Ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, and benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.

Ethical standards include virtues of honesty, integrity, compassion and loyalty.   Ethics should not only apply to decisions we make as individuals but also to decisions made by the organization.  The organizations ethical standards are set by all levels of management and trickles down thru the organization.  The tone at the top determines the ethical standards at all levels of the organization.  Strong ethics is a key component of the control environment.

Question that may help with the ethical part of the decision making process is summarized in the Ethics Filters mnemonic word PLUS.

  • P = Policies
    Is it consistent with my organization's policies, procedures and guidelines?
  • L= Legal
    Is it acceptable under the applicable laws and regulations?
  • U = Universal
    Does it conform to the universal principles/values my organization has adopted?
  • S= Self
    Does it satisfy my personal definition of right, good and fair?

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