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Professional Ethics

Considering that we all coexist and live as a society, it is imperative that a code of conduct is established to maintain harmony in our lives, on both, personal and professional fronts.
Janani Rajagopal Jul 27, 2020
In the field of philosophy, ethics is the study of values and customs of a person or group. It deals with the analysis and application of concepts like right or wrong, and good and evil.
Professional ethics is specifically concerned with human character, i.e., acceptable behavior and conduct, in professional issues. However, ethical behavior goes well beyond simply obeying a set of rules and instructions. It is about committing yourself to do what is right, cognizant of your own conscience.
Simply put, professional ethics revolve around one's behavior, conduct, and practice when carrying out professional work. It could be any profession; consulting, research, or writing for that matter.
Most professional bodies set a code of conduct that is to be followed by its members, such as doctors, lawyers, etc. The members are expected to accept the adherence to these codes or rules, including restrictions that apply. Interestingly, no two codes of ethics are identical. They may vary on the basis of cultural group, profession, discipline, etc.

Avoiding Conflict of Interest

Professional ethics need to be set, especially in a business or a large organization where a group of individuals may find themselves in situations where their values conflict.
A conflict of interest may be best described as a situation where your personal interests or activities influence your judgment or decision making, and consequently, your ability to act in the best interests of the company or business.
Professional ethics or the code of ethics comprises a range of issues. These include the following:
  • Data privacy and protection of sensitive information
  • Adherence to confidential agreements
  • No bias in analysis of data and professional consulting
  • Resolution of conflict of interest
  • Accountability towards business
A code of ethics enables the business to establish the ideals and responsibilities of the profession or business. It serves as a reference on acceptable conduct, increases awareness, maintains consistency, and lastly, improves quality.
When professionals follow a set code of conduct, it also enables their customers to trust the business with their critical information. Basically, it is a conscious effort to protect the interests of clients and professionals.

Standards of Professional Conduct

Members of any professional body are expected to understand and comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations of any government, regulatory organization, licensing agency, or any professional committee governing their official or professional activities.

Be professional

Professionals must exercise reasonable care and sound judgment to achieve and maintain independence and objectivity in business-related activities.
They must not intentionally conceal or misrepresent information or facts relating to actions, findings, and recommendations, or for that matter, reveal any information to deceive their customers, clients, or partners. In short, professionalism is all about doing the right things in the interest of the organization, profession or business.

Avoid breach of conduct

Members, employees, or businesses must refrain from indulging in any kind of dishonesty, fraud, or deceit that adversely affects the business integrity, goodwill, or competence. They must act for the benefit of their clients or customers and place their interests before those of their own.

Protect sensitive and critical information

It is assumed that professionals maintain confidentiality and do not disclose sensitive and critical information about their clients/customers to third parties, unless the information concerns illegal activities on the part of the client―in which case the law will take its own course, or if the client permits disclosure of information.
When it comes to their professional life, employees must act for the benefit of their employer and not deprive their employer of the advantage of their skills, expertise, or cause harm to their employer or organization.
A code of conduct may be specified for all disciplines and adhered to. Finally, it is important to behave ethically on both, personal and professional fronts with a clear conscience.