Whenever we talk about any code of conduct there are some concepts which should be cleared in the first place. The two basic concepts which relate to code of conduct are:
We generally mistake the two as being different from one another but there is a slight difference between the two, I shall make use of their definitions to distinguish between them.
Ethics: These are the rules of conduct recognized (by a body or a group) in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.
Morals: These are also the principles or habits with respect to what is right or wrong conduct. They too prescribe dos and don’ts, morality is ultimately measured within a personal compass of what is right and wrong.
Basically the difference between the two arises out of the arena they work in. Ethics come from a social system while morals are a products of an individual and his\her conscience. This thus means ethics are dependent on acceptance and belief of the society or institution of what is wrong and right, while Morals of a person might change with time, experience or some happenings and are usually inconsistent. The difference sometimes can be so wide that what might be ethical in an environment can be morally wrong for someone. For example having a glass of wine in a dinner party may be ethical in a particular society but can be totally against an individual’s morals. Or if you take a lawyer, for example a public prosecutor may get a case in which he\she has to defend a murderer or a rapist. Even though his\her morals tell him\her that the act being defended is reprehensible and that heinous crimes like these should be punished, her ethics of being a lawyer requires him\her to protect the client to the best of his\her abilities. This results in a conflict b\w ethics and morals
I needed to differentiate between the two to start off with so that there is clarity of thought on my personal code of conduct. When I talk about my personal code of conduct it means the rules and regulations I formulated for my own being, which I do morally accept.
Personal code of conduct:
My personal code of conduct is not designed within a vague yes or no boundaries as it cannot be defined in absoluteness, what is right and what is wrong! Instead I have based my conduct on some values that I truly believe in and follow. These values helps me take decisions in difficult times and let me end up on the right (correct) bank of the river. These values act as a guide and push me to being a better human being within the skin I am. These values are:
- Good citizenship
Trustworthiness: In my own set of rules it means being honest to the work I do, perform as a person on whom people can bank upon, remain loyal in all my relations and to my work and possess un-hindered integrity.
Respect: When I talk about respect it includes courtesy, civility, tolerance and acceptance. These 4 are the pillars of showing and gaining respect. I believe in the principle given by the father of the nation “be the change you wish to see in the world”. I want people to have acceptance and mutual respect for each other and their diversities, thus I put this aspect in my own conduct too.
Responsibility: With responsibility comes accountability. I when talk about responsibility I have included me being accountable for the task given to me. In my personal code of conduct this gives me immense strength to perform to the best of my abilities. Responsibility helps me focus on excellence and in that pursuit accountability enables me to maintain great self-restraint.
Fairness: In my books this holds one of the top most positions. I feel fairness, impartiality and an egalitarian society is the way forward.
Care: With the business field becoming so diverse, care is the need of the hour. Not just personal but in professional life. Thus I include some aspects of care in my code like empathy and compassion. Care and compassion if inculcated in our professional lives adds to a sense of duty and service which is the need of the hour.
Good citizenship: With the aspect of CSR present in business and even otherwise a good citizenry is what is needed, and I aspire to be one. With an attitude of giving back to the society and adding one more helping hand by doing my bit is how I look at life.
Even in my own life I have experienced some ethical as well as un-ethical behaviors by myself and others. I shall illustrate some here:
- I have felt the feeling of pride in small things, when once I helped an old woman cross at a junction, when she was unable to move an inch and I helped her cross the road. Her kind blessings still reverberate in my ears.
- Once I saw a little baby crying near a park, on asking I got to know she had been separated from her mother who had brought her to some nearby market. Luckily that child had her father’s number memorized. After handing her over to her parents, I had a great night sleep!
- Seeing a wounded man lying unconscious on the pavement of a metro station in Delhi, fury struck me after seeing no one bothered to take a look. I called the police helpline number after which he was admitted to the hospital by policemen.
- Walking alone in the lane just adjacent to mine, at the time of noon I saw a guy running past me. After he had crossed I noticed some 1000 rupees had fallen out of his pocket, instead of calling him I kept them with me. This was in childhood when I was 7 years old but in hindsight I fight this moral crime within me.
- In childhood after I borrowed someone’s notebook to copy the pending work, I forgot to return it. She, a very good friend of mine couldn’t locate it as it was with me and I had forgotten this along with her. So she had to give her exams without her notebook which led to her score being quite poor. Later when I found the copy I ccouldn’ttell her about it as I was scared of her reaction. This is another immoral act I had committed.
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