The Importance of Professional Ethics
No matter the field of work or profession that a person belongs to, ethics is a vital aspect of work. The results or success of any situation depends upon how the people in the organization actually deal with the situations, whether in an ethical manner or in an unethical manner . Good ethics is an essential prerequisite of any profession. It is also crucial to the success of the company. Ethics is basically understood as a system of moral principles that govern the proper conduct of a group or a person . It is worth mentioning that maintaining good ethics is being in harmony with the principles of correct moral conduct all the time. This paper discusses the importance of professional ethics. The paper also identifies the main ethical issues in the professional setting. The identified ethical issues are then analyzed and evaluated. Moreover, a justification of the evaluation is provided. There are several ethical issues that are important in a professional setting. These include integrity, accountability and responsibility, obedience to laws and regulations, monitoring web users, observing privacy of confidential data, and preventing security breach.
The most important ethical issues include the following: first is integrity. Integrity essentially implies that a person should be sincere and honest all the time under any circumstances . The second ethical issue is monitoring web users. Although companies can rightfully monitor what their staff members are doing and how they are using technology systems, they need to inform their workers about the degree to which they are being monitored . The third ethical issue is observing privacy of confidential data. This includes confidentiality of data of the company as well as data of employees in the company. Another ethical issue is preventing security breach. Systems should be reviewed to identify the possible sources of security breach. Accountability and responsibility are also vital ethical issues .
Integrity is a major ethical issue that managers, executives, and even employees in business organizations often face. When a person demonstrates integrity in her work and in a professional environment, it implies that this individual could be trusted and is also a reliable person. An individual who is sincere and honest all the time sustains in the company for a longer period of time than people who are not always sincere and honest .
The monitoring of web users is a significant ethical issue in most organizations. Companies have the right of monitoring what their staffs are actually doing and the way technology systems in the organization are being utilized. The ethical issue that arises is whether companies have the obligation of notifying their staffs as to the degree of that monitoring . For example, should a company clarify to employees that besides monitoring how long the workers are making use of the internet, it is also watching the websites which the employees are visiting? .
Also, it is important for the information technology (IT) or information systems (IS) manager in an organization to always observe the privacy of the confidential data of the company’s system. Every organization collects personal data on staff members; data that if not safeguarded in a proper manner could lead to considerable negative implications for individuals . Information like personal identification information for instance account identifiers and social security number, and employee background and compensation data, should all be accessed and maintained only by personnel who are authorized to do so. The IT or IS security personnel’s unauthorized access to the private and confidential information might pose a threat of disclosing confidential data of the company or of the employees . Getting unauthorized access to the private data might be in violation of the company’s rules.
Another ethical issue relating to privacy is: should the company’s managers read the private emails of its staff members who are using the company’s network to ensure that the company’s sensitive information is not being divulged? If the company reads the emails of its employees, should the company disclose that policy to the employees? Should it disclose to them after or before the fact? Is it alright for the company to place key loggers on computers on the company’s network in order to capture everything typed by the users? Is it alright to look at the graphic files and read the documents which the employees have stored in their computers or on the file server in their directories? .
Accountability and responsibility are also important ethical issues to be taken into consideration by employees and managers. The more an individual in the organization is responsible and accountable in nature, the more responsibly and efficiently this person would perform his or her job task. Responsibility toward work should be kept in mind by everyone in the organization and should be followed for an ethical workplace environment . Security breach is another vital ethical issue in any organization. Security is more than just shutting doors of the office or ensuring that the lock is safe. Technology poses various new security challenges. Networks could be breached, identities could be stolen and possibly lead to monetary ruin, personal identification information could be compromised, websites could be hacked, and critical corporate information could be stolen from online systems, among other security challenges . The ethical issue that arises is as follows: how far should or can the organization’s top managers go in determining the security that is inherent in the company’s information system, and what level of tackling such risks could be viewed as reasonable? .
The identified ethical issues are significant in that they have an effect on the success of the business. It is important to observe professional ethics at all times in order to address the aforementioned ethical issues in an ethical manner. Many large corporations have suffered destructive consequences because the senior managers lacked professional ethics and did not act with integrity. For a business organization to be successful, it has to be run in an ethical manner . This underscores the importance of professional ethics. Professional ethics helps an organization not just to avoid business failure, but it also allows an organization to avoid avoidable scandals. A successful business is dependent upon the trust of different parties within the organization, including suppliers, managers, staff members, clients, top executives, as well as competitors .
In addition, maintaining professional ethics standards is of great importance for the prosperity of a company. It is also important for the development of one’s personality. Maintaining professional ethical standards allows a person to refrain from any activities which may discredit his or her profession . Equally important, professional ethics is important considering that a person’s actions affect not just himself or herself, but also affect those people who are around him/her. Many of a person’s professional decisions and choices involve ethics. If an individual tells a lie to someone else, that person could in fact lose the other person’s trust and undermine his/her own integrity. If one uses substandard workmanship or substandard materials on the job, that person could endanger the safety of other people .
Managers in every company need to lead by example as this is crucial in cultivating a culture of ethical conduct within the organization. Therefore, one way of encouraging professional ethical conduct in the organization is through setting a good personal example . Just like other professionals such as facility and property managers, engineers, lawyers, and doctors develop professional codes of ethics which establish professional standards for behaviour, IT professionals should also create professional codes of ethics which establish professional standards of behaviour .
In conclusion, there are various ethical issues in the professional setting. The most important ones pertain to respecting the privacy of employees and not reading their personal emails without their knowledge, monitoring the company’s internet users, being a person of integrity who is honest at all times, preventing security breach, as well as being a responsible professional. An organization without professional ethics is only headed toward self-destruction. Upholding professional ethics allows an organization to avoid scandals and business failure. Professional ethics is important not just for the success of the company, but also for the development of one’s personality.
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