trust and to team relationships that entail risk. The greater the potential risk, the more important ethical practices become. Organizations, to some extent, define what is right or wrong for the members of the organization. Ethical codes, such as West Point's "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do," make clear what the organization considers to be right or wrong.
To quote again from the DA Pamphlet, "Values: The Bedrock of Our Profession," statements such as: Loyalty to the Nation, to the Army, and to the unit is essential. Selfless service puts the welfare of the Nation and the accomplishment of the assigned mission before individual welfare. All who serve the Nation must resist the temptation to pursue self-gain, personal advantage, and self-interest ahead of the collective good. Furthermore, integrity is demonstrated by propriety in one's personal life.
All one needs to do is to look at the positive values of society and the organizations one belongs to, and what is right or wrong should be evident. There is another aspect to be considered, however, and that is the influence of societal or organizational norms.
Norms are the unstated rules, usually informally reached by the members of a group, which govern the behavior of the group's members. Norms often have a greater effect on what is and isn't done by the members of a group than formal rules and regulations.
The reason norms are important for a discussion of ethics and values is that norms may allow or even encourage certain behavior as "OK" that is not in keeping with society's or an organization's stated values. When there is a disconnect between stated and operating values, it may be difficult to determine what is "right.
Do those in the organization know that the behavior is wrong, but condone it nevertheless? Is it clear to the Bosnian Serbs that ethnic cleansing is unethical and wrong, or would it fall under the mantle of behavior that is considered to be acceptable in that society? Listen to the arguments in support of ethnic cleansing that have been made, and you will find that many of the perpetrators argued that they did nothing wrong, and were only righting previous wrongs done to them.
York Willbern, in an article entitled "Types and Levels of Public Morality," argues for six types or levels of morality or ethics for public officials.
By public officials, he means those who are in policy making positions in public institutions; in other words, strategic decision makers in the government, including the national security arena.
The six levels he differentiates are: In many ways, this level only describes the basic adherence to moral codes that is expected of all members of a group or society.
There are some basics of behavior that are expected of all if a society is to function for the collective good.
For public officials, there is an additional reason why it is important to adhere to these basic moral codes and laws: There also is the negative example that misconduct by public officials provides. This relates to public officials, because it deals with the conflict between advancing the public interest, which a public official is charged to do, and advancing one's self-interest.
The duty here is to ensure that the public interest comes first, and that one does not advance his own personal interest at the expense of the public. Willbern uses embezzlement of public funds, bribery, and contract kickbacks as examples of pursuing personal interests at the expense of those of the public.
The requirements for public officials to divest themselves of investments that might be influenced by the performance of their duties or put them in trust and to recuse themselves in situations where they have a personal interest are designed to help public officials avoid conflicts of interest.
Ultimately, it still comes down to the individual making an ethical decision. Avoidance of conflict of interest is often difficult because it is often hard to separate personal and public interests, and because individuals as private citizens are encouraged to pursue private interests through any legal means. One of the areas where there is the greatest potential for conflicts of interest is where public officials deal with private organizations which are pursuing their private interests, and where any decision by a public official on allocation of resources will favor some private interest.
The fields of government contracting and acquisition are two areas where the possibility of conflicts of interest is high. This level relates closely to the last, and deals with the responsibility of public officials to ensure their actions serve the public, and that the power they wield is used only for that purpose. It is easy to abuse the power that comes with public office.
Procedural safeguards are designed to prevent that abuse. The moral obligation of public servants is to follow established procedures, and not to use their power to circumvent those procedures for their own convenience or benefit.
Values and Ethics
Power must be used fairly and for the benefit of the public. One can again think of examples of public officials who have violated this moral charge by using their influence and power for their own benefit or for the benefit of special interest groups, or who have circumvented established procedures for their own benefit or convenience.
One frequent example is the use of government vehicles or aircraft for nonofficial business.
These first three levels of public morality share one important characteristic: These three levels are the areas that get most of the attention in discussions of ethics, this is where public officials are most likely to get in trouble. However, there are three additional levels of public morality equally important. Life is a universal, objective value. We might take this point for granted, but we all have the life value, or we would not be alive.
Life is also a dual value — we value our own life and the lives of others. Moral values are relative values that protect life and are respectful of the dual life value of self and others. The great moral values, such as truth, freedom, charity, etc. When they are functioning correctly, they are life protecting or life enhancing for all. But they are still relative values.
Our relative moral values must be constantly examined to make sure that they are always performing their life-protecting mission.
Courage can become foolish martyrdom, commitment can become irrational fanaticism, honor can become self-righteousness, conceit, and disrespect for others. Our enemies have their own standard of honor, they have courage, and they are surely committed. What sets us apart? Respect for the universal life value sets us apart from our enemies. A person who knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses right is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in his willingness to do the right thing — even if it is hard or dangerous — is ethical.
Ethics are moral values in action. Being ethical id an imperative because morality protects life and is respectful of others — all others.What is the difference between ethics and values
As warriors it is our duty to be protectors and defenders of the life value and to perform the unique and difficult mission of taking the lives of those acting immorally against life when necessary to protect the lives of innocent others.
When you must kill protecting life it is still hard, but it is moral. Those who kill those not observant of their narrow relative religious, ethnic or criminal values — in other words, kill over relative values — are immoral.