Professional ethics encompass the personal and corporate standards of behavior expected by professionals.
The word professionalism originally applied to vows of a religious order. By at least the year 1675, the term had seen secular application and was applied to the three learned professions: Divinity, Law, and Medicine.The term professionalism was also used for the military profession around this same time.
Professionals and those working in acknowledged professions exercise specialist knowledge and skill. How the use of this knowledge should be governed when providing a service to the public can be considered a moral issue and is termed professional ethics.
It is capable of making judgments, applying their skills, and reaching informed decisions in situations that the general public cannot because they have not attained the necessary knowledge and skills.One of the earliest examples of professional ethics is the Hippocratic oath to which medical doctors still adhere to this day.
Some professional organizations may define their ethical approach in terms of a number of discrete components.Typically these include Honesty, Integrity, Transparency, Accountability, Confidentiality, Objectivity, Respect, Obedience to the law, and Loyalty.
Most professionals have internally enforced codes of practice that members of the profession must follow to prevent exploitation of the client and to preserve the integrity and reputation of the profession. This is not only for the benefit of the client but also for the benefit of those belonging to that profession. Disciplinary codes allow the profession to define a standard of conduct and ensure that individual practitioners meet this standard, by disciplining them from the professional body if they do not practice accordingly. This allows those professionals who act with a conscience to practice in the knowledge that they will not be undermined commercially by those who have fewer ethical qualms. It also maintains the public’s trust in the profession, encouraging the public to continue seeking their services.
In cases where professional bodies regulate their own ethics, there are possibilities for such bodies to become self-serving and fail to follow their own ethical code when dealing with renegade members. This is particularly true of professions in which they have almost a complete monopoly on a particular area of knowledge. For example, until recently, the English courts deferred to the professional consensus on matters relating to their practice that lay outside case law and legislation.
In many countries there is some statutory regulation of professional ethical standards such as the statutory bodies that regulate nursing and midwifery in England and Wales.Failure to comply with these standards can thus become a matter for the courts.
For example, a lay member of the public should not be held responsible for failing to act to save a car crash victim because they could not give an appropriate emergency treatment. Though, they are responsible for attempting to get help for the victim. This is because they do not have the relevant knowledge and experience. In contrast, a fully trained doctor (with the correct equipment) would be capable of making the correct diagnosis and carrying out appropriate procedures. Failure of a doctor to not help at all in such a situation would generally be regarded as negligent and unethical. Though, if a doctor helps and makes a mistake that is considered negligent and unethical, there could be egregious repercussions. An untrained person would only be considered to be negligent for failing to act if they did nothing at all to help and is protected by the "Good Samaritan" laws if they unintentionally caused more damage and possible loss of life.
A business may approach a professional engineer to certify the safety of a project which is not safe. While one engineer may refuse to certify the project on moral grounds, the business may find a less scrupulous engineer who will be prepared to certify the project for a bribe, thus saving the business the expense of redesigning.
On a theoretical level, there is debate as to whether an ethical code for a profession should be consistent with the requirements of morality governing the public. Separatists argue that professions should be allowed to go beyond such confines when they judge it necessary. This is because they are trained to produce certain outcomes which may take moral precedence over other functions of society. 282 For example, it could be argued that a doctor may lie to a patient about the severity of his or her condition if there is reason to believe that telling the patient would cause so much distress that it would be detrimental to his or her health. This would be a disrespect of the patient's autonomy, as it denies the patient information that could have a great impact on his or her life. This would generally be seen as morally wrong. However, if the end of improving and maintaining health is given a moral priority in society, then it may be justifiable to contravene other moral demands in order to meet this goal. :284 Separatism is based on a relativist conception of morality that there can be different, equally valid, moral codes that apply to different sections of society and differences in codes between societies (see moral relativism). If moral universalism is ascribed to, then this would be inconsistent with the view that professions can have a different moral code, as the universalist holds that there is only one valid moral code for all. :285.:
As attending college after high school graduation becomes a standard in the lives of young people, colleges and universities are becoming more business-like in their expectations of the students. Although people have differing opinions about if it is effective, surveys state that it is the overall goal of the university administrators.Setting up a business-like atmosphere helps students get adjusted from a more relaxed nature, like high school, towards what will be expected of them in the business world upon graduating from College.
Codes of conduct, such as the St. Xavier Code of Conduct, are becoming more a staple in the academic lives of students.While some of these rules are based solely on academics others are more in depth than in previous years. Such as, detailing the level of respect expected towards staff and gambling.
Not only do codes of conduct apply while attending the schools at home, but also while studying abroad. Schools also implement a code of conduct for international study abroad programs which carry over many of the same rules found in most student handbooks.
Business ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics, that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations. These ethics originate from individuals, organizational statements or from the legal system. These norms, values, ethical, and unethical practices are the principles that guide a business. They help those businesses maintain a better connection with their stakeholders.
Ethical codes are adopted by organizations to assist members in understanding the difference between right and wrong and in applying that understanding to their decisions. An ethical code generally implies documents at three levels: codes of business ethics, codes of conduct for employees, and codes of professional practice.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national professional organization of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the United States, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries in business and industry, public practice, government, education, student affiliates and international associates. Founded in 1887, the organization sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, non-profit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It also develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination. The AICPA maintains offices in New York City; Washington, DC; Durham, NC; and Ewing, NJ. The AICPA celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2012.
Medical ethics is a system of moral principles that apply values to the practice of clinical medicine and in scientific research. Medical ethics is based on a set of values that professionals can refer to in the case of any confusion or conflict. These values include the respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. Such tenets may allow doctors, care providers, and families to create a treatment plan and work towards the same common goal. It is important to note that these four values are not ranked in order of importance or relevance and that they all encompass values pertaining to medical ethics. However, a conflict may arise leading to the need for hierarchy in an ethical system, such that some moral elements overrule others with the purpose of applying the best moral judgement to a difficult medical situation.
A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, such as the IEEE. Some definitions of "professional" limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.
Sexual misconduct is any misconduct of a sexual nature that is of lesser offense than felony sexual assault, particularly where the situation is normally non-sexual and therefore unusual for sexual behavior, or where there is some aspect of personal power or authority that makes sexual behavior inappropriate. A common theme, and the reason for the term misconduct, is that these violations occur during work or in a situation of a power imbalance. It is a legal concept to frame offenses which are non-criminal but nevertheless violating of another person's personal boundary in the area of sexuality and intimate personal relationships.
Software engineering professionalism is a movement to make software engineering a profession, with aspects such as degree and certification programs, professional associations, professional ethics, and government licensing. The field is a licensed discipline in Texas in the United States, Engineers Australia(Course Accreditation since 2001, not Licensing), and many provinces in Canada.
Industry self-regulation is the process whereby members of an industry, trade or sector of the economy monitor their own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity or governmental regulator monitor and enforce those standards. Self-regulation may ease compliance and ownership of standards, but it can also give rise to conflicts of interest. If any organization, such as a corporation or government bureaucracy, is asked to eliminate unethical behavior within their own group, it may be in their interest in the short run to eliminate the appearance of unethical behavior, rather than the behavior itself, by keeping any ethical breaches hidden, instead of exposing and correcting them. An exception occurs when the ethical breach is already known by the public. In that case, it could be in the group's interest to end the ethical problem to which the public has knowledge, but keep remaining breaches hidden. Another exception would occur in industry sectors with varied membership, such as international brands together with small and medium size companies where the brand owners would have an interest to protect the joint sector reputation by issuing together self-regulation so as to avoid smaller companies with less resources causing damage out of ignorance. Similarly, the reliability of a professional group such as lawyers and journalists could make ethical rules work satisfactorily as a self-regulation if they were a pre-condition for adherence of new members.
An ethical bank, also known as a social, alternative, civic, or sustainable bank, is a bank concerned with the social and environmental impacts of its investments and loans. The ethical banking movement includes: ethical investment, impact investment, socially responsible investment, corporate social responsibility, and is also related to such movements as the fair trade movement, ethical consumerism, and social enterprise.
Engineering ethics is the field of system of moral principles that apply to the practice of engineering. The field examines and sets the obligations by engineers to society, to their clients, and to the profession. As a scholarly discipline, it is closely related to subjects such as the philosophy of science, the philosophy of engineering, and the ethics of technology.
Professionalization is a social process by which any trade or occupation transforms itself into a true "profession of the highest integrity and competence." The definition of what constitutes a profession is often contested. Professionalization tends to result in establishing acceptable qualifications, one or more professional associations to recommend best practice and to oversee the conduct of members of the profession, and some degree of demarcation of the qualified from unqualified amateurs. It is also likely to create "occupational closure", closing the profession to entry from outsiders, amateurs and the unqualified.
The Law Society of British Columbia is the regulatory body for lawyers in British Columbia, Canada.
A Hippocratic Oath for scientists is an oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath for medical professionals, adapted for scientists. Multiple varieties of such an oath have been proposed. Joseph Rotblat has suggested that an oath would help make new scientists aware of their social and moral responsibilities; opponents, however, have pointed to the "very serious risks for the scientific community" posed by an oath, particularly the possibility that it might be used to shut down certain avenues of research, such as stem cells.
Accounting ethics is primarily a field of applied ethics and is part of business ethics and human ethics, the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to accountancy. It is an example of professional ethics. Accounting introduced by Luca Pacioli, and later expanded by government groups, professional organizations, and independent companies. Ethics are taught in accounting courses at higher education institutions as well as by companies training accountants and auditors.
Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada (APTUSC) is the professional society of active public treasurers of counties, provinces, cities, and special districts in the United States and Canada. It sets ethical standards for the treasury profession in state and local government.
The CPA Council of India is a constituent unit of the ICFAI University established for the development and regulation of the CPA profession on sound ethical lines. All students who successfully complete the CPA Program are eligible to become members of the CPA Council and are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, as prescribed by the CPA Council from time to time. The Code of Conduct covers, inter alia, the following aspects:
Engineering law refers to the application of laws applying to the practice of engineering. Engineering law is the study of how ethics and legal frameworks should be adopted to ensure public safety surrounding the practice of engineering. California law defines engineering as the professional practice of rendering service or creative work requiring education, training and experience in engineering sciences and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences in such professional or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning or design of public or private utilities, structures, machines, processes, circuits, buildings, equipment or projects, and supervision of construction for the purpose of securing compliance with specifications and design for any such work. By comparison Ontario lists safeguarding of life and public welfare in its definition. Ontario law defines engineering as the act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising that requires the application of engineering principles and concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, or the managing of any such act.
Veterinary ethics is a system of moral principles that apply values and judgements to the practice of veterinary medicine. As a scholarly discipline, veterinary ethics encompasses its practical application in clinical settings as well as work on its history, philosophy, theology, and sociology. Veterinary ethics combines veterinary professional ethics and the subject of animal ethics. It can be interpreted as a critical reflection on the provision of veterinary services in support of the profession's responsibilities to animal kind and mankind.
This article gives an overview of professional ethics as applied to computer programming and software development, in particular the ethical guidelines that developers are expected to follow and apply when writing programming code, and when they are part of a programmer-customer or employee-employer relationship. These rules shape and differentiate good practices and attitudes from the wrong ones when creating software or when making decisions on a crucial or delicate issue regarding a programming project. They are also the basis for ethical decision-making skills in the conduct of professional work.
The American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct includes an introduction, preamble, a list of five aspirational principles and a list of ten enforceable standards that psychologists use to guide ethical decisions in practice, research, and education. The principles and standards are written, revised, and enforced by the APA. The code of conduct is applicable to psychologists in a variety of areas across a variety of contexts. In the event of a violation of the code of conduct, the APA may take action ranging from termination of the APA membership to the loss of licensure, depending on the violation. Other professional organizations and licensing boards may adopt and enforce the code.
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