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Values and Ethics - Western Culture

Essay by   •  May 28, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,400 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,637 Views

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Western culture emphasizes the importance of developing strong values and ethics. Many young people learn what values and ethics are outside of the home. Academic institutions teach the importance of decision-making and upholding the values system of a given organization. Team sports teach an individual how to work with others to achieve a mutual goal. The military teaches the meaning of honor and the importance of having strong work ethics, including the ability to follow orders. These are only a few examples of organizations that teach young people to be honest, have integrity, high standards, and how to work within a group to accomplish a common goal. Although values and ethics are separately defined together they make up the key qualities necessary to being successful in business. That is why so many organizations place such an emphasis on teaching values and ethics.

Values and ethics are often used in the in the same context but each has a different meaning. Ethics are beliefs that use moral reasoning to define actions as right or wrong including what one should or should not do. Ethics also reflect how such actions can have a positive or negative effect on other individuals or a group structure. According to the Dictionary of Human Geography, "Ethics concerns not only the actions of individual people but social, economic and political structures and arrangements that also affect human and non-human beings (Dictionary of Human Geography, 2009)." Values are a set of beliefs and a code of conduct that an individual, society, or organization follow. Businesses and academic institutions often state their principle values in the form of mission statements, codes of behavior, and codes of ethics to inform employees and students the expectations of the individual while participating within the given organization (Guiding Principles, 2004). Values and ethics are beliefs and expected behaviors that cultivate through family values, educational institutions, military training, corporate environments, and societal expectations.

The focus of coaching youth sports is not teaching winning or losing. Coaching young kids focuses on teaching values; working together on a team, good sportsmanship, commitment, healthy competitiveness, fairness, integrity, and making friends. The main focus in coaching young kids is not to make them the best but to develop them to their personal best. John Wooden is widely regarded as the best college basketball coach in history. He was the first person ever to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. His 10 NCAA championships at UCLA have never been matched. Coach Wooden says "success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." The keys to his success in motivating and inspiring his players are the same principles that make one's life a success. Positive reinforcement, whether in sports or a career develops winners and success.

Values and ethics are also taught in school. University of Phoenix teaches academic integrity and honesty through their code of conduct. The code of conduct at University of Phoenix states this, "the student code of conduct at UoP supports the university's mission to provide higher education opportunities that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the productivity of their organizations, and provide leadership and service to their communities."

Professional values and ethics greatly influence career success. Many businesses, communities, groups, and even individual persons live by certain values and ethics. While values and ethics are defined individually, together they are defined as an ethos. Ethos is the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period ("Ethos", 2010).

One example of how professional values and ethics can influence career success is a career in the United States Army. The Army lives by an ethos they call the "Warrior Ethos." The Warrior Ethos is made up of certain values and ethics that a soldier swears to live by. Included in this ethos are the "Seven Army Values." The Army has seven values it has picked, defined, and chosen to live by. The seven Army values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage ("The Seven Army Values", 2003). These values form the ethics a soldier swears to live by in and out of uniform. As a young soldier, one learns these values and lives them. As the soldier matures in the Army and carries out their duties, the soldier must represent each of the seven army values. When a soldier is eligible for promotion, the chain

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