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What I Learned in Ethics Class: Integrating Ethics in Aviation

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Words: 2668 |

Pages: 6|

14 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 2668|Pages: 6|14 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Defining the Ethics
  3. Defining Professional Ethics
  4. Ethics in Aviation
  5. Ethics in Flight Training
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works Cited

Introduction

Throughout everyone's college years, they are pursuing what they want for their future, which includes taking the required classes that go with their majors and participating in courses that the school deems essential. However, there is a lack of enforcement in ethics. Ethics, a fundamental branch of philosophy, has the potential to empower anyone with the ability to make improved life choices—for themselves and those around them. What I learned in ethics class is that its teachings can equip individuals to consider the implications of their decisions on multiple levels. Surprisingly, despite its benefits, ethics hasn't become a mandatory component in colleges nationwide. Integrating ethics into curricula is paramount, as it enables students to reflect on the consequences of their actions, fostering better decision-making abilities and fostering a greater awareness of moral acceptability.

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Defining the Ethics

There are many meanings to the world Ethics. Will Durant tell us that “Ethics is the study of ideal conduct (Christensen, 1995, p. 32).” There are many theories of ethics such as Virtue ethics, duty ethics, egoism, conventional morality and utilitarianism. Aristotle developed Virtue Ethics. With virtue ethics you are able to tell by the outcome of the act whether or not it was right or wrong. “What is the best life?” Aristotle asked himself. There are many aspects that relate to what someone would consider to be the best life. The article shows that you must work for ethics. It does not just come to you “Ethics is an acquired, not an inherent quality (Christensen, 1995, p. 32).”

Morals are the distinction between right and wrong. During our lives, our morals are susceptible to change due to the experiences we encounter. Many wonder where morality comes from. David Humes, an eighteenth-century Scottish Philosopher views on this “is supported by studies that suggest that our judgements of good and evil are influenced by emotional reactions such as empathy and disgust . As our social circle widens, so does our ‘moral circle’ (Bloom, 2010).”

Values have a significant importance in life. “Values are determinants of virtually all kinds of behavior… (Rokeach, 1973, p.5).” By setting values you are able to guide yourself to an ethical life and even to your life goals. A value is something that has worth to you. You will behave differently toward something you value compared to something you don’t value. “…Values are an integral and daily part of our lives. They determine, regulate and modify relations between individuals…” Although values are based on your own belief and not just a standard.

Ethical decisions are the root of how we choose to live our lives. How should we choose to live our lives? Ethics help us differentiate between rights and wrongs. “ethical principles are transmitted, explored and adopted (Nickols, 2001, p.20).” Ethics comes from moral values, beliefs, culture, etc. Ethics addresses many philosophical questions such as how to judge others, how to act, and even priority of values. A big problem in today’s times is academic dishonesty. Should you plagiarize or not plagiarize? This is an example of an ethical decision someone may have to make. Ethics comes to play when they have to choose whether or not to do the right thing. “Large numbers of practicing professionals in family and consumer sciences report feeling unprepared by their undergraduate education to deal with ethical issues (Lee, Weber and Knaub, 1996).”

Defining Professional Ethics

Professional Development has no one exact definition. One good way of explaining professional development is “continuing education offered to enhance job related skills (Boyarko, 2009, p. 11).” Professional development can be taught not only in classrooms but also through online courses. “Quality professional development is a dynamic and fluid process. If appropriate structures are in place (context), a variety of best practices (processes) are used, and appropriate knowledge and skill acquisition are occurring (content), then professional development will impact student achievement (The Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning [MCREL], 1997, p. 2).” In order to progress with professional development, students must have the necessary structures available to them along with good practices to acquire valuable skills. For students to achieve professional development, their teachers must also be professionally developed by the help of mentors.

Professional ethics are what should be taught at flight schools across the country. In order to understand what this concept signifies, one must first dissect each word for a basic understanding. In order to understand what a professional is, one must compare and contrast to find out what job is not considered professional. According to Bob Brecher of the University of Brighton (2014), a professional must be trained and certified for a specific job (p.241). Whereas every job requires training, even cashiers, only professional jobs require certification such as being a doctor, pilot, or professional athlete (Brecher, 2014, p.241). As for Ethics, Brecher (2014) concludes that ethical people have the acquired ethical education to solve moral dilemmas (p.244). Combining these two concepts, he comes up with the term “professional ethics.” By professional ethics, Brecher (2014) means that one must use their training to make decisions in the workplace in an ethical, moral way (p.243). He emphasizes on the motive behind each decision rather than the decision itself (Brecher, 2014, p.243). This is a view adopted by many philosophers, and this is studied in Ethics courses in universities such as Safety Ethics in Farmingdale State College.

Professionals sometimes act in unethical ways, and it is important to know why they deviate from ethical standards. Sims (1992) notes that “organizations often reward behaviors that violate ethical standards (p.507).” Giving people an incentive, like money and the possibility of a better career path, makes them more likely to act in a way that they don’t find acceptable. It is also suggested that in companies where “the ethical climate is not clear and positive, ethical dilemmas will often result in unethical behavior(Sims, 1992, p.510),” This means that companies have to create an environment that would discourage unethical behavior, possibly as part of training, if applicable.

Ethics in Aviation

Ethical standards are very important in aviation, especially as an airline pilot. It is important for the pilot to understand his/her responsibility and lose any kind of ego. They are no longer making decisions based solely on themselves but on hundreds of people trusting them with their lives. Especially in the cockpit, both pilots need to let go of their reflex to control and need to work together (George, 2013, p.45). George goes on to say that, “Excellent captains are empathetic listeners, they solicit inputs from others. They are tolerant, but not passive. They adapt to changing situations, setting the best tone. They understand and appreciate the short- and long-term consequences of their actions and the final decisions they make (George, 2013, p.45).” He also states that, “They're emotionally secure, self-confident and responsible (George, 2013, p.45).” Being a pilot requires not only stick and rudder expertise, but also the expertise of ethics. It is necessary for a pilot to have a firm foundation in his morals and beliefs, for they will carry him throughout his career and determine his composure in difficult situations.

The definition of ethics that Edwin Phillips’ work is based on is: “ethics is the philosophical process of deciding how to act and making moral judgments about the action taken. Acting ethically, being ethical, refers to actions that the self and/or members of society find more acceptable than unacceptable.” (Phillips, 2006, p.68). According to Carroll’s pyramid (Figure 3), it “suggests complying with the law (category C issues) must occur before an organization is viewed as ethical.” (Phillips, 2006, p.68). Big companies such as Continental Airlines, Boeing and AirTran all have “specific ethics policies”. These include Codes of Ethics, Business Conduct Programs and Ethical Business Conduct Guidelines. “These ethics statements match the third level of Carroll's pyramid (Phillips, 2006, p.74).” Public opinion is the final deciding factor for whether or not a company is acting in an ethical manner.

Suicide is a problem that has been plaguing the United States for many years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there were 34,598 suicides in 2007. This accounted for the tenth leading cause of death (NIMH, 2009). The NIMH estimates that there are 11 attempts for every successful suicide. In Aircraft-Assisted Pilot Suicides in the United States, 1993–2002, it is mentioned that the reason the ratio of attempts to successes is so high is because some attempts fail. Unfortunately, aircraft-assisted suicide is attempted mainly because it is always successful and rarely fails (Lewis, Johnson, Whinnery, Forster, 2007, p.153). The article’s statistics showed that from 1993-2002, there were 16 “suicide flights” and each were operated under 14CFR Part 91 (Lewis, et al., 2007, p.154). In each flight, the pilot was the sole occupant on board the aircraft (Lewis, et al., 2007, p.154). Apparently, 10 of the 16 airmen had talked about suicide openly before (Lewis, et al., 2007, p.154). However, each airman had passed their medical exam, and each certificate was current at the time of each crash except for three (Lewis, et al., 2007, p.156). Suicide in every sense needs to be prevented because killing oneself is murder, which is unethical. This adds to the need for an Ethics class for every program, not just aviation.

Ethics in Flight Training

In A Contrast of Ethical Attitudes and Practices between Aviation Students at Schools With and Without an Ethics Course for Pilots, Dr. Ramon-Osvaldo Gonzalez, Richard Walter, and Elsa-Sofia Morote (2011) research and analyze how taking an Ethics course helps in the future of aviation students. Unfortunately, aviation colleges have the least emphasis on an Ethics class for pilots (Northam & Diels, 2007). An Ethics class should be a requirement for students in collegiate Aeronautical Science programs, especially because “the public has the right to expect ethical behavior from aviation professionals, a behavior that will ensure the safety of their customers (Gonzalez, Walter, & Morote 2011, p.21).” An Ethics course is important; research shown by Gonzalez, Walter, and Morote (2011) shows that it should be implemented into Professional Pilot programs for increased safety. An Ethics class can change how a student will behave in the workforce, especially in aviation where ethics are constantly needed (Gonzalez, Walter, & Morote, 2011, p.22). Regardless of age, sex, gender, or race, and ethics program should teach about the universal moral laws and how to apply them to aviation. After all, it is not just the knowledge of flying that makes a pilot safe, it is how he/she controls him/herself and avoids hazardous attitudes.

The practical part of flight training is not the sole important aspect, as pilots must learn not only how to conduct themselves in the air but on the ground as well. In Leadership Effectiveness of Collegiate Aviation Program Leaders: A Four-frame Analysis, Ryan S. Phillips and Mark A. Baron (2013) stress the importance of having an effective leader in Aeronautical universities. They state that such a leader of a collegiate aviation program will use four frames in any given situation: “structural, human resources, political, and symbolic frames (Phillips & Baron, 2013, p.107).” These four frames are those from the Bolman and Deal leadership approach (Bolman & Deal, 1991). Aviation is a “high-stakes environment” and requires a strong leader (Phillips & Baron, 2013, p.107). According to the study, “most aviation faculty and staff feel their leaders are being effective in their leadership roles (Phillips & Baron, 2013, p.120).” Students continually need technical, moral, and professionally integrated flight training.

Continued in the research study conducted by Ramon-Osvaldo Gonzalez, Richard Walter and Elsa-Sofia Morote it was found that Aviation students accept responsibility for their actions more if the curriculum includes an ethics course (Gonzalez, et al., 2011, p.42). The students that had taken an ethics course also deviated less from ethical behavior (Gonzalez, et al., 2011, p.42). The actual overall behavior of the different groups of students was not, however, drastically different (Gonzalez, et al., 2011, p.43). The impact of an ethics course on a student body is evidently positive, encouraging students to adhere to social norms and take responsibility for their actions. These characteristics in students are vital to flight safety, where adherence to rules and standard procedures is needed.

In Klimek and Wenell’s (2011) study of students with a specific ethics course and students with ethics spread over the curriculum it was found that students can make decisions based purely on facts more when they have taken an ethics course (Klimek & Wenell, 2011, p.115). Students had “higher ethical reasoning ability (Klimek & Wenell, 2011, p.116).” This suggests that ethics training improves student behavior after the course is taken. This would positively affect the industry, which the students are going to by reducing corruption. Ethics courses need to actually change student behavior after graduation. In the study by Balotsky and Steingard (2006) it was found that students acted more ethically after taking an ethics course, students wanted to be more immersed in ethics as well (Balotsky & Steingard, 2006, p.21). It was observed that ethical learning greatly increased after graduation (Balotsky & Steingard, 2006, p.8).

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Conclusion

In conclusion, integrating ethics into education and professional training is crucial. As pilots steer planes with responsibility, students must navigate life's choices with integrity. From aviation to various fields, ethics shapes decision-making and real-world conduct.

Works Cited

  1. Agle, B. R., & Caldwell, C. B. (1999). Understanding research on values in business. Business and Society, 38(3), 326-387.
  2. Bloom, P. (2010). How do morals change? Nature, 464(7288), 490.
  3. Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Leadership and management effectiveness: A multi frame, multi-sector analysis. Human Resource Management, 30(4), 509- 534.
  4. Boyarko, M. A. (2009). Online professional development: A study of first year online teachers. (Order No. 3357569, Kent State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 211-n/a.
  5. Brecher, B. (2014). ‘What is professional ethics?’. Nursing Ethics, 21(2), 239-244.
  6. Christensen, B. A. (1995). Ethics by definition. Journal of the American Society of CLU & ChFC, 49(5), 32.
  7. Cole, B. and D. Smith (1996) Perception of Business Ethics: Students vs. Business People, Journal of Business Ethics, 15, 889-896.
  8. Edward, R. B., & David, S. S. (2006). How teaching business ethics makes a difference: Findings from an ethical learning model. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 3, 5-34.
  9. George, F. (2013). Truly Earning That Fourth Stripe. Business & Commercial Aviation, 109(2), 45.
  10. González, R., Walter, R., & Morote, E. (2011). A Contrast of Ethical Attitudes and Practices between Aviation Students at Schools With and Without an Ethics Course for Pilots. Collegiate Aviation Review, 29(2), 21-46.
  11. Joseph, J., Berry, K., & Deshpande, S. P. (2010). Factors that impact the ethical behavior of college students. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 3(5), 27-34.
  12. Klimek, J., & Wenell, K. (2011). Ethics in Accounting: An Indispensable Course? Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 15(4), 107-118.
  13. Lawson, R.A. (2004) Is Classroom Cheating Related to Business Students’ Propensity to Cheat in the Real World? Journal of Business Ethics, 49, 189-199.
  14. Lewis, R. J., Johnson, R. D., Whinnery, J. E., & Forster, E. M. (2007). Aircraft-Assisted Pilot Suicides in the United States, 1993-2002. Archives Of Suicide Research, 11(2), 149-161.
  15. National Institute of Health, US Government. (2009). Suicide in the US: Statistics and Prevention (06-4594). National Institute of Mental Health.
  16. Nickols, S. Y., & Belliston, L. M. (2001). Professional ethics: Caught and taught. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 93(2), 20-25
  17. Northam, G., & Diels, E. (2007). Ethical Decision Making by Certified Flight Instructors. Proceedings of the Third Safety Across High Consequence Industries Conference. St. Louis: Saint Louis University.
  18. Oderman, Dale B. (2002). Ethics education in university aviation management programs in the US: Part one- The need.. Journal of Air Transportation, 11-12.
  19. Oderman, Dale B. (2003). Ethics education in university aviation management programs in the U.S.: Part two A- The current status. Journal of Air Transportation, 27-29.
  20. Oderman, Dale B. (2004). Ethics education in university aviation management programs in the US: Part three- Qualitative analysis and recommendations. Journal of Air Transportation, 74
  21. O’Fallon, M.J. and K.D. Butterfield (2005) A Review of The Empirical Ethical Decision-Making Literature; 1996-2003, Journal of Business Ethics, 59, 375-413.
  22. Phillips, R. S., & Baron, M. A. (2013). Leadership Effectiveness of Collegiate Aviation Program Leaders: A Four-frame Analysis. Collegiate Aviation Review, 31(1), 107-127.
  23. Sims, R. R. (1992). The challenge of ethical behavior in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(7), 505. 
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What I Learned in Ethics Class: Integrating Ethics in Aviation. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-i-learned-in-ethics-class-integrating-ethics-in-aviation/
“What I Learned in Ethics Class: Integrating Ethics in Aviation.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-i-learned-in-ethics-class-integrating-ethics-in-aviation/
What I Learned in Ethics Class: Integrating Ethics in Aviation. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-i-learned-in-ethics-class-integrating-ethics-in-aviation/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
What I Learned in Ethics Class: Integrating Ethics in Aviation [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-i-learned-in-ethics-class-integrating-ethics-in-aviation/
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