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Ethical Awareness Inventory

Updated on January 30, 2013

Ethics is something that can affect someone in their personal and professional life. Typically, when people think of ethics, they think of a person’s ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. According to Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, and Meyer, of Santa Clara University, (2008), "Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues." I am going to examine and discuss both personal and professional ethics, while explaining the importance of understanding one’s own personal ethical perspective.

Personal ethics are based on someone’s beliefs, values, and morals as well as determining what is right and what is wrong. There can be many things that influence a person’s ethical standards. Some of these might include family, religion, and culture. Parents and family are usually the foundation of a person’s ethical perceptions. From birth, most parents teach their children the differences between right and wrong as well as how they should behave in public. Often, if parents have a good ethical perspective, the child will adopt some of the same beliefs, values, and morals. Religion can also influence someone’s ethical perspective. In many religions, it is taught that good will always prevail over evil, which can be a foundation for a person’s ethical decisions. Another influence on a person’s ethical perspective is culture. Each culture has cultural norms, which is what the majority of people use and follow. In many cultures, going against cultural norms such as committing a crime, which would be considered wrong, would be reprimanded or possibly endure time in jail.

Professional ethics may include showing integrity, being honest, and showing respect to other co-workers as well as clients in the workplace. Like personal ethics, professional ethics can also be influenced by a person’s family, religion, and culture. It is often thought that if a person has a good personal ethical perspective then they will also have a good professional ethical perspective. While this may be correct in most cases, it is not in all cases. For example, I worked with someone who had a good personal ethical perspective. He was a good Christian man who followed cultural norms and made good choices. However, during work, he was caught stealing money from a register and was terminated. It was a very big surprise because I thought of him as a person who had good beliefs, values, and morals. Some people who are ethically good in their personal lives may be ethically corrupt in their professional lives.

In the ethical awareness inventory, my ethical perspective is based “on the results or consequences of [my] actions. [I] believe that conduct should be directed toward promoting the greatest good for the greatest number of persons.” (, 2008). I found this to be interesting and very much on target because in my personal and professional life, I am interested in the end result and how I can achieve it without being ethically corrupt. I want everyone to succeed and feel good about what it is that is being accomplished. I want both family and friends in my personal life as well as co-workers in my professional life to feel proud of their accomplishments that have been achieved honestly and with integrity. It is a great feeling to accomplish a goal while maintaining honesty and integrity. However, it is not always an easy task for everyone to complete a mutual goal because there tend to be competing views of the best way to accomplish the goal. Also, people in my personal and professional life “may not share my same ethical approach.” (, 2008). It is a good idea for people to have an understanding of their ethical perspective. It may help someone to see where they are ethically and help them correct the areas where they feel necessary.

A person’s ethical perspective can affect them both in their personal life as well as their professional life. A person’s ethics can be either good or bad. Some characteristics of someone with a good ethical perspective include honesty, integrity, and a sense of good beliefs, values, and morals. Someone who has a bad ethical perspective may in some cases be more likely to be dishonest, cheat, or steal. The ethical awareness inventory is an excellent tool for people to find out where they stand ethically in their personal and professional life. It may be able to provide someone who has a bad ethical perspective a thoughtful way to adjust to a good ethical perspective.


Vasquez, M. Andre, C., Shanks, T., & Meyers, M. J. (2008). What is Ethics? Retrieved from on November 19, 2008. (2008). Ethical Awareness Inventory Results. Retrieved from on November 23, 2008.


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