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Cultural Values And Personal Ethics Paper

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Cultural Values and Personal Ethics Paper

University of Phoenix

Cultural Values and Personal Ethics Paper

In today's society, depending on one's race, religious belief, up bringing and/or background we all seem to have different values, but yet; we have to survive together. More importantly we have to survive together in the same working world. So how do we do this? Today I hope to give my answer to this question along with others thoughts. The focus of this paper will be on how personal, organizational, and cultural values allow a person to function in today's corporate America. My intentions are to discuss how values can transcend into a person personal and professional life.

Dealing with people with various value systems can easily lead to ethical dilemmas. One may ask why? It is simple; what an individual sees as wrong, another may not agree. This alone can create the dilemmas of ethics. Ethical dilemmas can also come from within. Should I do this? Should I not? How far can I go and still feel like no rules have been broken? How much will I bend to achieve favorable results? Before we discuss these ethical dilemmas lets further discuss values.

Personal Values

In my perspective, personal values are taught by parents, guardians or other adult figures. Having personal values gives one the ability to make high-quality choices. It is the capability to do what is right and know what is immoral. Personal values are the values we hold dearest. In my opinion, these are the hardest ones to bend because the negative consequence eats at your inner being. So how does this affect decision-making in your personal and professional life? It seems simple; personal values would necessitate them to do what is right. If you promised your child you would go to her game, then go, because it is the right thing to do. If you take a job and are supposed to report to work at 5:00 am, you should arrive no later than 5:00 am. It seems simplistic but your personal values can create dilemmas within. For example, in my rearing days I was always taught to go church on Sunday. Because of my up bringing, I instill the same values in my daughter that you do not work on Sundays. So what happens when an employer requires me to work on Sunday? Do I go to work or church? Do I jeopardize my livelihood for my personal values? Should my personal values outweigh the values of the organization in which I have made commitments? Before answering this let's define and look at some organizational values question.

Organizational Values

Organizational values are "the inner judgments that determine how a person behaves within an organization" (Josephson, 2003). He explains how this is not the same as business ethics. Business ethics are the business values usually designed to prevent any legal actions. Organizational values are your inner judgments. In essence will you lie, cheat and steal to climb the cooperate ladder? In my opinion, organizational values are the commitment you have made to that career. When placed in a difficult situation will you make the best decision despite your personal values? Let's revisit the above question; do I go to work or church? When accepting job offers it is custom to receive the expectations of employment. One expectation given by the employer was the possibility of working on Sunday. My personal values direct me to go to church but my organizational values dictate I have made a contract with this company. If I wish to excel within the company it would be feasible that I to go to work. On the personal side, I have a commitment to my faith. So again, what is the right thing to do? In this particular scenario, I would go to work. Why? I have not chosen to work on Sunday; I have been chosen. My personal values tell me to do what is right. Upon accepting the offer of employment, I agreed, I would work some Sundays. At this point it would be inappropriate not to fulfill my obligation to my employer. In this case I can align both my organizational and personal values.

What if the dilemma is more complex? In the book Making Ethical Decisions, Michael Josephson gives this scenario: There is a woman who has lost her job, has two children with no medical benefits. The woman has been actively looking for work but the skills she possesses are no longer in demand. After being unemployed for over 12 months, filing bankruptcy and on the verge of being evicted, she is offer a job. This new job will pay more than any other job she has ever had. The company has narrowed their decision down to two candidates; her being the top one. As part of the application she has to sign a statement stating that she had never taken any drugs. Previously the applicant had smoked an illegal drug during her college years, quite frequently. She has not smoked anything since leaving college or had children which had been many years ago. What does she do? Should she fabricate the truth? What would you do? What would I do? In our culture we are taught to take care of our children. Obtaining this job would aid her in doing this. So again, what should she do? Let me discuss cultural values before answering.

Cultural Values

Cultural values are values set down by a society. Kowalsky (2006) stated "culture should follow the natural value of human nature; yet, humans must be free to disobey (at their peril)." His statement supports my belief. Cultural values are defined by the area one resides. These are values deemed important. These are standards in which many of our laws are derived. Cultural values state we should take care of our children. We have laws that enforce this. If you do not feed, clothe or provide adequate housing for your children, by law the state can remove them from your home. It seems these are the values that society sees as the most important. In essence, these values are the glue that binds the other values. Think about this; on a personal level I know I need to feed my child because it is my obligation. On an organization level, I know I need to abide by the contract with my employer. I need a check to feed my child. On a cultural level, it does not matter if I want to feed my child, or if I want to work, the laws state if we do not feed our children the state can take them away and we can be incarcerated. Principles that are used in our culture seem to be the ones, for the most part, with the utmost lawful



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