Ethics and Professionalism Ethics is a moral approach to understanding, evaluating, and differentiating matters relating to the well-being and relationships of people encountered in everyday life. Ethics is a process and not a static condition, as those who practice it must have beliefs and assertions that are consistently supported by sound reasoning. Evaluations based on ethics require a balance of emotion and reason because the position taken must be justifiable through logical argument (Butts & Rich, 2005). There are three categories which define the standards of ethical practice;ultures and societies (Scott, 2014). Ethical relativism under which the distinction between right from wrong varies depending on some factors, which has the risk of unethical behavior being misconstrued as ethical for the mere reason that the environment dictates that particular action at that time. Also, the integrative social contracts theory under which ethical practice is guided by a combination of universal principles and the prevailing circumstances that may have an impact on the decision to be taken. Ethical people display the following characteristics; they are highly aware of the values they are meant to portray, they are accountable for their actions, they demonstrate exemplary behavior against which their peers can be compared (Scott, 2014). Their decisions are rational and logical and are arrived at after critical thinking and most importantly they are self-driven, they do not require the existence of laws or supervision to act accordingly. The ethical practice has numerous advantages be it in business, public service or regular day to day activities. A strict code of ethics serves as a guide in situations where the right course of action is not immediately apparent, in both personal and business decisions. Ethical practices build clients’ confidence in the service or brand offered by a person or firm by building their trust. A code of ethics eliminates the necessity for laws and regulations; self-driven individuals know what is expected of them. Such a code also provides a standard against which the actions of employees can be measured, and in cases of unethical behavior, necessary corrective action can be taken. Most of all, the practice of ethics preserves the dignity of people one interacts with by ensuring they are treated well and not taken advantage of (Josephson, 2016). ow. One vendor, however persistently calls to ask whether they need supplies, and the young employee ends up ordering from him if supplies are low. This vendor also sends the employee gifts once in a while, thanking her for the business. One particular day, the vendor calls to ask whether he should bring supplies but is informed that the clinic is not low on supplies. He then threatens the employee with dire consequences if she does not make an order as they had entered a contract, later promising her of a gift upon receipt of the decree. The scenario described presents an ethical dilemma for the young employee. Ethics dictate that the employee should not accept gifts from business partners that will influence her judgment, considering she has more than one vendor to choose from (Scott, 2014). Her choice of vendors must be based on the best price for the clinic and not personal gifts. The best course of action in this scenario would be to consult senior management on the issue. Professionalism has been defined as the strategies used by members of a profession to achieve improved status, salary, and their existing conditions. Professionalism seeks to enhance the quality of service (Evans, 2008). Professionalism is displayed through characteristics such as; possession of adequate knowledge regarding the profession, appropriate assessment of client needs, and following proper response. Maintenance of continuous education on matters regarding the chosen profession and working professional relationships with peers. Professionalism is advantageous in that it enables the establishment of necessary boundaries. While socialization is important among employees and between employees and management, there has to be a limit to these interactions so that work gets done and the relationships at the workplace do not go overboard. Professionalism also encourages improvement; employees who dress and carry out all activities professionally not only create an appropriate work environment but are also highly motivated toward better performance. Management that is done professionally maintains accountability as all employees are required to follow policies and procedures, including senior staff in leadership roles. In cases of process oriented businesses, professionalism means the seamless flow of processes, with coordination from various departments. It also allows for efficient use of resources to achieve maximum possible output. Professionalism also promotes respect for authority figures and minimizes conflict by reducing inappropriate personal conversation and gossip (Scott, 2014). Some scenarios where the concept of professionalism is addressed are: during meetings, the conduct, and an employee regarding timeliness, dressing, presentation in the case of a presentation to management and being respectful in addressing superiors must depict professionalism. On phone calls with clients, professionalism is exhibited in an employee answering with enthusiasm, introducing themselves adequately and always returning any missed calls within 24 hours. In an email, communication must be brief and addressed to relevant recipients. Regarding dress and appearance, professionalism is exhibited in taking care of their appearance as a sign of respect to the profession. Most of all, professionalism displayed in social functions through timely arrival, carrying formal identification, carry out due diligence of those in attendance to address them by their proper titles instead of referring to them disrespectfully ensures that an employee has a continuous working relationship with his peers in the profession. A scenario in which professionalism is called into the question is that of a manager who witnesses one of the longest serving employees regularly shows up late, takes long lunch hour breaks than is required and is often the first to leave the office before the end of office hours. While most employees committed such misdemeanors, this specific employee had made this a habit. To add on to this, his past performance reviews had no indication of performance issues, and he is a well-liked employee with vast knowledge on the history of the company. What is the manager to do? He has the option of discussing the issue with the office as a whole to remind everyone of required operating hours or addressing the issue directly with Tom, expressing his concerns and giving a clear picture of future expectations. This would be the best display of professionalism as it would ensure there is no favoritism and maximum efficiency of labor in the organization. Ethics and Professionalism are different in their definitions; while ethics refers to the guidelines that specify what one can and cannot do in a specific occupation, professionalism refers to the individual traits that are expected in the practice of a certain profession. The two concepts are similar in the sense that a professional who exhibits ethical behavior becomes valuable in an organization and benefits regarding salary increases, promotions, new opportunities and a good relationship with their co-workers. The two are also synonymous with an individual who is passionate about their chosen career and does not need material motivation while doing their job. References Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2005).Nursing Ethics: Across the curriculum and into practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. Evans, L. (2008). PROFESSIONALISM, PROFESSIONALITY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(1), 20-38. Josephson, M. (n.d.).Ten Benefits of Having an Ethics Code – Exemplary Business Ethics & Leadership. Scott, S. (n.d.). The Importance of Professionalism in Business | Chron.com.
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