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How is Moral Character Developed: a Study on Ethics

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About this sample

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Words: 3401 |

Pages: 7|

18 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 3401|Pages: 7|18 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Ethics and Its Elements
  3. Moral Ethics in Organizations and Businesses
  4. Theoretical Framework of Moral Character Development
  5. Stages of Moral Character Development
  6. Community Ethical Dilemma
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Introduction

This paper aims to explore and enhance my personal ethical skills by presenting real-life cases from my family and community that revolve around ethical values. I will pinpoint ethical dilemmas that clash with my personal ethical values and formulate solutions rooted in ethical principles to effectively address these moral predicaments. Prior to delving into the ethical dilemmas within my family and community, I will delve into a comprehensive examination of ethics and its components, including ethical values, ethical behavior, ethical challenges, and the role of ethics as an integral part of organizational culture. This foundational exploration serves as a framework for comprehending how is moral character developed and applied in various contexts.

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Understanding Ethics and Its Elements

Ethics is simply to learn about what is right or wrong in relation to the individual or organizational behavior. Ethics refers to the rules that are used as guidelines in behaving in society for someone related to good and bad traits. The behavior of ethics is a science of morality and human behavior in association with others, which are related to the principles of morality and human behavior (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). In other words, ethics is the obligation and moral responsibility of everyone in behaving in society. Not only in the individual and society, but ethics also contributed to managing the business. In general, the notion of business ethics is the ways in which a business conducts its business activities that cover various aspects, both individuals, companies, and society. Business ethics can also be interpreted as a knowledge of the ideal procedures for managing a business by observing norms and morality that apply universally, economically and socially. Every company must pay attention to and carry out applicable ethics, for example, obey applicable laws and regulations.

In the organization, there are the ethical values and codes of ethics as a reference in carrying out work obligations. Ethical values are all values that are applied in an organization as a reference in carrying out each activity. The common ethical values in the organization are integrity, fairness, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, and openness. It might be less or more depends on the values in the organization. Integrity means the quality of being honest in his life as a whole. The definition of integrity is a personality that is consistent and intact, both in words and deeds, in accordance with the values and code of ethics (Adams, Tashchian, & Shore, 2001).

Moral Ethics in Organizations and Businesses

Fairness is equality or fair treatment in fulfilling the rights and obligations of employees that arise based on values and regulations applied in the organization or company. The company must make a solid system to make all work as expected. With such fair work, it is expected that all existing regulations will be adhered to protect all those who have an interest in the sustainability of the business. The principle in business ethics in the practice of honesty is the principle of conformity between words and actions with actual and or conditions or existing rules regarding material or information that is relevant in the activities, practices or management of a company or institution. To be a quality individual and can benefit many people, of course, someone must have a special character that can support it, and one of the characters in question is trustworthy. What is meant by trustworthy is when someone is trusted by another individual. Good performance will make other individuals trust us in doing things so they are not reluctant to give us assignments. Carrying out tasks honestly also creates trustworthy where no one likes to be lied to. In an organization or company, respect is one of the important things in maintaining good relations in order to create work synergy between fellow employees or to people with higher positions. Respect means mutual respect in the world of work, can know the hierarchy that exists within an organization or company so as to create a synergistic work environment. Respect also one of the ethical values that must be considered to create harmony in the work environment. Openness is an imaginative, creative and artistic person. The word openness refers to the ability to tolerate, the capacity to absorb information, and focus. Someone with high openness has imaginative thoughts. While people with low openness also describe short-sighted people and are conservative. Those ethical values are usually applied in a company in the form of a code of ethics or regulations from the company or organization.

Besides knowing about the ethical value of a company or organization, understanding individual ethics is also an important thing. Ethical dilemmas, prescriptive to ethical decision making in business, ethical awareness and ethical judgment, individual differences, ethical judgment, and ethical behavior. Ethical dilemma occurs when two or more right values are in conflict. In an ethical dilemma, we will face the condition when we need to choose the best alternative of several choices in a particular condition. In philosophical theories of a prescriptive approach to ethical decision making in business, there are three theories regarding how the individual take the decision based on their philosophical condition, which is, consequentialist theory, deontological theory, and virtue ethics.

Consequentialist theory means that when people are making a decision and deciding what is right, they will focus on the result or consequences of the decision or action. The consequentialist theory has a strong relationship with the utilitarianism theory which argues that people will tend to maximize the benefit of an action or decision and minimize the harm or consequences (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). Deontological theory means that people will focus on the duties, obligations, and principles in making a decision. Rather than thinking about the consequences of the action, deontological theory prefers to focus more on the values principle of an organization when making decisions, such as honesty, promise-keeping, fairness, loyalty, rights, justice, responsibility, compassion, and respect for human beings and property. So, whatever the consequences are, as long as the action follows the principle values of the organization, deontological will assume that is the right decision. Lastly, virtue ethics is a theory that focus on integrity means that the virtue ethics perspective are more to the actor’s motivation, intention, and character. In making a decision, virtue ethics theory focuses on the moral character of decision makers, not the consequences of decisions (utilitarianism) or motivation from decision makers (deontology). The two main problems of virtue ethics are determining the virtues of what a person must have according to his position and duties, and how virtues are shown in the workplace. Those three fundamental theories will be the guideline in making a decision based on the philosophical condition of the individual.

Theoretical Framework of Moral Character Development

According to the textbook, another important theory that will be related to the discussion of the ethical dilemma and the way how to solve that dilemma is the cognitive moral development theory which explains about how people judgment in deciding to take an action based on their characteristic that comes from the moral reasoning (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). This theory holds that moral reasoning, which is the basis of ethical behavior, has six stages of development that can be identified. He followed the development of moral decisions with the addition of age which was originally studied by Piaget, who stated that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Kohlberg extended this basic view, determining that the process of moral development in principle was related to justice and its development continued throughout life, although there were dialogues that questioned the philosophical implications of his research. The six stages of moral development from Kohlberg are grouped into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. Following the requirements proposed by Piaget for cognitive development theory, there is a very rare setback in these stages. However, there is no function that is in the highest stages of all time. It is also not possible to jump over a stage; each stage has a new and needed perspective, and is more comprehensive, diverse, and integrated than the previous stage.

In children, pre-conventional levels of moral reasoning are generally found, although at this stage adults can also demonstrate reasoning (Trevino & Nelson, 2014). Someone at the pre-conventional level is judging the morality of an action based on its immediate effects. The pre-conventional level consists of two early stages of moral development and seeing oneself purely in an egocentric form. Individuals focus on the direct effects of their own perceived actions in the first stage. For example, if the person doing it is punished, an action is considered morally wrong. The harder the sentence, the more the action is considered to be wrong. Moreover, he did not know that from his perspective the point of view of the other person was different. You can see this stage as a kind of authoritarianism.

Stage two reasoning does not show enough attention to the needs of others, only to the extent that those needs also affect their own needs. In the second stage, attention to others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic factors. The lack of perspectives on society at the pre-conventional level is different from social contracts (stage five) because all actions are taken to serve one's own needs. For them from stage two, the world perspective is seen as something relatively morally.

The conventional level is generally in a teenager or an adult. People evaluate the morality of action at this stage by comparing it with the views and expectations of people. The conventional level consists of the moral development of the third and fourth stages. Someone gets into society in stage three and has a social role. Individuals would like to accept other people's approval or disapproval because it reflects the community's approval of its role. In stage four, it is important to observe the law, decisions and social conventions because it is useful in maintaining the community's functions. Moral reasoning in stage four is more than just the need for individual acceptance as in stage three; community needs must exceed personal needs.

Stages of Moral Character Development

Post-conventional levels, also known as levels of principle, consist of five and six stages of moral development. It is becoming increasingly clear that individuals are separate entities from society. One's perspective must be seen in front of society's perspective. Post-conventional levels are often confused with pre-conventional behavior as a result of this' self-nature precedes others. On stage five, individuals are perceived as having different opinions and values, and it is important that they are impartially respected and respected. Problems not considered to be relatively lifelong and choices should not be detained or inhibited. Correspondingly, the law is seen not as a rigid decision but as a social contract. It is necessary to change rules that do not result in social if necessary, it must be changed to achieve the best for as many people as possible. This was achieved by a majority decision and a compromise (Fraedrich, Thorne, & Ferrell, 1994). Moral reasoning in stage six is based on abstract reasoning based on universal ethical principles. The law is valid only if it is based on justice, and the obligation to not obey unjust laws also includes a commitment to justice. Rights need not be social contracts, nor are they important for the moral actions of deontologists. Decisions are made in absolute ways, not conditionally hypothetically.

In this part, I will use the theory that I have outlined above to analyze problems that exist in the family and my community in the context of ethical dilemma and ethical decision-making process. There are three things that I will discuss this section, namely, an ethical dilemma in my family, ethical values that are not compatible with my ethical values, and the ethical dilemma in my community. Before I describe the case problem, I will start with my family background to give information that might help in understanding the case on the next part. My name is I Gede Boy Rekeyasa from Bali, Indonesia, I am the first child of two brothers who are all boys. I am from a simple family with an environment that has strong cultural value. In the past few months, I was thinking about the problems being faced by my female cousin who would continue their education to a lecture called Dian. Dian is the first child of my uncle who is currently attending school at one of the best Vocational High Schools in Bali, the Bali Mandara Vocational School. The problems experienced by villagers like our family are not far from the problems of finance and technology and information. The problem experienced by my cousin now is about an ethical dilemma which is faced with two difficult choices. Dian was very keen to continue studying outside Bali at one of the universities located in Malang, but the family did not support because financial and gender problems means that the fear felt by my family and Dian when allowing Dian to study outside Bali without direct supervision from the family. I, as the oldest child in a large family, became one of the suggestions and a big decision in this case.

Community Ethical Dilemma

In this condition, I experience an ethical dilemma which must choose one of the two right choices. The first choice was to support Dian's decision to study outside Bali or to be supervised by the family to be able to pursue her goals, and the second choice was to support the decision of most family members to ask Dian to study in Bali with the aim of being monitored by families which will be issued by parents who have financial problems. This problem still had not found a solution until the results of the test to enter Dian University came out and he chose based on family discussions and the advice I gave. In this matter, I was more concerned about the consequences that would be caused when Dian went to study outside Bali without supervision from the family. The first problem that came to my mind was the financial problem that was experienced by Dian's family, the second was about Dian's safety when studying outside Bali which involved unhealthy relationships, security, and mental stress when meeting new people with characters who different. But in this case, I also saw gender discrimination carried out by families who did not allow Dian to study outside Bali on the grounds that Dian was a woman and the unfairness treatment that Dian received was not treated the same as I was allowed to study at Jakarta. After I consider, the negative consequences or possibilities that will be experienced by Dian and her family are greater than the positive things that will be obtained. Therefore, I decided to advise Dian to study in Bali with a course she wanted to be able to reduce costs and reduce the risks she would face while studying outside Bali.

The second topic that I will discuss is about ethical values ​​in my community that are not compatible with my ethical values. At my community in Bali, there is one value that is applied illegally but it has become a natural habit in my village which is about having sex outside of marriage. That is totally unethical behavior based on religious values ​​and the law that prevails in Indonesia, but this is something that is so common that it is considered legal and considered ethical value. Some people might disagree with this value, but there is no real action from people who are aware of this deviant behavior. According to the textbook, the requirement of ethical behavior is what is right that makes me think about developing a solution for this unethical behavior or value problem. First, I think the best solution for this problem is changing the mindset of the people in my community by socializing the legal system that regulates free sex and the impact it will have on working with the police and the headman so that parents' supervision of children will be tightened to reduce the deviant behavior.

The last topic that will be discussed is about the ethical dilemma in my community. One problem that is often faced by Indonesian people is flooding and water pollution caused by several factors that are generally caused by the behavior of disposing of garbage and waste into the river. This problem also occurs in my community in Bali. Most of the people in my neighborhood depend on water sources in the river to fulfill their daily needs such as bathing, washing, and drinking water. In 2016, a resident of Bandung set up a large printing shop in my village adjacent to the river. Since the factory was established, the river water has become dirty, cloudy and smelly, which causes some to bathe in the river with skin diseases. After being investigated by the community, it turned out that the factory disposed of clothing coloring waste and other chemicals into the river as the main cause of dirty water problems. However, because the clothing factory is one of the big factories that create jobs and as clothing suppliers at low prices, the community does not report the incident to the government by considering the consequences that will occur if the factory is closed because it has polluted the river (Consequentialist). At that time, everyone is still thinking about their individual interests, and people experience ethical dilemmas.

The second topic that I will discuss is about ethical values ​​in my community that are not compatible with my ethical values. At my community in Bali, there is a habit that is about having sex outside of marriage. That is totally unethical behavior based on religious values ​​and the law prevailing in Indonesia, but this is something that is common that it is considered legal and considered ethical value. Some people might disagree with this value, but there is no real action from people who are aware of this deviant behavior. According to the textbook, ethical behavior is what is right that makes me think about developing a solution for this unethical behavior or value problem. First, I think the best solution for this problem is changing the mindset of the people so that parents' supervision of children will be tightened to reduce the deviant behavior.

The last topic that will be discussed is about the ethical dilemma in my community. One problem that is often faced by Indonesian people is flooding and water pollution is a number of factors that are generally caused by the behavior of disposing of garbage and waste into the river. This problem also occurs in my community in Bali. Most of the people in my neighborhood depend on water sources to fulfill their daily needs such as bathing, washing, and drinking water. In 2016, a resident of Bandung set up a large printing shop in my village adjacent to the river. Since the factory was established, the river water has become dirty, cloudy and smelly, which causes some to be in the river with skin diseases. After being investigated by the community, it turned out that the factory disposed of clothing coloring waste and other chemicals into the main causes of dirty water problems. However, the community incident is not the case, but the incident is caused by the fact that the factory is closed because it has polluted the river (Consequentialist). At that time, everyone is still thinking about their individual interests, and people experience ethical dilemmas.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, ethics is one of the most important things to understand in developing good individual behavior and working within an organization. Ethics can also be applied in business as a guide to running a good business to create a successful and sustainable business. Ethics has many theories to help in determining an action in dealing with problems according to existing situations and conditions. Ethics also helps us in analyzing people behavior and solving ethical problems. After discussing ethics and its elements, such as ethical values, ethical behavior, ethical problems, and ethics as organizational culture, I can easily analyze my ethical problems in my family and community and develop ethical solutions for all of them.

References

  1. Adams, J. S., Tashchian, A., & Shore, T. H. (2001). Codes of ethics as signals for ethical behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 29(3), 199–211.
  2. Fraedrich, J., Thorne, D. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (1994). Assessing the application of cognitive moral development theory to business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(10), 829–838.
  3. Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2014). Managing Business Ethics.
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How Is Moral Character Developed: A Study on Ethics. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-is-moral-character-developed-a-study-on-ethics/
“How Is Moral Character Developed: A Study on Ethics.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-is-moral-character-developed-a-study-on-ethics/
How Is Moral Character Developed: A Study on Ethics. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-is-moral-character-developed-a-study-on-ethics/> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
How Is Moral Character Developed: A Study on Ethics [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-is-moral-character-developed-a-study-on-ethics/
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